Matthew 18

Kingdom   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:51
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Carrying on the Kingdom

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Introduction: I want to talk about turning points.
Every good story has a turning point. Good literature always has a point in the story where the main character has something that happens, or some fact is revealed that makes for the turning point of the entire story.
Movie: Stranger than Fiction. Came out in 2006. It’s about a man named Harold. One day Harold begins to hear a womans voice narrating his life. He gets up to brush his teeth and he starts hearing this woman narrating everything he’s doing. Not only that, but she begins to predict the things that he’s going to do. She narrates his thoughts and his actions. As the story goes along he’s trying to figure out who this person is, and how she’s able to predict everything that’s going to happen in his life.
And at the turning point of the movie, Harold stumbles across an inteverview on television of a new york times bestselling author. A novelist. and he recognizes her voice. And over the course of events he comes to the realization that somehow this author in writing her next novel, is controlling his life. He has somehow become the main character of her next novel. And it’s a really cool story, it’s an interesting movie that makes you think. But here’s where it gets interesting in the film.
-He starts doing research on this author, and finds out that in every single one of books the main character dies at the end. And so at that point in the movie everything changes. Everything becomes about finding this author and stopping her from finishing her book.
-And I won’t spoil the end of it. You can watch it yourself. It’s called stranger than fiction. It’s not a children’s movie, I think it’s PG-13. You’re all adults here, you can make your own choices on what mov/ies you watch and don’t watch.
-But it really illustrates this idea of a turning point in a story.
-In God’s story, the turning point of the life of Jesus, and really the turning point of the entire story of the bible, happens in Matthew 16 and 17 that Richard read last week.
-Two things happen
We as the reader officially find out that Jesus is the king. Up until this point we’ve been given hints, and we’ve been wondering, but in Chapter 16 Jesus finally just comes right out and says it. He appears before his disciples, he’s transformed in all of his glory, and we’re left with 100% certainty that he is the king.
Jesus tells us that he’s going to die and then be raised on the third day.
Not only that, but Jesus then tells his disciples that unless they take up their cross, meaning unless they die with him, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
That’s the secret sauce in the book of Matthew, that’s the turning point.
At this point in the book of Matthew everything changes.
If you read the rest of the book, you’ll notice that the way Jesus interacts with the pharisees and Sadducees changes, he’s even more bold than he was before. He starts acting and teaching and talking like he has nothing to lose.
-He stops telling the people he’s healed to keep it a secret.
-And also his disciples upon hearing this new information start a moment of Crisis.
-They don’t understand what Jesus means
Which takes us into chapter 18.
Chapter 18 is the fourth of the five major speeches.
And in chapter 18 Jesus describes to his disciples what the church is supposed to look like after he hands the keys of the kingdom over to the disciples.
How is the transition from Jesus walking around on earth to Jesus NOT walking around on earth going to look, and what does jesus want his kingdom to look like after he leaves.
Main question:
How should the kingdom of Heaven look after the king has ascended.
Matthew 18:1 NET 2nd ed.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
And let’s be real. What they’re really asking is which one of us is going to be the greatest when you die.
they’re going through the process of wrapping their minds around the fact that Jesus has revealed to them that he’s going to die, and one of the thoughts that comes up is, well there’s 12 of us, who’s going to be in charge here? They’re jockeying for power and position.
-And this is what kicks off Jesus’ speech, this question, who is the greatest?
Matthew 18:2–3 NET 2nd ed.
He called a child, had him stand among them, and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!
As we read this I think it’s important to understand what Jesus means here. when we read this verse, our mind instantly goes to the idea of innocence. Children are innocent, they’re curious, they have an honest relationship with God. And we sort of read our view of children on to this verse.
And while I think those things are absolutely important, I want to know what Jesus meant when he said it. Let’s get straight to the source.
-What is the context of this illustration? It’s the disciples jockeying for power and authority.
-They’re living in a culture where power and authority and social status are everything.
-Every single person in their culture had a ranking. Based on whether you were young or old, or male of female, whether you were a scribe or a fisherman. a rabbi or a student.
-and there was this expectation that you knew where you stood in the ranking among everyone else around you.
-and there was one particular group of people who were always lowest on the ranking. Lower than servants and peasants even.
-And it was children. Because a child can’t really do anythng. Can’t make any decisions.
On the social ladder, being a child is as low as you can go.
-So what jesus is really getting at is not the attitude or the mindset or the innocence of children, but their complete lack of status, and their complete dependence on the father.
Matthew 18:4–5 NET 2nd ed.
Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me.
The citizens of the Kingdom should be humble.
So first Jesus says you need to become like a child, you need to humble yourself.
Citizens of the Kingdom should be aware of the power dynamics that exist when everyone is told to humble himself. And be on guard not to take advantage of that.

Matthew 18:6-9

Matthew 18:6–9 NET 2nd ed.
“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come. If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into fiery hell.
Well that took a turn, didn’t it. Jesus starts out with a really cool example about how we should humble ourselves. And he brings this child in as an example. And then BAM he hits you with that.
Those are some harsh words.
Citizens of the Kingdom should take that responsibility seriously
No matter how hard we all try to humble ourselves, those power dynamics like we talked about, they exist. There’s something ingrained in us.
The word “Minister” in Greek means servant.
The word “Pastor” means shepherd. a very lowly Job.
The church is specifically designed to place us in those humble positions.
But that perception of power still exists, and unfortunately people in the church can take advantage of that.
If everyone in the Church is supposed to be humble, and to take a low status, that leaves a lot of opportunity for wolves to come in to the flock and take advantage.
-Teach false doctrine,
So yeah it’s harsh language. But it’s harsh language on purpose, because it’s a big deal to Jesus.
Because God cares about his people.He cares about you.

Matthew 18:10-14

Matthew 18:10–14 NET 2nd ed.
“See that you do not disdain one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.
That’s how much God cares about you, and the ones he’s chasing after.
Matthew 18:15 NET 2nd ed.
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother.
-Real quick I want to guage the room. Who’s bible says “if your brother sins AGAINST YOU”
If you go back to the earliest copies of greek new testament, the ones what you find is that some of them say “if your brother sins” and some say “if your brother sins against you”
-And this is unfortunately one of those times where we don’t know which one is the original.
-And I’m not going to make a call on which one I think is the original. I think sometimes it’s better just to say I don’t know.
-Regardless, let’s look at the steps that Jesus takes to deal with sin in the kingdom.
He says first go and address the issue one on one.
Matthew 18:16 NET 2nd ed.
But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.
Matthew 18:17 NET 2nd ed.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector.
Here’s how this passage usually gets used.
Most of time this passage gets used as a weapon. When someone is doing something you don’t like, this passage gets used as series of escalations against someone who is doing something they don’t like. And I don’t think that’s what Jesus means here.
-if someone is using this passage as an excuse to get someone else in trouble with the church I think they’ve missed the point entirely.
-Remember we’ve been talking about humility. Humbling yourself. A big component of humility is being able to admit that you might be wrong. That’s what this process is about. It’s not a weapon.
-So you start off by approaching that person. Hey I think you might have wronged me. You try to work it out one on one, with the goal of maintaining the relationship. Not winning an argument, maintaining the relationship.
-And that doesn’t work, you bring in a little bit of help from the outside.
-And here’s the part that gets used as a weapon the most. I think unknowingly people use step 2 as a way to build their case against that person. But let’s read it again.
Matthew 18:16 NET 2nd ed.
But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.
Every matter. What that means is that if you’ve got a conflict, you need someone you can trust to be an impartial witness to establish every matter, not just your side of the story.
-So again that means you need to be humble enough and willing to hear someone say. Actually I think you’re in the wrong here.
-That’s difficult. But the witesses are there to establish every matter. Impartial unbisased witnesses who have a goal of maintaining unity.
Citizens of the Kingdom should have an eye toward unity.

Matthew 18:17-20

Matthew 18:17–20 NET 2nd ed.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector. “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven. Again, I tell you the truth, if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”
Notice the focus on unity there. By the way in the greek, where it says “whatever you bind on earth” that you is plural you. It’s whatever you all bind on earth will be bound in heaven.
The relationships we make, the conversations we have, the way we help each other with our sins can have long lasting effects. Sometimes even eternal effects.
That’s important.
Think about the picture of the church that Jesus has described thus far.
The picture he has described is a church where the people humble themselves to the status of a child.
It’s a picture of a church where people take God’s word seriously, and they take seriously the charge to teach God’s word faithfullly.
It’s a picture of a Church where relationships are maintained and restored, and that people are willing to communicate openly to solve problems and to maintain relationships.
(TALK about VBS)
Humility, Responsibility, Unity.
Last point (Bring up Children’s church teacher)
-Love like Jesus Loves, forgive like Jesus Forgives
Citizens of the Kingdom should forgive in the same way that the King forgave them.
And here’s what I want you to keep in mind.
-This whole process only works if you have the humility like a child that Jesus talked about.
-It only works if you take on the responsibility that comes with that humility and you understand that it’s not god’s desire for even one of his 100 sheep to be lost.
-And it only works if you recognize the power of forgiveness.
Matthew 18:21–22 NET 2nd ed.
Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!
That number “77” or some bibles might say “7 times 70” is not a literal number by the way. The number 7 in jewish culture is a symbolic number that means completeness.
-we should understand that our forgiveness should be un-ending. complete.
Matthew 18:23–24 NET 2nd ed.
“For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. As he began settling his accounts, a man who owed 10,000 talents was brought to him.
Just so you get the context here, 10,000 talents is an unfathomable amount of money. 1 talent is around 15-20 years of wages for the average worker. So 10,000 talents. We’re talking about Bill gates level money. Warren buffet levels of money. if you put it into todays money it would be somewhere around 3.5 billion.

Matthew 18:25-28

Matthew 18:25–28 NET 2nd ed.
Because he was not able to repay it, the lord ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. Then the slave threw himself to the ground before him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. After he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 silver coins. So he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’
Remember this guy just had by today’s standards around 3.5 billion dollars. He he has his entire debt forgiven, and he instantly goes out and finds someone who owes him money.
Here’s what 3.5 billion dollars looks like
Buckingham palace
100 silver coins. todays dollars, about 5,800 bucks.
Here’s what 5800 looks like
This is a 1996 F-150 that I found on facebook marketplace. It’s got a 150 thousand miles on it.
-this one was listed for 6 grand. You could probably haggle him down to 5800 if you paid in cash and tank wasn’t full.

Matthew 18:29-35

Matthew 18:29–35 NET 2nd ed.
Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’ But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place. Then his lord called the first slave and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him until he repaid all he owed. So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Here’s what the kingdom looks like.
The kingdom looks like the humility that comes from being like a child.
From the responsibility that comes along with it.
The kingdom looks like doing everything possible to maintain unity.
And the kingdom looks like remembering just how much you’ve been forgiven. Jesus forgave us everything. We were dead in our sins, and he made us alive. He forgave every sin that you’ve ever even thought about.
Jesus’s kingdom is radical.
Radical humility, radical responsibility, radical unity. And radical forgiveness.
And I just want to say, I’ve been with this church exactly a year now.
I’ve gotten to know everybody, I’ve had the opportunity to share some conversations with you all about things that are important in your life.
I feel like we’ve had the opportunity to grow together.
-And I am so proud of this church, and the work God is doing here. I mean it. (Expand on this)
We started off talking about Turning points.
I truly believe that VBS will be a turning point for ACC.
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