From: Su Min
Subject: (30 Jan) Greatness
Thursday 30th January 1997
Epistle to The CyberChurch
GREETINGSTo the church of God in Cyberspace, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: their Lord and ours, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Colossians_1:2-3).
TEXTToday we look at Matthew_18:1-5. See also Mark_9:33-37,_Luke_9:46-48.
CONTEXTJesus had just paid temple tribute with a silver tetradrachmon to be found in the mouth of a fish that He directed Peter to catch (Matthew_17:24-27).
ARGUMENTAn argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. (Luke_9:46)
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, He asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?" But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest (Mark_9:33-34). At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew_18:1).
Mini-lesson. Put two people together and they will sooner or later start quarrelling and arguing. Thecentral cause of argument: self centredness and pride.
The disciples were no different. They were filled with self agrandization.
2000 years later, have things changed? Do we not seek to be first, to be best, to be greatest? Are not all our quarrels, our fights, our wars due to people wanting to conquer, establish their might, their empires, wanting to be "Greatest"?
TRUE GREATNESSSitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all," (Mark_9:35)
"For he who is least among you all- he is the greatest" (Luke 48b)
Jesus establishes this paradoxical principle: If you want to be first you must be last: to be greatest in heaven you must be least on earth. The son of God did not come to be served but to serve. Jesus asks each of us to follow Him, to lead a life of servitude, in humility.
ABSTRACT IDEA: CONCRETE EXAMPLEJesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him (Luke_9:47)
He called a little child and had him stand among them. (Matthew_18:2)
He took a little child and had him stand among them. (Mark_9:36a)
Jesus knew their thoughts: There was confusion: there was puzzlement: What is He talking about? How can? But how to be great by being least? What does he mean? How to be least? Jesus sought to explain his abstract idea with a concrete example:
Jesus loves the little children.
all the children of the world:
red and yellow, black and white
all are precious in his sight!
A little child was standing by. Jesus called the little child, took the little child, and placed him by his side,
standing next to Jesus. Can you imagine how gently Jesus looked at the child, how He must have reassured the child of His love for him.
Mini-lesson: Jesus knows our thoughts. He knows when we are argumentative. He knows when we arequarrelsome. And He seeks to quell the spirit of self agrandization within us, the spirit of rebellion that blackens our soul.
Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. Beloved, Jesus seeks to have us by his side. Can you hear him call you? He seeks to place you next to Him, to have you stand with him, to fellowship with Him, to bathe in his love.
Come to Jesus. Come.
CHILDLIKEAnd he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew_18:3)
Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in heaven. (Matthew_18:4)
Herein lies a great spiritual truth. It is the humility of children we should emulate: Childlike but not childish. What a joy it is to see young children playing. Pure, innocent, fragile, delicate. joyous, uninhibited, no bitterness...
And the central feature and characteristic is humility.......
So important is this humility. Verily, verily, Jesus says unto us, unless we change and become like little children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
HUMILITYPride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall: Better to be lowly in spirit and amongst the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud (Proverbs_16:18-19)
Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honour and life (Proverbs_22:4)
A man's pride brings him low but a man's lowly spirit gains honour (Proverbs_29:23)
For this is what the high and lofty One says-
he who lives for ever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
How should we be humble, in order to gain access to the kingdom of heaven? First: Accept that we are all sinners.
Do not be proud, saying "I can be so good that I can get to heaven on my own steam". Rather confess that we are sinners, deserving eternal death.
Second: Accept Jesus as Lord of your life.
Do not determine to lead your own life: surrender control to Jesus.
And as we learn this child-like nature, this Christ-like humility, putting the needs of others before the needs of ourselves, God comes to dwell in us, to revive us, to refresh our spirits, to lift our hearts.
WELCOMEThen he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. (Luke_9:48a)
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me (Matthew_18:5)
Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me: and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. (Mark_9:36b,37)
Mini-lesson: Whoever welcomes one of these little children in the name of Jesus welcomes Jesus: andwhoever welcomes Jesus does not only welcome Jesus but the one who sent Him, even Our Father in heaven...
We learn two more lesson in humility: 1) As we put on the cloak of humility, we become ambassadors for Jesus and for God. Whoever welcomes us welcomes God also.
2) As we welcome the children of God, our brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are kind to them and offer them hospitality, we welcome God into our presence.. By ministering to our brothers and sisters in need, we minister to Jesus. And the King shall answer and say unto them, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me (Matthew_25:40)."
Abba Father, we thank you for your word today.
Teach us to be humble Father, that we may enter Your Kingdom.
Teach us to serve Lord, without asking anything in return.
Teach us the meaning of true greatness, even as You are great.
Give us the passion to spread your word
In the name of Jesus: Amen
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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