Faith Comes by Hearing A Note to You…

July 18, 2024

Christ’s “Little Ones”

Filed under: Uncategorized — mike @ 6:49 am

Doctrine: The Little Ones of Christ are believers and not to be offended because Christ shows favor to them as citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Full Text: Matthew 8:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” (NASB1995)

Focus Text: Matthew 18:6 particularly “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (NASB1995)

In Matthew 18, the disciples of Christ are asking who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It may have been a discourse between them for position, or possibly to know if there are preeminent spots in heaven whereas some have greater degrees of honor. It is not said the origin of the conversation in Matthew. What we do know is that Christ called a child over and set him as an example to the disciples. There are a few qualities that Christ calls out in this example.

  1. “are converted”. The call is for conversion, which is the essence of election. It is Christ whom called the child to Himself as the example. No one comes to Christ unless the Father draws him in, and it is not a decision made by the converted, but is a action based on a positive decree of God.
  2. “become like children”. This is not a declaration of pediatric innocence as all are sinful in Adam, but a responsibility of the converted to become like children – coming to Christ after He calls you in, living in innocence, having faith in and believing the Word of God, in obedience, diligence, and honor. It is right for a child to obey and honor his father, and in this case to his heavenly Father.
  3. “then humbles himself”. There is no place for pride for the child of God, but to be humble with an abased self-attitude toward heaven.

The first two points above are the conditions of entrance into the kingdom of heaven. First to be converted, then to exercise the faith to follow Christ and honor Him in your life. This will be the hallmark of your ownership to God, with the proof being a humble life – with the simple point being made to make one great in the kingdom of God. A child is not encumbered with many cares in the house of his father, only to enjoy working for and pleasing his father – as all of his needs are met by his father, and he is cared for under the roof and protection of his parent – so much more should we have this child like humble attitude as a child of our Heavenly Father.

As for the kingdom of heaven, John the Baptist proclaimed that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, meaning it was ready on that day and available for those who would repent and believe. This kingdom of heaven is a present reality as noted in the Beatitudes “is the kingdom of heaven”, which is not a far-off place, but a present reality for the believer. What does it mean to “enter the kingdom of heaven”? This is the entrance into the family of God through the gift of the new birth applied to God’s elect which was determined in eternity past, and paid for in full by the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross once and for all time. In the following verses, Christ is speaking as if the kingdom of heaven is in the life of the believer, as there would be no need to concern over stumbling in the presence of God’s eternal throne in the third heaven, as those impediments do not exist there. So then – we can see that Christ is speaking about the kingdom of heaven that the redeemed live in while yet on earth.  

Point 1. As an emissary of Christ “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me”. We are an emissary of Christ on this earth, and Webster describes this word as a person send on a mission to act as a representative – with the Latin root of emittere, meaning to “send out”. As ambassadors of Christ, we are to represent Him as an ambassador of a foreign country would be. A foreign diplomat is not a citizen of the country visited, but of his own country… and in this same sense, the Christian is not a citizen of the world any longer, but is made a citizen of a land whose maker and builder is God. The diplomat is to represent in the best way his home country, and to speak what his leader would which him to speak, and act in a manner that would please the ruler of his home country – carrying out his leaders’ wishes and speak to the foreigners as if the leader was speaking himself. This is the picture used in Matthew 18:5. We are an ambassador for Christ in a foreign land.

Point 2. Ownership of the emissary by the home country. Again in this discourse, Christ is not specifically discussing pediatrics, although it could reference young children that are elect in God. The major emphasis in this verse and in other uses of “little ones” is of active believers in Christ of all ages. For example:

  1. Matthew 10:41-42 in the commission of disciples at the beginning of Matthew 10, there are rules given of Christ to his disciples. At the end of the chapter, He once again uses the term “little ones” of God’s prophets being given a cup of water in the name of a disciple, they will not lose reward. Christ’s prophets, disciples, and followers are considered Christ’s little ones based on docility of spirit and obedience to their Heavenly Father.
  2. Matthew 10:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven” NASB95. It is a comfort to know that God has assigned certain of the heavenly host to view the face of the Father continually. Our life as an emissary is not to disappoint the One Whom sent us on our journey of faith in this world, as our angel do see the Father in all of His glory all of the time without slumber or sleep.
  3. In Matthew 13 and 19, the term “hundredfold” indicates a state of blessing to the believer and not used in context with the reprobate. In Matthew 18:12, Christ has a hundred sheep, and one has gone astray. The sheep belongs to Christ and has wandered off, and the Good Shepherd goes off to find the one lost sheep because He values it and does not want it lost. The found sheep is a cause of rejoicing because it was found. The next verse is important as it says “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish”. The sheep sought of the shepherd is considered one of Christ’s “little ones”, and can be counted into the emissaries in Matthew 10 – the use and language are the same.

Point 3. The protection of Christ’s “Little Ones”: “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Mt 18:6 NASB95. Christ can and does protect His own – those whom He has paid for with His own blood on the cross. Those little ones have a high value to Him, and He is willing to protect those whom were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1), by seeking after them when they are lost, and to protect them from those that would harm them. In a tighter focus, and the point at hand is those that cause Christ’s little ones to stumble.

Uses of the term stumble / stumbling block:

  1. In Matthew 16:23 Christ speaks to Peter to get behind him as he is a stumbling block doing the work of satan trying to thwart the work of Christ – so we can see that unknowingly Peter stood in the way of Christ’s ministry. Probably Peter was unaware of what he was saying at the time, but in that moment his heart was not right, causing Christ to address him as an emissary of the enemy at the moment. At the moment Peter was speaking, he had not come fully to Christ.
  2. Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” There is a pronouncement of woe upon the world bringing stumbling blocks before Christians – the “little ones” spoken of in the prior verses. The world brings stumbling blocks onto the child of God – sometimes as a test, and sometimes to bring that child closer to his heavenly Father. Christ pronounces this woe to the world, that is everything outside of the kingdom of heaven, where Christ began this chapter. The verse also states that that it is “inevitable that stumbling blocks come”. We know that if anything is inevitable, it is God Himself that makes it inevitable. Lamentations 3:37 “Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?” It is insolence to believe that anything comes to past except by a divine ordination and a positive decree of God. Those stumbling blocks that cause Christ’s little ones to stumble are placed there by God who is the ordainer of all things.
  3. Stumbling blocks cause the unpardonable sin to the unbeliever. “it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” The language unpardonable sin is not specifically used here, but there is no hope for a person weighted down by a heavy millstone and drowned. The word “drown” means a final death, and though unpardonable sin isn’t used here, the action as a final descent to ruin is used as there is no hope for the person mentioned here, both in this world and the one to come. It would be better if this person is destroyed because there is nothing they can do to improve their cause, and their immediate destruction – “it would be better” – shows that if they continued to live, they would be heaping wrath upon wrath onto themselves making the flame of hell worse by every miserable moment they lived.

Point 4. The purpose of stumbling blocks. The child of God is elect / chosen before the foundation of the world by an active decree of God in His everlasting mercy and good pleasure. The price for the elect was paid by the Son of God with His own precious blood at Calvary, thereby sealing the elect forever as an act that cannot be changed, lost, or diminished. The elect are citizens and emissaries of the Kingdom of Heaven, both here in the present life and eternally sealed in heaven. Nothing can separate the saint of God from Christ, lest the blood would be of no effect, but we know that the power of Christ’s blood taken into the heavenly temple and offered once to the Father caused the final payment for the sealing of the elect.

Romans 8:28-32: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” If indeed all things work to the good of them that love God, it also stands that even stumbling blocks – ordained and placed by God – also work for the good of the believer. We know that stumbling blocks come, but the question remains – why?

Romans 9:22-23 gives us the reason. “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory”.

Those stumbling blocks ordained by God by a positive decree to be placed into the way of a child of God are placed there for the good of the Christian and the demise of the reprobate. If all things work for our good, so do the stumbling blocks, and so does the destruction of the wicked, and it works for the blessing of the elect of God – those vessels of mercy – those that have received the promises of God and are citizens of the kingdom of heaven bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. Those stumbling blocks are placed of God, but the stumbling is caused by the wicked person’s own will and devices and evil heart, and God is not the efficient cause of the person’s fall – only the divine ordainer of the obstacle. The fall is the exercise of a reprobate will and action against the child of God.

Point 5. The final stumblingblock. Romans 9:33 “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” That stumblingblock spoken of in Isaiah 28:16 is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ – the ultimate stumbling block and stone of offense. In 1 Peter 2:8 we see “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” – this showing that Jesus being the rock of offence causes stumbling to those that are stumbling and disobedient to the Word, yet the reprobate is appointed unto this stumbling. The appointment is a positive decree from God to set Christ as the Chief Cornerstone and the Rock of Offence, and other stumblingblocks are place in life that the unbeliever stumbles over to their final and complete demise.

May you find yourself not stumbling over the person and work of Christ, and if you are not in Christ, may you not be the efficient cause in causing a child of God to stumble thus causing your final and irreparable ruin.

The Bottom Line…

Filed under: Uncategorized — mike @ 2:47 am

You have one life. What will you do with it?

Many say they are “living their truth”. This is a worldly philosophy and does not align with the Holy Bible. John 14:6 says “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Only one Truth exists, and that is the truth in Jesus Christ.

February 9, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — mike @ 9:55 pm

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