MATTHEW 18:1-6

Verse of the Week

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:3]

The Big Picture

The greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In this passage as in many others we see Jesus take the ideas of this world and turn them upside down. The kingdom of heaven is all about Jesus’ righteousness, sacrifice, glory, and greatness not ours. We see that greatness doesn’t come from anything we can do, be, or accomplish it comes from surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Greatness in the kingdom of heaven starts with surrender, continues in humility, grows in faith, and leads to a desire to see the lost come to know the father.

Greatness in the Kingdom starts with surrender.

Jesus says in verse 3 unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Entering the kingdom of heaven starts with repentance and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He says unless you surrender your ability and authority for mine you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Little children depend on their father’s will and authority, not their own. If you haven’t come to the place where you surrender, declared with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead that is where you start.

Greatness in the Kingdom is marked by humility.

The world tells us that greatness is associated with wealth, status, fame, and comfort. The bible tells us that we are called to be humble, self-sacrificing, servants of the Lord. Jesus himself came not for status and not to be served but to serve. Philippians 2: 5-11 says this, “ In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did  not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is lord to the glory of God the Father.” He was exalted not because of his wealth or status but because of his humility and sacrifice.

Greatness in the Kingdom is about living to welcome people in.

He’s not talking about adults and children here. He is talking about people that are in humble circumstances. The poor, the hurting, the broken, the least of these. These are people ripe for the Kingdom, looking for God. ‭To the believer, we’ve been given the keys. Depend on Christ and build the church. One person at a time. To fellowship with Jesus is to fellowship with the humble and the hurting that are looking for a Savior. In a fast paced society it’s easy to forget about the humble and the hurting, it’s easy to forget about the Church. Maybe they seem too far gone. “Don’t see people where they are, see people for who they could be in Christ.” Jesus cares about people coming into the Kingdom and we are the means He uses to bring people into the Kingdom. Every week we’re saying welcome. Not all will say yes, but we say welcome.

Question Bank

  1. How has your week been spiritually? / What is God teaching you?

  2. What are some of the obvious observations from this passage?

  3. How does this passage relate to us?

  4. In what ways can we grow in our spiritual life from the understanding of this passage?

  5. Are you growing in your surrender, humility, and faith? Why or why not?

  6. What next step is God calling you to take?

  7. Who’s one person in your life that you can invite to church or small group?