Peter Barnes : Matthew 18:5,6
SERMON NOTES: JUDGMENT FOR LEADING A LITTLE ONE ASTRAY (Matthew 18:5-6)
– Jesus uses the word for ‘child’ in verse 5, and ‘little ones’ (‘micro ones’) in verse 6. Most of the scholars (R. T. France, Don Carson, Craig Keener) say that the child is not literal but is the humble child-like believer. One leads to the other (Matt.25:40). But the child is literal in 18:2-4, and also in 18:5-6.
- To receive a child is to receive Christ.
– 18:5. Richard Baxter: ‘Good laws will not reform us, if reformation begin not at home. This is the cause of all our miseries in the church and the state, even the want of a holy education of children.’
– Luther usually preached twice each Sunday at St Mary’s Church in Wittenberg, but in the afternoon he spent an hour leading his family of Katie and six children, plus four orphans in worship.
– Thomas Manton says in the Epistle to the Reader of the Westminster Confession: ‘Religion was first hatched in families, and therein the devil seeketh to crush it’.
– During the 1734-5 revival in Northampton, Jonathan Edwards received a four year old, Phoebe Bartlett, into church membership. Isa.54:13.
- To lead a little one to sin is evil indeed.
– 18:6. The word is ‘stumbling block’, as in Lev.19:14. See Prov.28:10. Luther: ‘Sin in front of a child and you sin twice.’ What of the appalling Safe Schools Program? Gen.42:22 – Joseph only a boy.
- God will judge those who lead little ones astray.
– 18:6; not the small millstone turned by women but the larger one turned by a donkey.
– Matt.25:31-32, then 34, 41.