If Your Eye Causes You To Sin...If Your Hand Causes You To Sin... - CD Brooks Sermon Transcript

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(from the Breath of Life Series by C. D. Brooks)
transcribed and edited by Derek Morris

Our topic tonight is an intriguing one: “Knock Out Your eye, Cut Off Your Hand.” In 2 Peter 3 the Bible speaks, and this is what it says. 2 Peter 3:7: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

This very earth that we love so much, and things that are therein are reserved unto fire. Verses 8-9: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” But the day of the Lord will come. There seems to be a delay, says Peter, but God hasn’t forgotten His promise. He’s just not willing that we should perish. He wanted you to have a chance to hear the truth. That’s why He waits. There are still good men and women in all communions, indeed there are good men and women sitting in bars right now, who, when they hear the voice of God, are going to come out of there.

The Lord knows who they are. He says, “I know My sheep and My sheep know Me.” He’s waiting for preachers to preach it; He is waiting for church members to live it, so that everybody can receive a witness. He hasn’t forgotten His promise.
CD Brooks

Verse 10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” What a figure! Has anybody here ever had a thief come to his house? He sent you a note to tell you he was coming, didn’t he? And when he came he only dumped the trash cans, right? Oh, no! Thieves come when you least expect them and they only take that which is precious. The Lord said, “I’m coming as a thief in the night.” Unannounced. You can’t wait for a certain date to get ready. He said be ready. And He’s not coming for refuse and trash. He’s coming for gold, tried in the fire. He’s coming for the wheat and not tares.

Verse 10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” There was a time when men said that some things won’t burn, but since Hiroshima they’ve changed their tune. Everything will burn. “The elements shall melt with fervent heat the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” God has no objection to you having a nice home, unless that home becomes more important to you than God. He has no objection to you having lots of money in the bank, unless that money becomes more important than God. Would you say Amen? And if you become married to a house, or to money, or to material possessions, the Bible says, “The earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then,” verse 11, “that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”

Beloved, my subject title tonight comes from the lips of Christ himself, and it is almost a radical appeal to our good sense. Christ shows the desperation of grace to save lost men and women. It almost seems out of character that He should speak the way He speaks. But Christ is trying to impress us that these things on earth that we love so much and for which we exchange eternal life, are temporal, transitory. They will pass away. But if only we would get it in our heads that all these material things are going to be destroyed, perhaps it would cause us to set our faces toward heaven, and allow nothing to distract us. Would you say Amen?

It’s time to stop dilly dallying around and make a decision that we’re going to heaven. What do you say? And to sit around and hem and haw, to pretend that we can sit on the fence is to make a decision. For the Bible says in Matthew 12:30, “He that is not with Me is against me.” Beloved, these are the words of the Lord. I’ve been preaching to you night after night, and twice on Sabbath for four weeks, and tonight I’ve got a burden on my heart. The Lord says, If anybody comes to that meeting, drunkard, harlot, drug addict, gambler--it doesn’t matter who it is or what they’ve done--Morris, tell that sinner salvation is free, and that I love him, and that I’ll save him, but tell him he’s running out of time. Tell her that if she’s going to decide to serve the Lord, she’d better do it now. The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, and everything that men marry themselves to will be burned up. Tell them that they’re running out of time.

The Bible says in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson…” tell them not to be discouraged because they have served the Devil so long. Tell them if they’re ninety years old, and they’ve served the Devil for ninety years, I’ll still take them. Tell them when they’ve messed up their lives so even their families don’t want to be bothered with them, I’ll take them. But tell them they’re running out of time. Tell them, today if you hear My voice harden not your hearts. Tell them, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.

I’ve come to a conclusion after my years in the ministry and that is that folks are hard to save. They’ll listen to junk and applaud, and dump their money in. I am convinced that folk like to be fooled. If I were up here begging you for your money, you’d give it to me. People are strange creatures. Yet when you come free of charge, asking nothing, and present the truth of God, show it to them in the Bible, tell them to write down the texts (if it’s not in the Bible it’s a lie), when you level with people like that and beg them to check on you in their own Bible, they fight and kick and don’t want to listen! What’s wrong with us?

It’s hard to save people. They act like the Lord’s going to take them to heaven and put them on the chain gang when all He’s trying to do is keep us out of hell. He’s trying to give us life for death, riches for poverty, health for sickness, sweetness instead of bitterness, a loving Christ instead of a hateful Devil--that’s all He wants to do! 

And yet men fight and argue, and resist and resist, bound by their own tradition and ideas. Matthew 15:3: “And He answered and said unto them, ‘Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?’” Christ was amazed. These folks were terribly upset with the disciples because they ate without washing their hands. They came to Jesus, in verse 2, and said, “Why do your disciples do that, breaking the traditions for the elders?” And Christ looked them in the eye and said, “Why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” And then in verse 9, “But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

That’s about as clear as you can get. Would you say Amen? Christ says it’s not enough to worship Me the way that men says. It’s not enough to do what seems right to you. We’ve read it before in Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.” Just because a lot of people worship on a day that man has set aside as holy doesn’t make it God’s holy day. Would you say Amen? Beloved, we’ve got to make up our minds. Whom are we going to serve? Are we going to obey God, and His commandments, or are we going to follow men? Nobody’s going to force you. But if you decide that you’re going to keep the commandments of men, at least you ought to know why you’re going to be lost. If you’re going to trample on God’s Sabbath day, even when you know it’s God’s holy day, and for the sake of convenience or the sake of tradition keep man’s day, at least you ought to know why you’re going to receive the mark of the beast.

We hold onto our traditions and our habits and some will cling to them, no matter what the cost, even if it means being damned. I heard the story of a man who went on an expedition. He was going to climb a mountain with a guide, a challenging climb. When he showed up he had a great big camera, and a pack on his back. He had a thermos full of hot chocolate, and he had his binoculars around his neck . He was loaded! The guide said to him, “Are you going up that mountain with us?” 

“Oh, Yes!” he said. 

“Then you can’t carry all that.” 

“Oh, don’t worry about me, I’ll make it. I want to take pictures up there. I want something to show my friends when I come down.”

At first they were moving along well. But soon he started to huff and puff. The track became narrower and more difficult. As he tried to negotiate these steep inclines, he quickly realized, you can’t make it to the top with all that luggage. So he took off his pack and threw it down by the side of the trail, and kept on climbing. But the higher he went, the more difficult it became. After a while he decided that he had to leave that thermos of chocolate, so he set it down on the side of the trail. Then he got tired of those binoculars weighing down his neck, and he threw those down on the side of the trail. And he went up a little higher, and the higher he climbed, the more difficult it became. His legs began to ache. His heart was pounding. He realized that even the few things he still had with him were too much of a burden. So he laid his expensive camera down. Pulled off the cap on his head. He laid everything aside. But he made it to the top!

The way to eternal life is straight and narrow. The reason people resist the truth of God is because they don’t want to unload. They wouldn’t mind joining the church if they could keep on doing all the things they did before, but you’ve got to unload. They wouldn’t mind joining the church if they could keep on wearing whatever they want and eating whatever they want and drinking whatever they want, but the Bible says, “Strict is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.”

Oh, but these things are precious. How precious? More precious than being saved in God’s Kingdom? Jesus said we should be willing to forsake all that we have and follow him. Beloved, we’ve come to the hour of decision. The Devil tempts us to put everything ahead of God, and people are not thinking. When this world is on fire, there’s only one who can help us, and that’s God. Would you say Amen? There’s only one who’s got a heaven to take us to. There’s only one shelter, and that’s God. Yet we put friends ahead of God. We put money ahead of God. We put homes ahead of God. We put traditions ahead of God. We put preachers ahead of God.

I want to appeal to your intelligence this evening. What is your objective in going to church anyway? To please a preacher? To prelate a friend? Or to go to heaven?

Now, if our objective is to go to heaven, we’ve got to do what God says. Would you say Amen? If you’re not willing to do that, don’t fool with the church. If you’re not willing to do all that the Lord has said, then why bother at all? You’re going to be lost anyhow!

If this church suddenly caught on fire, and a fireman ran up on stage and said, “Folks, there’s only one way out of here. Follow me,” you’d follow him even if you had to climb over the pews, isn’t that right? I can just imagine somebody saying, “My preacher said, ‘We’re all going to be saved no matter what we do. There must be more than one way. I don’t think I’ll do it right now. Maybe later on.’”

Yet when it comes to eternal life, we say all of these things. In Joshua 24:15 the Bible says, “If it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, then choose ye this day whom you will serve.” Now, I know one thing. I know that in the four weeks we’ve had together, we have studied the truth of God’s word together. I know that. And I know some of the things I’ve had to tell you are not popular things to tell folks. I know some of the things I’ve read to you from God’s Word have been difficult for me to say. But I’ve said it anyhow, in the interest of your eternal future. Now you’ve got to choose. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” If it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, then serve whom you please. Because for me and my house, I’ve made up my mind a long time ago. 

Now, I’ve made some mistakes. I struggle like you struggle. I’m not sitting up here on a limb somewhere. We’re in this together. Would you say Amen? I have to pray like you have to pray. But I’ve accepted the promise of God that if I believe with all my heart, if I’m willing to go all the way with God, I should not perish but have everlasting life. I’ve made up my mind a long time ago that as for me and my house, we are going to serve the Lord. Let the heathen rage. Let godless men laugh. Let scoffers mock, but as for me and my house, we are going to serve the Lord. Nothing’s going to come between us and the will of God for our lives. We’ve made up our minds. We’re heaven bound.

Yet so many little things get in our way. We are so easily detracted from our heavenly goal. Jesus saw this weakness in men and women and so He spoke in strange and radical terms about making up our minds. Mark 9:43. These are the words of Jesus: 

If thy hand offend thee, cut it off. It is better for thee to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched, where the worm dieth not and the fire shall not be quenched. If they foot offend thee, cut it off. Better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell. If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee to enter in the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell. For everyone shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt (Mark 9:43).

Beloved, what does this mean? Why did Jesus resort to such desperate language? Is our Lord a sadist, suggesting that we should actually chop off our hand, or the knocking out of an eye? What is the meaning of His words? Jesus is saying if there is something or someone on this earth as precious to you as your right eye, if that thing or that person is standing between you and eternal life, cut it off. 

I’ve heard it, but I’ve come to the time tonight where this has got to be said. You have heard the Word of the Lord, God will never regard you again the way He regarded you before you came to these meetings. The Bible says, Acts 17:30: “The times of our ignorance God winked at” but when the light comes, He holds us responsible for the light we have received, and God sent this light to you. You didn’t come out here by any accident. There are thousands of people in this area who never set their foot in this place, but you had a rendezvous with God, and the Holy Spirit brought you out here, because God wanted you to hear His final warning to a doomed world.

For every sermon, it’s on your record; you heard it. Every time you saw it in your Bible, it’s on the record; you saw it with your own eyes. Every time the Holy Spirit whispered in your ear and told you it’s the truth, it’s on the record; you heard it. Every time you make an excuse even when you know the truth, it’s on the record.

So now the Lord appeals. Don’t let anything, don’t let anybody hinder you. 2 Peter 2:21-22. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it happened unto them according to a true proverb. The dog has turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
What terrible language in the Bible! And yet, the Bible says it would have been better if you’ve never heard, than having heard, to turn away from the truth. When a person who is in darkness is privileged to receive the light of God’s Word, and turns back to do what he always did, he’s like a sow that’s scrubbed who goes back to the mud hole and wallows in it. Or like a dog that returns to its own vomit. These are not my words; they are the serious words of God.

So I say to you, as Christ said, “If your right eye offend you, pluck it out. If your right hand offend you, cut it off. If your right foot offend you, cut it off.” Beloved, if friends are standing between you and a full surrender to Christ and to His will, those are not friends! Anybody who influences you on toward hell is not truly your friend. Would you say Amen? Those folk need our prayers, but not our allegiance. Anybody who is trying to turn you away from a position you have taken with the Lord, who’s ridiculing you, or belittling your commitment, that is not a friend. So if you’ve got a friend who’s standing between you and the will of God for your life, cut him off. Better to go to heaven without that person, than to go to hell with a crowd of pals. Would you say Amen? Don’t let any friend turn you away from the one friend you really need. Well, who is the one friend you really need? What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. Let’s say Amen!

When you take your stand with God’s commandment-keeping people, you join a loving family. Let me tell you what I know. I’ve been many places on the face of this earth, whether I’m in Paris or Copenhagen or up in the Artic Circle, wherever I go to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ who believe this message, there is a loving fellowship. Folk who don’t even speak my language throw their arms around me and welcome me in the Lord. We believe the same message; we keep the same Sabbath; we have the same hope.

Well, what about my family? What if they oppose my decision to follow the Lord all the way? Jesus said in Matthew 10:33, “But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before My Father which is in heaven.” Verse 34: “Think not that I came to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Verse 36: “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” You decide to serve God, sometimes your own husband gets mean, not because you’re running around, but because you made up your mind to serve the Lord. I’ve witnessed it, so don’t get all excited when it happens to you.

A lady was baptized in Cincinatti, and after the baptism there was a dinner for all the new people. Everybody was enjoying the fellowship, but that lady was nowhere to be found. She was standing outside, and she looked so troubled. A quiet, solid soul, didn’t even tell what the problem was. She got in her car and went home. The next day in became apparent what the problem was. Her husband told her, “If you get baptized, join the church, and decide to do God’s will, I’m going to kill you.” 

That woman didn’t even hesitate. Just made up her mind. If I die, I’m going to die serving Jesus. That rascal hadn’t been a good husband anyhow. Why should I hold back and catch hell with him and hell in the end? I’m going to serve the Lord. She was baptized and went home to get killed. But he didn’t show up. After 10:00 pm he still hadn’t shown up and so she started to call around to the bars, trying to find him. Couldn’t find him. At midnight she called the police. They said, “Let us check the hospitals.” When they found him, he was in a cast from his neck down. Now he was the one who needed prayer.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:37-39, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.” I tell you my friends, when you put the Lord first, He always comes through. Would you say Amen? The Psalmist said in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” God may lead you through a test, but He says, “I am with you, I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And I want to tell you tonight, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.”

Friends, it’s better to walk alone with the Lord than to be destroyed with your relatives. Now, that doesn’t mean that you return evil for evil. When you get mad, you stay cheerful because the Lord is in your heart. When they swear, you pray. If it’s a father be respectful, and if it’s a mother be respectful, but simply say, I cannot disobey the Lord.

There are some who won’t follow Jesus because they are depending on others. Sitting out there waiting for somebody else to do right. God doesn’t save couples; He will save a couple one at a time. God doesn’t save families; He will save a family one at a time. But you’ve got to make a personal decision, and for you to sit around waiting for someone else is the height of folly, and if you use your head and think about it, you will know it’s so, because you could die tonight.

In the book of John 21:21 notice what Jesus says. He had just told the disciples, “Follow Me.” And Peter turns and sees John there and he says in verse 21, “What shall this man do?” Always look at others. Oh, I understand the truth Lord, but what about my husband? Jesus says, “I have given you the truth, follow thou Me.”

Then there are some who are caught in bad habits. They are going to give up the kingdom for a beer, something that is destroying them anyway. They’re going to trade that for eternal life, take that instead of Jesus. There are people who would rather have a filter king than the King of Kings. Rather have a string of pearls than the Pearl of Great Price. If it’s standing in your way, cut it off. Take your stand for God, and He will always come through. 

I was working for the forestry commission in Sweden in the summer of 1975, and the Lord called me to do a special work for Him way up in the north of Sweden. So I went to my boss. I knew he didn’t have to let me go; I’d taken the job for the summer. But I went in to see him. I told him about the work that the Lord had called me to do, and he said to me, “Young man, if the Lord is calling you, you’ve got to go!” He even took some money out of his own pocket to help me on my way. The Lord always comes through. Would you say Amen? I’m not just telling you something I read. I’m telling you what I’ve experienced. There are folks who turn their backs on God for money. But I want to tell you tonight, there was no greater thing I ever did than turn my back on a high paying job to serve the Lord. I’d rather go to heaven a poor man, than be the richest body in hell! Would you say Amen out there?

The Lord is not calling those who are determined to be lost. He said, “My sheep know My voice.” In Psalm 119:60 David said, “I made haste and delayed not to keep Thy commandments.” Beloved, Christ is calling, not Morris. You don’t owe me a thing. Some of you won’t see me again. I just want you to know what the word of the Lord says.

Men and women are making decisions for the Lord. Some of you have not indicated yet what your plans are. Friends, I wouldn’t force you into the church if I had the power, but if you have seen God’s will and you want grace to walk in it, if you want to follow Jesus through the waters of Bible baptism and become a part of His remnant church, I want you to mark a big “B” on your decision slip tonight. Just a big B, and pass it in if you plan to through with the Lord in the fullness of truth.

Some of you have already decided that you’re going all the way with Jesus. One person told me, “I’ve got peace and joy in my heart.” The truth of God’s Word is so clear and so beautiful. Let’s say Amen out there. Tonight a loving God is pleading with your heart. He’s using a preacher, and He’s using the Bible, but He is pleading with you. Jesus weeps to see so many turn away. He died in vain for them. Can’t you feel the pain in the heart of Jesus tonight? People putting houses and money and habits and traditions ahead of Jesus.

But there are going to be some who will be glad to see Jesus come. Let’s say Amen out there. There are some who are going to do His will. There are some who are going all the way with Jesus. He gave His life for you. He’s the best friend you’ll ever have. What do you love more than Him? Who do you love more than Him? Cut those things off and let’s go all the way with Jesus. What do you say? If that’s your desire tonight, that nothing would prevent you from a full surrender to Jesus, that nothing would prevent you from doing His will and keeping His commandments, I want you to stand up with me right now, and let God know the decision of your heart.

Blessed Lord, here we stand to let You know that we don’t want anything to prevent us from a full surrender to You and to Your truth. We want to love You more than all of these. Don’t we folks? And it’s time to take a stand. It’s time to make a decision. Lord, you know how I love these people. You know how I pray for them. You know how I want each one of them to make a full commitment, to be baptized, and to be saved in your kingdom. But I know that You love them more than I do. And I can’t change hearts, so I plead with You tonight. Send Your Holy Spirit to do what I cannot do. Break through Lord. Break through. Move upon these people tonight. And while we pray, are there folks here tonight who want to get ready to be baptized? Are there folks here tonight who love Jesus and His truth more than anything else in the whole world? Are there?

O Lord, move upon the hearts of Your people. And if tonight you see Jesus beckoning you to surrender your life and be baptized, if tonight you hear Jesus calling you to come, if tonight you sense the Holy Spirit impressing you that it’s time then I’m going to ask you to come forward . Come right now.

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