Lesson on the Seriousness of Sin
Text: Mark 9:42-50 | February 23, 2020
Sin is not talked about very often, even in many churches, but our passage today highlights the seriousness of sin. Pastors and churches who eschew the topic of sin put their congregations in danger of neglecting our Christian duty to aggressively deal with sin.
This passage warns us not to cause others to sin, and it also tells us to deal with our own sins. In fact, the two are inextricably linked. In a body of believers, your sins could very well lead others to sin. Conversely, you cannot lead someone else to righteousness and encourage other believers in their spiritual growth if you are not first righteous.
Just how serious is the offense of leading someone to sin? The words used in verse 42 indicate that it is quite serious: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”
Also serious is God’s command for us to deal with sin in our own lives (9:43, 45, 47). While this is not a call for us to physically remove body parts, because that itself does not provide any spiritual benefit for us, the illustrations used by Jesus demonstrate the urgency, seriousness, and aggressiveness of dealing with sin. We must take drastic measures to deal with sin in our own lives.
The reality is that every Christian must deal with sin in their own lives. There is no such thing as a second-class Christian or a Christian who refuses to deal with sin.
For the entirety of the lesson, please see the attached manuscript of the message.
All too often, when we pray, we just offer God a list of needs and wants. While there is nothing wrong with making those requests before God, as long as it aligns with His will and to His glory, we often neglect confessing our sins. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The problem is, sometimes we don’t know how or where to start in confessing our sins. However, we know that if we ask in His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14). I believe that if we ask Him to search our hearts and teach us how to pray and confess our sins, He will answer because we are asking according to His will.
In fact, we can pray using His words. Pray Psalm 139:23-24, which says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (ESV).