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Faithlife

Matthew 18_1-4 Standing at the Gates of Graceland

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Secular:

  • Dennis Wise idolized the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley.
  • He still does to this day.
  • Wise’s love for Elvis has driven him to bizarre lengths. He even had his face lifted and his hairline contoured by a plastic surgeon to make himself look like Presley.
  • Wise once explained his passion to reporters. Presley, he said, had been his idol ever since Wise was five years old. “I have every record he ever made,” said Wise, “and pictures in the thousands. I even have a couple of books in Japanese and Chinese and some leaves from his front yard.”
  • Wise never saw Elvis up close and personal. “I saw him on the stage four times,” he said. “I stood up on the wall at Graceland once for twelve hours trying to get a glimpse of him. But he had so many people around I could never get close.” (1) Poor fellow. Standing for hours outside Graceland, but he never saw the King.
  • Funny how Christmas brings out so many fans of the King of kings…
  • How many people sing Christmas songs,  give Christmas gifts, have a little nativity scene… attend a Christmas service… But never see the King… never truly get past the Gates of Graceland… the Gates of the Kingdom of God and meet Jesus
  • At Christmas we meet the King… we sing his Songs… give cards with his image on them… use the words… CHRIST-MASS over and over… yet many have not met the King
  • The disciples asked a question…. Jesus gave THE answer…

Biblical:

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Personal:

  • Do you remember the feeling the first time you held hands with someone special… giddy…
  • I remember the first time I held Lisa’s hand and had this electric feeling…
  • I remember the first time Lisa and I kissed… it was quick and I was surprised…
  • It was exhilarating…  My heart pounded… my head was reeling…
  • It would have seemed odd…
    • At 16… move out… get a job… settle down…
    • That would have been jumping way ahead

Bridge:

Christmas morning has passed… The Son of God… the King is born… but “Now that the King has arrived… what do we do?”

We learn to follow the King. In Isaiah it says… “And his Kingdom shall have no end.” That’s what we want to know the King and be a part of his Kingdom!

Body:

Jumping ahead…

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

  • In Jesus ministry he talked about…
    • The least shall be the greatest
    • The first shall be last
    • That he came to serve not be served
  • In the O/T
    • The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches, honour and life.
    • When pride comes, then comes dishonour, But with the humble is wisdom
  • They have jumped ahead… the have not been paying close attention… they saw the King and they want to storm the gates of Graceland… of Heaven.
  • Who will be first… They expected Jesus to answer one of them… oh Peter… you vocal and excitable soul… it’s you
  • Or John… ah beloved John… your love throws you to the front of the pack…
  • They have already started singing… “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!”
  • AND now they want to know the order of things…
  • Just like the person who see the baby in the manger and says… and think they are boarding a flight… what’s my seat number… hoping of course that its FIRST CLASS
  • But WAIT Jesus is about to burst their bubble…
  • He isn’t going to answer the “Am I the Greatest” question…
  • The King is going to tell them how to enter the Gates of Graceland.

Through the Gates…

2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

  • Now we get an answer… I think this is one of those… PAY ATTENTION moments…
  • The disciples were slow on the up take… and they walked daily with the master…
  • We don’t want to make any of the same mistakes… that’s why God recorded them for us…
  • Jesus sits a small child in front of them and gave them two things to know about entering the Kingdom…
  • 1) You must be converted… changed….
  • 2) You must become like a child…

  • So you have discovered the King… the Star has led you to His cradle… his bedside…
  • You have heard great things of heaven… you have heard of the miracles… the healings… the gospel of hope… So you stand at the gates of the Kingdom…
  • Now what?
  • 1) You must be converted… changed….
  • Jesus but it this way to Nicodemus…
    • "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
    • "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
    • Converted… born again… repent…
    • Converted from what… reborn… repent turned from what?
    • It isn’t from what… so much as it is to what…
  • To enter the Kingdom we need to believe in the Lord Jesus and to trust in his Gospel… his Good News.
  • Acts 4:12 says it… “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
  • Clearly… following the King… means to be converted from a self-centred existence… to be reborn in to a new life by the Spirit of God by recognizing our Need of a Saviour… Need to repent… or turn away from our sin… and to turn a choose a life in Christ.
  • 2) You must become like a child… padia… young child or infant…
  • Becoming like a child is Dependence
  • Becoming like a child is Openness
  • Becoming like a child is Unpretentious
  • Becoming like a child is Helpless
  • Becoming like a child is Unaffected
  • Becoming like a child is Simple
  • Becoming like a child is Unambitious
  •  It is about Humility…

  •  To follow the King is to Believe and Repent in humility…
  • Now we get an answer… I think this is one of those… PAY ATTENTION moments…
  • Christmas… The Manger… is an introduction to the King… We don’t want to just  collect his cards… or just listen to his music… or  just hang with his people…we don’t want to stand outside the Gates of Graceland… we want in!... To Enter the Kingdom we must follow the King… To follow the King is to Believe and Repent in humility…

Now your answer…

I love logic…

They Ask Who will be greatest…

Jesus Says Answers those who are converted and are childlike will enter

Then he says…

 4 "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

  • Only Those Who Are childlike Enter
  • He is Childlike is greatest…
  • Without childlike dependence and humility who would ever recognize their need of the King… Our Saviour…
  • Those who are converted… those who are humble are the greatest… for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God!
  • Often we emphasize some kind of level… squeaked through… and super Christian and every variance… Entrance to the Kingdom is Conversion and Childlikeness… not only entrance they will be the greatest!
  • When we graduate to the presence of God… Salvation Army… promoted to Glory… it isn’t theatre seating… Well Done Good and Faithful Servant… you get front row centre… Hey there squeaker… 3 rd Row balcony on the side…
  • The very presence of God… is over whelming and awesome… those who enter have the privilege of the greatest seats in all of creation…

Conclusion:

Jumping Ahead

  • Salvation is a test of the mind…
  • Salvation is a test of the heart…
  • Seeing the baby Jesus in the manger doesn’t bring salvation!
  • Don’t jump ahead!

Through the Gates

  •  1) You must be converted… changed….
  • 2) You must become like a child…
  • To Enter the Kingdom we must follow the King… To follow the King is to Believe and Repent in humility…

And Now the Answer

  •  When we graduate to the presence of God… Salvation Army… promoted to Glory… it isn’t theatre seating… Well Done Good and Faithful Servant… you get front row centre… Hey there squeaker… 3 rd Row balcony on the side…

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