Summary: Jesus wants us to: 1. humble our hearts (vs. 1-4). 2. serve our Savior (vs. 5). 3. see the danger of disobeying God (vs. 6-9). 4. know the amazing assistance we have in Heaven (vs. 10). 5. see how to be saved (vs. 3 & 11-14).

The Lord's Big Lessons from Little Children

Matthew 18:1-14

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - May 22, 2016

*Well, it's now only 18 days until our first grandbaby is due, and I've been thinking about how much babies have to learn. Parents have to teach their children so much: How to walk and talk, how to eat and be potty trained, how to wash-up and get dressed, how to act right, be unselfish and get along with other people. Most of all, parents need to teach their children about the Bible, the ways of God, and the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

*But children also have a lot to teach us. For one example: They help us see how much trouble it must have been to raise us. Of course, some of us were a whole lot more trouble than others. And I was one of those.

*Children also help us see what really matters in life, and many young couples found their way back to church, when their children came along. God has a whole lot more to teach us from children. And in today's Scripture, the Lord uses children to teach us the biggest lessons of all.

1. First: Jesus wants us to humble our hearts.

*This is the Lord's lesson for us in vs. 1-4:

1. At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?''

2. And 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.

*Jesus wants us to humble our hearts, and He uses a little child to help us do it. Unfortunately, we don't get instantly cured of sinful arrogance and ambition when we get saved. Staying close to Jesus doesn't necessarily cure us either.

*So here, the Lord's closest followers were arguing about which of them was greatest. And this wasn't the only time. The Bible shows them having the same kind of argument at least four different times. In Luke 22, they were still arguing about this only hours before Jesus died on the cross.

*Well, the Lord doesn't want us sitting around arguing about who's the greatest. Jesus wants to help us humble our hearts, so He used a little child to give us the guidance we need. That makes sense, because although little children can be selfish, and they can certainly lose their temper. They really don't have a lot to be arrogant about.

*You'll never hear a baby bragging about keeping his diaper dry the longest, or a 2-year-old bragging about being the greatest kid in the nursery. Little children tend to be humble, especially around a group of adults. And Jesus is saying that we need to be humble, because we are always in the presence of God.

*Now this lesson of humility is very important to the Lord, so He stresses it many places in His Word. For example, James 4:5-10 asks Christians:

5. . . Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously''?

6. But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.''

7. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

8. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

9. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

2. Jesus wants us to humble our hearts. -- He also wants us to serve our Savior.

*The Lord wants us to serve Him as our Savior, and doing what we can to take care of children is one of the most important ways to serve the Lord. In vs. 5, Jesus shows His followers how much He wants us to care for children. And the Lord said: "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me."

*Jesus wants us to "receive" little children, and it helps to know the word picture in the original language. It's the picture of taking little children by the hand, or holding them up, or taking them in as part of our family and friends. And this part of our service is so important to Jesus that He said whenever we receive even one child in His name, then in a way, we are also receiving Him!

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