Not this passage from Matthew’s gospel,
- “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!” (Matthew 18:7 – NASB)
A stern message from Christ! He has just finished responding to a question that His disciples have put to Him regarding who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (18:1). Calling a child to Himself (18:2), He speaks of the childlike mind-set one needs to have if they are to be converted and enter into the kingdom of heaven (18:3). He speaks of the great value of humility, the humility often seen in a child, a necessary trait if one is to be converted and thus be great in the kingdom of heaven (18:4). And whoever, He says, that receives such a child, one that is humble and believes on Him, that one also confesses to receiving Him, affirming all that is in His name, all that He says and all that He is and all that He has to give (18:5). For by receiving, in humble repentance, Christ as Lord and Savior, one receives forgiveness of their sin and gains the kingdom of heaven.
But be warned Jesus says,
- ” . . . whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6 – NASB)
“Woe” to anyone who causes a person “to stumble,” who would turn a child away from Christ, who would turn any person or a child into sin. “Woe” to them! The penalty is due them and it is most severe; “better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around (their) neck, and that (they) be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks” Jesus says. Yes, people become “stumbling blocks” to those who would receive Christ. “The world” actually creates “its stumbling blocks” to keep people from Him.
Example of a worldly “stumbling block:” The public education system. It trains children up in a way that turns them from God, from Christ, from His Word. It teaches them that they were not created by a Creator but that they evolved by chance, having come about out of some type of pre-mortal slime. This education system’s design and make-up essentially leads children and youth and young men and women in a path of learning that ignores the most important need of every human being; to repent of their sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Once it was that the halls of education existed to do this very thing, to lead the young to Christ the Savior . . . . but man has corrupted the system and he has turned it into what Martin Luther appropriately titled any educational facility that fails to teach the Scriptures; “great gates of hell.”
- “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks!”
Jesus says that it is “inevitable” that such “stumbling blocks come,” but be assured, the judgment of those who create them is one to be most feared.
What are we to gain from this? We must be diligent to see that we are never a “stumbling block” to either a person or a child that might steer them away from “the kingdom of heaven,” away from the call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as God’s only way to salvation from the wrath to come. Instead of “stumbling blocks” we are to be,
- ” . . . ambassadors for Christ, as thought God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:20 – NASB)
Note well brethren . . . “Woe” to the “whoever” . . . to “the world . . . . because of . . . stumbling blocks.”
Have a good day . . . and as you walk continually seek to serve as an ambassador for Christ and for His Word watching yourself carefully that you not be a stumbling block to anyone’s path to the kingdom of heaven.
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