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ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD
A SERMON DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
12 OCTOBER 1997
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 John 4:l8
Revelation 6:6; 7:2-3, 9:4
To say, "All things are possible with God", is very profound, for it strongly implies that we are a part of the action God takes.
Or even more convictingly, certain things are not possible unless we allow God to work with us in accomplishing them.
Such a thing is our salvation.
Note carefully, that in our preparation verse for this morning, Mark 10:27, it does not say, all things are possible for God, which we should easily understand, for God can do anything.
But this passage says, "All things are possible with God", or in the KJV it says, "For with God all things are possible."
This is not God acting alone, but it is God acting with us.
This is the message of our Scripture lesson for this morning, Mark 10:17-34.
17. And as He [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
This man recognized Jesus as being from God, and thus a Good Teacher, but he didn't recognize Him as being God, and thus his Savior and Lord.
This man thinks the power of salvation rests in his own hands, for he says, "what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
So, Jesus tries to explain this to the man by using the title this man bestowed upon Him, "Good Teacher".
18. And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
Jesus wants this man to realize that salvation is not brought about by the acts of human beings acting on their own, but that it comes about by the grace of God.
Since this man saw Jesus also as a man, Jesus tries to turn his attention heavenward.
But Jesus also recognizes the struggle going on within this man, something he wants this man to also see.
19. "You know the commandments, 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother."'
20. And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up."
These things this man did by his own works, but there's much more to salvation than this.
21. And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
This man had a divided love. He loved God, which is why Jesus likewise felt a love for him; but this man also loved his possessions.
He hadn't yet come to the realization, that all possessions are a gift from God, and as such, they are here for our use, and to help others, for as long as God chooses.
But each of us must be willing to let go of everything at any time, for only in this way can we fully love God.
And since this man had a struggle with this, Jesus tells him he must sell them; not as an act of working his way into heaven, but as a way of freeing him to be able to see the kingdom of God, and thus enter in.
22. But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.
This man's love was divided.
He loved his possessions so much, that he could not fully love or trust God.
23. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!"
24. And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "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 a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Jesus said this because He knew that his disciples were also struggling with similar problems.
26. And they were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?"
Note that they are including themselves in this question.
They, like this man, are also fixated on the works of man, as the way of obtaining eternal life, and Jesus was punching holes in their balloon.
27. Looking upon them, Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
Jesus is trying to refocus their attention away from themselves and their own works, to God, so that they will realize that they are to be working with God in everything they seek to accomplish.
But they still don't fully understand.
28. Peter began to say to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You."
29. Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake,
30. but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
He is letting them know that they have done the right thing, but that their own actions are not what grants them eternal life; God must be a part of it.
31. "But many who are first, will be last; and the last, first."
Those in this world who try to work their way into heaven, may easily find themselves last, even though in this world, they look as if they are leaders.
Similarly, those who recognize their weaknesses and seek God for salvation above all other things, are really those who will be first.
And Jesus tries to explain to them again that this is why He came to earth; that He is the One who will pay for all their sins, and grant them eternal life, because of their faith in Him, and His soon to be completed work.
32. And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him,
33. saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles.
34. "And they will mock Him and spit upon Him, and scourge Him, and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again."
Remember that their fear is the result of their imperfect love, for perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
And perfect love only comes with fully committing ourselves to the Lord.
With all this in mind, let's go back and focus upon the expression of an impossibility, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
And at the same time focus upon the fact that Jesus tells us that all things are possible with God.
For that which seems impossible for man is possible with God.
The entering into heaven is more spiritual than it is physical, so we must look at things this way, and in so looking, Jesus gives us an example in Revelation when He tells us of the believers and non-believers during the Tribulation Period (6:6, 7:3, and 9:4).
6:6 And I heard as it were a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine."
"The oil and the wine" is a symbolic way of expressing the presence of the Holy Spirit, those who have the Holy Spirit are not to be harmed.
Note what we're told later.
Rev. 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,
Rev. 7:3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads."
These are the ones who have the Holy Spirit, the ones with the oil and the wine.
And again we are told the same thing.
Rev. 9:4 And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
This speaks of the wrath of God upon the unbeliever, and of protection and salvation for the believer, as well as for the whole of creation that has not been corrupted, spiritually.
Now, lets look at what it takes to thread a needle.
If we have fairly thick thread and a small needle it is quite difficult, if not nearly impossible, to thread the eye of the needle, that is, if the thread is dry.
But if we wet the end of the thread, it slides relatively easily through the eye of the needle.
That which seemed nearly impossible in the first attempt, now becomes quite easy.
The entrance into heaven is by the narrow path and gate, not unlike our example of the eye of the needle (Matthew 7:13-14).
The sins in our life, our indifference to the pain and suffering of others, both human and animals, and the harm we cause the environment, all make us look like were the size of a camel.
But through our repentance and our belief and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has a way of wetting us with His wine, and His anointing oil, so that we become as the thread entering the eye of the needle, and as we're pulled through, the sins are left behind.
The evidence of this is that we desire to sin no more, and we find ourselves caring for the whole of God's creation.
And we become filled with His unconditional love and compassion.
That which was impossible by a person, alone, now becomes possible with God.
We can make a positive difference in this world, and bring it peace.
For all things are possible with God.
Seek Him always!