Matt 18 gives us some insights in what our Kingdom conduct should be and he begins by using Children to do it. Children do search for meaning and relationship as they figure out what life is all about. That is just basic brain development. They are trusting, open and vulnerable and while we are to exhibit those characteristics in our lives we are also open and vulnerable to temptations. Back to trust and obey!
We are not to cause others to stumble, wander of the path and get lost, or entice one another to sin. v10 We are not to despise or "look down" on these little ones, in contrast v12 God looks for the lost, those who have wandered off.
The story of Baalam (Numbers 22)gives us a clear picture of the righteous getting lost and wandering off. Here are a few verses to get us thinking about it.
2Pet2:15 "They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness".
Jude 1 "Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion".
Rev 2:14 "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality".
Matt 18:17 This is interesting, "it is necessary that temptations come.." We all have our Garden of Eden experience, but if we are in the place of the serpent in someone's life, should we expect a lesser degree of punishment?
Forgiveness keeps Feet on Gods Path.
v15 Jesus talks about being proactive in ensuring that there is nothing to amiss in our fellowship.
v21 Nothing amiss in our obligations to one another, in this instance it's easily illustrated in financial terms of owing something to another.
Matt19:1-12 disharmony in marriage that leads to divorce is another example of a hard heart.
V 13Again the children are introduced to Jesus who eventually get to pray for them after he admonishes his disciples, which rounds off the object lesson nicely.
As the hymn goes "Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days all the days of my life" I can hear Shirley singing the rest of the verse :)!
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