Summary: If we want to be a part of the Kingdom of God we need to develop childlike faith.
A Messiah Who Values the Child Within
Text: Matt. 18:1-14
1. Illustration: The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we will trust him; the greater our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith (J. G. Machen).
2. No one loves and values children more than Jesus, and He tells us that we need to be more like children in our faith.
3. When it come to Jesus He...
a. Values the Heart of a Child
b. Protects the Heart of a Child
c. Rescues the Heart of a Child
4. Read Matt. 18:1-14
Proposition: If we want to be a part of the Kingdom of God we need to develop childlike faith.
I. Values the Heart of a Child (1-4).
A. Become Like Little Children
1. The life of a small child is pretty simple; they eat, sleep, potty, and cry when one of those things isn't going right.
a. They don't care what they look like.
b. They are not really concerned with success.
c. They don't worry about how to pay the bills.
d. They not exactly bothered by their place on the social register.
e. Jesus wants us to be more like that in our daily lives.
2. Our text starts out with, "About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
a. "At that time" refers back to the incident of the temple tax and the coin in the fish.
b. Realize that what had been happening recently with the disciples and Jesus.
c. Things seem to be revolving around Peter. Jesus had referred to him as a "rock," he had accompanied Jesus, along with the other two disciples to the Mount of Transfiguration, and Jesus had performed a miracle that paid for both his and Jesus temple tax.
d. The other disciples were getting a little jealous. They wanted to know where they stood in the pecking order.
e. It is obvious that they still didn't understand some of the things that Jesus was trying to teach them (Horton, 373).
3. Jesus, being the master of the illustration, "called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven."
a. Ancient moralists regularly trotted forth models of heroes and statesmen for their students to imitate; Jesus instead points to a child (Keener).
b. Jesus was going to use this child to show what the heart and attitude of disciples should be.
c. More so then than today, children were powerless, without status and utterly dependent on their parents.
d. Yet we must imitate such people of no status, people who recognize their dependence.
e. To "turn" reflects the Jewish concept of repentance (Keener).
f. They were worried about who was the most important instead of focusing what is really important in the Kingdom of God and that is getting in it.
g. The Kingdom is not about who is greatest or most important, but about a free gift that cannot be earned or bought.
h. It is about being totally dependent upon a gracious, forgiving God.
4. Jesus goes on to say, "So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."
a. In the world greatness is measured by prestiege, assertiveness, and a willingness to do whatever it takes.
b. However, in the Kingdom of God greatness is measured in humility, submission, and seeking the benefit of others.
c. In the Kingdom it's not about me, it's about others.
d. Humility is a word that was coined by Christianity. Before Christ, a humble man was looked upon as a coward: a cringing, unappealing, effeminate type of person.
e. However after Christ, humility was elevated to the most praise-worthy level.
f. When men looked at Christ, they saw the strength of humility through the influence of One Who was perfect in meekness and lowliness of heart (Practical Word Studies in The New Testament).
g. This is what Jesus values and a trait that He desires of all of His disciples.
B. Humble of Heart
1. Illustration: “Pride is so subtle that if we aren’t careful we’ll be proud of our humility. When this happens our goodness becomes badness. Our virtues become vices. We can easily become like the Sunday School teacher who, having told the story of the Pharisee and the publican, said, ‘Children, let’s bow our heads and thank God we are not like the Pharisee!’”
2. God hates pride!
a. Proverbs 8:13 (NLT)
All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.