Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleOne Thing
Bible TextPsalm 27:4
Synopsis Throughout scripture we find that for every sinner God saves, from beginning to end, there is one thing they need, one thing they are made to desire, one thing they are made to seek after—this one thing is Salvation—Christ Jesus the Lord! Listen.
Series Psalms 2011
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: One Thing (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: One Thing (128 kbps)
Length 47 min.

Series: Psalms

Title: One Thing
Text: Ps 27: 4

Date: May 18, 2017

Place: SGBC, New Jersey


If you could have “one thing” right now, what would it be? What is the first thought out of your heart? Here is the “One Thing” David desired:


Psalm 27: 4: One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, [the delight of the LORD, to know Christ and be found in Christ] and to enquire in his temple. [to learn from Christ more about Christ]


The Psalmist desired to dwell in Christ, to delight in Christ and to be found in Christ.  He desired to enquire—to learn from Christ more about Christ.


Almost every faithful pastor I know has preached on this subject: “One Thing.” They have gone through scripture to show what this one thing is. I intend to do the same.


Proposition: Throughout scripture we find that for every sinner God saves, from beginning to end, there is one thing they need, one thing they are made to desire, one thing they are made to seek after—this one thing is Salvation—Christ Jesus the Lord!




When God begins a work of grace in our hearts, Christ teaches us that we lack this one thing—Mark 10: 17: And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, [zealous] and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18: And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. [Christ knew this man did not believe him to be God. Christ knew this man did not believe there is none good but God.  Christ knew this man thought himself good.  So Christ answered,] 19: Thou knowest the commandments, [if you want to be saved by your works then you must keep the law in perfect righteousness in thought, word and deed] Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20: And he answered and said unto him, Master, [he left off the good] all these have I observed from my youth. [sin had deceived this man into thinking he had kept the law of God] 21: Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: [the one thing he lacked was having Christ as his only righteousness. To teach him that he was not righteous, Christ said] go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22: And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.


Every true believer here was once like this rich, young, ruler: we thought we were good, thought we had kept the law from our youth up. Then Christ spoke into our hearts and said, “One thing thou lackest. Sell all you have and give it to the poor and follow me—then you shall have all riches in me!” (Mk 10: 21)


Christ made us see we were covetous. We coveted our possessions but chiefly we coveted the glory that belongs to Christ for being the righteousness of God, the one law-keeper for his people.  Christ brought us to behold the one thing we were lacking was Christ the Righteousness of God!  Lacking Christ we were lacking All because Christ is All!


Does anyone here think you are as good as God, as righteous as God, have you fulfilled the righteousness of the law or that your law-keeping is necessary to be made righteous and holy?  If you so, one thing thou lackest.  Go sell all that you have and give it to the poor and follow Christ alone! You will find that you are covetous.  And breaking one law is breaking every law. We need Christ, the Righteousness of God—we need Christ to be our only Righteousness.


Let go of your righteousness and lay hold of Christ through faith and his righteousness shall be yours. Be like the publican who smote upon his breast and said, “Lord have mercy on me the sinner.” Christ said, “he went home justified.”




When God makes us behold we lack this one thing then God makes us desire and seek this one thing—Mark 5: 25: And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26: And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,


Do you know that you and I have an issue of blood? My son has an issue of blood. He got it from his daddy, he from his, on back to Adam. And there is no cure except this one thing!


Mark 5: 27: When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28: For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. [She desired one thing so she sought one thing, Christ the Great Physician] 29: And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30: And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? [he knew] 31: And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? [they didn’t know. We do not know who God has given life and made holy and made to believe. We dare not give someone a false hope.] 32: And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. [he knew, he looked right at her] 33: But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, [Christ knew and she knew, the fruit] came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. [she came worshipping, with a contrite heart, confessing she could not heal herself nor could anyone else heal her, she confessed Christ and Christ alone had healed her] 34: And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.


Does anyone here know that you have this incurable issue of blood called sin—a sin-nature that only Christ can make new by the incorruptible seed? One thing you need—Christ the Great Physician.


Has he given you a heart and faith to desire this one thing, to seek this one thing, as did this woman? If so, seek him as fervently as she did—casting all your care on Christ, trusting him alone to make you whole, Christ shall make you whole! If you can, Christ has!


And publicly confess Christ is all your salvation like she did! He that believeth shall not be ashamed! Do you think she was ashamed to tell that crowd of folks that none could heal her but Christ alone?




But preacher how much do I have to know?  Do I have to know a certain degree of doctrine? No sir, there is but one thing you must know—Christ!  After Christ gave sight to the man blind from birth—John 9: 18: But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19: And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20: His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22: These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. [they feared man rather than Christ, that is the case with all naturally religious men] 23: Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. 24: Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25: He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. [He knew Christ alone had made him see. This was the one thing he knew, Christ alone. Like the woman with the issue of blood, she knew Christ had healed her. They both knew Christ.] 26: Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27: He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? [He really did not know how Christ has made him see! He only knew Christ did it!] 28: Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29: We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30: The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. [One thing he knew was that Christ had done something marvelous for him which Christ had not done for these know-it-all religious men—we only truly know the doctrine of distinguishing, particular grace or any other doctrine when we know this one thing, Christ.] 31: Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. [He knew Christ was not a sinner because God heard him. He knew Christ was a worshipper of God and did God’s will because he knew God heard Christ. Again, how did he know this doctrine?] 32: Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33: If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. [He knew because he knew Christ alone had opened his eyes. He knew Christ was of God, the Son of God come down in the flesh. He knew this one thing, Christ! ] 34: They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. 35: Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? [Christ knew he did, Christ gave him the faith to believe on him. But this man’s heart is contrite.  He does not boast in his knowledge like those religious men did.] 36: He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37: And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. [this man saw and heard one thing—Christ] 38  And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. [he was taught one thing, given eyes to see one thing, ears to hear one thing, faith to believe one thing and so he worshipped that one thing, Christ. But here is a warning to those who think we arrive at Christ by our learning a certain amount of doctrine.] 39: And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40: And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41: Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. [Christ came to save the ignorant who he makes to behold him alone and Christ came to blind proud, know-it-alls that boast in their knowledge.]


Do any here think you need to know more than Christ? Anything put between you and Christ will damn you!  One thing you need to know, Christ himself! If Christ gives you eyes to see and makes you know him then you will understand what I mean! Then doctrine will be concerning Christ rather than a system.




What about our service to the Lord?  One thing is needful before, during and after we serve—Luke 10: 38: Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39: And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40: But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [have you ever been where Martha was?  I have.  What’s the problem? The problem is not with serving.  Here is the problem] 41: And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.


Every believer should have the spirit Martha had in that she received the Lord and her brethren into her house. That is a good thing.


Hebrews 13: 2: Be not to forgetful to entertain strangers [visitors]: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.


The Lord did not rebuke Marth for desiring to serve him. We should serve the Lord and believers do. We serve him by making sure our doctrine is scriptural, our message full of truth; by coming to hear the gospel every service; by serving one another; by keeping up a nice building; by hosting a conference: we feed and shelter our visitors the very best we can.  We serve Christ by filling these pews by inviting others to come; by sending the gospel out here and abroad. We serve many other ways.


But as we serve the Lord every true believer is easily prone to become cumbered, careful and troubled about many things.  We can become so careful about our doctrine that we forget the one thing needful.  We can come to hear the gospel every service and focus on the mechanics of worship and forget the one thing needful. We can do all these other things but forget the one thing needful.


When we forget the one thing needful we blame others and exalt self—“Lord, dost thou not care?”…“that my sister hath left me to serve alone?” And when we forget the one thing needful we become proud and presumptuous and bossy—“Lord…bid her therefore that she help me.”  Forgetting this one thing makes us treat our brethren as a legalist would.


While we worship or serve or whatever we do, the important thing to remember is what our Lord says here, “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Where was she? “Mary,…sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.”  Christ is the one thing needful. So whatever we are doing, as we do so, chose to sit at Christ’s feet and hear his word.


1 Corinthians 10:31: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.


Colossians 3:17: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.


Colossians 3:23: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;


We do not serve for serving sake. One day all these things shall be taken from us but not Christ! So “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”


After Christ spoke so tenderly and turned Martha to himself and forgave her—don’t you reckon that everything she did the rest of that day was heartily to him alone, thanking God for his mercy and grace and forgiveness in Christ’s name, no longer seeking her own glory but God’s glory alone!


Nothing makes us serve Christ, for Christ, constrained by Christ, except Christ!  In the face of our sins, His tender compassion toward sinners who he bought with his own blood, makes us know he is the one thing neeedful which shall shall never be taken from us. When our heart is seated at his feet, hearing his word while we are serving then we are serving him a right! Above all else, Christ is the one thing needful which shall not be taken from us. I was once the last face a rich man looked into. I saw him take his last breath. He had millions. But with that one breath it was all taken away. Above all else, Christ is the one thing needful which shall not be taken from us.




What about our growth in grace? One thing I do—Philippians 3: 8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, [that which is of Christ himself] the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11: If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, [Christ the forerunner, to receive from him understanding and growth up into Christ] if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  13: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [One thing I do, I forget everything behind and reach forth for the prize of God in Christ Jesus—I run the race looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of my faith—to meet God in Christ Jesus.


Christ is the one thing--"the mark” toward whom we press!  Christ is all the thoughts, purposes, and counsel of God, to which they all aim, Christ is the mark God makes us desire and seek after until the end.


Christ is the Covenant of grace as well as the Mediator, Surety, and Messenger, in whom are all the blessings and promises of it.


Christ is the Truth of the Scriptures which all testify of him—the end of the law and the substance of the Gospel.


All the graces of the Spirit, in the hearts of his people, make us look to Christ alone in faith, hope and love with Christ as the object.


So we run this race looking only to Christ.


Everyone he calls says with David, “One [thing] have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”


Notice, this was more than a desire for David.  He said, “This will I seek after.” In all of these scriptures, believers not only desired but sought after Christ.


May God make you seek Christ now, confess Christ publicly and seek only Christ to the end. Without Christ we have nothing, with Christ we have All!