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Basic Instructions

A Journey With Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction:
Pledge
Passage:
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them
3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,
6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them
3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Title: Basic Instructions

4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I had a guy come up to me after speaking at an event for leadership.
He asked me, “What is the top 3 things I need to know and be doing when it comes to developing leadership?
What he was asking was, I know there are a bunch of things I have to be doing but what would be the top 3 basic things (Instruction) to get started?
I am sure that most of you, here this morning, are believing that you will (One day) pass on from this life here on earth.
And if you are like me, I am anticipating that I will spend eternity in heaven with the Father.
But in the mean time I would not want to do anything that would jeopardize my entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.
So, just this gentleman who asked what is the top 3 things I would need to do, I would want to know, what is the top three things I would need to do to be assured entrance into the kingdom of Heaven.
THIS IS WHAT JESUS REVEALS TO HIS DISCIPLES in this passage.
PAUSE
Segway:
5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,
6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Illustration (Following Instructions)
ILLUSTRATION
“Television,” a British magazine, gave its readers instruction on how to put together colour television sets. About 2,000 do-it-yourself fans spent hundreds of hours each putting the sets together. Not one of the homemade sets worked, and the magazine now admits making a series of major errors in the instructions.
As we read this passage of scripture there was a couple of things that jumped out to me.
As we read this passage of scripture there was a couple of things that jumped out to me.
HONOR-SHAME SOCIETY
The biblical world was what anthropologists call an honor-shame society.
The social status, and thus the worth of every person in the society, was established through an elaborate system of valuing and devaluing.
Every conversation and social interaction was regulated by the relative status of each participant.
People often engaged in one-upmanship and other ploys designed to increase their own honor or decrease the honor of another.
Jesus persistently rejected both the devaluing of persons and the games played that were part of the honor-shame society.
The reason I tell you this is because ....
One of the major things that stood out was the usage of a child by Jesus’ to make his point.
One of the major things that stood out was the usage of a child by Jesus’ to make his point.
VALUE OF CHILDREN (in Jesus' day and time)
Children ranked lowest on the honor-shame scales of personal worth.
Though Judaism highly valued the idea of children, their value was more potential than real.
It was only when children reached adulthood that their value was realized.
Jesus’ words were more challenging than His action: Unless you change and become like little children, you will have no place in the kingdom (18:3).
In these 6 verses we see the word “Child” or “Children” used 4 times.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Child (2, 4, 5) “Infant”
Children (3) “One who is open to instruction”
Jesus’ words were more challenging than His action: Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (18:3).
Body:
Lets look at what the word of God has for us today......
What we know about this passage is that (in and Luke 9:46-48) its revealed that there was an argument between the disciples about “Who was going to be the greatest.”
This argument amazes me because just a little over 1 week ago Jesus tells them he is going to the cross to die and on the 3rd day be raised.
The disciples go from denying God’s word to arguing who is going to be the greatest after all this takes place.
But we shouldn’t be surprised after what we have learned about the Honor-Shame society they lived in.
They approach Jesus and ask, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?
What’s so interesting is Jesus doesn’t answer this questions directly. (Doesn’t state which one)
As a matter of fact, Jesus takes a child (Toddler) and places the child in the midst of the disciples.
Not necessarily in the middle but where all 12 could see the child.
He then makes a statement that doesn’t give them their answer but causes them to think along the lines of another question ...... “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
What he meant was this: “You have been arguing about the question who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, as if you were sure of already being in it and of being destined for its future manifestation in glory.”
The better question that would come from that is ....” Am I going to enter the kingdom of Heaven?”
The question that would come from that is ....” Am I going to enter the kingdom of Heaven?”
You see, this story is not about the Children!
Not about Children but Disciples
Its about the Disciples.
I don’t know about you but for me the amazing beauty of Jesus Christ’s heart was revealed in his restraint, that is, in what he did not do and did not say?
He did not even scold his disciples for their callousness, their insensibility with respect to his approaching agony, the non-lasting character of their grief, their quickness in turning the mind away from him to themselves, their selfishness.
All this he passed by, and addressed himself directly to their question.
What we read next (3-6) is basic instructions to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
I don’t think there is one person here this morning that would raise there hands and say they don’t want to go to heaven.
Even “atheist” on their death bed are fearful of missing out.
WC Fields was considered an atheist and was caught on his death bed reading the bible.
When caught He was asked, “What are you doing?” he replied, “Looking for loopholes.”
I believe this, what Jesus gave as instructions to the disciples are meant for us as well.
Climax:
The Instructions (To enter the Kingdom of Heaven)
REPENT
“Turn” (3) “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn ...”
In the Greek it’s (Strepho): meaning to experience an inward change.
Jesus demands that the disciples turn, that is, that they be converted from their worldly ambition, their coarse selfishness.
Of course, they cannot do this in their own power.
They must pray the prayer found in , “… bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the LORD my God.”
for you are the LORD my God.
Only when the divine act of causing a person to be reborn (born “from above”) has taken place, is conversion, as an act in which man himself takes part, even possible.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art Jehovah my God.” Only when the divine act of causing a person to be reborn (born “from above”) has taken place, is conversion, as an act in which man himself takes part, even possible
Another Basic Instruction .....
2. TRANSFORM
“Become like Children” (3) “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn AND BECOME LIKE CHILDREN, ....”
What does becoming like children look like? (Open to Instructions)
Humility (4)“Whoever Humbles himself ...”
True humility is not to think low of oneself but to think rightly and truthfully of oneself.
What a picture this little child presents when it comes to humility ......
And now there was this humble little child, still looking trustfully into the eyes of the Master!
Jesus is saying, “Let everyone then become like this child.”
Let them learn that the only way to ascend is to descend.
Do they wish to become great? Then let them become little!
Then let them become little!
Do they wish to rise? Then let them sink!
Do they wish to rule? Let them become like slaves.
(Paul called himself this in Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
I ran across a Dutch poem concerning a child and humility ....
Make me, O Lord, a child again,
So tender, frail, and small,
In self possessing nothing, and
In thee possessing all.
O Savior, make me small once more,
That downward I may grow,
And in this heart of mine restore
The faith of long ago.
With thee may I be crucified—
No longer I that lives—
O Savior, crush my sinful pride
By grace which pardon gives.
Make me, O Lord, a child again,
Obedient to thy call,
In self possessing nothing, and
In thee possessing all.
Hospitality (Welcome) (5) “Whoever receives one such child ....”
Hospitality (Welcome)
Welcoming people in ...
Not keeping them out ...
Embracing all walks of life ...
Not placing a requirement on entrance into ...
Don’t forget about the Honor - Shame Society they lived in.
Jesus was totally against it.
And finally, the last instruction given by Christ in this setting was about .....
3. Model
“Non-deterrent”
Don’t cause someone to Sin
Encourage them to live a life for Jesus.
Whens the last time you encouraged someone to walk with Jesus?
Results if you do cause someone to Sin
He is not endorsing Suicide
He is saying that if you cause someone to sin the “physical death” will be much more easier to deal with than the “spiritual death.” (HELL)
When you stand before Jesus on judgement day and he say’s, “I do not know you!”
Conclusion:
These instructions still apply to us today!
How are we measuring up to these instructions?
Have we repented?
Are we being transformed?
Are we Humble?
Are we Hospitable?
Are we modeling a life in Christ that is longed to be duplicated by others?
Are we causing someone to sin?
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