“What’s in it for me?”

“WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?”  (Matthew 19:16ff)


Rev. Jeremy Stopford, Retired Pastor

INTRODUCTION    Today’s Special:  “Language Funny”

A Swiss man, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting.
“Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?” he asks.
The two Americans just stare at him.
“Excusez-moi, parlez vous Fracais?” he tries.
The two continue to stare.
“Parlare Italiano?”
No response.
“Hablan ustedes Espanol?”
Still nothing.
The Swiss guy drives off, extremely disgusted. The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.”
“Why?” says the other. “That guy knew four languages, and it didn’t do him any good.

What does it mean to follow Jesus? 

Matthew left all.  The blind men obeyed what they heard.  The disciples were encouraged to surrender the driver’s seat of their lives to Jesus alone.

Today, again, a familiar passage.  Here we find a successful businessman needing to apply God’s Word to his life.  Two times the listening disciples are confronted with the word “follow”.  Did you catch them both?   PRAYER

Scripture: Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, 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.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.


> Is Jesus your good God?

Compare these 2 passages:

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

(Romans 3:23)

“ For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

(2 Cor. 5:21)

Hey who declares all to be sinners is the same One Who gave Himself for our sins on Calvary’s Tree. He gives us a new position in Christ – we have become His righteousness. We can’t earn it; we certainly don’t deserve it. But it is who we are “in Him” because HE alone is…good!


     (with respect to George Washington and his Farewell Address! President Washington warned his fellow Americans to beware all “entangling alliances” – that is, the United States could not afford to spend all its military might protecting all the world while at the same time causing our own nation to fall into poverty at the world’s expense.)

> Is Jesus your only treasure?

Compare the god of morality vs. following the exclusive God

Did you own treasures, or do the treasures own you?

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

(Colossians 3:1-3)


> Is Jesus your only reward?

a. God specializes in the impossible, vs. 23-26

Illustration #1:  the camel and the needle:  There are many interpretations of this passage.  BUT look at the practical picture.  A HUGE camel, a small needle.  And just as it is impossible for a camel to go into the eye of a needle, so salvation, too, is an impossibility without the intervention of the Spirit of God in the heart of man.

Illustration #2:  the changing of Arlene’s heart!  Arlene was a school crossing guard, and Jude was a jogger who is a Christian.  She would daily jog by Arlene and got burdened for her.  She started given Arlene tracts, messages about faith in Jesus.  Arlene said, “these are nice stories.”  But one day many months later, Arlene said to Jude, “I’ve received Jesus as my Savior!”.  Arlene is Home with Jesus today because God does the impossible – changes hearts!  Can you visualize God changing your loved ones, friends, and neighbors’ hearts?  Can He change your heart?

b. God rewards the steady follower, vs. 27-28

Peter’s inquiry in light of Jesus’ heart:  “what’s in it for me?”

Illustration #3: Years ago Larry Burkett with his partners went through the entire Bible looking for verses exclusively on finances. They found over…TWO THOUSAND of them! This verse was one of their favorites, and in turn has been used for decades to be a foundation for not only my finances but also my life. It would be good for you, too!

“Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.”

(Proverbs 21:5, The Living Bible)


And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or…” (v. 29a)

“Has left” gives the meaning, the intent of “given up”. In our Savior’s statement it means in its simplicity, “= “yielded Lordship”! Have you left all to follow Jesus?

Final Illustration:   The “John 3:16 Discount”  A garage owner in Dallas is offering a $15 discount on oil changes if when you bring your car in you quote “John 3:16”.  The owner justifies that discount by saying, “Jesus is my Lord.  I have given up ownership of this business to Him.”

Philippians 2:5-8 takes us to the cross!  Our Savior gave up the independent exercise of His attributes of deity in order to become a man and give Himself for our sins at the cross!

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

If He would do that for me, why can’t I give up my all for Him and FOLLOW HIM?