Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Jesus Blesses the Children

Matthew 18-19

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Jesus in Samaria (John 4:1-30; 39-42)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Opening Prayer

The Disciples Argue (Mark 9:33-35)
    What significant event of Jesus' ministry preceded these stories?
      Luke 9:29-31 = Transfiguration - Jesus talks with Moses & Elijah about coming events
    Who was with Jesus during this event?
      Luke 9:28 = Peter, James and John - Jesus' inner circle
    How did the disciples react to this special appearance by Moses and Elijah?
      Luke 9:46 = They argued over who was the greatest
    How did Jesus deal with their argument?
      Mark 9:33-34 = He asked what they had been arguing about - no answer
    How did Jesus show them that He already knew?
      Mark 9:35 = Sat them down and explained that to be first, you must be last

The Object Lesson (Matthew 18:2, 5, 10)
    What object lesson did Jesus add to strengthen His point?
      Luke 9:47-48 = He used a child to show they must serve even the least
    Was Jesus serious in saying that welcoming a child welcomes Him?
      Matthew 18:10 = Figuratively and literally, God's angels are with them
    Does God really send out "guardian angels" to protect His children?
      Psalm 34:7 = The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him
    Was Jesus' point that we should specifically serve children?
      Matthew 25:34-40 = Children were used as example of serving the least of His

A Warning (Matthew 18:6-7)
    What warning did Jesus add to His instruction to welcome God's children?
      Matthew 18:6 = Don't do anything to cause a little one to sin
      The Greek used for millstone (mulos onikos) refers to one turned by a donkey
        Typically 3-4 ft in diameter, hundreds of pounds
      Depths of the sea should be far out in the open sea - Jews feared the sea & drowning
        Revelation 21:1 = There would be no more sea in heaven
    With so many other people in the world, does God really care if one of His children turns away?
      Matthew 18:12-14 = Yes, He sent Jesus to bring in His lost sheep
    Is this word of warning strong enough to keep people from leading others into sin?
      Matthew 18:7 = No, such things will happen, just make sure you aren't a cause

The Fires of Gehenna (Matthew 18:8-9)
    How careful should we be to not cause anyone to sin?
      Matthew 18:8-9 = If a part of our body leads us to sin, better to get rid of it
    Why does this teaching sound so familiar?
      Matthew 5:27-30 = Jesus said the same about adultery in His Sermon on the Mount

    Fire of hell in Greek is Gehenna
      Gehenna was the valley of Hinnom, a valley below the mountain of Jerusalem
    How did Gehenna get its reputation for being the fires of hell?
      2 Chronicles 28:1-3 = Ahaz, worst king of Judah, sacrificed his sons in Gehenna fire
    What did Josiah, the reforming king of Judah, do about the sacrifices in Gehenna?
      2 Kings 23:10 = He destroyed the Topheth, where the fires were made
    What prediction did Jeremiah make that was obviously true by Jesus' time?
      Jeremiah 19:6 = People would refer to the place as the Valley of Slaughter

Body Parts (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)
    What other body parts could Jesus be telling us to keep pure?
      1 Corinthians 12:27 = The body of Christ, the church - we are all parts
    Would Jesus really be telling us to cut off a sinful church member and send them to hell?
      1 Corinthians 5:5-7 = Yes, don't let the yeast of sin destroy the whole body (cancer)
    Are we to stay away from everyone in this world who is openly sinful?
      1 Corinthians 5:9-13 = No, but expel the wicked man from among you
      (See also Deut 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21, 24; 24:7) = OT laws to purge the evil
    Wouldn't it be easier and better to just let people stay members?
      1 Corinthians 12:26 = No, all other parts will suffer if one part is diseased

Little Ones (Romans 14)
    If Jesus was referring to His body, the church, what would He have meant by "little ones"?
      1 Corinthians 3:1-2 = Infants in Christ, Baby Christians
    What example did Paul give to the early Christians of a topic that could cause little ones to sin?
      1 Corinthians 8:4, 7-9 = New Christians could have trouble eating meat offered to idols
    How could exercising your God-given freedom be a stumbling block and lead others to sin?
      1 Corinthians 8:10-13 = Baby Christians don't yet fully understand these freedoms

    Should we then keep baby Christians and each other from using these freedoms?
      Romans 14:1-6 = No, everyone should do or abstain as he sees right
    So we should then feel free to exercise our freedoms openly?
      Romans 14:13-16 = No, it is better to act in love and not set up a stumbling block
    What is the important thing to remember through this confusing discussion?
      Romans 14:17-19 = Don't worry about the details, but about building each other up
    So should we drink beer or wine around our Baptist friends, or not?
      Romans 14:20-22 = No, because it may cause them to stumble
    What should we do about freedoms we aren't so sure about?
      Romans 14:23 = Don't do them

One More Key Lesson (Matthew 18:1-4)
    What lesson did this story begin with that covers all of the rest of the lessons we've discussed?
      Matthew 18:1-3 = You must change and become like little children
    Is Jesus telling us to change from being so serious and become more childish?
      1 Corinthians 14:20 = More childlike, not childish - ignorant of sin
    What does Paul mean that we should be adults in our thinking?
      Ephesians 4:13-15 = Grow in spiritual knowledge, attain the full maturity of Christ
    So in what way are we to become more like children?
      Matthew 18:4 = Humble, dependent, trusting

Humility (Philippians 2:1-18)
    Humility - When you know you have it, you've lost it.
      Humility thinks of others, not of self.
      True humility is not thinking meanly of oneself; it is simply not thinking of oneself at all.
    How did Paul define humility?
      Romans 12:3 = Do not think of yourself more highly then you ought
    How does Peter describe humility?
      1 Peter 5:5-6 (James 4:6-10) = Submit to one another and God, He will lift you
    Where can we find an even better example of humility than a child? = Past two lessons
      Philippians 2:3-11 = Jesus - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit... (v3)

Jesus Teaches in Humility (Mark 9:30-32)
    What was Jesus getting ready to do that further taught this lesson on humility?
      Matthew 16:21 = Going to Jerusalem to suffer and die for all
    What priority did Jesus and His disciples have for this last trip to Jerusalem?
      Mark 9:30-31a = Teach deep topics to the disciples to mature from childishness
    How ready were the disciples to receive and understand this mature "solid food"?
      Mark 9:31b-32 = Couldn't even understand direct explanations
    How much time was the group able to get to be by themselves for this training?
      Mark 10:1 = Little, crowds everywhere they went

Top Priority Lessons Only (Mark 10:13-16)
    How did the disciples handle these interruptions to Jesus' limited important lessons?
      Mark 10:13 = They rebuked the mothers who interfered with babies for Jesus to touch
    Mothers often brought their babies to be blessed by a rabbi
      (Luke 18:15 says people were bringing babies for Him to touch)
    How did Jesus feel about the disciples protecting their limited and valuable time together?
      Mark 10:14 = He was indignant (upset) with them
    What did He mean that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these?
      Mark 10:15 = We must receive the kingdom as a little child to enter it
    What did Jesus then do about the babies?
      Mark 10:16 = He took them in His arms and blessed them

Dependence (1 Corinthians 12:3)
    How is a child-like dependence critical for receiving the kingdom of God?
      1 Corinthians 12:3 = No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit
    How did Martin Luther state this in his explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed?
      I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength
      believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him;
      but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel,
      enlightened me with His gifts;
      sanctified and kept me in the true faith.
    How does the Spirit call us by the Gospel? = We have the mind of Christ
      1 Corinthians 2:10-16 = He reveals God's wisdom in ways others can't understand
    Can't we receive the kingdom by being as good as we can? Do we have to be dependent?
      Ephesians 2:8-9 = Saved only as a gift of God, not by works
    Children greatly trust their parents to take care of them. Who are we to trust?
      John 14:1 = Trust in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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