7697 - Don't Cause SIn

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In our study through the book of Luke we are now in the later months of the life of Jesus. Because of the intense plotting by the Jewish leaders to put Jesus to death he has withdrawn from Jerusalem to the region of Perea, which is east of the Jordan. In that region crowds have come to hear him teach and to experience his healing touch.

In Luke 17: verses 1-4, Jesus is teaching about sin. Listen:

“Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourself. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, `I repent,' forgive him."

Jesus is straightforward with his disciples as he tells them that temptations to sin are bound to come. That has been the pattern since the sin of Adam in the garden of Eden. There, the devil tempted Adam and Eve, and they yielded to sin. Since that time the devil has continued his destructive mission to steal and kill and destroy. He wants to steal from believers those grace gifts which are bestowed upon every Christian. The most common theft from God’s children is to rob us of the peace which Jesus has given us. The devil does that by lying to us about God’s promises and our own weakness. He brings fear and he distracts us from the truth that we are totally dependent upon Christ for strength, guidance and resources as we live day by day. If we continue to listen to the devil then he destroys our witness, killing the fruit which the Holy Spirit desires to bear through us.

But the devil is not the only evil force. The lower nature, sometimes called the flesh, may rise up with evil desires and entice us to evil thoughts and actions.

We must resist every one of these temptations. The devil has no authority over us. The sinful nature has been superseded by a new nature created in the likeness of God.

The great warning given by Jesus is that we must be on guard that we are not the one who tempts another.

It would be better for such a person to be drown in the ocean before we commit such a horrible sin, than to remain alive and be a tool of evil to cause someone else to sin.

This passage refers to causing one of these little ones to sin, which could refer to any human member of God’s family. Often the Bible refers to Christians as “little ones.” That’s the way God views his children, whether we are ten or sixty years old.

It is a serious breach of God’s desire when one of his children causes another of his children to sin.

How can we avoid such a sin? The answer comes from God’s Word (Gal. 5:16): “...live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” We must submit to the Holy Spirit at all times. Trust him to control and guide us so that we never tempt a brother or sister to violate God’s desire for their life.

Temptations may come from outside forces — the devil or one of his henchmen, but our defense is the same.

This passage gives clear instructions about helping a brother or sister who is under temptation. If we are aware of such a situation we are to encourage that brother to walk in the Spirit, to be strong in the Lord. If they stumble we are to rebuke Him.

If and when the brother repents and asks forgiveness we are to be generous in forgiving. Even if that brother falls seven times in a day, and repents and asks forgiveness we are to forgive. In Colossians (3:13) we are told: “...Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Jesus gave his life to forgive and cleanse us. In that manner we are to forgive our brother. We have no basis for harboring un-forgiveness and bitterness within our hearts.