Saturday, June 27, 2009
Matthew 18:1-14 The Children!
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. 6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! 8 "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. 10 "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. 12 "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
I like this piece called Property Laws of Toddlers. Some of you can easily relate. 1. If I like it, it's mine. 2. If it's in my hand, it's mine. 3. If I can take it from you, it's mine. 4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine. 5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way. 6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine. 7. If it looks just like mine, it's mine. 8. If I saw it first, it's mine. 9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine. 10. If it's broken, it's yours.
Cherish the Children, Because Jesus Did
The most important quality is humility. As Jesus says in verse 4: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
This is the keynote of the whole passage. A child does not wish to push himself forward. Instead, he wishes to fade into the background. He does not wish for prominence, he would rather be left in obscurity. This isn’t true in every case. Some kids are spoiled brats but usually it’s because of misguided adult treatment. Ordinarily a child is embarrassed by prominence and publicity. It’s only as he grows up and begins to be initiated into a competitive world with its fierce struggle for prizes and first places that his distinctive humility is left behind.
There is also a child’s dependence. To a child a state of dependence is perfectly natural. They never think they can face life by themselves but are content to be utterly dependent on those who love them and care for them. If adults would accept the fact of their dependence on God, a new strength and a new peace would enter their lives.
Third, there is a child’s trust. Children are instinctively dependent and just as instinctively they trust their parents to meet their needs. When we are children we cannot change our own diapers or buy our own food or maintain our own home. Yet we never doubt that we will be clothed and fed and that there will be shelter and warmth and comfort waiting for us when we come home. When we are children we set out on a trip with no way to pay the fare and no idea of how to get to the journey’s end and yet it never enters our heads to doubt that our parents will bring us safely there.
To Jesus, no one was unimportant. Some might say, “It’s only a child, don’t let him bother you.” Jesus would never say that. No one was ever a nuisance to Jesus. He was never too tired, never too busy to give all of himself to anyone who needed it. The way to his presence was open to the humblest person and to the youngest child.
A few years ago, an angry man rushed through a museum in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt's famous painting Nightwatch. He took out a knife and slashed it repeatedly before he could be stopped. A short time later, a distraught, hostile man slipped into St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome with a hammer and began to smash one of Michelangelo's beautiful sculptures. Two cherished works of art were severely damaged. What did officials do? Throw them out and forget about them? Absolutely not! Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore the treasures. By His sovereign grace, God restores even the most ruined lives. Who are we to "despise" anyone?
Call the Children, Because Jesus Did
Be Converted Like Children
The meaning of conversion. We talk about conversion in many areas of life. We convert coal into energy or water into steam. When I went to America I had to convert my dollars into US Dollars. We mean by this a turning or changing from one state, condition, use or purpose into another. The various forms of the word convert come from a basic meaning of “to turn.” Turn is used in some older translations; When Jesus told Peter “when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” it is found “when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32). In Acts 3:19 we see “repent and be converted” where in another it has “repent and turn again.”
Conversion, biblically, is the process by which the inner man becomes a Christian. One thing that is important to notice is that it is a turning from but also a turning to.
If we simply turn from sin, we will turn to something else of our imagination. Eventually, we will be worse than at the beginning (Matthew 12:43-45).
The Thessalonians did this ( 1 Thessalonians 1:9). These people had been idolaters. They turned from that to serve the living God. They could have turned from idols for any reason. Instead they turned from idols to God. A sinner must go from darkness to light (Acts 26:18).
The method of conversion.
The manifestation of conversion. Martin Luther declared that in conversion there was to be a change in head, heart and purse. The Bible uses convert to describe the whole process of a sinner’s turning to Christ and the gospel. It is shown in a change of the intellect from unbelief to belief. It is manifested in a change of affections.
Colossians 3:1-2. 1 So if you have been raised with the • Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. It is manifested in a change of the will - we now live for Christ and not for sin. Galatians 2:20. and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. It is manifested in a change of state, from being outside of Christ to being in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The Miracle of Conversion
The Must of Conversion Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.