I had intended to wrap it here—Chapter 10 is calling!—but I don’t think I’m going to be able too. Perhaps it was Challies’ post on birth control and some of the thoughts he brought out or Kevin Rhyne’s series on Shepherding A Child’s Heart or the things I wrote about children in the first post in this series, The Asking or in the second –probably a combination of them all. Verse 42 has captured my attention today…
Jesus is still in Capernaum with the disciples. He hadn’t even settled into the ‘the house’ when he had to question them about an argument they had on the journey. Plus they were rebuked for impeding the work of another was doing a ‘mighty work’ in His name. Two words that they were not getting: Humble. Servant. That pretty well sums up what he has been trying to get them to grasp so far. At that time they got about as well as we do most of the time.
In spite of the blank looks I’m sure he was getting—and I’m sure because he had to go on and explain a little more, aren’t we glad?—he continues and in v.42 He lays down a pretty harsh warning: “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.”
First let me say that I think this is talking about little children as in kids AND the children of God. It’s tough to mislead the elect but it happens. Second, that ‘whoever’ covers a lot of ground so lets go carefully here.
I think there are at least three groups to whom this warning can apply:
Parents who ‘lead’ their children to sin
The concept applies to anyone who is in a position of influence over a child. Yes this is Moms and Dads with crack labs in the back bedroom just as much as it is parents who abuse and ‘frustrate’ their kids.
I have heard that there is a “special place in hell for those who hurt, maim, kill children but I can’t reconcile that with scripture. Hell is hell and it’s going to be far worse than anything we can possibly imagine without embellishment. I mean I like the idea and all…
EDIT: Take a look at what Mark 9:48 has to say about hell: 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’ . This is not a fun place to be.
2 Timothy 2:2-9 talks about these men in the church who are teachers but in no way resemble Christians—except on Sunday. I think we’ve seen that borne out more and more as this century progresses. (Though there have been some pretty spectacular heretics in the past.)
This last group in particular is in trouble I think.
And here’s why I think that. Teachers are under a very high standard if they are teaching God’s Word. James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” And that’s another warning. I don’t want to say ‘don’t teach unless you have to do so’ but its going to be obvious, at least to you, if you should be teaching. Not only that but the church will confirm you in it as well.
Besides that warning, the other thing that teachers should consider before they ever put their hand to the plow is Paul’s standard, the goal of all of our ministry should be this:
“27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:27-29 (ESV)
I think the NASB says ‘perfect’ instead of ‘mature’ but that’s the general idea. We should be striving for mature believers who accurately handle the word of truth—especially if they are our own children.
Millstones? *shudder Millstones and ‘the sea’ would not mix well.
More to come…
Other Posts In This Series: