Posted by: missionventureministries | April 19, 2018


“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.” (Matthew 18:6) 

This is such an important message that Mark and Luke also refer to it. 

Being a stumbling block to “one of these little ones that believe in me” is a serious offense. The reference here is to a person that has been converted and becomes humble like a child. Jesus portrays the seriousness of causing a believer or an innocent child to fall into sin in a very graphic manner by saying that it would be better to have been killed by drowning in the deepest sea with a heavy millstone around ones neck. 

The millstone described here is a heavy and large rock that was hewn into a wheel shape and pulled around by a donkey.

This form of execution was used on occasion by the Romans to kill a criminal. This type of pagan execution would have been unimaginably horrible to Jews, yet Jesus said that suffering such a terrible death would be better than to cause one of these little ones to sin. 

As we read on, Jesus pronounces “woe” upon those that are such stumbling blocks and states that stumbling blocks are inevitable. It is certain that they are going to occur for two primary reasons. The first is that the world is sinful and hates God. Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Because the world hates God, it also hates those that belong to Christ, and those who are worldly will use multiple means to try and cause people to stray from God. Methods used will include false doctrine to entice people’s desires, and some of those efforts will be demonically inspired and empowered (Ephesians 6:12). Sadly many of these methods will be by people who are friendly and appear to want to do something good for you, and the common element will be lies that depart from the truths of God’s word. 

We need to be aware that stumbling blocks are also cause by immature Christians that are still battling sin and will tear one another down instead of helping each other. That should not to be, but that is reality as seen both in the Bible and in the experience of your own life.

 Let’s take a look in the Bible since it is dangerous to think that only those who are not Christians will be stumbling blocks; since we need to be fully aware that Christians can also become stumbling blocks if we are not careful. 

Here are several warnings concerning this. Romans 14:13 tells believers to determine “not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” And 1 Corinthians 10:32 warns believers not to be an “offense” or a point of “stumbling” to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God. Christians should not cause believing brethren to fall into sin, nor prevent non-Christians from coming to Christ because of their conduct in promoting sin. 

What are some of the ways that believers may entice or be enticed into sin? Direct enticement to sin may come about through counsel that proves to be ungodly. Giving unbiblical advice promotes sin, and the one giving such advice is causing God’s children to stumble. These people are in grave danger of being addressed one day with the same words the Lord warned in Matthew 7:23, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” 

Direct inducement to sin also comes when you try to get someone to agree to your own sinful practice. For instance: A husband or wife that takes their spouse out to some immoral form of entertainment, when Ephesians 5:25-27 tells husbands to lead their wives into purity, not impurity. Another way is watching violent demonic and pornographic movies in your home in the presence of your children and disregarding their pleas to turn it off because they are scared. 

People can also stumble through our actions, since the example we set may lure another person into sin as they imitate us. This is especially important in the home because children are so easily impressionable and emulate what their parents are doing. We need to also understand that new Christians and immature Christians are also very impressionable; and because they are not yet well acquainted with God’s word, they often end up believing that godliness is whatever the “more mature Christian,” is doing. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself: How faithful are you to the Lord, your wife and to your family? What is your attitude towards tithing? What do you watch on TV or what movies do you go to see? What kind of employee are you, do you steal from your boss? What kind of clothes do you wear…do you reveal too much? 

There is a story is told of a man that loved drinking more that his family. On night he snuck out to go to his favorite bar. On his way home he heard soft footsteps in the snow behind him. There was his five year old boy who said when he caught up to his father, “I’m trying to follow in your footsteps, daddy.” 

What kind of example are you setting for those who are following you? Each of us needs to heed the admonition that Paul gave Timothy, “. . . in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12).

You can also be a stumbling block by the manner in which you deal with others. When you speak, is it the truth in love? Or do you speak with the condemning judgment that Jesus warned about in Matthew 7:1-4? Do you respond to other believers in ways that will build them up or tear them down? Parents are specifically told in Ephesians 6:4 “Do not provoke your children to anger.” And Colossians 3:21 adds, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.” The principles in these verses have a wider application than just for parents. 

Frustration and anger can easily result when you show favoritism or demand unrealistic expectations. If you are critical more than encouraging you can cause another person to lose heart. When you are insensitive, unloving and unkind, you can cause fellow members of the body of Christ to fall into sin. 

1 John 2:10 speaks to the primary issue of how to prevent from being a stumbling block telling us that, “anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” The more you abide in the light, that is, walk in the Spirit obeying the directives God has given in the Scriptures, and the more you love your brother, the less you will be a cause of someone else falling into sin. 

The pursuit of holiness is the cure for both problems of either being led astray or leading someone else astray. Anything that morally or spiritually traps you, causes you to fall into sin or to stay in sin, should be eliminated quickly and totally. 

Every Christian is to consider himself to be crucified with Christ, dead to sin, and alive to righteousness. Therefore, examine yourself and make sure you are in the faith and that the Holy Spirit lives in you. This  will end the selfishness that prods pettiness, discontentment, being controlled by emotions and a host of other sins. 

Each of us needs to abide in the light, strive after holiness, and love one another so that there will be no cause of stumbling.

And remember that: “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 1:24-25).

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