This One Thing You Lack

This one thing you lack                                                                      Matthew 19:16-22 (Nkjv)

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good[a] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, [b]“Why do you call Me good? [c]No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept [d]from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.


  • Most people have heard about this story of a young ruler, and many perceive that its only talking to the rich or those who are in power – wrong!!
  • This story applies to every one of you, me included and today we will see how
  • The young man, come to Jesus and asks, how do I make to heaven
  • Jesus tells him, there are these commandments that you should keep
  • And the young man excited, says he has observed them since he was a youth
  • He asks, what do I lack- and Jesus says to him: this one thing you lack
  • Go sell all your possession and come follow me
  • This is too much for the young rich ruler and he walks away sorrowful
  • This story is significant that it appears in the 3 gospels
    • Matthew 19:16-22
    • Mark 10:17-30
    • Luke 18:18-30

Explore – 3 questions

  • Why did the young ruler come to Jesus to put himself in such a position?
  • Why did Jesus challenge him?
  • Why didn’t the young man stay with Jesus?
  • Why did the young man come to Jesus?
  •  Have you ever walked into something or started a conversation, only half through the conversations, you are like- Oh my goodness, why did I start this conversation- or why am I here?
  • Mark 10:17 (Nkjv) Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
  • From this we can gather, that he was eager to know how to make it to heaven, he was also respective to Jesus- he knelt before him
  • A powerful ruler shows his respect before Jesus
  • We can conclude that he wanted to know how he can please God
  • Today here at Church we might not be physically running to Jesus, but some of us if not all, desire to know how we can live a righteous life and honor God
  • We left our comfortable beds, rearranged our schedules to be here or watch online
  • But just like this young man, the main question is “Why do you want (desperately) to know God?”
    • Is it so that He can get you out of your current situation?
    • Is it so that He can affirm that you are doing well?
    • Is it because we desperately want to know God and his power of salvation in our lives?
    • Is it because, though we have every comfort in our lives (like this young ruler) we still feel empty?
  • There must have been something in him that was not satisfied with that he had – He wanted to know how he can get to heaven
    • I know this feeling, of getting that which we desired so much, only to still feel empty after we have achieved it
  • As we continue to explore the text, I wonder what his true intentions were?
  • Whether his heart was true or misguided – we may never know
  • I have seen many people come to Jesus and leave for all kinds of reasons:
    • Some left after they received their healing,
    • their marriage restored, their family put together, Business connection
    • others because Jesus exposed things in their lives that they didn’t want out in the light
    • Yet others have stayed, because they have fallen in love with Jesus, and He has become enough in their lives
  • This morning, am wondering, why are you here? ( as humbly as I can ask) Why did you come to Church today?
  • Yes, you are here to worship God and hear His Word, I hope, but why?
  • What questions do you have for Jesus today, and why?
  • I pray that we are here because we thirst for the Lord’s presence in our lives
  • John 4:13-14 (Esv) – Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water ( water from the well) will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[a] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life
  • Why did Jesus challenge him?
  • This young man, goes through 3 very unique challenges when he comes to Jesus
  • The first challenge was in form of a statement
    • Matthew 16:17 (Nkjv) “Why do you call Me good? No one is good, but One, that is, God, But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
  • I don’t know about you;  but this young man, runs to Jesus, bows before Him, calls Him good teacher (respectfully) and what he gets is a question that Jesus doesn’t allow him to answer- He say, But if you want to enter into life ….
  • Here is a man, that has what seems to be a perfect approach to Jesus, yet Jesus doesn’t embrace him or recommend him for using the right approach
  • Its such contrast with the blind man who cried out to Jesus
    • Luke 18:35-41 (Nkjv) As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”
    • Here is a man, who approached Jesus in a very unlike manner. Everyone is stopping him, he is a beggar, a blind man…no one wants him close to Jesus
    • Yet Jesus question to Him is – What do you want me to do for you
    • Very different from – Why do you call me good? Only God is good…
  • The second challenge is: (vs 17) …..But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
  • I call this a challenge because Jesus all knowing, already knew the answers to these questions
  • My guy, doesn’t get the hint from the first response
  • At which point he says, Which ones? ((no he didn’t))
  • Jesus indulges him and responds,
  • You shall not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, honor your father, and mother and love you neighbor 
  • The young ruler responds …
  • Mark 10:20 (Esv) And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth. ( Matthew – What do I still lack)
  • And here comes the last and costly challenge
  • (Vs 21 Esv)”Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
  • How we approach Jesus matters: He sees our hearts, our intentions
  • My question for all of us is, how are we approaching Jesus?
  • Are we coming to him as a beggar- we have tried on our own, we are tired of living our lives in the dark, drawn by the enemy is all sides, used and abused and the sound of redemption is enough for us to cry out “ Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 
  • Or are we approaching Jesus thinking that our approach with perfect words, our positions, our deeds, and the outside appearance will grant us access to Jesus?
  • Luke 18 – Pharisee  (I am not like the other men, I fast twice a week, I give tithe) and Tax collector – ( He couldn’t lift his eyes to heaven, he beat his chest and prayed” Lord be merciful to me – a sinner)
  • Vs 21: Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, 
  • Are we coming to him wanting to be perfect or wanting His will to be PERFECT is our lives?
  • Remember Jesus challenge to him “No one is good ( Perfect)  but One, that is, God”
  • This statement implies that we can only be PERFECT if we are in totally and completely surrendered to Christ Jesus
  • Romans 12:1-2 (Nkjv)  I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [b]reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
  • Why didn’t the young man stay with Jesus?
  • Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
  • Jesus looking at him, loved him – then said to him “ One thing you lack
  • I see you my brother and sister…running to Jesus, desiring to hear His voice, worshipping Him with everything we have like we did today
  • I hear you saying “Good teacher, what do I do to know you even more, to spend eternity with you?
  • And I hear Jesus responding:  you have done well my child on all these thing “But this one thing you lack?”
    • Jesus did not say, these things are keeping you from heaven
    • He said, this one thing you “lack” – The man has power and money- yet Jesus tells him, he lacks …
    • Folks, those things that you are holding on to are a snare to you submitting fully to Christ
  • The scripture says “He went home sorrowful, he still had everything, but he still lacked the most precious thing – TO BE WITH JESUS          
  • Today, what’s keeping you from Jesus? – Bring it to Jesus today, no one needs to know – Just you and God
    • Is it Jealousy, you possession, my career, my ambition
    • Unforgiving Spirit, pride, fear
    • Is it unclean eyes or mind? Is it …….
    • Say to God, I want to be free today, Lord, I want freedom, I want to be free
  • As we close, all I hear is Pastor Matt voice in my head “Leave my people  on the up and up”
  • That easy – Here is it:
    • (Vs 21) Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him
    • Before Jesus could challenge him;  to give up what was keeping him from Christ, the Bible says that Jesus looked at him and loved Him
    • John 3:16-17 (Nkjv) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved
  • Jesus did not condemn this young man, but he loved him enough to die for him and others like him
  • Right now, Jesus is saying, I am looking at you with Love, I have always looked at you this way, I loved you before you loved me, I am not here to condemn you
  • Let’s just deal with this issue right now, while there is time…I will help you through it
  • Let Jesus minister to you heart and help you with that thing today – That one thing that you lack!

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