Summary: Jesus tells us to make decisions and choices with an eye toward how it will impact others in your life – spouse, children, family, neighbors, fellow church members, co-workers, people in the community.
Walkin’ with Jesus:
Limping through Life with You in Mind
Scripture Text: Mark 9.42-50
He’s talking about living in relationship with others!.. That’s-what Jesus is talking-about in this passage… Now, there’s a-whole-lot going-on here ~ …dramatic and attention-grabbing-stuff ~ …But, what-it-all boils-down-to is that Jesus is talking to His followers, …to people like you-and-me ~ …people who’ve decided to walk with Jesus. And-what He says is powerful… challenging-stuff; …And it-has-to-do-with our relationships with others!
Do you know that you have a tremendous amount of influence on others?
It’s extremely-naïve to think that our actions don’t have a tremendous-amount-of-influence on the people around us!
[Use personal illustration of people that have had a positive impact on you and your faith-walk.]
My decision to accept Christ as Savior was largely influence by consistent, caring-acts toward me-and-my-family that-made the difference.
You will have no-idea how large-your-influence-is on-other-people, …until you open your eyes to see all-the-ways and all-the-opportunities that you can plant-seeds, …and make impressions, …and have an impact in big-and-small ways on those around you! We all have an influence ~ for good-or-bad; …we all leave an impression ~ positive-or-negative. There’s no-escaping this reality!.. Whether you realize-it, or-not: …you are influencing other in significant-ways. By the way you handle your emotions, …to the way that you fulfill your promises and vows, …to the way that you manage information that comes down the grapevine, …to the ways that you manage your money, …to the things you invest your time-and-energy in. Each one of us has an impact on the people around you!
There’s a-lot in this passage that’s-attention-grabbing ~ …and we’re gonna-get-to-that, in-a-minute ~ …but we often skip-right-over the-whole-point, of-what Jesus is talking-about. “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin…”
He’s talkin’-about our relationships within the church, …relationships between-and-among believers. And-the-heart of the issue is the influences that we have on others ~ …and Jesus is warning us: “Don’t drag others down”!
II. Cut It Out!
The bulk of these verses is some pretty-dramatic-stuff. Cutting and chopping and gouging… It’s attention-grabbing! If your hand, …or your foot, …or your eye causes you to sin ~ “This is serious business” Jesus is saying. Don’t blow-it-off! Don’t dismiss-it.
But, this is much-bigger than a personal-issue. If we read these verses by-themselves, …it sounds-like this is just-about our personal eternal-destiny… that you need-to-do whatever-it-takes to rid-your-life of sin.
Now, I don’t know of a single Bible-scholar or pastor who says Jesus means-for-us to take this literally. But, He uses these graphic, jarring-illustrations to make a point, …and the point is: ”This is serious business! “Sin has no plae in the life of believers. “Sin carries with it, consequences.” Undesirable consequences. Eternal consequences. And you don’t-wanna-go-there! You don’t wanna allow sin to rule the members of your body. And-so, whatever-it-is ~ that’s leading you into sin ~ …cut-it-out! Get rid of it!