Peter Barnes: Matthew 18:1-4
SERMON NOTES: GREATNESS IS BEING CHILD-LIKE (Matthew 18:1-4)
Matthew’s Gospel is based on five lengthy discourses (chapters 5-7; 10; 13; 18; 24-25), each of which leads into a saying such as ‘When Jesus had finished saying these things …’ (7:28-29; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1-2). In Matthew 18 we have Jesus’ teaching on various relationships.
- A question we cannot answer.
– 18:1. Daniel perhaps? – Dan.6:6-10. But the disciples do not have a good track record even after this – Matt.20:20-24.
– Jesus can raise it and answer it – Luke 7:28.
- Be converted like a child.
– 18:2-3. Don Carson suggest that it could be Peter’ son, because they were at Peter’s house (17:25).
– Martin Luther once became a little exasperated with family life, and exclaimed: ‘Christ said we must become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Dear God, this is too much. Have we got to become such idiots?’
– 1 Cor.14:20. Conversion is part of what it means to be a Christian – Acts 15:3; 1 Thess.1:9; 1 Peter 2:25.
– when John Wesley was only six years old, in 1709, the Anglican rectory at Epworth burnt down. Wesley was only saved from the second storey when a neighbour bid another man stand on his shoulders and rescue little John before the whole building collapsed.
- Be humble like a child.
– 18:4. William Wilberforce: ‘The genuine Christian strives not to prove himself guiltless but humbles himself in the dust and acknowledges that he is not worthy of the least of all God’s mercies.’
– Col.3:12-15; Matt.19:13-14.