Monday, 28 June 2021
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:3
Jesus’ disciples were constantly bickering about who among them is the greatest in the Kingdom of God. In today’s Scripture we read of a similar discussion. While their focus was right in desiring to be part of God’s kingdom, the intentions of their heart were selfish in promoting themselves. Jesus answered them by setting down standards that a disciple needs to continually walk in. As we understand these qualities that Jesus desires to see in each of His disciples, let us examine our lives to ensure that we have not been self-seeking, but rather doing all for the glory of God.
What are the qualities that a disciples needs to portray?
Child-like Faith (Matt. 18:2-4): Jesus demonstrates through a little child the attitude a disciple should have. A child-like faith enables us to receive the gift of salvation as the grace of God, and not of our own merit or good works. Like little children, we need to have an attitude of humility that is not self seeking but directing others to Christ. Further, just as a little child is dependent on his parents to provide for him, our trust and dependence should be in God alone.
Aversion to Sin (Matt. 18:8-9): Using the analogy of cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye that causes a believer to sin, Jesus emphasizes on the severity with which we are to deal with sin. Any sin that is a stumbling block in the life of a believer has to be dealt with and removed. “Instead clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Rom. 13:14)
Seek the Lost (Matt. 18:10-14): Through the Parable of the lost sheep, Jesus shows that His intention in coming to the world was to bring salvation to the lost at the cost of His own life. The implication for us, who have been brought from the dominion of darkness into the marvelous kingdom of His Son, is that we need to seek the lost and lead them to the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ instruction to His disciples is to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Discipline (Matt. 18:15-18): By explaining how to deal with a sinning brother, Jesus illustrates the discipline a disciple is to maintain. In each of the four steps, whether in private confrontation, discuss in the presence of witnesses, church announcement or exclusion from fellowship, the focus is on providing the sinning brother an opportunity to repent and be restored. “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
Attitude of Prayer (Matt. 18:19-20): Although given in the context of church discipline, we are reminded here to earnestly pray for every concern and issue, that we may seek the perfect will of God over those subjects before rushing into a decision. A disciple should have a lifestyle of prayer and fellowship.
Forgiveness (Matt. 18:21-35): The parable of the unforgiving servant teaches us that we, who have experienced the abundant mercy and forgiveness of God, should forgive others in love and humility. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
Thought for the Day:
“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer