Week 7: Demand #17 – Humble Yourself in Childlikeness

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Demand #17: Humble Yourself in Childlikeness (also in Servanthood and Brokenhearted Boldness) – Matthew 18:1-6
Memory Verse: "unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3-4


How does the world measure Greatness? Think about any realm where the discussion can revolve around Who is the Greatest:

  • Sports: pick one – football, baseball, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, soccer . . .
  • Business
  • Entertainment
  • Field of Education
  • Politics
  • Innovation / Inventions

We like to know what criteria will be used in the evaluation process. How would you like a contest where you invested valuable resources to compete along with many other people. At the appropriate time the judging took place and first place was awarded to Mr. X – but the reasoning behind the judgment was never explained. You would find that pretty unfair and frustrating.

The baton of spiritual leadership is about to be passed into the hands of the disciples. They have just been instructed again regarding their Master’s impending cruel death. You would think they would be focused on caring for His needs. Instead their heart of selfishness and pride is revealed in their ambitious striving for the #1 spot in the kingdom. "Tell us the rules," they cry out. "If we have left all to follow You, we need to know where we stand in the pecking order."

I. Humble Yourself in Childlikeness – Matt. 18:1-6 (Parallel: Mark 9:33; Luke 9:47)


(:1) Ambitious Pride Focuses on Independent Self Exaltation

  1. Context for Teaching on Humble Dependence
  2. Question That Exposes Lack of Humble Dependence and Failure to Properly Respond to the Unique and Supreme Greatness of Christ

(:2-3) Humble Dependence Required for Salvation

  1. (:2) Presentation of the Object Lesson (Visual Aid)
  2. (:3) Explanation of the Object Lesson

(:4) God’s Standard for Measuring True Greatness

  1. What is Involved in Humbling Ourself like a child?
  2. Do we still want to be the "greatest in the kingdom of heaven"?

(:5-6) Our View of the Greatness of Christ Must Be Demonstrated in How We Treat the Least Significant of Christ’s Followers

  1. (:5) Humility Eliminates Favoritism in How We Treat Other Believers
  2. (:6) All Believers are a Valued, Protected Species


Hendriksen: his translation of a Dutch poem:

Make me, O Lord, a child again,
So tender, frail, and small,
In self possessing nothing, and
In Thee possessing all.

O Savior, make me small once more,
That downward I may grow,
And in this heart of mine restore
The faith of long ago.

With thee may I be crucified –
No longer I that lives –
O Savior, crush my sinful pride
By grace which pardon gives.

Make me, O Lord, a child again,
Obedient to thy call,
In self possessing nothing, and
In Thee possessing all.

II. Humble Yourself in Servanthood – Luke 22:24-30

Piper: Service means doing things out of love that are costly to ourselves but aim to bring temporal and eternal benefit to others. . . The heart of a saved sinner who seeks to follow Jesus does not ask, "How can I have maximum prestige or applause?" It asks, "How can I do the greatest good for people who need my help, no matter what it costs me?"

III. Humble Yourself in Brokenhearted Boldness – Matt. 10:24-26

Piper: Humility: Five Implications for Bold Truth-Telling

1) humility begins with a sense of subordination to God in Jesus.

2) humility does not feel a right to better treatment than Jesus got.

3) humility asserts truth not to bolster ego with control or with triumphs in debate. It speaks truth as a service to Christ and as love to the adversary.

4) humility knows it is dependent on grace for all knowing and believing and speaking. "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). This will create a demeanor that is neither cocky nor timid.

5) humility knows it is fallible, and so considers criticism and learns from it, but also knows that God has made provision for human conviction and that he calls us to persuade others.

1 Comment

  1. Chibueze E. Owunnah

    I need to read this message in full, please, i am blessed with this little but i still neet to read it fully,. I think this is the kind of message we need almost every day of our live to help us in this race, most of the time we miss the point and start chassing shadows because expecially here in nigeria our values are being measured by those of the people in the world. When this kind of messages comes daily it will help us to re-think and to re-trace our steps. I pray that God will help us.