Summary: These words of our Lord Jesus when rightly interpreted and applied, will open the door to greater Christian service, and to a closer walk with God.
Lord, Increase Our Faith
Scripture: Luke 17:1-10
Text: Luke 17:5 “And the disciples aid unto the Lord, “Increase our faith”.”
These words of our Lord Jesus when rightly interpreted and applied, will open the door to greater Christian service, and to a closer walk with God.
I. In these verses our Lord would have us know the great sinfulness of putting stumbling blocks in the way of other souls.
A. Our Lord says: “It is impossible but that offenses will come. But woe unto him through whom they come. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Human nature and the world being as it is, it is wishful thinking to expect that there will be no offenses. There will be offenses as long as the world stands. The Greek word translated here as offenses is rendered elsewhere in the New Testament as ‘stumbling block’, ‘occasion to fall’, and ‘occasion of stumbling’.
The permanence and universality of offenses in the present world does not lessen the guilt of those who cause them. Our Lord says, “But woe unto him through whom they come.” This woe has probably a wide application it includes all who cause Christ’s people to stumble and be discouraged from the fiercest persecutor like Nero, down to the least inconsistent believer. Men cause offenses to come not only when they persecute believers but also when they try to sidetrack them from serving Christ. But this is not all. Professing Christians do it by inconsistencies in their professions. We do it when we make our testimony unlovely before our neighbors by conduct not in keeping with our Christian profession. Our neighbors may not attend our church or understand our doctrines but they understand our Christian practice.
Billy Cinron, all-American football player, says, “When a football player is offside his whole team is penalized.” And it’s like that when a man drinks alcoholic beverages. His drinking too often brings penalties that are costly, grievous and sometimes tragic, to his family, his employer, his friends and neighbors, and in fact to all who are in teamwork with him in any way...I am a total abstainer from all alcoholic beverages because I don’t want anyone else to suffer in my being offside. We could add lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, backbiting, bitterness, wrath, anger, evil speaking, malice, and other traits to alcoholic beverages. Tolerate any of these and the whole Christian team will be penalized.
B. This sin of offense against which our Lord pronounces a ‘woe’ was the sin of David. When he had broken the seventh commandment and stolen another man’s wife, the prophet Nathan said to him, (Isaiah 12:14) “You have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” (To insult God.) In Romans 2:24 it was the sin Paul charged against the Jews when he said, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you.” In I Corinthians 10:32, it is the sin of which Paul frequently entreats Christians to beware. “Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”
C. The subject is a deeply searching one and unhappily a very common sin among professing Christians. Over and over again in John’s first Epistle we read, little children love one another. “Hereby, perceive we the love of God because He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. If any man say, I love God and hateth is brother, he is a liar; For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Let us apply these words to our own lives. Are we doing good or harm to the cause of Christ? Do we really love with that love so ably described in 1st Corinthians 13, that love which among other things suffers long and is kind in return; does not envy, is not puffed up, that love which does not grasp, is not easily provoked, is not out to get its own way. That love which does not rejoice when a fellow Christian stumbles, that love which rejoices in the truth, that love which endureth all things and does not strike back.
Is our love like this kind of love? It’s easy to say yes, my love is just like that. Would your neighbors be able to say it? Would your friend sand relatives be able to say it? Would your enemies be able to say it? Would the other members on the team be able to say it? Or are they being penalized by your interpretation of Christ’s command to love one another?