feast: Who Then Is In The Kingdom Of Heaven?
Martin G. Collins
Given 19-Oct-19; Sermon #FT19-06; 72 minutes
In Matthew 18:1-3, some presumptuous disciples speculated about who would receive the highest posts in the Kingdom of God. However, ambition, arrogance, and pride short-circuits such aspirations. Placing a child in their midst, Jesus warned them that they must emulate characteristics of a child: humility, meekness, open-mindedness, teachability, and indifference to social status—the same characteristics that Jesus taught about in the Beatitudes. Jesus later confirmed that the one who ascends to the greatest position must assume the role of a servant, overcoming the urge to lord it over others. If anyone tramples over the weak to get to the top, God will hold this wicked servant accountable. Jesus desires His servants to be shepherds and not tyrants, having the characteristics of (1.) humility, (2.) caring for the weak, (3.) forgiving others, and (4.) showing kindness rather than despising other believers. Realizing that God cares for all His sheep, expending great effort to bring back the lost ones, we must remember that: (1.) God cares for each of us individually, (2.) God thoroughly understands our weaknesses, (3.) God seeks us when we stray, (4.) God rejoices when we repent and turn to Him, and (5.) God's pursuit of the lost is effective. Like our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ, we should have great concern for someone who is lost and rejoice when he returns to the fold. When we bear with the scruples of the weak and vulnerable, we glorify God.
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