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Living In The Woe


"7 "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

8 "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.

10 "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven."

Good Morning my beloved, 
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is such a tremendous privilege to come together with you today for the study God's Word. God has been great in continuing to bless your efforts in reaching the lost and the deceived. We are reaching people and places as never before imagined, bringing more people to Christ. I thank God for those of you who have been so moved by His Spirit to support us in the ministry, whether by sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with your family and friends, or financially. I ask you will continue to join us in praying, asking God to continue to bless this ministry in reaching the lost, the broken and the hopeless. May He continue to bless our growth together as faithful followers, as we lead others to Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. 

Every believer is a child of God and, like all children, needs protection, care, and understanding. Jesus is concerned that persons and/or things of this world could cause some believers to stumble. And He uses some vivid and sobering language in order to make His point. I have heard stories of some throughout church history, who have taken Jesus’ words here literally, but I don’t believe that was what He intended. Obviously, He's using a hyperbole,to demonstrate that we must take our sin very seriously and we must be totally committed to defeating it. It’s far better to sacrifice in this life to avoid sin and follow Jesus than to go into hellfire without sacrificing. We must deal immediately and decisively with sin!
How often we are content just take care of ourselves, our own families, in direct contrast to Christ's teaching. I believe His teaching in this chapter is very straightforward, and very convicting. It is impossible to separate God from His people, how we treat and deal with those who belong to Him is of great concern to God. I trust some of you have been contemplating these principles as I have in my own heart. We don’t just follow Christ, we must also follow His teachings! What’s the point in our faith if we can’t model the Scripture given to us?
In John 13:34-35; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." The clear meaning of this passage cannot be avoided or denied. Before the church takes on its responsibility to evangelize the world, the people of God must take on the responsibility to be what the Lord has called us to be. If you tell me you are a Christian and have not love for God's people, I am unconvinced.
People who profess something they don’t live, something that they are not manifestly demonstrating, I trust you will agree, are hypocrites. The transforming power of God, manifests itself through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Transformation through Christ, is foundational in the life of every believer. There couldn’t be a better illustration of a true encounter with Jesus Christ than a radically, and completely transformed life. Our Lord was clear, Truly I say to you, "unless you are converted," unless you turn around and demonstrate that your life is going to go in a different direction, you’re not going to be in My kingdom. Jesus is reminding us that transformation is synonymous with being a believer. An unconverted life will exclude us from His kingdom. A converted life is synonymous with a redeemed life and true salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Provision is part of that, that means you help them when they need food, clothing and shelter.  That also means we love, care for and protect each other in the same way we love, care for and protect our own children. That includes spiritual direction, wisdom, and knowledge, leading them away from anything or anyone that poses a threat to their safety and well-being.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for the power and clarity of Your Word. We confess this is a tremendously conviction teaching. Lord, help us to make this message believable, by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and as such, living to obey all that You’ve commanded us in Your Word. Help us apply these great Truths to our lives. Help us to deal drastically with the sin in our lives, so that our lives will give evidence that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and the Holy Spirit, the great transformer indwells in us. May we understand our responsibility to lead others to righteousness, and that by our lives, it be apparent to all, that we are different from the unregenerate world in which we live. 
In Christ's name we ask and pray

Today's Message: Living In The Woe

It is important that we on behalf of others, must set a good example. Therefore, we must pursue holiness and righteousness in order that we do not indirectly cause another believer to stumble. Our lives must be disciplined by disciplining the actions of the body. There are offenses in this world, and we can’t escape that, in fact, we can expect that to come from the world which Satan operates. However, we must do all that we can to escape them, by doing whatever we can to avoid sin and pursue holiness and righteousness. Jesus has been saying, we must not only do no evil in our own lives but we must never cause another Christian to sin. In other words, as Christians, our liberties and freedoms have to be circumscribed, confined within limits, so that we don’t cause somebody else to stumble. I often wonder if we really stop to think about that. Though all things may be lawful, they're not always helpful, especially where others are concerned. Therefore, we must be conscience of that at all times. 

Open your Bibles to the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 18:7-10. I invite you to follow along with me as I read them to you. Let us open our hearts and see what the Spirit of God has to say to each of us. I pray that the Spirit of God would help us to hear and apply what He's saying to each of us today. Matthew 18:7-10.
"Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven."

Let's look at verse 7, "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!" 

This is a very important truth. He assures us that there will be occasions for stumbling, we must learn to expect them. Further, Jesus is clearly defining that what we think, what we touch and watch matters to God. That requires incredible spiritual self-discipline. The reality that we are Temple of the Holy Spirit, should be our motivation to do that which is pleasing to God. By carelessly flaunting one’s liberty in Christ by participating in an activity that is not itself a sin, may cause weaker brothers and sisters to stumble. If our behavior hurts a weaker brother or sister, we must never attempt to justify our actions. "Woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes," is a proclamation of judgment, not an expression of sympathy. When it comes to the life of the church, let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, this is the heart of what the Lord is saying, "woe, damnation and cursing to you if you cause a believer to stumble. How many people have we sent in the wrong direction by what we've done?

The Apostle Paul addresses this issue in Romans 14, "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." These words, "the Lord is able to make him stand," assure us that in the end justice will triumph. 

Then, in verses 8 and 9, He says "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell."

Jesus emphasizes the hand, foot and the eye, though other body parts can certainly lead us into sin as well. Even where we set our feet matters to God. The eye is the most vulnerable part of the exposed anatomy. Obviously, our Lord is not talking about literal surgery here, that would not solve the root of the problem, which is in the heart. He's talking about spiritual surgery, which is far more important. To put it another way, you are what you do in the privacy of your own home, we need to learn to admit that. The point He's making here, is that we must take drastic action in dealing with sin,  otherwise you're not going to ensure that you will escape from hell. You better rid yourself of whatever in your life causes you to sin. If your hands are on the keyboard or mouse of your computer and your eyes are looking at a pornographic website, then get rid of the internet or the computer! If your hand is on the remote and your eyes are watching an inappropriate movie or television show, change the channel or get rid of the TV. We can expect that kind of behavior from those who are condemned, damned to eternal hell, we should not expect it from believers. If God is that deeply concerned with every single child who belongs to Him, then we had better not mistreat or mislead, even the least of these. 

I recently had someone say to me, "Listen, I'm not going to live my whole life worrying about what my behavior may or may not cause another person to do! If they sin, that’s their tough luck." If you're willing to destroy the kingdom of God so that you can engage in a particular behavior, it's going to be more than your tough luck! Because there’s a sense in which you are despising that person, considering their life as unworthy of your concern. Believe me, there are going to be consequences for living like that, as though everybody around you is a pain. 

 In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul writes a strong indictment to the Corinthian believers. "But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you." Some of you may think you’re eating the Lord’s Supper, but by withholding food from someone in need, you're not!

Look at verses 27 through 29, "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly." By consuming something without even giving a thought to others, especially those who do not have, is a very serious offense.

That brings us to verse 10, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven."

That’s a tremendous statement, did you catch that? There’s a lot to unpack in this one verse. We are not look down on another Christian, because of their relation angels in heaven. God’s people have some angels in heaven who continually see the face of God. They are sent to serve God’s people as ministering spirits. By the way, this does not mean that every Christian has his own personal angel, you'll find that nowhere in the Scriptures. But as their special assignment, angels collectively are dispatched for the care of God’s people.

You want to know another way we can look down on people, by looking with indifference on a Christian who has fallen into sin. That’s not the way God calls us to treat people! Galatians 6 says "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself." To be willing to do that requires humility, you have to come down off your high horse. I've known some "Christians" who think they're too good to get their hands dirty by helping someone in need, like the homeless, someone they deem beneath them. God tells us to stoop down, help them up and carry their burden. If you think so highly of yourself, that you’re too good for that, just who do you think you are? You're only deceiving yourself, surely not God! There are no social classes in the kingdom of Heaven.

In Mark chapter 12, Christ commands us, "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these."

We also despise another believer when we reject those who confront our sinfulness. That's right! I've had that happen many times when I confront someone and tell them their behavior is out of line with God's Word. Prideful, self-righteous people hate it, they despise the one who tries to help with correction. Rather than thanking you for trying to get their life back on track, they reject you and they defend themselves.

The Apostle Paul faced the same thing in Galatians chapter 4, "But you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Don't despise someone who comes to you in love and confronts your ungodly behavior.

In Titus 2, Paul said "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you."

I was really rather surprised just how much Scripture has to say on this subject. Until I was was studying for this message, I guess I didn't realize there were so many of them. I won't belabor the point, but I do encourage you search the Scriptures for yourself. Because God’s children are important to Him, we should also be important to one another and to the life of the church. Should our hearts not also reflect the heart of God? 

In Closing..

We all need the grace of God and God’s grace is what brings us back when someone is committing sin. The church is made up of sinners who have been saved by grace. When unbelieving people see the power of Christ at work in our lives, the transformed lives that exist in the body of Christ, that the testimony of the gospel becomes believable.

No matter where I am, as soon as people learn that I'm a pastor, they tend to watch me pretty closely. I don’t ever want to say or do anything to cause one who is weaker to fall into temptation of something the have been saved from in the past. Listen, you and I share that same responsibility, even if you think that person is not particularly important. Don't treat anyone as though they are beneath you, because of their financial or social status. Don't do something for somebody with the expectation of getting back, withholding from those in need want you have because they can't repay you. If the opportunity presents itself, give generously to those in need, without respect of persons. 

Are you losing strength, feeling beat-up and overwhelmed? I can well remember a time like that in my own life. Overwhelmed by tragedy, hardship, suffering, loss, grief, sadness, fear and doubt. God provided me with the gift of grace through Jesus Christ! Today, Jesus Christ offers you that same gift of grace, available to those who willingly receive it,  no matter who they are or what they've done. Who will you trust, the world or the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD?

Joshua 24:15 says "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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