Kingdom Life 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. 7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8 and if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 and if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 11 12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 and if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:1-14 ESV) “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” It is a ridiculous argument. What is great among men when you have the Son of Man in your presence? We all have a tendency to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. This way of thinking comes from a faulty foundational belief. Faulty beliefs promote foolish arguments. Not properly understanding the kingdom of God, the disciples made some wrong conclusions and argued foolishly about the wrongs things. Jesus answered the disciples’ question about elevation (who is the greatest in the kingdom?) with a comment on entrance (who says that you’re even in the kingdom of God?). (Douglas O’Donnell) Wrong beliefs and presumptions keep people from truly entering the kingdom of God. The religions of the world lead people to God by achievement, which is not possible. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 ESV) “I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” (Matthew 18:3 MSG) The Lord instructed his disciples to be turned completely in their thinking. He was telling them to stop thinking that they had it all together and start thinking that they were in need of God’s great grace. We’re all to enter God’s kingdom as a child, who has no possession, no power and no privilege. With humility and faith, enter the kingdom of God by his grace. Jesus then moves the conversation to his protective nature for those who are his own. Redefining greatness for his followers, Jesus said the humble are great and they express their greatness by purposefully receiving others who have humbled themselves and entered the kingdom of God. Citizens of the kingdom of God are meant to live life together, encouraging and leading one another in a life of holiness. We are living in a day of great sin and reproach. Somehow, many people have embraced the sin of the world while claiming to embrace the kingdom of God. What has been done in darkness, God is now exposing. The sin is ugly. It is uncharacteristic of a Christian. It is unbiblical. and it will not go undisciplined. Christians must live radically different from those of the kingdom of the world. The kingdom of the world feeds fleshly desires, building up sinful craves, while the kingdom of God feeds the spirit, building up a holy appetite. With humility and grace, be purposeful to live holy lives in God’s kingdom. Maybe you’ve been living with secret sins that you have hoped will remain hidden. Maybe the affections of your heart are no longer for the kingdom of God. Maybe you’ve wandered away from Jesus. He is seeking you this morning and longs to rejoice with your return to his fold. With thanksgiving and repentance, return to the fold of Jesus if you’ve gone astray.