< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Mark 9: 42-50

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mark 9: 42-50

Mark 9: 42-50 42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. [44] 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. [46] 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

Jesus tells us clearly here how we are to treat other believers (little ones). We are to keep them upright. Sustain them in righteousness. Strive for unity in the body of Christ. Don’t speak badly of them or tempt them to sin.

Jesus said to cause someone to stumble was worse then tying a millstone around their neck and throwing themselves into water. The Jews hated water. They were afraid of drowning. Millstones, used to grind wheat, were enormous and very heavy. It was a scary picture.

Verses 43 to 48 are about the harm we do to ourselves when we sin. We tend to take sin really casually. Too casually. The word for hell that Jesus uses here is Gehenna. This was the Valley of Hinnom west of Jerusalem. Its history was littered with horror. King Ahaz sacrificed children there. Righteous King Josiah turned it into a garbage dump. There were constantly burning fires there to get rid of the stuff and it stunk. The fire wasn’t ever quenched because it was constantly being fed.

Hell is very real. God has planted eternity into our souls. We will all live forever; it’s up to us where we spend that time. Anyone who hears about Christ makes a decision about Him and that decision decides where we will spend eternity.

2 Corinthians 7:1 1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Even though we are saved and forgiven we need to separate ourselves from sin and work at living a holy life. Some of us need to make radical changes in our lives.

We must consecrate our life for God’s usefulness. We are to worship Him alone. Obey Him alone; no matter what. We are to be living sacrifices to Him. Jesus talks about salt in the last part of this section. Salt was good. Pure salt would last without changing for hundreds of years. But back then some people mixed gypsum in it to make it cheaper. This salt was unstable. You can’t mix things in. Christians can’t be half in and half out. We need to be 100% committed. If we only give part, the remaining part will get taken over by the world. And God knows that’s not what’s best for us.

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