Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
The Church (Part 13: Plucking And Cutting)
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:29 (NKJV)
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:30 (NKJV)
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched.
Mark 9:45 (NKJV)
Jesus' Sermon On The Mount covers three chapters of Matthew (5-7). It covers our lives. If we can learn His transforming words, we can live them. Then, we will be covered too: 'He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge' (Psalm 91:4), because His 'Love covers all sins' (Proverbs 10:12).
Some of His lessons are hard. No one wants to contemplate the removal of his own body parts. Although symbolic, it's a sobering sacrifice. But Jesus proved that death brings life on the path to perfection. Therefore, we must face His words and apply them to our lives.
*First, consider the placement of these scriptures (Matthew 5:29-30). They follow Jesus' warning about adultery and lust. Next, consider what He means by 'Your whole body.' It is the body of our actions, the body of our family, and the body of our church.
If lust begins in our eyes, we must stop the look--whether it's a person, store, ad, or film. We must pass without pause. We avoid the vamp, leave the loot, close the book, and hit eject. 'Gotta have it' becomes 'Gotta have Him.'
If our best friend is our right hand, and if our right hand causes us to sin, we must cut him off. Our pain in loss becomes his profit to learn. When we surrender our beloved kin to God, we invite our Father to take charge. Clearly, He loves prodigals and lost sheep. We no longer stand in His way to reach and to teach.
If our foot causes us to sin, we are walking on the wrong path. Becoming 'crippled' allows God to carry us the right way until we recover both the footing and the strength to follow Him.
Concerning the church as the body of Christ, it is His business to cut off any part of it that is unproductive. Therefore, let us be productive with true eyes, true friends, and true direction.
To Be Continued...
*Today's key verse from Mark 9:45 is not included in Matthew's description of the Sermon On The Mount. It is included because of its relationship to the message.
Note: For more details, see AMTC's past devotion series, Cut It Off (April 10-12, 2012)
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Church series.