Sin and Being Sinned Against…

by Benjamin Burks on July 21, 2011 · 0 comments

Luke 17: 1, “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: (pay attention!) If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”

There is a difference between sin and “quirkiness”. We all know of people who may have idiosyncrasies that tend to bother us. Let me explain. Recently, I was sitting on an airplane on my way to Houston on a Saturday morning. I had my necessary tools close by so that when allowed, I could immediately spring into action on my electronic devices (computer and/or iPad) and complete several hours of work. However, the person behind me, unbeknownst to me, opened the luggage rack over my head to retrieve some wanted items. The only problem was his “wanted items” were not wanted by me! All of the sudden, little round stars and marshmallow items begin to poor over my head and into my lap. His choice of “wanted items” was none other than Lucky Charms cereal. Ok, that was a mistake. No problem, we will just clean up, and get back to work. However, it wasn’t long before I was engulfed in my work when drinks were served. It was then that I was interrupted…again…as the same man leaned forward…with his drink it his hand… just over my left shoulder (don’t get ahead of me yet, it gets worse!)…he begins to tell me how much he would like to have his Lucky Charms to go with his drink…when his drink slips out of his hands and lands in my lap!! Now we have a bigger problem than just stars and marshmallows! We cleaned it all up, and I walked away thinking I had definitely met someone far more clumsy than I! This man did not sin, though he was clumsy; he did not intentionally wrong me. The above passage is talking of those who offend with their sin, not with their quirkiness.

Our Lord gives a stern warning to those who specifically are a stumbling block to the “little ones”. The application certainly fits towards anyone that would offend a child or young person. That is why we need to be on guard to always have a testimony pleasing to the Lord; especially in front of children. This admonishment can be applied, not only for age, (“little ones”), but also for stage. This would be older, more learned Christians, being careful to not offend the younger (“babes in Christ). This is true, especially toward leadership and students who have been taught the ways of the Lord, yet choose to lead others astray.

The question of this passage then becomes two fold. First, in what area are you being tempted? Secondly, how are you leading others to be tempted and fall into an offense?

Pause this morning and repeat the previous sentence 5 times, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal either of these two applications to your heart. If a violation of either one is present, you need to repent, and seek forgiveness.

Let me tell you what repentance is not. Repentance is not getting caught but coming clean. Repentance is not denying our sin, diminishing our sin, managing our sin, or trying to keep it under control. We don’t need to manage it; we need to kill it! Repentance is not blame shifting or excusing our sin. It is not covering our sin or making it about someone else’s sin. It is not doing something, so you can get something. It’s not worldly sorrow. It is not just the consequences focused on but the sin itself. It is not merely confessing your sin to others, but killing your sin.

Christ died for our sins. We can put our sins to death. We died when He died! We were buried with Him and raised with Him to walk in newness of life, walking in the power of the Spirit.

Next week we will continue our study of Luke 17, as we look at the response of those who are “offended”. There are many that have been abused, misused, and left with offenses that have led to lifelong behaviors. We must understand how those on the other end are instructed to respond to avoid roots of bitterness destroying their lives for decades to come.

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