Posted by: Brad Beaman | May 9, 2010

What stands in your way?

                                                                             Barbed Wire

If you have ever played racquetball you know how difficult and frustrating it can be, chasing a rubber ball around a wooden court surrounded by four walls. You need to be agile and built low to the ground. Somehow in racquetball I manage to be at the right place at the wrong time. I zig when the ball zags. The ball goes so fast that I swing the racket wildly. I even hit myself in the knee with a racquet and blacked out.

I also get in the way of the other player in racquetball. They call hindrance because I got in their way. They say it is a hindrance because I got in thier way and kept them from hitting the ball.

Jesus is the master teacher. He uses rebuke and warning to teach about hindrances. This is not in a game of racquetball but in real life with eternal consequences. Jesus talks about hindrances that keep people from Christ. In it contains sharp teachings about realities of hell.   

Mark 9:42-48

42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, 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. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, 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 “‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

Warning about being a hindrance for others to come to Christ.

In racquetball the other player yells out “hindrance” he says I kept him from getting that ball. He says I stood in his way. But what about someone who is a hindrance keeping another from Christ?  

Jesus put it this way, 42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.

We live in a fallen world. There is a corrupt world system led by the devil. People will stumble, commit sin. But woe to the one to whom causes that sin and puts up the stumbling block. The one who keeps a person from Christ. How serious is that really?

Jesus says the one who is the hindrance and stands in the way, it would be better for that person to have a millstone tied around his neck and thrown to the bottom of the sea. That is a pretty radical statement from peaceful Jesus. He said it would for the one who causes this spiritual hindrance, it would be better if you to be dead.

Jesus talks about being a hindrance to others. Standing in their way. Sometimes you need strong language to get across the seriousness of a situation. Having a millstone around the neck and thrown to the bottom of the sea is tough language. Instead of Jesus it sounds like Bugsy Malone in a mafia movie. It is Jesus emphasizing how bad it really is to hinder someone from Christ.

Don’t take hypocritical Christianity lightly.  Those who model violent behavior, abuse others and put others down are in serious danger. Fathers and husbands are called to be spiritual leaders, but when they become hindrances it is tragic. If they keep others from coming to Christ it is serious. Jesus has strong words for such who cause the hindrance.

Put in the negative way don’t hinder anyone from coming to Christ. In the positive help people come to Christ. Help them not fall and stumble in sin.

Warning about hindrances in your own life that might keep you from Christ.  

43 If your hand causes you to sin, 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.

Now Jesus has switched from talking about being a hindrance to someone else, now he is talking in this verse about being a hindrance, or something being a hindrance in your life, keeping you from Christ. We find more surprisingly blunt warnings from Jesus.

Don’t let anything stand in your way. If your hand keeps you from Jesus cut it off. You are better off with one hand and come to Christ, then have both your hands and spend eternity in hell. Same with foot cut it off or eye pluck it out.

Before you go get the machete you should know Jesus is not talking about mutilating our own body, but this is an illustration of the spiritual surgery. If it hinders you from Christ cut it out.

When I found out I had a cancerous mole I had it cut out. I wanted it cut deep and wide out of my shoulder. Whatever was necessary for the rest of my body to be saved. It took 27 stitches.

Whatever it is, Jesus is teaching, that causes you to sin cut loose of it. It is a hindrance that if not removed could send you to hell.

Take the man who wanted to come to Christ. He would do anything. Confess sin publically, join church be baptized. But the rich young ruler let riches become a hindrance. For others the hindrance might be a relationship, alcohol, drugs, and popularity and material possessions.  There needs to be immediate spiritual surgery. The consequences of hell demand it. Vs 43 where the fire never goes out. 48 where “‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

If you let a hindrance keep you from Christ you spend your everlasting days in hell. There is unquenchable fire and eternal torment. There is absolutely no hope to be released from the misery. The grotesque pictures of worms eating away at the flesh, fire burning the body, yet no relief.

Jesus words should shake up someone who says I am not going to come to Christ and give up a promiscuous lifestyle.

There is a place for warning. Yes, Jesus uses harsh language. Why would Jesus talk this way? Out of love. Jesus does not want you in hell. He never intended for you to be there. Jesus died on the cross so you would not have to go there.

Hell was prepared for the devil and his demons. Get rid of any hindrance that would keep you from Christ. Don’t let anything stand in your way. Your chief concern in life needs to be don’t let anything stand in your way of coming to Christ.

Whatever sacrifice we must make, whatever we must remove from our life, we must do it, to avoid destruction everlasting torment.  

When Paul was sailing to Rome a storm came. The men threw the precious cargo overboard. They got rid of it to save their lives. Get rid of anything that keeps you from Christ.

You cannot be saved from the fires of hell unless you come to Christ. Part of coming to Christ is repentance. Turning from anything keeping you from Christ.

The wise man will rid himself of any hindrance. In some places coming to Christ means being rejected by family. Don’t let anything hinder you.  Come to Christ today.

Read more Assurance of salvation

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