Matthew Chapter 18
"Discipleship. As a little child."
Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
transcription/ location is provided by http://www.theseason.org/plough.htm
This chapter teaches you how to plant seeds in our daily life, and gain the knowledge that Christ was teaching while on earth in His first advent. It is important in our lives to learn to release the pressures and stresses in our lives, and turning them over to Jesus Christ; knowing that He cares for you. Christianity is not a religion, but a reality. It is words of encouragement of how we can grow closer to our Heavenly Father, and please Him. It is from the Father that all blessings flow back to us.
Matthew 18:1 "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
The whole state of affairs of mankind living on the earth, is based on positions of standing. Whether in government, the church and even within our family. We are going to learn four lessons in this chapter, the first lesson is to be humble, and stay in the low places, and be ready to serve when you are called upon by God. In the Millennium age there are many that consider themselves authorities in Scripture, and deserve the high places, yet they will find themselves in the children's area of teaching, so to speak. We must learn that it is God's Word that does the teaching, and not man's word.
The second lesson taught here is to be patient with our neighbor. Don't be a busybody with the neighbor.
The third lesson is that we are not to take advantage, or scandalize a weak brother. Learn patience when dealing with others, especially those that claim the name of Christ.
The fourth lesson is to correct that brother, or neighbor with love and compassion, when he is at fault, that Christ may be presented to him.
Matthew 18:2 "And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them."
This deals with who is the greatest in heaven, and Jesus is going to explain this in a simple object lesson.
Matthew 18:3 "And said, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
When you teach a child a new thing that he is interested in, he will open his mind and accept whatever you say. His eyes light up, and the excitement of learning can be seen in his whole body. This child has one hundred percent faith in his father or mother, or whomever is teaching him. As the child listened, there wasn't a doubt in his mind as to the truth of the matter.
Friend, that is exactly what you have to do with Jesus, and the Word of God. Adults pretty much think that we know it all already, and that is a mistake. Regardless how much you think you know, there is so much more that you can be taught if you just put your mind to it. As you place God's Word into your mind, it becomes like a seed, and will grow. As you yield your mind to the Holy Spirit of God, His Spirit will take that seed of the Word, and make it bloom right there in your life.
That blossom of the truth of God's Word will not pass, but it will change your thinking process, the way that you think and reason, for it will set the standard for how you will look at other people and things that come into your life. So you must continually be as that child, when you read and study His Word, and be that receptive to learn and make it part of you.
Matthew 18:4 "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth in His First Advent as a baby. He came not as royalty, but born in a cave with the livestock. He came, born of a virgin girl, with the government out to kill Him, and to the degree that it would kill every child, just to get Jesus. Are you starting to get the picture? You don't enter God's kingdom as the king, but through the servants door, and the matter of being elevated, depends on the type of servant you become.
Being promoted to positions of responsibility depends on your willingness to learn, and follow instruction, and get along with others. It also depends on your faithfulness in the little things, and doing those things in the name of the King [our Heavenly Father]. "Humble" means that our Father gets the credit for what you do, not you, for all good things comes from the Father. The only reason you are in that kingdom, is because His Son paid the price. You came with nothing, you have nothing, and every good morsel that comes your way is credited to where it belongs, our Heavenly Father, in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ.
That is how you enter the kingdom of heaven, as a child. You come humble as a child, and ready to learn, and sorry for those things you do wrong. As you learn to give God the praise and glory, in Christ's name, He will promote you to the job He knows you can handle, and that He can depend on you doing right.
Matthew 18:5 "And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."
This not only refers to children, but those that are humble before the Lord. Man is not equipped to handle all his problems in this world, and this is directed to those that give their problems to the Heavenly Father, just as a child goes to his earthly father. Jesus is instructing us to receive and handle carefully those new babes in Christ, just as we would handle a child.
The child looks to the parent to get the job done, and solve any problem. In his mind, "my daddy can do anything," "my mother can fix anything." You see, you must put yourself in that position concerning God in Heaven. He is able to tend to any matter, and in the way that best fits your need. God has promised us that when we ask in Jesus name, He will not deny you.
John 15:7; "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Did you catch the condition Jesus gave before you receive? If ye abide in me; are you living for Him? "and my Word abide in you," What about it, do you study His Word, to have those words in your mind, and heart? When you do things God's way, then He blesses you. God is fair and just.
My friend, this is the answer to depression, when you have done all that you can do, then turn it over to the Father to fix. You have to become humble to see that it is beyond you, and it is time to give it over to God. You are the one to make the move, then He will do the rest. Jesus stands at that door and knocks, but the handle to open that door is on the inside of your heart. Jesus will not bust into anyone's business or life, unless you invite Him to do so.
When you do this act of letting Him come into your life, then Christianity stops being a form of religious practice, and it becomes life, it becomes the reality of real life and that is life filled with Christ, and directed by His Holy Spirit.
Matthew 18:6 "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were handed about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Jesus is saying that if you offend them and accuse them when they are as children in the Lord, and cause them to fall and turn from the Lord; it would have been better for you if you were done away with. When one truly believes the Father, as a child in understanding, and you cause them to fall in your judgmental ways, you will be treated very harshly by the Almighty Father on Judgment day. When you realize what you have done, friend it is time to repent to the Father, and to the babe in Christ. This is not a matter to play games with.
Matthew 18:7 "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
The troubles of the world will trip up everyone at one time or another, they will come because that is the way the world is and the nature of man. This is directed to those that place temptation in the path of another child of God, that this person would fall. Satan loves it when we take our freedoms that we have in Christ, and place it in the path of that child in the Lord that just can't handle it.
Though our conscience gives us certain freedoms, those freedoms can be stumbling blocks in the path of another person, and that offence can become the reason that a child in the Lord, (regardless of his or her age), turn away from Christ.
Matthew 18:8 "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire."
God has given us His health laws that show us how to protect our physical bodies. Those health laws tell us what to eat and what not to eat so we can live a healthy life. When you break one of the health laws the punishment is sickness to this flesh body, which could end in the death of this flesh body.
Why then would He tell us to mutilate the flesh body for the sake of the soul, when through His laws, He stresses our protection of it. The answer is; He doesn't, and mutilation is not what is talked about here.
This is in reference to the protection of that many membered body of Christ. He is talking about those members of the many membered body of Christ, that if you cannot conduct yourself as part of that body of Christ, as one of these children of His kingdom, and you bring offences to those that are, you are to be separated from the main body, while you are offensive. Sometimes God allows troublemakers to become part of a church, to be a thorn to them, and this can be tolerated. However, Jesus is telling us that it is best to just tell them to leave, rather then have them cause others to fall.
Matthew 18:9 "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."
This is directed to those in the church that are to be the watchmen. Those that watch that which is taught is from God's Word, and keeping the eye out for the well being of the church body. It is better to go with less understanding of God's Word, and dig it out for yourselves, then put up with allowing someone to steer the body of Christ into some other path. Little children don't act that way, it would be someone that thinks that they know it all, and trying to add something new to God's Word.
Matthew 18:10 "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say into you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
When one is as a child before God, regardless of age, and calls on God. God assigns an angel to that person, and each of those angels have the face of of the Heavenly Father. That means that when trouble comes, that angel can instantly call our Heavenly Father, and get His attention to the matter. Jesus is telling us that it is He that is assuring us of this fact, that if you try to bother one of these babes in Christ, it will be brought instantly to God's attention. You will not get away with harming any of Christ's little ones.. You see that this is addressed to God's little ones, and the person that does not believe in God does not have an attending angel.
Calling God's attention to the matter is beholding the face of God. When God tends to the matter there will be a correction taking place.
Matthew 18:11 "For the son of man is come to save that which was lost."
That is the whole purpose for Jesus Christ coming to earth as a baby, to save you.
Matthew 18:12 "How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?"
Of course the shepherd will do that, for He knows how defenseless that little lamb is to wild animals. He knows that the only protection a sheep has is the shepherd, himself. Our Heavenly Father has that kind of love and compassion for His sheep, and when one has gone astray, He will go after that precious soul, and He will take on all the demonics of this world, to get his lamb back.
It really doesn't matter how deep in sin and the habits of this world you have sunk; it really doesn't matter because when you get your eyes focused on Christ, and you call out to God to save you, He will take you right were you are, and make you a new creature. If you are on drugs, or in some crime, or even sunk to the depths of Sodomy, God will save you out of your filthy condition, and open your eyes to see Him. You are the one, though, that makes the choice, and calls out to Him, and He will do the rest. You are the one that has to recognize that you need the help, and repent, and He will save you. God loves His children.
God will take the attention from the ninety nine that are serving Him, and focus that attention on the one sinner that is lost. It doesn't take much to get God moving in your direction, just a crack in the door, saying, Father come into my heart, forgive me dear Lord; and He will.
Then God will help you control your flesh body, as you get yourself under control. To get off drugs, or alcohol, or change your lifestyle from perversion, Christ will give you the strength to see it through. The Holy Spirit of God will be there with you night and day, and when the going gets tough, He is there by your side, and in your mind to give you comfort. Friend, Christ is not a religion, but a reality with your very soul and mind. When He comes He brings new life, and hope that you can rely on, every moment of the rest of your life. God will change your habits, your goals, and then He will place an angel to watch over you.
Matthew 18:13 "And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray."
Friend, when you see the light of His Word, and repent and call out to the Father to "save me", there is rejoicing in heaven; and that is where it counts. Though men on this earth hold something against you, and treat you as a second class citizen, God does not. God created your soul, and placed your spirit within you, and there is a eternal value to your soul, and God has set that value to your soul.
Whether that soul is destroyed, or committed to an eternal destiny, that is for you to decide. You do not have to prepare yourself to make that decision, but just have sight enough to focus on the cross of Christ, and call out for His forgiveness. He will touch you right where you are.
Jesus is telling you here that God will give you special attention that the other saved and grounded in His Word, do not have. God will give you what it takes to see you through.
Matthew 18:14 "Even so it is not the will of your Father Which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
This doesn't mean that one of them won't, because the choice is up to all those with free will, but it is the Father's will that none of them would. We are reminded of this in II Peter 3:9; "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." That means that God has lots of patience, He has been waiting on you, and will continue; however there is a time coming when it will be just to late.
Matthew 18:15 "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
This is a new lesson, and Jesus is telling us to settle our affairs between each other. Don't allow your problems to become the gossip of the church, or the neighborhood. When problems come up between you and your neighbor, or brother then go to him at once. Settle the problem if it is possible, then you still have him as a friend. Most problems that exist in families and groups exist because of a lack of communication, or the willingness to forgive another.
If the brother is in the ministry, or the brother that loves the Lord, he should listen to what you have to say. However, many that say they are in the Lord, refuse to follow the instructions that Christ teaches. When this practice is followed, there will be very few times that it would need to end up in court.
Matthew 18:16 "But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one of two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."
On the other hand if that brother will not listen or speak to you, to find some acceptable course, then take two or three witness with you and try to reach some settlement of understanding. In this way you will have witnesses if the matter ever went to court.
Matthew 18:17 "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
Some people are just to crude to act properly. They are not the same as you, in the Lord, and their center in life are the same as the heathen. Don't cater to them, but treat them at arms length. Don't trust them, or get to close to them. Then, when a matter comes up between you and that person, after making a simple attempt to settle difference, after that person refuses to allow an arbitrator from within the church, go right to legal counsel..
This is Christ teaching on matters between members of the body of Christ. Those outside the body of Christ are not part of this instruction. When this happens you set yourself apart from that person, and if it is your blood brother, you do the same. Don't treat that person as an enemy, but as a brother that you just don't care to be around, until the matter is tended to.
Matthew 18:18 "Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
If you are a man or woman of God, and you have the key to heaven, what you bind with that key in heaven is bound here on earth, as well as it is bound in heaven. This is directed to the binding between two or more parties, where they all are of the elect of God, love the Lord, and try to live and abide by the key, or the instructions of God in His Word.
This shows you the power that there is in the servants of the living God, one of God's elect. This then is an expansion on Matthew 16:19; "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." If you have and teach those keys to David, then your angel has God's attention any time you are in need.
Matthew 18:19 "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father Which is in heaven."
Many people misread their greed into this verse. There is a condition to the asking, and expecting those requests to be answered. The matter is addressing the disciples, and applies to the disciples of Christ, whether two thousand years ago, or today. This applies to those who disciplines themselves in the Word of God, to learn it and grow skilled in that Word.
Two individuals calling themselves Christians, yet desiring not to study God's Word, are not the two in agreement of this verse. They would be the "blind leading the blind", heading for the ditch, as we read in Matthew 15:14. If your agreement is not with one of Christ's disciples, then the promises of this verse do not apply to you. The condition is that, "if any two of you", you being disciples of Christ, agree and ask. The request is with God's work at heart, rather then trouble makers.
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
His name is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and He is the Living Word of God, made flesh and came and dwelt amongst us. When you are gathered together in the Living Word, and claiming the promises from that Living Word, and having faith in Him, God will be with you by the dwelling of His Holy Spirit. When you are gathered together in His name, it means that you have repented, and are looking to study God's Word more in-depth.
Matthew 18:21 "Then came Peter to Him, and said, "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?"
This is Peter suggesting to Jesus that we should forgive our brother seven times. What was Jesus reaction?
Matthew 18:22 "Jesus saith unto him, "I say not unto the, until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
Jesus added to Peter's law, and made it seven times seventy, or four hundred ninety times. Remember that the definition of "brother", is one either of the tribes of Israel, or our family members; and if that brother repents to you, you must forgive him. There is no exceptions to this. This applies to a neighbor also. The neighbor is the person not of Israel, and of another race, or peoples, and believes in Jesus Christ. You will forgive them also, and our patience extends to each of these.
To forgive someone requires repentance, and if they don't repent you are not bound to give the forgiveness. In the name of Christ, most all believers will not carry the grudge, but will forgive them in their heart, for the forgiveness will heal the barrier between the two of you, and give peace within your mind. This is only possible by the love that we have in Christ.
The forgiveness that is the hardest to give, is the forgiveness the God requires in forgiving ourselves. It is a lot easier to forgive others, but the difficulty comes because of our own vanity and pride, when inside we place ourselves a little higher then the next guy. The ease of forgiveness come with maturity in God's Word. This is why it is important to ask forgiveness, then forgive yourselves to have your prayers answered.
Matthew 18:23 "Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants."
This is the way it will be in heaven.
Matthew 18:24 "And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents."
So you can see the amount we are talking about here, one talent is seven hundred and fifty ounces of silver, in our current weights. Now multiply that by ten thousand to get what this servant shorted his master. This is well over a million dollars by our standards, and this is what was owed.
Matthew 18:25 "But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made."
In other words, there was just no way to meet the obligation, and settle the account. This servant is just no good.
Remember that our subject in this parable is forgiveness. This person made not effort to pay any of it, so God sold him and everything that he had.
Matthew 18:26 "The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, 'lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.' "
When worship takes place, then idolatry is practiced. This person saw that all was lost, and at the point of no return, he submits to the master in idolatry. Because God is the master in this parable, this man was not in idolatry, but is total submission to God, by his commitment.
This man is promising to pay back an amount when it is impossible to do so. This man is telling God that he will meet all parts of the obligation, and pay back every penny.
God doesn't want us to pay Him back, but to repent, and turn from that way we were in.
Matthew 18:27 "Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave him the debt."
That king heard the repentance of the servant, and wrote off the entire amount. That servant didn't owe the master one cent. The master had compassion when he heard of the man's repentance. That is how God deals with His children. Though your sins may be great, and once you repent and worship Him, He forgives all things.
Forgiveness is the subject here, and Peter asked how often, and we saw that to be four hundred and ninty times a day. Now as to how much, Jesus is telling us, everything that is owed, once repented.
Matthew 18:28 "But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me that thou owest.' "
This servant just did not get the message, he was forgiven for over a million bucks, and it was forgiven completely, yet this other servant that owed him just over two dollars in value and he wants to throw his fellow servant in jail over the matter. He is going to take the man's life over two dollars.
This is a parable, but it also is an analogy showing the difference between God's forgiveness, and man's forgiveness.
Matthew 18:29 "And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.' "
This fellowservant is on his knees, just like this other servant was before the king [master]; and did you catch those words? They were the same request for mercy. The servant has repented to this man.
Matthew 18:30 "And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt."
In our day, this is called a double standard, and is quite common in our legal system. But it is not God's way of doing things. The lesson that Jesus is giving His disciples here, is be very careful what you ask God forgiveness for, For if you will not forgive your fellow man of the same, don't expect it of God. God is fair, and He is just.
It is hard to compare the difference between the forgiveness of sin, and the forgiveness of a debt, for only God can forgive sin, yet Jesus is using this to show us just how important it is for His disciples to forgive those that seek it from us.
Matthew 18:31 "So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done."
Remember that this parable of forgiveness is part of the lessons given before. In verse ten Jesus told us that these young children in the Lord had angels assigned to them in heaven, to report to the face of God. They were to tell all the problems that God's new born in the Lord faced.
Now apply that to this verse, this fellowservants was given a hard time and wicked deed by the servant that was forgiven, and the angels went directly to the king, and reported the treatment to Him. This parable is with the king in heaven, and the servants are ones that call themselves Christian. We are not discussing the heathen, but the actions and forgiveness between two servants of the same master, our Heavenly Father.
In the world today this is as it also is, for God knows what is going on, and all reveange is the Lords. God has His ways of making all things right.
Matthew 18:32 "Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, 'O thou wicked servent, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:"
Matthew 18:33 "Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?"
Matthew 18:34 "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him."
"The tormentors" in today's terminology is called evil spirits. The torments of the jailers that can make your life miserable today.
Matthew 18:35 "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
This is after repentance that you are bound to forgive him. If the person refuses to repent then you are not bound to forgive him. The forgiveness is a condition on the attitude of the one that did the harm, and this is why we see judges of today go much harder of those who refuse to have a repentive heart.
God does not require you to have a bleeding heart over one that does you wrong, and then tries to run from it. God set his standards for those call themselves Christians, and the pattern of our lives is spelled out in His Word. When the other person is Christian, and has wronged us, This chapter has set the guidelines of how we are to deal with that person. We are not talking about the unsaved here, but only those that call themselves disciples of Christ.
The compassion comes after repentance by the one that did the wrong. When we do it all God's way, then when we ask of Him in prayer, Our Lord will answer our prayer, and we can expect it.
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