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Lesson # Matt. 18:1
Study Material - Matt. 18:1
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
1 At [en] the same [ekeinos] time [hora] came [proserchomai] the disciples [mathetes] unto Jesus [Iesous] , saying [lego] , Who [tis] [ara] is [esti] the greatest [meizon] in [en] the kingdom [basileia] of heaven [ouranos] ? KJV-Interlinear
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' NAS
Before we begin today's study, we need to recall that there is a conflict that is about to unfold. Your priorities should be in prayer today and in the coming days. Be in fellowship so that your prayers are effective, and pray for a quick and decisive victory in the Iraq war, and that all our allied military personnel will return home safely. Many countries are sending personnel into this conflict, and we want all of them to come home safe. There is no power greater than prayer. We may have stealth technology and highly accurate missiles, but they are no good if God is no doing the fighting for us. There is no such thing as an impossibility for God. He is able, if it is His will and consistent in what He has planned for each individuals life, to bring everyone home safely. We also want to pray that whatever is in Saddam's arsenal, is rendered totally useless and ineffective. That his plans will fail miserably.
This leads us into our study for the day. Humility or the recognition of it. This chapter is an answer to the argument that the disciples were having, Lk. 9:46 and Mk. 9:34. They were having an argument (not merely a discussion), a competitive argument amongst themselves, as to who would be the greatest in heaven.
Greatest here is the word 'meizon' which is from the feminine 'megas'. This is a typical superficial reference to that which can be seen or observed. Who is the greatest, who is the mightiest, who is the strongest, who is the more elevated, more eminent, who will be chief, who will be superior to others (implies that others will be inferior), who will be the more prominent, who will have the highest rank, and so forth.
To be recognized by others as being superior is an attitude from the sin nature. Its source is arrogance and pride. It is self serving, and depends on everyone else being less or beneath your level. In the extreme we find people like Saddam. Their self image is so intense that they believe they even have the right to make life and death or punishment decisions over others, and even without due process. In less intense situations, social circles are filled with inordinate competitions. Sometimes parents promote unhealthy competitiveness between their children when it is inappropriate. Work places almost always have competitive politics situations within them.
An attitude of arrogance which elicits superiority complexes implies that one has or possess the ability to attain through ones own efforts a higher position in life that others. The quickest argument to put this kind of argument down is given in Matt. 20:20-23. Matt 20:22, 'You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?'
In order to be truly great, one has to possess all of the ingredients of greatness which includes full and unconditional control and authority over all of ones essence and existence. In this, no human possesses that ability. To presume greatness is to reject Gods role in determining your makeup. God created man. God creates human life. God creates the human spirit. God creates the soul. What is it, that man creates? Nothing.
Man has no say in the circumstances of his birth. Man has no say in his genetic makeup. Man has no say in his IQ. Man has no say in his physical ability. Man has no say in his looks. Man has no say in the time of history into which God created him. Man has no say in the environment of his life. Environment meaning the surroundings (the world, your friends, your generation, the level of technology of the day, world events, economic events, political events, etc., etc.), everything that will exist throughout ones life.
These are all Gods gifts. Where then is mans right to boast of some greatness? All of our knowledge is derived from and built onto that which has come before us. If you had lived 2500 years ago, would you be thinking of your next computer? No. That concept would not even exist yet. So even our environment has an impact on our way of thinking. We did not and cannot invent society around us.
Who among us can rise to the level of Christ? None of us. Not even close. We cannot even solve our own basic flaw - our sin nature.
Who will be greatest in heaven, or anywhere for that matter? Certainly not anyone whose thoughts are driven by their sin nature. One has to have a change of thought pattern in their soul in order to begin to comprehend the true nature of life. If your thoughts are sin nature driven, then 'self' is more important to you than anything else. If your thoughts are driven by Bible doctrine, then 'self' becomes a non-issue.
The current problem with Iraq has brought out the best and worst in many national leaders. There are those who consider their 'self' heritage or legacy wherein they will be recognized by the masses and history books as great. Those sought to avoid doing anything to resolve the Iraq threat to humanity. These considered their own interests as greater than the interests of the many nations.
Then there are those who considered not themselves, but freedom and continued prosperity and the defeat of evil, for the many nations as the legacy which would be handed to future generations. To the former, greatness sought will be denied. And to the latter, who pursue freedom in the face of tyranny, greatness will be manifested not through their words, but through the results of their responsibility, and courageous decisions even in the face of overwhelming criticism. To the Americans, the Australians, the British, the Spanish, and the many additional nations (which I understand numbers about 45 nations and growing in these last hours), and who have shunned the cowardice of the world, should go our prayers for a swift victory and a safe return home. Even to Him, Jesus Christ belongs glory and power and victory over all - pray to God the Father in His name (Jesus Christ), and pass the ammo. Amen (believe it!).
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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