Prerequisites for Salvation

31 December 2017 AM – Mark 10:13-27 – Mr17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: The Bible makes it clear that the only thing that can save a person from damnation in the Lake of Fire is faith in Christ’s payment on the cross for our sin. However, there are several things that prepare a person for faith in Christ. They must take place before a person can place their faith in Christ.

This morning we are going to study two events during Jesus’ earthly ministry during which Jesus identified three prerequisites for salvation. (Read Mark 10:13-27)

Transition: As we study these verses, I want to note the three prerequisites for salvation that Jesus identified for us.

The 1st prerequisite for salvation that Jesus identified is …

1.        Simple, Child-like Openness (v.13-16)

a.         The setting
1)         People were bringing their children to Jesus (v.13). They wanted Jesus to touch them; Matthew adds “and pray” for them. This had nothing to do with baptism or salvation. They simply wanted the blessing of the Lord on their children.
2)         The disciples, thinking that Jesus had better things to do than to bless the little children, rebuked the parents. They tried to keep them from their goal.
3)         When Jesus saw this He was very displeased (v.14). He commanded the disciples to suffer (i.e. allow) the parents to bring the children to Him. He commanded them to stop forbidding them. Then He said, “For such is the kingdom of God.” The children pictured those in God’s kingdom.
4)         Jesus took them in His arms and blessed them (v.16). In other words, He prayed God’s blessing on them.
b.         The application
1)         Jesus made a startling statement in verse 15.
2)         He said that the only way to enter into God’s kingdom is to receive (i.e. take hold of) it as a little child.
3)         God requires child-like openness for a person to be saved.
a)         Little children are receptive, open, responsive, simple, believing, teachable, mild, humble, and free from prejudice.
b)         Spurgeon: “Instead of growing wiser, in order to be fit for Christ, we must be more conscious of ignorance, more trustful towards him, more dependent upon him, more childlike.”
c)         Child-like openness is laying aside all pride and coming to Christ with humility and meekness.
The 2nd prerequisite for salvation that Jesus identified is …

2.        Surrender to God (v.17-22)

a.         The setting
1)         A rich young ruler came to Jesus to learn what prerequisites Jesus placed on inheriting eternal life.
2)         He called Jesus the “Good Master.” Jesus questioned him about this title (v.18). I agree with David Guzik, “This is not Jesus denying His deity. Instead, He invited the young man to reflect upon it. It is as if Jesus said, ‘do you really know what you are saying when you call Me good?’”
3)         Jesus then named five of the Ten Commandments which the young man knew (v.19). Note that all five of them are duties towards other humans.
4)         The young man assured Jesus that he had kept these commandments from his youth up (v.20).
O  When asked about inheriting eternal life, why did Jesus name commandments? Under the O.T. Law, were people saved by keeping the commandments? No! Salvation has always been by faith in God. The commandments identified God’s perfect expectations and thus man’s failures and need of salvation. (Romans 3:20) “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Galatians 3:24) “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Salvation is not “doing” it is “trusting”.

b.         The application
1)         Jesus loved this young man. His next statement was loving though it punctured the young man’s pride (Read v.21).
a)         Why did Jesus tell the rich young man he must sell all he had and give to the poor?
b)         Why did he say, come, take up your cross and follow me?
c)         By these two statements, Jesus was addressing the Commandments that are man’s duties toward God. (Exodus 20:3-4) “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” Jesus knew that the young man placed his possessions above God. They were his god. They were an idol in his life. He did not want a changed life. He simply wanted a ticked into heaven. Thus, he went away grieved.
2)         Does God require that you sell all and give to the poor before you can be saved? No, not if money is not a god or idol in your life. However, you cannot serve two masters! (Matthew 6:24) “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is materialism.
3)         God does require surrender of self. I am not talking about “Lordship salvation”. I am talking about having a right perspective of God and self. God is right – we are wrong. God is holy – we are wicked. God is light – we love darkness. God is pure – we are polluted. God is Sovereign – we are unworthy servants. Our sin condemns us and we deserve to spend eternity in hell. (Jeremiah 17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Without Jesus, you will go to hell.
The 3rd prerequisite for salvation that Jesus identified is …

3.        Supernatural Conviction (v.23-27)

a.         Jesus’ surprising statement
1)         Jesus looked around at his disciples and with a broken heart said, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
2)         This shocked the disciples.
3)         Jesus illustrated His statement and shocked them even more (read v.24-25). They wondered then how anyone could be saved (v.26).
b.         Jesus’ explanation
1)         He looked right at them and gave them His answer (Read v.27).
2)         It is impossible for any human to save himself. It is also impossible for any human to come to God for salvation without the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Before returning to heaven Jesus told His disciples about the Holy Spirit’s ministry. (John 16:7-8) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove [i.e. convict] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” God uses His word to convict. (Romans 10:17) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” God invites everyone (Ro 10:13; 1Ti 2:4; 2Pe 3:9). Even when God convicts of sin, man still has a free will to accept or reject.
3)         Though impossible with man, with God all things are possible. God is able to save both the vile sinner and the religious sinner, the rich sinner and the poor sinner, if they will repent and trust Him.
4)         The rich young man was grieved or sorrowful, but not repentant. Jesus had worked in his heart, but he chose to walk away from God’s gift of salvation, still lost.
Conclusion: Jesus identified three prerequisites for heaven: Simple Child-like Openness, Surrender to God, and Supernatural Conviction. If you are trusting anything except Christ or in addition to Christ to save you, you are still heading for hell.  If you have not truly trusted Christ to save you from hell, He invites you today. If you, with simple child-like openness and surrender to God, will listen to God’s conviction you can be saved by faith this morning. You can know you are going to heaven.

Song: Just As I Am – 249