This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 16, 2007, and was taken from Mark 9:42-50.
If Jesus had stunned the disciples with his previous assertions, they were about to be blown away by what he was about to say next. What is demanded of us if we are to be called by the name of Christian? What is it going to cost us to follow Jesus, in a world that is, at best, indifferent, and at worst, hostile to the gospel? Keep in mind that the church has always been at her best when under persecution.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:42-50 (ESV)
The life of genuine faith is concerned with personal holiness and a willingness to sacrifice what we want while we remain focused on impacting the world around us. We are to be a world-impacting people. Two things we find in this passage:
- For the believer in Christ, there is a call to personal holiness and a willingness to sacrifice. Beginning in verse 43 we see that holiness should be so important to us that no sacrifice is too great. Look at the vivid language that Jesus uses. It is more shocking to us today than then, possibly because we don’t take sin seriously. In this passage, Jesus is using this strong language in order to show us the seriousness of sin. “Hand, foot, eye” represents the totality of your life. Your hand represents what you do, your foot represents where you go, and your eye represents what you see.
- A willing servant readily gives his life as a living sacrifice, impacting the world. Verse 49 refers to the fact that every grain offering to be sacrificed in the Old Testament was first to be salted (Leviticus 2:13). We should be keenly aware how our actions affect those around us. Our lives should salt the world, or act as a preservative, retarding corruption.