Sermon # 47 Series: Matthew
Text: Matthew 18:1-14
Subject: The Necessity and Nature of Three Conversion
Scripture Reading: Office: Mark Henson Aud. Bobbie Estes
Date: Tuesday Evening -- June 6, 1995
The Word of God uses many names to describe and identify the Lord’s people. But more frequently than anything else the name that is used is “Children.” We are called – “Children of Promise” – “Children of Light” – “Dear Children” – Beloved Children” - “Children of the Day” - and “Little Children. This is a great privilege and a matter of great joy (I John 3:1-2).
But there is another aspect of our being the children of God. The word “children” not only expresses the idea of great privilege and highest honor, it also is a word that implies our nature and state, our condition in this world. Children are weak, dependant, very ignorant, unable, and immature.
Matthew 18 focuses on this thing of our childhood in this world. I am fully aware that in the kingdom of God there are babies, young men, and old men. (I John 2:12-13). But there is a very real sense in which it may be said that as long as we are in this world, in this body of flesh, we are in a state and condition of spiritual childhood. This 18th chapter of Matthew should be read and understood as a single sermon, one of the greatest and most important sermons ever to fall from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ. The subject of the sermon is “Children.” Not physical children, but spiritual children. The purpose of the message is to teach us, the church of God, as a family of imperfect, weak children, how to get along with each other in this world. I will not attempt to expound the whole chapter tonight; but it is a sermon with 5 lessons, or 5 points.
1. Everyone who enters the kingdom of heaven must do so as a little child (vv. 1-14).
2. All of God’s children are to be treated by us as God’s children (vv. 5-9).
3. They are all to be cared for as God’s children (vv. 10-14).
4. All must be disciplined as God’s children (vv. 15-20).
5. And they must all be forgiven as God’s children (vv. 21-35).
Proposition: All true believers are children in this world.
The thing that inspired this sermon was a question that seemed to have been a constant matter of debate among our Lord’s disciples, even as it is to this day – “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” These poor disciples were still looking for Christ to establish an earthly kingdom; and each one wanted a carnal place of prominence in that kingdom. Their question is one that revealed terrible ignorance, terrible arrogance, and terrible ambition in these men. And it is a question that still reveals terrible ignorance, arrogance, and ambition.
But this foolish, arrogant, presumptuous question inspired our Lord to give the message contained in this chapter. Tonight, I want to show you five things in verses 1-14.
I. First, our Lord’s response to this question reveals – The Necessity of Conversion. – (v. 3).
It impossible for anyone to be saved with being changed, not outwardly changed, but inwardly changed. “Ye must be born again!” By nature there is…
By nature, we are everyone entirely unfit for God’s presence – (Isa. 64:6). Not only do we deserve God’s wrath, but we are unfit to enter into his presence. Conversion is necessary to salvation – (Rev. 21:27).
II. Secondly, our Lord shows us The Nature of True Conversion (vv. 2-4).
Conversion is a change, a turning of a sinner to God. It is not something that we do, but something that is done to us. “Except ye be converted.”
A. Conversion is A Change.
B. This Change is Begun in Regeneration (Eph. 2:1-4).
When a sinner is born again he enters into an entirely new world, an entirely new life. Christ enters into him and he enters into Christ in such a real way that he is made a partaker of the divine nature (II Pet. 1:4).
C. But Conversion is an On-Going, Continual operation of Grace.
Regeneration is the first step, but by no means the last. “Regeneration is a single act, complete in itself; and never repeated. Conversion, as the beginning of holy living, is the commencement of a series constant, endless, and progressive.” A.A. Hodge.
D. The Illustration our Master Used to Exemplify Conversion Is Most Instructive – (A Little Child – vv. 2-4).
What did he intend to convey by this child and these statements?
1. Children are Completely Dependent – Faith.
2. Children are Modest, Humble, and Unassuming.
3. Children are Sincere and Honest.
4. Children are Relatively Free of Envy and Ambition.
5. Children are Quick to Forgive.
III. Thirdly, our Lord teaches us The Terrible Evil of Offending His Children – (vv. 5-6).
Those who receive God’s children receive Christ himself. He regards anything done to one of his children as being done to him (v. 5; Matt. 10:41-42). But those who offend his children are regarded by him as his marked enemies.
NOTE: To offend is to cause to stumble, to lead astray, of to discourage.
A. We may offend directly by our acts, and words, and attitudes.
B. We may offend indirectly by an example of inconsistent behavior.
The doctrine here taught is very sobering. It is impossible for us to measure (This side of eternity) the harm that is done by one person who professes faith in Christ and yet lives inconsistently. He gives the infidel ammunition. He stands in the way of those who seek the Lord. He discourages God’s saints. “He is a living sermon on behalf of the devil.” (J.C. Ryle).
Illus: David (II Sam. 2:14).
Lot – Consequences of His Inconsistency!
IV. Fourthly, in verses 7-9, our Savior warns us plainly of The Judgment of God and of His Everlasting Wrath Poured Out Upon The Damned In Hell.
Two strong, strong expressions are used here to get our attention. “Everlasting fire.” And “Hell Fire!” There is a place of unspeakable misery and fiery indignation, where reprobate, unbelieving men and women will spend eternity suffering the horrible, unmitigated wrath of God!
Many foolish dreamers and religious deceivers have joined ranks with the infidel and scoffer, denying the doctrine of everlasting punishment. They repeat the devil’s lie “Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4). Do not allow their logic and reasonings to deceive you, no matter how plausible they sound – Hell is real! Hell is horrible! Hell is forever!
A. Your Conscience verifies that fact.
B. Noah’s Flood verifies that fact.
C. The Ashes of Sodom verifies that fact.
There is such a thing as “the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:17). “God is love!” God is merciful and gracious. God is good and kind. And God is just and true – “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!”
D. The only way to escape the wrath of God in hell is to find refuge in a Substitute God will accept – Christ.
V. Fifthly, in verses 10-14, the Lord Jesus returns to and teaches us one of his favorite subjects – The Security of Every Believer.
Christ is the Good Shepherd, who tenderly cares for every soul committed to his charge. The youngest, the weakest, the sickliest of his flock are as dear to him as the strongest. And they shall never perish – Not One of them. Because…
A. Their Angels watch over them (v. 10).
B. Christ came to Save Them (vv. 11-13).
C. It is the Will of God that they all be Saved (v. 14).