Kingdom Characteristics

Matthew 18:6–20 (NKJV, also appearing in Mark 9:42-50; Luke 17:1-4)

6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Jesus speaks to His disciples about the importance of not offending a child or a new convert. It is the Christian’s responsibility to encourage and mentor those who are young–either chronologically or spiritually. He then points out the importance of cutting off the sinfulness that can plague all of us. The Christian must not offend others, and should not commit offense at all, by exercising self-control and submission to the will of God.

12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

This section of the passage discusses the need to also protect the child or new convert by seeking them out when they stray. It is not God’s will that anyone should be lost. Instead, they must be found. This leads to the responsibility of the Christian to follow-up and pursue Christians who stray. We need to watch out for and help one another, especially in our moments of weakness or struggle. When the sheep wander, go find them!

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

This final section of the passage speaks to the need to make amends and hold one another accountable in the body of Christ. The kingdom of God must operate in unity in order to be effective. Therefore, there must be good relationships also based on accountability and encouragement. When we hold one another accountable, we lead one another to holy living and Godly behavior. When we walk in unity, we can experience power and authority in the Spirit. When united Christians agree, things happen! Why? Because the presence of God exists in the midst of Christian unity. Walk in unity. Live in unity. Be accountable. God will show up in power.

So, in summary, God is looking for us to protect one another, search for the weak and straying to bring them home, and hold one another accountable in unity. This is the will of God for His Kingdom!

Artwork from https://dailyverses.net/2018/8/3

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