24th April 2023
Read - Mark 9:42-50
Message Alan Burke
There is a man that I visit regularly and he has told me on more than one occasion that he has never heard a sermon on hell. He was a regular attender at worship on the Lord’s day all his life until covid and then illness got in the way. To give you some perspective he has heard somewhere between 3,000-6000 sermons and I’m not trying to give you an exaggerate number for if you go to worship as the Lord requires you’ll be there at least once on the Lord’s day over a year that should be 52 times but lets assume you were sick, on holiday or something comes up so we will say 48. Now take your age and multiply it by 48, if you are over 70 that’s 3,360 times you’ve been at worship and you should have heard God speak as his word was preached. Then if you go to evening worship double your 3,360 and you’ll get 6,720, and don’t forget all the funerals, weddings and the other times you’ve heard God’s word preached like taught midweeks and then answer me in all that time how many times have you heard a sermon on hell? This man says he’s never heard a sermon on hell and because of illness he won’t make it there on Sunday but he’s asked for a CD.
I can hazard a guess to why he has never heard a sermon on hell in his 3,000-6000 sermons and it is because of how unpopular the teaching of hell is. It has led many try to avoid it because let’s be honest it isn’t easy listening and it’s not easy preaching. Some preachers never mention hell at all while others deny the truth of it saying that at death unbelievers will simply cease to exist, it is a heresy known as annihilationism, while others teach a universalism again another heresy that everyone will eventually be saved, God will not punish anyone, we’re all getting to heaven no matter what we believe so no need to worry.
But then what do we do with the teaching of Jesus? What do we do with Mark 9:42-50 and the very word of God? You can ignore it, take it out, avoid it but then you run into the danger of not actually believing the word of God and instead you believe a creation of your own imagination, and what may be truth to you may not be to another. The problem with that is when we decided what is in or out, what matters and what doesn’t the whole thing is worthless and sadly there are whole denominations where they have rejected the very word of God and it is as good worthless.
We’re not going to get into the detail of these verses today or the warning of what awaits those who do not repent and believe, rather what I want you to notice the seriousness of sin that is laid out before us here. For in v42 it deals with causing others to sin and then goes on to deal in v43-50 it deals with our own sin, the seriousness of it. In verse 42 it gives a vivid picture of how it would be better for a person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the sea and as it goes on to cut parts of our body off to emphasise that seriousness. Remember though what we are told in Mark Chapter 3:28, where Jesus said 28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. (Mk 3:28), know those words are true, as fallen sinful people who have broken relationships know those words of Jesus, if you have repented and believed then you have been forgiven.
For the believer your sin has been forgiven, you cannot commit the unforgivable sin, yes your sin is serious, you should never belittle it but it has been dealt with. Yet all of us need reminded just how serious sin is and the consequences of it. The question that most of us need to ask this day is are we taking our sin seriously or have we bought into the lie that it doesn’t really matter?
Q28 Wherein consisteth Christ’ s exaltation?
Christ’ s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, (1 Cor. 15:4) in ascending up into heaven, (Mark 16:19) in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, (Eph. 1:20) and in coming to judge the world at the last day. (Acts 1:11, Acts 17:31)