WORTHY OF THE KINGDOM

by Thomas W. Finley


Chapter Ten

"FOR MY SAKE"

Our final look at the story of the rich young ruler concerns Jesus’ words to His disciples about leaving all to follow Him. After the young ruler went away sorrowful and Jesus spoke of the difficulty of entering the Kingdom of God, Peter queried: "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us" (Matt. 19:27)? Jesus answered his question, telling him about sitting on the twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Then, as we have already studied and seen, Jesus expanded His answer to address all disciples who would follow Him, explaining that they would receive multiplied houses, brothers, sisters, etc., in this age and, in the coming age, eternal life. In His response to His disciples, Jesus gave some definite reasons, the real motivations, that should spur us to leave all in order to follow Him. The four motivations that He gave can be seen in italics in these quotes from the synoptic Gospels:

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life" (Matt. 19:29).

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, 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" (Mk. 10:29-30).

And He said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life" (Lk. 18:29-30).

Let us look at these four motivations that Jesus gave us.

FOR MY SAKE

I feel this is the most precious of the four motivations. Why should we "leave" all the comforts and enjoyments of this age in order to follow Him? Simply for His sake. We would do it simply because we love Him and want to please Him. If we have a heart loving Him above all else, we will want to make Him happy. Our faithfulness to Him will be more important to us than any earthly love or allegiance. This motivation is very personal. It involves our personal relationship with Christ. What we do, we are doing to Him and for Him alone. The real seekers of the Lord will be willing to leave all simply for His sake.

FOR MY NAME’S SAKE

This motivation concerns the testimony of Christ to others. We leave all to follow Him so that His Name, the Name of Jesus, might be declared to others.

In His prayer to the Father, the Lord Jesus stated, "I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world" (Jn. 17:6). We also should glorify and exalt that Name in our living. Paul prayed for the believers in Thessalonica that "the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you" (2 Thess. 1:12). The thought here seems to be that the Name has something to do with the expression of the character and virtue of Christ being manifested through the life of the believer. How we live reflects upon the Name of our Lord Jesus with whom we are identified.

The Name of Jesus is above every name (Phil. 2:9). Therefore, that Name should be magnified (Acts 19:17), as a testimony to all men. We should walk in the way of righteousness for His Name’s sake (Ps. 23:3). We should be willing to leave all, going out to labor for Him for the sake of His Name being declared and known (3 Jn. 7). Finally, we should even be willing to die for that Name (Matt. 10:21-22, 32; Acts 21:13).

If we are not willing to forsake pleasing ourselves in this age in order to follow Him, then how will His Name be known?

FOR THE GOSPEL’S SAKE

We should "leave all" to follow Him so that the gospel may be brought to others. The apostle Paul was so burdened for men to be saved that he became "all things to all men, that I may by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22). Further, he then declared, "and I do all things for the sake of the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:23). It is the gospel that "is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16, KJV). Therefore, men are saved through the declaration of the gospel.

For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things" (Rom. 10:13-15).

Do not think that these verses apply just to evangelists. All of Christ’s disciples are to go forth with His gospel (Matt. 28:18-20; Lk. 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 8:4).

FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Although this reason for leaving all might mean that we do so in order to gain participation in the coming Kingdom, I am inclined to take a different interpretation. All three of the other reasons for leaving all to follow Jesus involve something done for His sake alone, not for our sake. In this fourth case, a believer is motivated to leave everything in order to benefit the Lord's Kingdom on the earth. Like the other three cases, the life of the Lord has so infused the believer's life that he or she is motivated to sacrifice much, even all, in order to benefit Him and His plan for mankind.

CONCLUSION

We need to see the value of the four things that are the essence of the motivations. These four things are Christ Himself, His Name, His gospel, and His Kingdom. How precious these four things are! The problem with the rich young ruler was that he did not see the value of these things. Thus, he preferred to keep his material possessions instead. The Lord also promised to reward him with eternal life in the Kingdom if he would leave all, but this too seemed less valuable to him than the enjoyment of the things of this life.

Thank God that some dear saints over the centuries have left all to follow Him. They did this for the benefit of God. Some may have also seen something concerning reward for faithfulness. Yet, I do believe that there will be saints in the Kingdom who had very little, if any, knowledge of conditional participation in the coming Kingdom. They will be there not because of their knowledge of the Kingdom or lack of it. They will be there because of their devotion to Christ: they will have followed Him for His sake, for His Name’s sake, for the gospel’s sake, or for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

God has written much in His Word concerning the coming Kingdom. He also wants the reward of the Kingdom to motivate us. It is for this reason that this book has been written, dear brother or sister--that you may see the Kingdom, pursue the Kingdom, and be counted “worthy of the kingdom” (2 Thess. 1:5)

Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)