Introduction: Have you ever thought of applying for a position and
then asked yourself, “What does this position require?” If you want
to be a Christian, if you want to serve God, what does that require
of you? What does God ask of those who want to follow Him?
Obedience? Loyalty? Let’s jump into our lesson and find out what the
Bible says on that subject!
- First Commandment
- Read Exodus 20:2-3. What is the first commandment that God
gave to us?
- On what was that commandment premised? (That God had
just brought them out of slavery in Egypt.)
- Are the Ten Commandments something a Christian should
- If you answered, “yes,” what does the first
commandment have to do with us today? Anything?
You and I were never in slavery in Egypt.
(Consider the audience. God had just shown His
superiority to the gods of the strongest nation
on earth – Egypt. God was giving His people a
point of reference for His claims. He saved them
over the objections of these other gods,
therefore He is superior. Today God continues to
make the same claim – that He is all powerful
and can release each one of us who choose Him
from the slavery of sin and death.)
- While Moses was up on the mountain getting the Ten
Commandments from God, which contained the First
Commandment we just discussed, what were the people saying
down at the bottom of the mountain? (Read Exodus 32:1.
They were looking for “gods who will go before us.”)
- What did they do as a result of that desire? (Read
Exodus 32:2-4. They made a golden calf to which they
gave the credit for saving them from slavery in
- Why do you think God made the “no other gods before Me”
requirement the First Commandment? (This is a great irony.
God demanded their loyalty at the same time they were
- How do you account for the decision of the people to
worship something they had made with their hands out
of their own jewelry? Put yourself in their place.
What were they thinking?
- What is your reaction to their thinking?
- As you consider the logic of the people, what do you
consider to be their greatest logical flaw? (They
forgot or ignored the fact that God, not some calf
they made, had just rescued them from slavery. Moses
absence allowed them to discount what God had done
for them in the past.)
- Do they seem forgetful, stupid, disloyal or all
- How do we act when we think that God is not
currently helping us? What do we think when He
seems to be “gone” from our lives?
- Read Exodus 32:8-9. What is God’s analysis of the people?
(They have been quick to turn away from Him because they
- What do you think “stiff-necked” means? (The
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says it
means “stubborn.” The illusion is to a yoke for oxen
who do not cooperate. These people are “like
rebellious oxen … [who] turned quickly from the
- What did these people have to be stubborn about? Why
not be loyal to the true God, the God who just saved
them? (There is something within us that does not
want to trust God. We prefer to take matters into our
- First Obligation
- Read Matthew 19:16. What does this man want? (Eternal
life. He wants to know the answer to the questions I asked
in the introduction to our lesson – what does he need to
do to serve God.)
- Do you agree with the premise of his question, that
there is some good thing that can be done to enter
- Read Matthew 19:17-19. What do you think about Jesus’
answer? Is this what you would have expected?
- What is significant about the commandments that Jesus
lists? (They are in the group that concern our
obligations to others – not our obligations to God.)
- Read Matthew 19:20. If the young man had done what Jesus
said was necessary, why would he think he was still
lacking something? (At the end of the day, relying on our
works alone leaves a void in our soul.)
- Read Matthew 19:21-22. Is what Jesus said part of the Ten
- If you say, “yes,” is this a commandment that applies
- We started off with the story of God’s people turning
away from Him and turning to a golden calf just after
God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt. No doubt
you said, “What stupid, disloyal people. I would
never do that!” Now we turn to this rich young man
and the loyalty test placed on him. Is this still an
easy, obvious decision in your opinion?
- What was Jesus really asking of this rich young man?
Was Jesus continuing with the point of helping others
— give away money to help others? (I don’t think so.
I think Jesus has now turned to that part of the Ten
Commandments that deal with our relationship to God.
The young man trusted in his money. Jesus is telling
him that he must now trust in God.)
- Read Matthew 19:23-24. Why is it so hard for a rich man to
enter heaven? (Because a rich man is inclined to trust his
money – what he has made with his own hands, instead of
- What parallel do you see between the “rich man” and
God’s people who were making and worshiping the calf
while Moses was on the mountain with God? (It is the
same thing – trusting in what you have made with your
hands, rather than trusting God.)
- Read Matthew 19:25-27. Had the disciples done what was
asked of the rich young man? (Peter says that he “left”
his stuff. However, John 21:1-3 suggests that Peter did
not sell his stuff – he still had his boat. John, another
disciple, apparently did not sell his home. See John
- Why should this rich young man be asked to do things
that were not asked of the disciples? (The New Bible
Commentary quotes R.H. Gundry as saying “That Jesus
did not command His followers to sell all their
possessions gives comfort only to the kind of people
to whom He would issue that command.” Ouch!)
- First Decision
- Read Matthew 6:24. In the United States we have
Republicans, Democrats and Independents – those who claim
to vote for Republicans sometimes and Democrats sometimes.
Why is Jesus’ statement true? Can’t we be “independents”
when it comes to God and money?
- What do you think it means to “serve money?”
- Let’s go back to our rich young man a minute. Does
the Bible anywhere say that if we sell everything we
have and give it to the poor we have salvation? (No,
unless the story of the rich young ruler is read that
- Read Romans 3:20. By giving the rich young ruler
the “sell” command, what was Jesus doing?
(Keeping God’s commandments does not save us. It
merely reveals our sins to us. Jesus asked the
young man to do something he would not agree to
- What does Matthew 6:24 teach us about why Jesus
gave the “sell” order to the rich young ruler?
(Like the point made in Romans 3:20, Jesus was
revealing to this young man the nature of his
sin. Selling his stuff would not save him.
However, his sin was trusting his stuff instead
of trusting God. If he truly trusted and served
God, instead of money, he would not have had a
problem with selling his stuff.)
- Friend, how about you? Are you loyal to God or do you
think you an independent? Are you loyal to what you have
made with your hands? Loyal to what you can do in your own
power? Loyal to your money and possessions? God calls on
us to give Him our loyalty.
- Next week: Reverence