Mark 9:33-35 ESV
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
God honors humility but he chastises pride. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow (obey) him (Lu. 9:23-25).
It isn’t about what we know. It is about what we do with what we know. We can have all sorts of head knowledge about God, and about his Word, but knowledge can puff up. We have to put the Word into practice. We have to do what it says. This is humility vs. pride.
It isn’t about how long we have been Christians, either, or what church affiliation we have, or what ministries we have been involved in. What matters to God is that we humble ourselves before him, turn away from our sins, and turn to follow him with our lives in obedience to his commands.
And, it isn’t about religious performance and rituals, either. We can go through all the motions of Christianity and have our hearts far from God, and be living to please our flesh. True humility submits to Jesus as the master of our lives, and it bows to his will and purposes, and it does not demand its own way.
Mark 9:36-37, 42 ESV
“And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me… Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.’”
Jesus used a child as a symbol of humility, simplicity, and childlike faith, i.e. the kind of faith we must have in order to be saved from our sins. This kind of faith takes God at his Word, trusts Him, and does what he says. For, this kind of faith is God-given and God-inspired, and thus it submits to God.
Children, in some cultures and/or in ancient history, were or are treated as though they are less, or as though they are just the property of the parents. Even when I was a child, in the 1950s and 1960s, I kept getting the message that “children are to be seen and not heard.”
Yet, in today’s culture here in America I sense that the pendulum has swung the other direction and that children are often being treated as though they are the masters and their parents are their servants.
But, the whole point of this, I believe, is that we should not regard anyone as inferior to us or as less valuable or less important. There is a line of authority which must be respected, and to which we must submit, but we should treat no other human being as though he or she is less while puffing ourselves up by stating that we are superior or greater. And, this includes children who should not regard themselves as superior to their parents.
The other point of this is that we should treat others the way we would treat Jesus Christ. Several places in scripture we are told that how we treat others is how we treat Jesus, especially with regard to how we treat his followers, i.e. his servants who with childlike faith are walking in obedience to him. So, if we treat fellow believers in Jesus, who are walking with him, with disdain, then that is how we are treating Jesus, too.
But, then there is a severe warning here, as well. We must be so careful that we don’t do anything to lead another believer in Jesus Christ to sin against God, especially if we do so knowingly and willfully, with the full intent to drag that other Christian down into the mud.
But, sometimes this can happen if we mistreat others, for we may lead them into discouragement and depression by our ill-treatment of them. And, this may lead them to fall back into sin, too. But, mainly this has to do with encouraging our brothers or sisters in Christ to sin against God by convincing them to lower their moral standards.
Mark 9:43-48 ESV
“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’”
When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with Christ to sin, we are reborn of the Spirit of God, and now, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us, we are able to walk in holiness, to the glory of God. And, by the Spirit, daily we are able to be putting to death the deeds of our flesh so that we can live to his righteousness, pleasing unto Him.
But, becoming a follower of Jesus does not mean we are no longer tempted to sin or that we will not battle the flesh. For, we still live in flesh bodies, and we will still be tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin against God. And, this is why so much of the New Testament is dedicated to teaching us how to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts so that we can live self-controlled, upright and godly lives (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
So many professing Christians these days are still in bondage to sinful addictions and so they “struggle” with (regularly give in to) the flesh on a consistent basis. Part of the reason for this is that many of them have bought into the cheap grace gospel which makes no demands to death to sin or living to righteousness, but still promises them eternal life with God. And, so they have a false sense of security that they can continue in their sinful addictions without guilt and without consequence.
Many of them, too, have bought into the psychology that says that it is a sickness and they really can’t help themselves or that there is no cure. But, that is a lie straight from hell! For, Jesus died on that cross to deliver us from our sinful addictions, not to coddle us while we continue in our sins.
Jesus made the way of escape for us from our sinful addictions when he died on that cross. In his death he put sin to death so that he might put sin to death in our lives. We just have to take the way out he provided for us. We have to be serious about sin and cut out of our lives everything that is even leading us into sin. For, many people continue to fail, because they continue to hold on to those things which are regularly leading them into sin.
So, if the internet is leading you to sin, then cut it out of your life, or at least cut out private internet access. Don’t have a smart phone. Go back to a flip phone or a house phone. Don’t be on the internet except in the presence of someone who cares enough about you to not let you go where you should not go. Or, if TV is your downfall, cut it out. No one needs TV! If social media or gaming or videos are your weakness, cut those out, too.
For, the Bible teaches that if we make sin our practice, we have no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, so please take this seriously (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24).
Blessed Are You
An Original Work / August 29, 2012
Based off Luke 6:20-49 NIV 1984
“Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are poor for God’s kingdom is yours.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are hungry, you’ll be satisfied.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who weep now, for you will laugh with joy.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
when men hate and reject you because of Christ.”
“Rejoice in that; rejoice in that day
And leap for joy; great your reward.
But I tell you; but I tell you
To love those who hate you; do them good.
Pray for those who; pray for those who
Treat you wrong and say kind things of them.
Do to others; do to others as you would
Have them do; have them do to you.”
“If you love those; if you love those
Who love you, what praise is there for you?
Because Christ is; because Christ is kind,
Be merciful, just like He is.
Forgive others; forgive others
Their offense against you; be ye kind.
Hear My words and; hear My words and
Put them into practice, then you’ll be fulfilled.”
Tuesday, January 29, 2019