February 1, 2019
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
This is one of the most challenging statements Jesus ever uttered. Religious fanatics say things like this. Zealots and extremists believe these things. If your hand causes you to sin you should cut it off? If your eye causes you to sin you should gouge it out? Radicalism. Extremism.
But as we delve deeper into what Jesus says, and the reasons he says such things, I think we will see Jesus is simply challenging his followers to see their current lives in relation to their eternal lives. It used to be said of Christians they were so heavenly minded they were no earthly good. But in our current culture I've experienced just the opposite. We are often so earthly minded we are no heavenly good. Eternal life doesn't grab our attention as it once did. Preachers, including me, don't preach on eternity much anymore. Churches don't have the same evangelistic vigor they once had as they've grown to ignore the eternal consequences of sin and salvation. If we are going to truly live this One.Life we must understand Eternity.Life.
You are invited to join us this Sunday at 10:45 a.m. at First United Methodist Church OKC as we closely examine eternal life, heaven, hell, and the role eternal life should play in our daily lives. Join us for "Eternity.Life" this Sunday at First Church OKC.