The Greatest in the Kingdom

International Sunday School Lesson March 12 2023 Spring Quarter #2

Matthew 18:1-9 ESV  At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  (2)  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them  (3)  and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  (4)  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  (5)  “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,  (6)  but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.  (7)  “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!  (8)  And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.  (9)  And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 18:1-9 ESV



  • We seldom see jealousy and ambition in the apostles but it did exist.
  • It may have been the reason that the Lord picked primarily working people as apostles.

Who is the Greatest — Matthew 18:1

  • They had some shame at this at one time — Mark 9:34 (ESV) But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.

Become like Children — Matthew 18:2-3

  • Psalms 131:2 (ESV) But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Humble — Matthew 18:4

  • 1 Peter 5:5 (ESV) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Cause to Stumble — Matthew 18:5-6

  • Romans 15:1-3 (ESV) We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. [2] Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. [3] For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

Cut it Off — Matthew 18:7-9

  • Individual Application — computers or cable TV and pornography. Get it out of your house if it is causing you to stumble.
  • Group Application Pergamum — Revelation 2:14 ESV But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
  • Matthew 18:15-20 ESV “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (16) But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. (17) If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (18) Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (19) Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (20) For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.


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