Lessons Of A Lifetime

Take Heed Not To Offend
Or
His Purpose For Coming
Sunday Dec. 20, 2020

Scripture To Consider:
“Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.”

“And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”                                                                                                        Matthew 18.7-11

Something To Consider:
In last week’s lesson we were introduced to a side of Jesus we do not often see. Just the thought of offending a little child brings a most serious and precise warning from Jesus to the potential offender. From Jesus’ perspective it would be better for the offender to fit himself or herself with a hundred pound or more millstone necklace and cast himself or herself in the deepest sea, than to be dealt with by Jesus.

Jesus continued His thought by stating, “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man [or woman] by whom the offense comes!” Now would be a good time to ask forgiveness for our offending God and or others! In other words, take heed not to offend! Beware that our words or our actions do not offend one of God’s child-like faith believers.

Jesus, in Matthew 10.16 declared; “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless [or innocent] as doves.” Being harmless as doves leaves no room for our offending or harming anyone. Therefore, let us follow the God honoring example of Jesus!

Something Else To Consider:
Let us fully understand that Jesus is not advocating bodily mutilation. He is advocating a truth by using the strongest of physical examples to prove His spiritual point. His ultimate goal was and remains that we successfully escape the torment of an eternal hellish fire by all means possible. Therefore, He presents these graphic word pictures that have a tendency to leave us a little nauseous.

Jesus was fully aware of the fact that cutting off one hand that has sinned is no guarantee that the other hand would not simply continue to sin. The same is also true in that what sinful act one eye could indulge in so could the other as well. The bottom line is that He has obtained these disciples utmost attention in order to warn them of the severity of sin.

Does Jesus have our attention? Do we grasp the graphic picture He is portraying? Or do we simply read the words of Jesus and continue in our sin as if nothing has been demanded of us? If so, we are already in the gravity-bound clutches of sin, spiritual death and the unending flames of a hell that was created for the devil and his rebellious one-time angels who have fallen from grace!

Paul admonishes his readers in 1 Corinthians 8.9, by instructing; “Take heed [or beware] lest by any means this liberty [or sense of freedom in Christ] becomes a stumbling block [or an offense] to those who are weak [little ones of weaker faith].” In other words, let not our liberty or assumed freedom in Christ offend others. But rather, as was and is Jesus, let our lives be a faithful biblical example to others.

Something More To Consider:
And while having our attention, Jesus warns all who have ears to hear, by His saying, “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones.” The question then arises, is Jesus speaking of a little child, or of a new believer who has come to Him with child-like humble faith? Either way, according to Jesus there are assigned angels watching intently over them from heaven.

Therefore, we are given one more reason why we should not offend one of God’s little ones, as Jesus concludes this Scripture to consider with the words; “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” And His purpose will indeed be accomplished, therefore take heed not to offend. And if we have, and more than likely we have, let us seek forgiveness!

But what does that statement of Jesus mean to us? “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Notice Jesus did not say that He came to seek that or who is lost. No, Jesus used the past tense terminology of was lost. The important thing for us to understand is that if Jesus is seeking someone in order to save them from their sins, or from the enemy, or from themselves; that individual in the mind of Jesus is future tense already nearer to their salvation than they know.

A Few Final Words:
Therefore, in this statement of Jesus we are given His purpose for coming according to Jesus. “For the Son of Man [Jesus] has come to save that which was lost.” And in the mind of Jesus, it is a done deal! And our knowing that Jesus has come to seek and to save those who are lost, should encourage us in our praying for family members and acquaintances as we approach another Christmas season.

Paul writing in 1 Timothy 2 and in verses 3-4 proclaimed; “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior [Jesus], who desires all men [women and young people] to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The purpose of Christ’s first coming was to present the truth of God’s Word and His will concerning salvation and the forgiveness of our sins through His death.

Therefore, will we heed His words of warning to take heed not to offend others? According to Jesus, the despising and or offending of little ones of child-like humble faith, carries with it an angelic awareness and eternal warning. For according to Jesus, “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” Merry Christmas from According To Jesus!

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, lead us in a path that never offends those of child-like humble faith, of which Jesus died for in order to save. In Him Always, Amen!

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