He Went Away Sorrowful

He Went Away Sorrowful
July 4, 2021
Passage: Matthew 19:16-22
Service Type:
Due to technical difficulties the audio version of this sermon is unavailable. The sermon was adapted from an outline in the book "Sermons You Can Preach" by Leroy Brownlow (Brownlow Publications, 1958) and reprinted here by permission. We are sharing the presentation slides at the end of sermon outline which you can download to your computer..

Turn in your Bibles to 

  • Matthew 19:16-22

Sorrowful means he was burdened with grief. He went away with grief, weighed down and full of sorrow.

Coming to Jesus Brings JoyMatthew chapter 19, you meet a young man who was desperate for eternal life, but went away sorrowful.

  • Acts 8:35-29
  • Acts 16:31-34

We see great rejoicing in both the Ethiopian and the jailer who came to Christ. Coming to Christ, to God, brings great joy. We talked about there being great joy over one who comes to salvation.

It releases the burden and great joy is present as the burden of sin is relieved. Going away from Christ brings sorrow.

The Rich Young Ruler Went Away Sorrowful

As we go through the lesson we will take an acrostic view for each letter in the word sorrowful.


He was told not to sin. But, his problem was that he had an idol in his heart.

  • Colossians 3:5

He had an idol in his heart putting wealth over his obedience to God. It was full of covetousness, or greed.

  • Exodus 20:3

Sin is the transgression of the law.

  • 1 John 4:17

This is the sin of omission because he was unwilling to give himself fully to God. For that reason, he was a sinful man.


He had opinions that were different than the Lord's. He felt he had done all the outward things of the law. But, his opinion was wrong.

The Christian life is a life of faith.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:7
  • Galatians 2:20

We walk by faith, we live by faith. And our faith is based upon the Word of God.

  • Romans 10:17

Man's opinion pales in comparison to the Word of God.


To be rash is to behave without thinking, to behave quickly without thought. If he had weighed the matter in his mind he may not have been so rash.

  • Mark 8:36-37

Can we trade anything, that may be more valuable than our soul? Certainly not.

When he walked away from the savior he walked away from salvation.

  • Matthew 1:21
  • John 5:40
  • John 8:12
  • Matthew 13:45-46

Those who will not follow Jesus walk in darkness, away from the light, and walk with the world in darkness.

This man had great possessions, yet was unwilling to give it up for the greatest value, the kingdom of Heaven like the pearl of great price. We ought to be willing to give up everything to gain the Kingdom.


  • 1 Samuel 15:22-23

The rebellious spirit that prompts man to reject the Lord's authority in one command causes them to not obey all of His commandments. If you agree with all but one and choose to not obey the one, you might as well obey not any.

  • Jeremiah 10:23
  • Hebrews 5:8-9

We must not be rebellious in not obeying God. He was told what to do, give up all that he had and follow Christ, and he would not do it.


Opulence... means great wealth that is spent on many things of great opulence. Happiness comes from within, it does not come from possessions or wealth.

  • Luke 12:15

Wealth is a means to an end and should be a servant rather than a master.

  • Matthew 27:57-60

Joseph, of Arimathea, used his wealth and position to honor the body of Christ.

  • 1 Timothy 6:17-18

The things of this world are unsteady, uncertain. He was an opulent man, and they had possession of him rather than having control of his possessions.


Man has a will of his own. God gives us free will. He asks us to submit to us, but He doesn't force us. We can choose.

  • Joshua 24:15

Joshua calls upon the nation of Israel to make a choice. This young man also had a choice. He knew what Christ asked him to do.

  • Matthew 23:37
  • John 12:42
  • Acts 13:46

He was a willful man, who willfully turned away from Christ.


Have you ever been caught between two decisions and can't decide which one you want?

  • Matthew 6:24
  • Matthew 6:33

This man wanted to follow Jesus, yet was caught in the middle between obeying and keeping what he wanted. This was a frustrated man caught in the middle of a decision. He turned away from the Lord and was unrepentant.


He had a worldly sorrow. He knew he needed to do something. He was told what to do and did not do it.

  • Matthew 3:8
  • Luke 13:3
  • Acts 17:30

We must show works worthy of repentance. God commands all men, everywhere to repent. We have to repent. He did not, he was unrepentant. As a result, he was lost.


How sad... this man was a good man, who kept the law, but he was lost. He rejected Jesus.

  • John 14:6
  • John 6:68
  • The lost person has no hope, no savior, no Christ no hope.

This young man was very close, yet refused to take the last step.

The Sorrow of Sin

Today, we have the same choice as this young man. We aren't called to sell everything, like this young man, and literally, follow Jesus. He was unwilling to give up his idol.

He calls on us to give our idols up. Anything that comes between us and God is effectually an idol. He calls on us to give our idols up, to repent, and follow Him.

He asks us to give our entire hearts to Him and serve and follow God. We can't take things with us, let us not let worldly things hinder us from eternal salvation.

He tells us that the joy of Heaven will be more rapturous than anything the mortal mind can know. Heaven is worth it all. To miss heaven would be to go away sorrowful to eternity.

If you are like this young man, faced with the choice to obey Christ and follow Him, we aren't promised tomorrow, now is the time to put on Christ in baptism and walk faithfully following Him.

If you find that you are feeling sorrowful and wish to find joy in Jesus please contact us. 

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