Monday, March 4 2024

Bible Reading for: January 28

Matthew 18:1–20

The little ones shall not perish; they will not be excluded from Heaven for lack of salvation. God will take them home to Him.

Jesus speaks about children today. In one sense, He uses children as a metaphor, but much of what He says concerns literal children. The disciples were evidently arguing amongst themselves as to who would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. I suspect a few of them might have thought it would be they. Strangely, Jesus’ response was to say that unless they became as children they wouldn’t even enter the Kingdom.

Matthew 18:3-4 ESV
“…Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”

So, whoever humbles himself, like the child he called over to them, is the greatest in the Kingdom. First, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven one must be born again. Being born again means you start off as a spiritual infant. Spiritual maturity comes with time and effort. Now, does a child lead or follow? A child is not given authority over others; a child has someone in authority over them, and they obey that authority. The greatest in Heaven is not a leader. The greatest in Heaven is a follower. A spiritually mature Christian will not be the greatest leader in Heaven; he will be the greatest follower. He will be the one who completely submits his will to that of Jesus Christ.

You see, in Heaven Jesus has all authority, just as He will on Earth. Jesus said that if anyone wished to come after Him, he must first deny himself. Humility is the mark of the greatest in Heaven. The one who does not esteem himself will be the greatest. Jesus, being God incarnate, did not come to Earth commanding worship as was His right. He submitted Himself to the will of the Father. He sacrificed His wants and desires for the well-being of others. There was no greater selfless person in the history of the world than Jesus Christ. Now we know that the greatest in Heaven will be Jesus Himself. The most esteemed, after Christ, will be those who do not esteem themselves.

This is what you are maturing toward brothers. As you grow spiritually your life will be less and less about yourself and more and more about Jesus Christ. Being about Him means that you will be about His children and the Lost.

Finally, as Jesus speaks about the lost sheep, we see an analogy for lost people. While I think that analogy is proper, I actually think He really is talking about children. Jesus has a child with Him as He is speaking with the disciples so when He says “See that you do not despise one of these little ones” He is speaking about children.

Matthew 18:14 ESV
“So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

God looks out for the little children. He has given man free will but if man abuses that freedom there will be consequences; especially if he abuses a child. Those who abuse children are in for a bumpy eternal ride. That said, the verse above gives us assurance that when a child dies, they are not condemned to Hell because they hadn’t yet submitted their life to Christ. Children have not reached an age of accountability and God will protect them. In fact, I find the following verse rather interesting.

Matthew 18:10 ESV
“… For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Their angels” – what do you suppose He meant by that? I think God provides protection for the little ones. That doesn’t mean they won’t suffer. We live in a perverted world and all of creation suffers. What I mean is that God watches over children and He will bring them to Him if their suffering comes to death. If you lost a child, my heart breaks for you. I cannot imagine the pain you must have felt and continue to feel, but take heart in the knowledge that your child is with God and the angels.

You know I’m reminded of David who, through his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, had a child. That child became sick, and while sick, David mourned terribly. He was inconsolable. He didn’t eat; he lay on the ground all night for seven days until his child died. His advisors were afraid to tell him that his child had died. They figured if he was this upset by his illness he would go nuts by his passing. Contrary to their fear, upon hearing of the child’s death David got up from the ground, washed and anointed himself, changed his clothes, went and worshipped God in the temple and then went home to eat.

After eating his servants asked why he wept and mourned while the child was sick but got back to business when he died. This is how David answered:

2 Samuel 12:22-23 ESV
“He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’  But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Being dead, David’s child could not come to him, but David said he would go to the child. How would he do that? My friend his young child was in Heaven, and David knew that he would see that child when he too got to Heaven. Mourning wouldn’t bring the child back but he had the assurance that he would one day go to the child. That was his assurance and it is our assurance today.

Victorem Vivere! (Live Victorious!)

Your brother and servant in Christ,
Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Reading Plans
Chronological Order: Genesis 41–42
Old Testament Only: Exodus 9–10
Bible Order: Exodus 27-28

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