Sins of Pride and Offending

10 December 2017 AM – Mark 9:30-50 – Mr17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Jesus had been teaching his 12 disciples for over three years. They spent most every day with Him, watching His example and listening to His instructions. Yet, after all that time with Jesus, they all still had many sinful weaknesses that must have frustrated Jesus.

Looking at the disciples is like looking into a mirror. We have many of the same weaknesses they struggled with.

Transition: While at Capernaum, Jesus confronted the disciples with two sins that they were committing. His teaching is just as important for us today.

The first sin that Jesus confronted the disciples about was …

1.        The Sin of Pride

a.         Discussion along the way
1)         As Jesus and the disciples made their way around the top of the Sea of Galilee, they went towards Capernaum as quietly as possible (v.30). Jesus did not want anyone to know He was present because he wanted to teach His disciples again about His coming Passion (v.31).
a)         He said that the Son of man would be delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
b)         Thoughts of what was coming were heavy on the heart of Jesus. He knew the extent the Passion that He would face.
2)         The disciples did not understand what Jesus was teaching and they were afraid to ask Him (v.32).
a)         Perhaps they feared because the whole topic sounded dangerous and dreadful.
b)         If they realized that Jesus was going to die, perhaps this is why they were disputing or deliberating as to whom among them was the greatest. Perhaps they were campaigning to be the leader if Jesus did die.
c)         The disciples are more concerned about their own greatness than Jesus’ need for their support.
b.         Jesus confronted them about their pride
1)         He asked them what they had been deliberating about along the way (v.33).
2)         Ashamed of themselves, none of them answered, not even Peter! They knew they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest (v.34).
²  An unknown person said, “Pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick but the one who has it.”

3)         Jesus sat down and called the twelve to Him for a teaching time (v.35).
a)         Jesus said that the one desiring to be first [truly first in the eyes of God] will be last and the servant of all. The world says greatness is having people serve you; God says greatness is you serving others.
b)         God elevates humility. (James 4:10) “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
4)         Jesus took a little child and held him in His arms (v.36). Then He used the child as an object lesson.
a)         Taking care of children was not a manly job. It was a lowly task for a man. Yet, Jesus said that if they received a child in Jesus’ name, they received Jesus (v.37).
b)         Jesus was not talking about salvation here. He was talking about service. Doing the lowly task of being a blessing to a child to please the Lord was in reality being a blessing to the Lord Himself.
5)         I don’t know about you, but I often see myself in the actions of the disciples. Our flesh is so prone to pride.
The second sin that Jesus confronted the disciples about was …

2.        The Sin of Offending

a.         John’s distraction (v.38-42)
1)         It appears that John was trying to change the subject and leave the subject of their arguing about being great.
2)         John told Jesus of a man who was not one of the 12 disciples who was casting out devils in Jesus’ name (v.38). The disciples piously told him to stop.
3)         Jesus corrected them saying that if the man was truly casting out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not an enemy but a friend. Remember, the disciple had just failed to cast out a demon because of their lack of faith and prayer.
a)         Jesus was not saying that we should cooperate with all who claim to be Christian. He was not saying we should work with false teachers, erring churches or cults.
b)         However, there are some churches in our community that may occasionally preach the Gospel. We may not agree with all of their doctrines or their practices, but we should not try to stop them from preaching the Gospel.
4)         We must remember that God is the all-knowing Judge. Jesus said that if a person gives a cup of water in His name to you because you are a true Christian, God will one day reward that person. God knows who is truly serving Him and who is not.
5)         Jesus warned that to offend or cause to stumble one of those who believe on him was a very serious matter (v.42). A terrible death by drowning BEFORE offending such a one would be far better. We must stand for truth and oppose error, but never attempt to stop anyone who is preaching the Gospel.
b.         Jesus’ stern warning (v.43-50)
1)         NOTE: The NIV, ESV and many other Bible translations leave out verses 44, 46 and parts of other verse in this passage because they are missing in the corrupt Critical Text.
2)         In this section, Jesus was speaking of real things.
a)         Hands, feet and eyes are real body parts.
b)         These body parts can lead a person into offences.
c)         Hell is a real place where the worm does not die and the fire is never quenched.
3)         In this section, Jesus also used hyperboles (exaggeration for emphasis).
a)         Jesus was not recommending literal amputation of body parts.
b)         Jesus was not saying that a true Christian could offend and end up in hell.
c)         Jesus used these hyperboles to emphasize the seriousness of hindering one who is trying to serve Christ.
4)         Jesus warned that anything in the disciple’s life that causes him to stumble and therefore causes others to stumble must be dealt with severely. God does NOT want us to hinder His work by causing other believers to stumble.
5)         Fire represents God’s judgment (v.49-50). Salt purifies and preserves. Salt was sprinkled on sacrifices to honour the Lord. Everyone will be salted with God’s fire.
a)         For the unbeliever it will be an eternal fire in hell.
b)         For the believer it will be a purifying fire of trials and the judgment seat of Christ (2Co 5:10).
c)         Christians are to be the salt of the earth (Mt 5:13). Salty Christians preserve and honour the Lord like salt on a sacrifice.
d)         If a Christian offends others and stops being like salt, his purifying effect stops.
e)         We must be like purifying salt and have peace one with another rather than being stumbling blocks.
O  Warren Wiersbe, “Instead of rebuking others, the disciples should have been examining their own hearts!”

Conclusion: If the Lord’s disciples who sat directly under His teaching struggled with the sins of pride and offending, it is no surprise if at times we struggle with the same sins. The solution is to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and continually examine our own hearts rather than offending and causing other Christians to stumble in their service for the Lord. Life is not about promoting self; it is about humbly serving the Lord and being preserving salt for His glory.

Song: More Like the Master – 325