The Ten Commandments

Do we keep them all? Like the Rich Young Ruler, most likely we do? No one keeps them perfectly, but beyond these there are more rules and beyond those more! That’s if you really like rule keeping.

The Ten
1. No other gods,
2. Make not idols, don’t bow down to them,
3. Don’t take GOD’s Name in vain,
4. Keep the Sabbath,
5. Honour your parents,
6. Don’t Murder,
7. Don’t be an Adulterer,
8, Don’t Steal,
9. Don’t give false testimony,
10. Don not covet,

Too many rules is not good either. Because rules tend to become binding or a burden. And life is meant to be lived free.

I’d like to look at the story of the Rich Young Ruler, because this story fits many of us today. Even many of us in ministry. We who live in the United States of America are living the good life. We may not realize, that we live like gods compared to others in other parts of the world. I’d like to offer some insights into the story,

Mark’s Account:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

It is my hunch, that Mark, or John Mark was the Rich Young Ruler. He was rich and young, b/c his father had died in his youth and left Mark the family fortune. His family was pious and most likely employed many people locally. I’ve experienced having much wealth at a young age. It is power! It makes you feel like you are on the top of the world. People look at you differently. Even if they can’t have your money, they look at you like you are a wonderful golden god. Now I have nothing, so I know the opposite effect that no money can have on people’s perception of you.

When you are young, and financials are at the top of your list, Mark probably felt like he had it all. He could just die now. Most likely he was also married and had a child or children b/c in those days they started young. So, now, he was asking Jesus how can I live forever?

The way he asked Jesus, the LORD Jesus could tell that he was also thinking on the level of good and bad, when there is the level of life and death. And when Mark said he kept all the commandments, which mostly was true. Jesus responded, “One thing you lack.”

What does that mean? It means the LORD implied that Mark already had eternal life. Does that mean the LORD could tell that Mark would be a apostle or disciple and gain eternal life in the next age? Or was he hinting at the truth at the spirit of everyone, Mark, is eternal. Mark didn’t need eternity, Mark didn’t need a good life, Mark didn’t need order in his life, Mark needed this new thing called the Kingdom of GOD.

It seems Mark was too ‘big’ to enter the kingdom. For just as the camel was too big to enter the eye of the needle. Mark was too big to enter the Kingdom. Why? Because if you see rich people travel, they often have all this stuff with them. Their lives are all about the stuff. They even need property managers to look after their stuff. And so the mass of the stuff added to Mark makes him just ‘too big’ to enter the narrow doorway of the Kingdom.

Quick teleportation in time and space, sorry, the other day, I was dumping trash at the local garbage dump. The person working there wouldn’t allow us in even 5 minutes earlier and when I didn’t respond to his direction to drive back out of the compound, he gave us a threatening look. I was very disappointed. Obviously, this was a person who is really into rules and rule keeping and rule enforcing with deadly force if necessary. The heart of all Law is love, and if you operate with love and unselfishness in your heart you basically can do no wrong. I mean, the outcome may not be the best, and you may be criticized and complained to, but you will never have broken any law and never suffer any really serious punishment (serious is a relative term).

Back to the story, the disciples were shocked that Jesus said Mark isn’t going into the Kingdom b/c he is rich, for Mark was most likely from a prominent, pious, well respected and generous family that helped many people in the community. But then, Peter said, “What about us?” The twelve left everything to follow Jesus. That most likely meant giving up a normal life and becoming like college students with no career, no regular income, and having to listen to Jesus whatever he told them which would disrupt their lives anytime b/c they were learning.

Jesus promised them a 100 fold return in this age, and in the age to come with eternal life in the age to come. Whatever they gave up would be returned to them 100 fold. Does this sound familiar? When you go to church do you see one hundred brothers and sister? I do. But, how close are you to them? It doesn’t matter, b/c it is a closeness that goes beyond reason, it is spirit. But if you don’t know it, you will. It cannot really be explained.

So, the point is the Kingdom is NOT about material stuff. The material stuff is to help the needy. I have come up with something that may be of usefulness in evaluating a person, where they are in their spiritual walk. Often lifting someone out of one stage and guiding to the next is the result of $$$. That’s why we need to give.

1) Stage one, they don’t keep the commandments and they don’t have a good life. Stuck in sins of adultery, self-loathing, bad diets, incomplete parenting skills, etc. What people call low class. The LORD Jesus was of royal blood, but was raised blue-collar and then he reached out to mostly the lower class and the despised in the community. Why? Because the masses ARE the lower and lowest classes of society. If you really want numbers then that is who you target (sp?).

2) Stage two, they have a good life (like middle class people). They went to college, they got a good job, like with Microsoft or Apple (ka-ching), but they don’t have things like guaranteed good health, guaranteed job security, etc… For them, more study and application of the law/laws is very beneficial. It will result in knowing how to live and help others.

3) Stage three, the Super Rich. Many people aspire to break into this category through traveling, meeting with other people, through seminars with Anthony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, etc. At this stage, you are basically living heaven on earth, and if you know how to create wealth then what you will mostly will materialize. You basically are a god on earth. But what does someone like that (Rich Young Ruler) lack? He wants to live forever! And that kind of guy, a Bill Gates of now, would kneel before Jesus the person who had no where to lay his head.

So what is the Kingdom about? What is Jesus saying? I’m not sure someone could jump from Stage one to the Kingdom. It is possible, for all things are possible with GOD, but even I had the experience of the mighty power of wealth. The choice to give it all up, I made it. And so I march steadily, albeit slowly right now, towards the Kingdom. Joining the Kingdom even means leaving your father and mother, your brothers and sisters, wives and children. Wow, seems harsh. But, what would make someone give up the sweet, sweet, life and luxury of all the world has to offer and become a willing servant of the King of the Universe? To be all about the affairs of the Universe, one would have to be akin to a soldier. That is the life it is most like. But, it is possible to work together in concert with your father and mother, wife and children if they are all following the LORD.

If you read this far, you may be ready for the Kingdom of GOD, which is a Kingdom of Spirit. This loopiness, this arbitariness, is characteristic of Spirit, for where it goes no one knows. To be born of the Spirit means you are free and led by the free Spirit of GOD, which mean you are very unpredictable and may come off as strange.

May GOD bless you this weekend,

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