Tuesday, May 31, 2011

God's Incredible Children

I have truly enjoyed, and been inspired by, my own personal study and preparation for the series of lessons I've done in May called God's Incredible Family. I did one lesson on what it means to be the family of God, and then I did lessons on Moms, Budgets, Dads, and last Sunday, Children. This last one was the only one I had a little trouble with. I didn't want to just do an old rehash of Jesus with the children in Matthew 18 - but then - I really looked at. You can listen to it on the church web page, but I wanted to share what I called Three Challenging Principles from Matthew 18:1-14.
1. A child was Jesus' best illustration of greatness in God's kingdom. (vs.1-4) Wow! Just think about what that means! Of all the things he could have chosen - he picked children as a powerful example of what God is looking for! What is greatness in God's eyes? A humble seeking heart! But here is the point from this that grabbed me - it's not just an illustration but a declaration! Children are in the kingdom of God and HE dearly loves them. It's not just a symbol but real! Everything else he says is supporting that fact!
2. Jesus clearly proclaims God's love for children! (vs.5-9) He warns anyone who would mislead them: 1) To welcome them is to welcome him; 2) If you cause them to sin - it's better to die! 3) If you are a Sin Carrier = cause others to sin = you need radical surgery! Then he warns anyone against minimizing their importance. 1) They have angels watching over them w/ direct access to God (vs.10), and they are individually more important than the whole. (vs.12-14)
3. Jesus presents one of the most challenging demands of His ministry! (vs.3) He declares it a truth = fact, indisputable, that gives us insight to God. He demands that we "change and become like little children." Spiritually speaking, the older you get in Christ, the more child-like you become. That's not what we see in many "older" Christians today! He wants to see humility (Importance comes from God); seeking (a heart wanting to know God), and the rejection of worldly greatness (what makes someone great and what makes a church great). He is clear about the failure to follow his challenge. "You will never enter the kingdom of heaven!" That's more than eternity with God in heaven - it is the spiritual world of God now!
With all the things we fuss and fume and divide over, there is nothing about what Jesus wants here that is hard to understand. He and His Father are always clear about what they really want! Maybe we're too grown up to "get it"!

1 comment:

Glenave Curtis said...

Oh Mike, this is so beautiful. What a wonderful lesson for me---and for everyone who reads it. thank you. If I can figure out how, I want to copy it.