Summary: Do you ever struggle with other believers? Do you sometimes find yourself looking around wondering if one of your dear brothers or sisters in Christ is ever going to get their act together? When’s he going to get over his sin? Will she ever stop her w
July 31, 2005
EVERY BELIEVER’S VALUE
Do you ever struggle with other believers? Do you sometimes find yourself looking around wondering if one of your dear brothers or sisters in Christ is ever going to get their act together? When’s he going to get over his sin? Will she ever stop her whining? When’s so and so going to start doing their part around the church? If you ever find yourself getting frustrated with weak, wimpy believers, Jesus has a few words for you. You’ll find them in Matthew 18:10-14.
In Matthew 18:10-14 Jesus continues a discussion He’s having with his disciples about what it means to be great in the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus tells his disciples that in order to even enter the kingdom one must become humble like a little child. Entering the kingdom requires us to become totally dependent on Christ alone. Then, in verses 5-9 Jesus goes on to warn us that we must never cause other believers—especially young or weak believers—to stumble into sin. And, I think, it is the weak believer Jesus especially has in mind when he continues on in verses 10-14. Turn with me to Matthew 18:10-14 and follow as I read.
Speaking to His disciples who would soon become the leaders of Christ’s Church Jesus says, See that you do not look down on one of these little ones (that is, other believers in Christ). For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
Let’s start by being honest. Sometimes we disappoint each other as believers. Sometimes we sin against each other. Sometimes we irritate each other and let each other down. And along with those things comes a temptation. It is the temptation to close our hearts to one another. It’s the temptation to complain about each other and to criticize. It’s the temptation to write each other off as worthless. If we yield to those temptations, Jesus says we sin. We sin because, as believers, we have no right to reject people God accepts. We have no right to hate people God loves. We have no right to cut them loose or cause them to stumble. No. When we stop caring about other believers—especially weak, stumbling believers—we stop caring about people who are the apple of God’s eye.
Take a look at the person sitting next to you this morning. Do you know how much that person matters to God? If that person is a believer, Jesus says, “Be careful you don’t look down on them!” Jesus says be careful that you don’t look down on them because every believer in this room is literally an object of angelic concern! Look again at Matthew 18:10 Jesus says, See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
I don’t know if Jesus is telling us that every believer on earth has what we would call a “guardian angel.” That’s clearly one possible meaning of His words. But whether Jesus is referring to individual guardian angels or the ministry of the angelic hosts in general, one thing is clear—the angels themselves take an interest in our lives. They care for us. They are concerned for us. And even as they dwell in God’s presence they express their displeasure whenever the least of God’s children are rejected or abused or seduced into sin. Every believer is the object of angelic concern. Hebrew 1:14 says that the angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation! So, next time you’re tempted to say, “Nobody cares about me,” remember this—the angels care. Their attention is fixed on you. Their concern is for you. But never forget, it’s not just about you. The angels care every bit as much about that other believer too. Be careful that you don’t abuse them. Be careful that you never reject them or write them off. Be careful that you never tempt another believer or cause them to sin. Remember, when you mess with your brothers and sisters in Christ you’re messing with angels. But that’s really only a minor consideration in light of what Jesus says next. Jesus goes on to say, “When you mess with your brothers and sisters in Christ, not only are you messing with angels, you’re messing with God.