Summary: So what is Jesus telling us about his kingdom? If you want to be great, become small. God isn’t looking for us to be independent, but dependent. The strongest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who realises that they have no strength themselves, but t
Intro: My dad’s bigger than your dad! My dad’s stronger than your dad! My dad’s smarter than your dad! My dad’s faster than your dad! Does this sound familiar? The cries and taunts of childhood, usually tossed at our mortal enemies. Why did we use such words, what purpose did they serve? Usually they were to bolster our own confidence, or perhaps as a last effort to avoid getting pounded in a fight with the school bully. It would sound pretty strange if we were to resort to such things now... why? Because most of us feel that we are big enough to fight our own battles without having to drag our dads into it. But are we?
Passage: Read from Matthew 18:1-7.
I. What is the Kingdom of God
1. The kingdom of God is different from any other kingdom of this world. It is in fact opposite in every way to the virtues which our worldly kingdoms value.
• It is separated from the kingdoms of finance where the richest rule.
• It is separated from the kingdoms of business where the most cunning rule.
• It is separated from the kingdoms of stardom where the most popular rule.
• It is separated from the kingdoms of politics where the most powerful rule.
2. In the kingdom of God it is the poorest, humblest, weakest and forgotten who rule. It is a kingdom in which the highest aspiration is to be like a little child and where the most powerful wash the dust from the feet of those less powerful. It is the kingdom Jesus demonstrated with his life and inaugurated with his death and resurrection.
II. Where is the Kingdom of God
1. The kingdom of God exists here today, it is in the hearts of men where God reigns. The kingdom of God is not in its finished state, but it is growing, the day will come when Jesus will return and will usher in the completed Kingdom of God. But it is here now and we are a part of it.
III. Who is the Greatest in the Kingdom of God
1. This was the question that the disciples were arguing about. They wanted to know what it would require to be the greatest. Jesus answer is meant to change their perception. They needed to know what would be significant in the Kingdom of God. For this object lesson Jesus selects a child. Setting the child before them he states that unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven and the one who humbles himself like this child will be the greatest in that kingdom.
2. Did Jesus mean to say that children are more suited for the kingdom of heaven than adults, or that children are more humble than adults? NO! When Jesus told his disciples to become like children it was not because children are more pure and humble than adults, but that for an adult to become like a child, to reduce him or herself to the level of a dependent would require humility and would bring the proper perspective of what it meant to be great.
3. Illus.: A child has no strength on his own - My dad came to walk me home because the school bully wanted to beat me up. A child has no authority on his own - My dad came to help me collect overdue money from a newspaper customer who never seemed to have the money to pay. A child has no wisdom on his own - My dad helped me make many important decisions.
Conclusion: So what is Jesus telling us about his kingdom? If you want to be great, become small. God isn’t looking for us to be independent, but dependent. The strongest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who realises that they have no strength themselves, but that because of their dad they are strong. Authority in the Kingdom of Heaven comes when we realize we have no authority, but that all our authority comes from our Father. The wisest in the kingdom of heaven are those who realize that they have no wisdom, but rely on God’s wisdom. You get the picture... so come into the kingdom, surrender your independence, humble yourself and become like a child again and rely on your Father in Heaven to take care of the rest.