The Heart Of A Christian
- Matthew Eighteen -
In Matthew Eighteen a brief look is given into the heart of a Christian. The Christian"s heart is characterized by qualities far different from the world. Within the heart of the Christian you will find (1) Humility, (2) responsibility, (3) care, (4) concern, (5) compassion, (5) dedication to fellowship, and (7) forgiveness. Do you have the heart of a Christian?
During His personal ministry Jesus was asked many questions. Matthew 18 contains a very strange question. The disciples asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (Matthew 18:1) This question provided Jesus an opportunity to teach a great lesson on "Humility." Jesus set a little child before them and said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Children have humble and loving hearts like the disciples needed. Children accept all other children as their equals. The Lord wanted these men to understand that there could be no superiority among them if His work was to be accomplished.
In Matthew 18 we find a simple but powerful lesson on the subject of discipline among the people of God. The way of God is always best in dealing with every situation of life. Here God gives a simple way to solve personal issues among His people. This is God"s principle for helping brethren that have sinned to be rescued! God"s way is simple, (1) Go and tell him his fault, just you and him alone, (2) If he will not hear, take one or two with you to plead with him, (3) If he will not hear have the church plead with him, and (4) If he still refuses to hear treat him as "a heathen and a tax collector."
Matthew 18 also deals with the great subject of forgiveness. Peter wanted to know how many times he was to forgive a person that had sinned against him. He thought seven times would be generous in giving forgiveness. The Lord told Peter to forgive seventy times seven. This means that he was to forgive an unlimited number of times.
The heart of a Christian is characterized humility and understanding - : "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) The disciples were concerned about greatness in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus told them that unless some changes were made (conversion) they could never enter the kingdom of heaven. Humility, like a little child, would lead to greatest in the kingdom. Humility involves loving, trusting, forgiving and being lowly in heart. Children should be received because they are an example of a heart characterized by humility. A failure to humble yourself may lead to your being humbled by someone else or to being humbled by God on Day of Judgment. It takes much humility to surrender in obedience to the teachings of our Lord.
The Holy Spirit of God made clear personal responsibility in both attitude and action. If one causes another to sin or hinders him in his right conduct or right thought, "...it would be better for him if a millstone was hung around his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6) Do not cause others to sin and do not allow anything to cause you to sin. "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." (Matthew 19:9)
The heart of a Christian is characterized by concern for others - : God is concerned about the individual. Christians should share that concern. "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18:14) God"s love will "...leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?" (Matthew 18:12) The Father has no desire that even one be lost.
Those that seek high places often despise the poor and helpless. "One of these little ones" must never neglected or mistreated. Even the smallest and lowest are important because God"s angels watch over them. The account of the lost sheep pictures Gods" deep love for even the smallest among His children. God is especially concerned about His lost children and as Christians we must share that concern.
The heart of a Christian is characterized by a desire for fellowship - : God provided a way for brethren to settle their differences. God"s way always works. If your brothers wrongs you: (1) Go and tell him his fault, just you and him alone, (2) If he will not hear, take one or two with you to plead with him, (3) If he will not hear have the church plead with him, and (4) If he still refuses to hear treat him as "a heathen and a tax collector." Those things declared as improper and unlawful must be so declared by Heaven. Those things permitted as proper and lawful must be so accepted by Heaven.
This action demands a lot of prayer. It would also make sense for us to confess our own faults first. The prayers of the faithful reach the throne of God. "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." () Sincere, earnest prayer has a great influence with the Almighty.
We must deal gently with the brother because he may not even be aware of the fact that he has sinned against us. That is why we first talk to him and not to others. This approach must be made with a spirit of meekness. God"s desire in all of this is that fellowship be restored. This is a matter that should be approached with all seriousness. Souls are at stake!
The heart of a Christian is characterized by forgiveness - : Jesus taught us just to keep on forgiving (seventy times seven). (Matthew 18:22) Are we like the man that owed several million dollars (Matthew 18:24) that, even though he was forgiven such a great amount, would not forgive someone that owed him just a few dollars? (Matthew 18:28) For mental health and spiritual well being Christians must have mercy on others. "Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?" (Matthew 18:33) Christians forgive in order to be forgiven.
Christian must have a spiritual heart that just keeps on forgiving. We must forgive others in order to be forgiven by the Father. Jesus used one of His longest parables to teach the lesson of forgiveness. The fault of the unmerciful servant was his failure to realize the enormity and absolute hopelessness of his debt without forgiveness.
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Matthew 18". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Easter