Save that which is lost
Text: Matthew 18:7-14
Jesus Christ’s purpose is to seek and to save that which is lost. And the LORD is willing to save anyone and anything that is salvageable. In fact, that’s why God came in the flesh to seek and to save that which is lost. Now, the reason people are lost is because of the world and the offences produced by the world.
An offence in this context is something that causes or justifies unbelief. For instance, the lust of the eyes produces unfaithfulness and cynicism against God’s will for man. He sees her at the office after hours. He starts having thoughts about her. Suddenly, in his mind his marriage isn’t as good as he thought it was. The disagreement is magnified in his mind and the marriage trouble is exaggerated in his thoughts. This began with the lust of the eyes. And now his heart is working on the justification for breaking a covenant he made with his wife.
The cares of this world produce fear that seems to invalidate God’s provision. The injustice in this world seems to discredit a righteous and just God. Here’s the point, the world is the primary cause of unbelief.
The world describes systemic unbelief. It is an unbelief factory. That unbelief has been architected by the god of this world going all the way back to Eve in the garden. Satan’s systematic unbelief is built on the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Unbelief is the product.
Systematic Offences (vs 7)
- Woe unto the world because of offences!
- The world describes a gauntlet of tempting ideas, ambitions, desires, relationships, knowledge, all opposed to God, crafted by the god of this world in order to produce unbelief in the LORD and submission to the god of this world through carnal behavior.
- World is a system covetousness and discontent.
- World is a system of loving money rather than God.
- World is a system of fornication and adultery, not Godly marriage.
- In all, the world is a system of unbelief. It is a program of infidelity to God. It is enmity with God. The world produces unbelief.
- 1 John 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
- But the world works because people engage and promote worldliness (vs 7)
- …but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
- But WHO taught you covetousness not contentment? It boils down to a WHO. Who told you fornication was OK? Who told you to love money as the measure of life’s decisions?
- You also found out worldliness is in your body: it’s biological. Then someone came along and justified worldliness and cast doubt on God’s word.
- Worldly is a description of a person or something a person built. If you take away the people, there is nothing worldly.
Seriousness of these crimes (vss 8-9)
- Now, there is a way to take this literally and a way to take it figuratively.
- If the doctor told you to, you would.
- Amputate the offense before it kills you. Amputate the offense before it destroys your soul.
Son of man will reconcile or remove all offences (vss 10-11)
- Take heed that you’re not part of the problem!
- Jesus Christ said eventually He will cast out all things that offend in His kingdom; Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.
- Applied to offending children or a lost sinner looking for help (vss 10)
- Verse 10 is not guardian angels, it is representation before God.
- Churches in Revelation have angels representing them before God.
- Here’s an interesting contrast. Sodom and Gomorrah had no representation before God therefore the LORD and a couple angels came down to check on the city in Genesis 18.
- Verse 18:11 reasons the entire purpose of the LORD Jesus Christ coming is to save lost sinners.
- Verse 18:11 – An interesting note here is that if you have a translation other than a King James Bible, this verse is probably taken out.
Shepherd’s illustration (vss 12-14)
- The Lord’s talking about the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but could be applied to lost souls in general. The difference is the nation of Israel is God’s nation from the beginning. God’s national flock is made of souls who begin as God’s people with all the advantages of heaven outlined in Hebrews 6 and Romans 3, but many end up dying lost in the world. This is how the LORD Jesus Christ can speak of a lost soul who is a part of his flock: He’s talking about an Israelite.
- Gentiles on the other hand start out as strangers and alienated from God’s heritage, but many end up saved and added to God’s flock.