Little Ones
Matthew 18
Who are the little ones and how are we treating them?
#littleones
#matthew
Published June 28th, 2019
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Main point summary
Arc 1-20
notes
Notes
This is the outline used to teach the passage. 1. BECOME a little one to enter the kingdom (1-4) 2. RECEIVE other little ones who enter the kingdom; do not tempt or offend them (5-9) 3. CARE for the little ones; do not DESPISE them (10-14) 4. Patiently and lovingly do the work to RESTORE relationships with little ones (15-20)
Main point summary
We must become like little ones to enter the kingdom and receive other little ones, showing loving care and concern for each of them.
Arc 1-20
editing
NT
Matthew 18:1-20
esv
mine
t At that time the disciples came to Jesus,
During this time, the disciples came to Jesus wondering among themselves and asking a question,
saying , “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
"Who is the greatest person in the kingdom of Heaven?"
actionmanner
And calling to him a child ,
Jesus called a child to come to him,
he put him in the midst of them
and he put that child the in the middle of the group,
and said , “Truly, I say to you, unless you u turn
and he said to the disciples, "This is the truth. If you don't TURN away from that kind of thinking
and v become like children ,
and BECOME like little children, who are humble and unconcerned with such matters,
progression
you w will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
you won't even get in the kingdom.
conditional
series
x Whoever humbles himself
If anyone HUMBLES himself
like this child [ is humble]
like this child here is humble
comparison
is the w greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
then that person will be greatest in the kingdom.
alternative
questionanswer
y “Whoever receives one such child
If anyone RECEIVES a little one (child)
in my name
in Jesus' name (for his sake)
receives me,
then he also receives Jesus.
but z whoever causes one of these a little ones who believe in me to sin , 1
But if anyone offends or causes one of these little ones to stumble into sin, one of these who believe in me,
it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck
it would be far better for that person to be tied to a great weight
and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
tossed into the sea and drowned at the bottom.
“ Woe to the world for b temptations to sin ! 1
Alas! the world will have its temptations,
c For it is necessary that temptations come,
For it is necessary that temptations should come,
ground
d but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes !
But alas! Woe to the person who causes the temptation to sin (who brings it)! Those who bring the temptation are still accountable.
ideaexplanation
e And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin,
SO, IF your hand or foot is causing you to sin by causing others to sin,
cut it off
then cut it off,
and throw it away.
and throw it away.
It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame
For it's much better to enter eternal life in heaven as a cripple or lame person on earth,
than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into f the eternal fire.
than to go to hell with two good hands and feet.
e And if your eye causes you to sin,
And IF your eye causes you to sin by causing little ones to sin (or by despising a little one),
tear it out
THEN tear that eye out of your head,
and throw it away.
and throw it away.
It is better for you to enter life with one eye
For it is far better to enter life in heaven with only one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into the f hell 1 of fire.
than to be thrown into hell with two good eyes.
inference
“ See that you do not despise g one of these little ones.
See to it that you do not look down on, disregard, or treat one of these little ones with contempt.
For I tell you that in heaven h their angels always i see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 1
For I'm telling you that their heavenly angels have constant contact with the heavenly Father. They always see the Father's face.
j What do you think ?
So what do you think?
k If a man has a hundred sheep,
If a shepherd has 100 sheep
and one of them has gone astray,
and one of those 100 goes astray,
does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains
doesn't that shepherd leave the 99 on the mountains
and go in search of the one that went astray?
and go searching for that 1 lost sheep?
And if he finds it,
And if he finds it,
truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more
this is the truth. He rejoices over finding that 1 lost sheep
than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.
than he does over the 99 who never strayed.
So l it is not the will of my 1 Father who is in heaven
Just like this, it is not my Father's will
that one of these little ones should perish .
for one of these little ones (who believe) to perish.
m “ If your brother sins against you,
SO, IF your brother (who believes in Christ) sins against you,
n go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.
here is what you must do: Go to him and tell him what he's done. Do it privately, just between the two of you.
If he listens to you,
And if he hears you out,
you have o gained your brother.
Great! You have won over your brother! (like finding a lost sheep?)
But if he does not listen,
BUT IF he won't listen to you, that is, he is stubborn and obstinate in his position and unwilling to repent or seek forgiveness,
take one or two others along with you,
THEN take 1 or 2 other brothers with you to try to talk to him a second time,
that every charge may be established p by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
Take the witnesses so that every accusation may be founded on the evidence and testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses. (Before now, this should have been a private matter. By taking a few people, they will see hear the accusation and see how the offending brother responds to it.)
actionpurpose
If he refuses to listen to them,
If that offending brother refuses to listen to the witnesses,
q tell it to the church.
THEN take the matter before the church, the whole assembly, who will again try to convince the offender of his sin and seek to restore the relationship and fellowship.
And if he refuses to listen even to the church,
And if the offender refuses to listen even to the whole church assembly (implying that the brother was brought before the church body)
r let him be to you as s a Gentile and s a tax collector.
THEN you must treat that offender not as a brother but as an unbelieving Gentile and sinful, wicked tax collector. (someone who denies the faith, lives in unrepentant sin, and will not submit to the authority of the church).
Truly, I say to you, t whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
Because I tell you the truth that whatever/whomever you bind here on earth will have been bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed 1 in heaven.
likewise, whatever/whomever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
Again I say to you, if two of you u agree on earth about anything they ask ,
Again, let me explain. If two of you agree here on earth about anything they ask (in prayer),
v it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
THEN the heavenly Father will do it for them.
For where two or three are w gathered in my name,
For wherever there are 2 or 3 gathered together in my name (on my authority, for my sake)
x there am I among them.”
I am there among them, witnessing and involved in their attempts at restoration and final acts of excommunication. (they will have the endorsement of God when acting in obedience to his guidelines in 15-17)
locative
question: Who is greatest in kingdom? (to be answered directly in v4c but answered completely in v2-4
If don't become like a child, you won't even ENTER the kingdom let alone be the greatest
the humble like children are the greatest in the kingdom
receiving a humble "little one" (one with childlike humility) is also receiving Jesus, but causing one of them to stumble will bring serious consequences
Temptations to sin will come, but woe to the one who brings the temptation. (more specifically to the one not the world)
it's better to suffer in this life than in the next (similar to 5:29-30)
do not DESPISE one of these little ones, for they have the Father's attention (he does not despise them but cares for them)
Just as a shepherd would risk all for the sake of one lost sheep and rejoice all the more for having found it, so it is with the Heavenly Father who cares for his "little ones."
Receive other humble little ones; do not TEMPT them (offend; cause to stumble or sin) -else suffer the eternal consequences -for it is better to suffer in this life than the next
Do not DESPISE a "little one" -for they have the Father's attention -for the Father cares for them individually
BECOME LIKE a humble "little one" -else you won't enter the kingdom -and be great in the kingdom -humble, childlike dependence on the Father is both what allows us to enter the kingdom and what determines who is great in the kingdom.
Heb 12:2 Jesus despised the shame of the cross (disregarded it; didn't care about it) Mat 6:24 You will serve one master and despise the other (scorn; look down on; treat with contempt or aversion)
is this a "little one"?
same context as at the end of chap 17 - so as not to cause offense (scandalize) also in v8, 9
the sin in this context is causing others to sin
Show care and concern for a brother like the Father does by seeking to restore relationships and save lost sheep (15-16) Show care and concern for God's church by identifying who are the sheep and who are not (17) This displays Humility (v1-4), acts against Offending (5-9), and shows Godly care for little ones (10-14)
this seems like the summary application for v1-14
not just any "little one" but little ones who believe in Jesus
what's the distinction between hand/foot and eye? repeated for emphasis? or specific sins with that body part?
What about binding and loosing? Mat 16:19 - to Peter specifically now all disciples (or church?) In context of v15-17, the binding and loosing may be in regard to forgiveness and fellowship (see John 20:23)
reminder that this verse isn't primarily about Jesus being present whenever 2 Christians get together for whatever. This is primarily concerning church discipline
verse 11 omitted in earliest and most reliable MSS
discourse
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Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.