Four Barriers to Knowing God

Luke 18.18

Christ’s encounter with a rich young ruler shows four reasons why this man – along with most other people – are unable to find God in a personal way. If these misunderstandings are resolved, He may be sought and known.

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

And our subject is very simply ‘four barriers to knowing God.’ Four barriers presented to us in this encounter of the Lord with a rich young ruler. Well, it’s a very familiar passage to Bible readers. A rich young ruler. Young, of course, would mean in those days anything up to 40. Imagine somebody roughly in his 30s. Young, certainly, for a ruler, but very conspicuously rich.

As we look at the whole passage and the illustration that the Lord uses concerning a camel going through the eye of a needle, it is evident that this man was a singularly prominently rich young man. He’s no doubt, as a ruler, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin Council, the Council of 70, or a regional ruler, but most of those were on that council. So for all his young years, he is a ruler among the Jewish people. But he’s unusually modest. Many of those people are characterized, according to record of the New Testament, by great pride and self-righteousness. But this man is quite unusual in many ways. He’s unusually ready to take advice. And from the Lord Jesus Christ, who was despised by so many of his fellow councillors, if he was a member of that august council. Well, Mark’s Gospel even records that for this interview, for this encounter, he ran and he kneeled. And the dignified and the ruling classes never ran in public, let alone kneel to someone else. But he did.

So you might expect that this man, among all people, would become a believer in Christ. Why, it used to be said, you don’t hear this so much these days, but it used to be said 20, 30 years ago, oh, well, who are Christian believers? They are mostly people who you could predict would become Christian believers. The implication being that there’s something inadequate about Christian believers. And you can tell the people who are going to be keen on trusting in God, or trusting in Christ, somehow or other. But of course, that’s nonsense. It’s all personality types and characters down the centuries who come to Jesus Christ. But here’s a case in point.

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