When the humble shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem were astonished by the shining of the glory of the Lord round about them, as they watched their flocks by night, their fears were quieted by the voice of the angel of the Lord, who said, “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2.10,11. The words, “good tidings,” are from the one Greek word which elsewhere is rendered “Gospel;” so that we might properly read the message of the angel thus: “Behold, I bring you the Gospel of great joy, which shall be to all people.” In that announcement to the shepherds we learn several important things. 1. That the Gospel is a message that brings joy. “The kingdom of God is . . . righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Christ is anointed “with the oil of gladness,” and He gives “the oil of joy for mourning.” 2. It is a message of salvation from sin. For before this time the same angels had foretold to Joseph the birth of this infant, and had said, “Thou shall call his name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1.21. 3. It is something which concerns everybody, —“which shall be to all people.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3.16. This is assurance enough for everybody.
“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And He said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He saith unto him, ‘Which?’ Jesus said, ‘Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honour thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The young man saith unto Him, ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:16-22 KJV.
This rich young man did not have the love for others that he should have had. He claimed that he was keeping all of God’s commandments, but Jesus plainly stated that we need to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves,’ in Matthew 22:39, and in Mark 12:31, which includes helping the poor. And Moses revealed this truth that we are to help the poor too: “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NKJV. If this young man had been willing to give to the poor, and to follow Jesus, this would have proved to be the remedy for his soul! If he would have had God’s Spirit in his heart or wanted to have God’s Spirit in his heart, he would have willingly done this. After thinking about it, he went away sorrowful, because it wasn’t worth it to him to give up all of his possessions to love his neighbor as himself
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