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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 51-100 (Cleaving - Conviction)

F.E. Marsh :: 53. Christ and the Children

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MATTHEW 18:1-14

“IT is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:14).

The expression, “The kingdom of heaven,” is far more comprehensive than “The Church of God.” There are many that are in the kingdom who are not in the Church, while all who are in the Church are in the kingdom. The Church has to do with heavenly things (Eph. 2:6; Phil. 3:20). The kingdom has to do with earthly things (Matt. 10:7). The Church is made up of those who are the members of Christ’s body (Eph. 1:23). The kingdom is composed of those who profess to be the followers of Christ.

  1. Conversion is the door of the Kingdom (Matt. 18:3). Conversion means a turning round. In the Biblical sense conversion means a turning to God, which necessitates a turning from that which has occupied His place before (1 Thess. 1:9). This is far more than a change of opinion or religious views. “God forbid that I should change my religion!” said an ignorant old woman, when she was exhorted to leave her self-righteousness and to believe in Christ. “You object to change your religion,” said the friend who was speaking to her, “but has your religion changed you?”
  2. Humility is the law of the Kingdom (Matt. 18:4). As there are certain great laws in the realm of nature which govern this earth, such as the law of gravitation, so there are certain laws in the kingdom of heaven, and chiefest among them is humility. Humility is the grace that holds all the other graces together. “The Greek word imports that humility is the ribbon or string that ties together all those precious pearls, the rest of the graces. If this string breaks they are all scattered.” Augustine was once asked, “What is the first article in the Christian religion?” and he replied, “Humility.” “What is the second?” “Humility.” “And what is the third?” And again he answered, “Humility.” Humility is the evidence that we have learnt of Christ (Matt. 11:29). Humility is the attitude to receive more grace (Jas. 4:6). Humility is the garment that the Lord loves to see us wear (1 Peter 5:5). Humility is the place where God can reach us to exalt us (Luke 18:14).
  3. Doing good to others is the evidence of being in the Kingdom (Matt. 18:5). To receive one of the little ones, is to receive Christ Himself; that is, anything that is done for Christ’s sake to one of the little ones, Christ reckons it as being done to Himself. What an incentive this should be to do good to others! For there is nothing done as to the Lord, which escapes His notice. A cup of cold water given (Matt. 10:42), a prophet received (Matt. 10:41), a garment made (Acts 9:39), alms given (Acts 10:4), a sick one visited (Matt. 25:36), a hungry one supplied (Matt. 25:35), and an offering sent (Phil. 4:18), will always be noted by Christ, and shall surely be rewarded.
  4. Offences, the excluder from the Kingdom (Matt. 18:6-10). The word rendered “offence” in Matt. 18:7, is translated “fall” in Romans 14:13, and “stumbling-block” in Rev. 2:14. Its meaning is evident if we take the latter Scripture. As Balaam taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block in the way of Israel (Num. 25), in causing them to fall by the sin into which he led them, so to cast an offence in the way of a child is to cause it to sin, and he who does so has the “woe” of Christ resting upon him.
  5. Angelic ministry, the privilege of the Kingdom (Matt. 18:10). Children are the special regard of heaven, in that they have the angels to watch over them, and to care for them, who evidently give a report of all that men do in relation to them.
  6. Salvation, the purport of the Kingdom (Matt. 18:11-13). Even the children are “lost,” hence, the needs be, that the Son of Man should come and save them. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23), all have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6), all are under sin (Gal. 3:22), and, therefore, all are lost; but God sent His Son to save (John 3:17), Christ has come to save (1 Tim. 1:15), He died to bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18), He has made peace by the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20), and receiving Christ as our Saviour we are “saved” (Eph. 2:5), made new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17), and become the children of God (John 1:12).
    The word “save,” in Matt. 18:11, is translated “healed” in Mark 5:23; “made whole,” in Mark 5:34; “do well,” in John 11:12; and “preserve” in 2 Tim. 4:18. Sin is a disease; therefore, Christ heals us. Sin has broken us; therefore, Christ makes us whole by re-making us. Sin made us do ill; therefore, Christ makes us do well. Sin made us perverse in self-doing, Christ preserves us by His doing.
  7. Love is the basis of the Kingdom (Matt. 18:14). God’s will is our welfare. He could never desire that any should perish. This is plainly stated by Christ in John 3:16. But, on the other hand, there is a possibility of even one of the little ones perishing, if he lives in the ways of sin and self. Love’s provision for all is salvation; well for all if they accept the provision.
52. Christ's Ability ← Prior Section
54. Christ Above the Believer Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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