Reverend Andrew Stelling is the pastor of this congregation, and his sermon was based on Mark 9:38-50. Stelling was quite adept at explaining the context of the passage, and also giving it a contemporary application.
38"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
39"Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40for whoever is not against us is for us. 41I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.42"And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 43If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48where
" 'their worm does not die,
and the fire is not quenched.' 49Everyone will be salted with fire.
50"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."Here's some random and somewhat disjointed notes on this sermon, written in my journal later the same day:
Don't be so presumptuous or judgemental about who is or isn't a genuine follower of Christ in within the body of Christ.
Hands are what you do, feet are places you go, eyes are what you see. Be careful what you do, about the places you go to, and the things you look at.
Here, Jesus wasn't advocating that we literally mutilate ourselves, but he was making the point that we should treat sin as seriously in our lives as if we did.
Little ones can mean children, who are small in stature, spiritually immature Christians, who are small spiritually, or the weak and powerless in society, who are small in status.
To do something in someone's name means acting in a way that reflects their person, to do something in their character. Christians are meant to be ambassadors of Jesus. Our conduct must reflect this, with consistency in words and actions.
Journalling is a good Christian discipline, particularly if you have extended periods of solitude, as I do these days. If you're not already doing so, give it a try.