A Modern Parable about Soul-Winning Based on the Rich, Young Ruler
The rich young ruler has been studied for centuries. People of every age need to be reminded about the dangers of putting anything before God. Riches and possessions can have a spiritual strangle hold on the soul that will prevent one from entering heaven. However, in today's world with the prevalence of divorce and remarriage there are many souls who, in God's sight, are living in adultery. Such information is usually a shocking revelation to the ones who find themselves in such a condition since they obeyed the laws of the land, got a marriage license, and went through the proper ceremony to be married. Yet, they failed to consider God's law regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage [for a detailed study of this topic, please refer to our feature lessons from 05/14/05 and 05/21/05 - SRB]. So, read the following parable which is based on the three accounts of the rich young ruler and see how it applies to today:
One day a certain unscripturally married man was having a Bible study with the preacher when he asked, "Preacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?" The evangelist replied, "You know the commandments. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother. Do not covet." The young man said, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Then the man of God looking at him, loved him, and said, "One thing you lack. If you want to be perfect go your way and forsake the woman with whom you are living for it is not lawful for you to have her (cf. Matt. 14:4). For the Lord said - 'Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery' (Matt. 19:9). Young man, you must come, take up your cross, and follow Jesus." Now when the young man heard that saying he was very sorrowful for he had a beautiful wife and children.
Granted, the hypothetical preacher said nothing about being baptized for the remission of sins. However, unless a man is willing to repent, baptism will only get him wet (cf. Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38). When we are studying the Scriptures with a person who reveals that he or she has been married before, it is wise to bring up the issue of the Lord's will regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage since marriage is one of the most intimate relationships a person can enter. Far too often when a person learns he is in a "marriage" (as man recognizes it) that is contrary to God's will, he refuses to forsake his partner. Truly, some even get violently upset at the teacher. Others simply try to justify staying together--especially when children have resulted from the adulterous union.
Let's continue the examination of the parable where we left off (cf. Matt. 19:23ff):
The Bible teacher then said to the man, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for an unscripturally married person to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for such a person to enter the kingdom of God." When the man heard it, he was greatly astonished saying, "Who then can be saved?" The preacher reminded the man that "there are people who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake" (cf. Matt. 19:12). He continued - "And everyone who has left...wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and inherit eternal life" (Matt. 19:29).
What about you, friends? Are you putting anything or anyone before your relationship with God? Do you love money or your mate more than the Lord? He who loves wife or husband more than Jesus is not worthy of Him (cf. Matt. 10:37).