Summary: We need to put our whole focus into humble trust and dependence on God as we seek to serve His will and follow His commandments.
Change And Become Like Children
Change Part Two
Text: Matthew 18:1-3
This evening we continue a short series centered on change. You may have noticed quite a bit of talk about change in the media these days. Change is taking place all around us, in every aspect of our lives it seems there is change happening. Politics, economy, climate, we are told that everything is changing and that we must change accordingly (according to whom is the question!)
In our first lesson we saw how God calls everyone to repentance; that is, to change the direction of our lives.
In this lesson we will examine a teaching Jesus gave to His disciples requiring in them a change of attitude concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.
The lesson given here is one that I am sure many of us can recognize; the need to have our priorities in proper order.
Read Matthew 18:1-3
The word “converted” means turned, changed, or recovered. The disciples were going in completely the wrong direction and unless they made a complete about-turn, they were going away from the Kingdom of heaven and not towards it.
Their opinions and feelings about the kingdom of the Messiah had to be changed. They had supposed that he was to be a temporal prince. They expected he would reign as other kings did. They supposed he would have his great officers of state, as other monarchs had, and they were ambitiously inquiring who should hold the highest offices. Jesus told them that they were wrong in their views and expectations. No such things would take place. From these desires they must be turned, changed or converted, or they could have no part in his kingdom. These ideas did not fit at all the nature of his kingdom.
As long as man considers his own self as the most important thing in the world, his back is turned to the Kingdom, and, if he wants to reach the Kingdom, he must turn around and face in the opposite direction.
Jesus required that the disciples turn, that is, that they change from their worldly ambition and selfishness and develop the characteristics of a child, specifically humility.
I. Humble as a Child v3
A. This is the main emphasis of the whole passage.
1. A child does not wish to push themselves forward neither do they wish for prominence.
a. It is only as the child grows up and gets involved in a competitive world that his instinctive humility is left behind.
b. The follower of Christ must learn to humble himself as a child, giving up the pretence of prominence or preeminence within the Kingdom.
2. Read Mark 9:33-35
a. v35 "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."
II. Humble as a Servant
A. Romans 12:3a (NASB) 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;
1. True humility means knowing yourself, accepting yourself, and being yourself, your best self, to the glory of God.
a. It means avoiding two extremes: thinking less of yourself than you ought to (as did Moses when God called him, Ex. 3:11ff), or thinking more of yourself than you ought to (Romans 12:3).
2. Read Romans 12:4-6a
a. The truly humble person does not deny the gifts God has given him, but uses them to the glory of God.
B. Have the mind of Christ: Read Philippians 2:3-8
1. By nature, all of us are rebels who want to be celebrities instead of servants. It takes a great deal of teaching for us to learn the lessons of humility.
a. An unspoiled child has the characteristics that make for humility: dependence and trust.
III. Characteristics of the Child
A. Dependence is natural to a child; they never think they can face life alone. They are perfectly content to depend on those who love them and care for them.
1. If men and women would turn to God and place their dependence on Him, they will move closer to the Kingdom.
Matthew 6:30b - 33 (NASB) …You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
B. Just as the child is dependent on his parents or guardians, so he trusts them to meet his needs. Children cannot provide their own food, clothing and shelter, yet they never doubt that they will be clothed and fed, and that there will be comfort, warmth and shelter when they come home.