Summary: Offenses are very common, but we are warned against committing them.
THE DANGER OF OFFENSES
Rev. John W. Gerald
I. THE OFFENSE OF PRIDE
Matt. 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The mother of James and John had sought that one of her sons be given the first place of honor on Jesus’ right hand, and the other be given the second place of honor on the left side of Jesus. This caused jealousy on the part of the other disciples. Jesus carefully avoided promising this to her. We can stir up the same kind of jealousy among our brethren by seeking honor ahead of them, too. Jesus points out here that humility is better than place or station. It is more important to get to heaven than to seek honor ahead of others.
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMILITY
Matt. 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
If we want to consider greatness we must look at the example Jesus gave us of it.
III. HOW SERIOUS ARE OFFENSES?
Matt. 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and
that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Most little children believe in God. Most believe in Jesus. It is a horrendous crime to destroy that innocent faith in God. Parents are often guilty of this by neglecting the fertile minds of their offspring. Exposure to the world’s philosophy through TV and many other means soon undermines their earliest faith. But the warning of the LORD is very strong; death by drowning would be a merciful thing for the one who offends one of these little ones.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Offenses are prevalent on every hand, but the one who is responsible for them has a great woe pronounced upon him. I believe that man spoken of here is ultimately Satan.
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
It is so important to remove the source of offenses, that the LORD said one would be better off to take off an offending hand, foot or eye than to let the offending member continue, and send the soul to hell.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
Do the spirits of little children presently look upon the face of God? Sometimes we see an infant smile when sleeping. Are they having heavenly visions at that time? Some people believe that this refers to the guardian angel sent to protect each child from birth. I am sure that the souls of innocent little children view the face of God in death.
V. CONCERN FOR THE LOST
Matt. 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Everyone is lost that is not saved by the blood of the Lamb, except the innocent babes, who are saved through his prevenient grace! God has declared all under sin, and the wages of sin is death. While we are sinning, we are earning a wage! To be delivered from this death under sin, we must accept the LORD as our Saviour and redeemer!
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.