Matthew Chapter 18

I. Video. The Greatest in the Kingdom – The Parable of the Lost Sheep – A Brother Who Sins Against You – The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.

A. Title. Matthew Chapter 18.

B. Data. LuisetReneeandBill.

C. Bias. Everyone has a bias on certain subjects. A bias may be healthy or unhealthy.

D. Consideration. Context must be maintained while viewing this video, and in reading the text.

II. Overview. Dr. John F. Walvoord, Th. D. (DTS). Chapter 18. Teachings Concerning Greatness and Forgiveness.

A. Sermon on the Little Child, 18:1-14.

1. The disciples had gathered in the home which Jesus had established in Capernaum (Mt 17:24; Mk 9:33). The incident that followed is recorded also in Mark 9:33-50 and Luke 9:46-50. As the disciples gathered, the question was raised, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Mt 18:1). According to Mark 9:33, Jesus had raised the question, “What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?” Apparently, they did not answer immediately, for Mark 9:34 states, “But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.” Breaking the awkward silence, apparently one of the disciples asked the question recorded in Matthew 18:1. As Ironside says, “It is a question that no truly noble soul would ever ask.”

2. In answer to their question, Jesus called a little child to Him, possibly a neighborhood child whom He knew well. When the disciples observed the little child standing in their midst, Jesus then took the child in His arms (Mk 9:36) and said to the disciples, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4).

3. Undoubtedly, the disciples had been unduly concerned about their status in the coming kingdom. It is clear that they were still anticipating an earthly kingdom, in which Jesus would be the King and they would be His privileged servants. In asking the question concerning who would be the greatest, they did not mean that one of their number should have charge over the others, but rather that probably several of them should take precedence. Jesus had previously singled out Peter, James, and John, as in Matthew 17:1, for special honor. What would the role of each of the disciples be?

4. Jesus, in effect, was saying that they were asking the wrong question. They should have been asking, How can I best serve the King? rather than, How can I best serve myself? The child in the arms of Jesus was a graphic illustration of loving trust, immediate obedience in coming to the arms of Christ, and in seeking only the position of being loved. True greatness involved taking an attitude of unpretentious humility instead of seeking a position of power. These were great lessons for the disciples to learn.

5. These teachings of Jesus were in sharp contrast to that which was popular in the heathen world, where children were often used as human sacrifices and often suffered cruelty and neglect. The disciples, accordingly, were warned not to offend a child. It would be better to be drowned in the deep sea with a millstone around one’s neck than to offend a little one. It would be better to have a hand or foot cut off or an eye plucked out than to offend one of these, especially in spiritual things.

B. Sermon Concerning Forgiveness, 18:15-35.

1. Having related the disciples to children in the preceding context, Jesus then related the disciples to children of God who may be adults physically, even though they are immature spiritually. He introduced first the case of a brother or child of God who has injured one of the disciples in some way (cf. Lk 17:3-4).

2. Jesus instructed him first to go alone to the brother, tell him his fault, and seek an adjustment. The implication is that this may bring the matter to proper solution. If, however, the brother would not heed such an admonition, the disciple was instructed to take two or three witnesses with him and attempt to get the matter resolved by this means. This was in keeping with the law as stated in Deuteronomy 19:15.

3. If this form of entreaty failed, then he should tell it to the “assembly.” Obviously, church organization, as seen in the New Testament, had not yet been established, and it is more probable that He was referring here to a Jewish assembly, with which the disciples were familiar. If the offender refused to correct the matter in front of the whole assembly, he was then to be considered an outsider and was no longer worthy to be considered a brother. It is significant that there was no recognition of church authority, such as a bishop or elder, or even the authority of the disciples themselves.

4. However, Jesus went on immediately to discuss the authority of the disciples. In Matthew 18:18, He declared, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” It should be noted, first of all, that ye is plural. This authority was not given to Peter individually as a pope, but rather it belonged to all of the disciples, and they shared it, according to the preceding verse, with the assembly. The idea was that collectively they had a right to apply the spiritual principles of divine judgment to those who ignore such truth. In applying them correctly, they were recognizing a situation which God had established, whether this referred to binding or loosing, and they were serving as God’s representatives. It should be obvious that their binding or loosing was true only as God confirmed it.

5. Proceeding from the matter of judging a brother, the importance of two or three agreeing was then applied to prayer. Here, instead of the necessity of an entire assembly agreeing, even two or three who agree may be assured that God would answer. There is no instance in Scripture in which two or three of the disciples of Jesus agreed in prayer and the answer was not forthcoming. Only when they prayed singly, as in the case of Paul seeking removal of this thorn in the flesh, was there divine disapproval.

6. Peter returned to the question of forgiveness and asked the Lord in Matthew 18:21, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Lenski observes, “The old Jewish teaching was that three times was enough,” based on Amos 1:3 and 2:6. Peter was attempting to be generous in doubling the usual limit of forgiveness.

7. Jesus replied, however, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Mt 18:22). There is some discussion in commentaries on this figure because of a mistranslation of Genesis 4:24, which Lamach is to be avenged seventy and sevenfold, that is, seventy-seven times. The Septuagint translates it “seventy times seven,” omitting the Hebrew and. There is no clear evidence that Christ was referring to the Septuagint rendering of Genesis 4:24, but it is evident in Matthew that Jesus meant seventy times seven, or four hundred and ninety. This meant that Peter should go on forgiving without counting the number of times, following the example of God himself, who does not impute sin to those who have trusted in Him.

8. It is clear that this is a story which has only partial fulfillment in God’s dealings with His disciples. There is no justification here for the doctrine of purgatory or the concept that a believer can lose justification once bestowed. The penalties refer to this life rather than the life to come in both instances, and chastisement can be experienced even by those who are the objects of God’s grace, if they do not judge their own life in the light of God’s forgiveness (cf. 1 Co 11:27-32; Heb 12:5-10). The illustration, however, enforces the exhortation of Jesus to Peter not to stop forgiving a brother, a truth which is supported by many scripture references (Ps 18:25; Mt 5:7; Lk 6:37; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13; Ja 5:9).

III. Scripture Text Examination. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, Th. D., Ph. D. (DTS), Chapter 18.

A. 18:3. “are converted” = turn, an active and voluntary turning from sin.

B. 18:4. “humbles himself.” The tense is “whoever humbles himself until he becomes as this little child — exhibiting trust, openness, and eagerness to learn.” These are the childlike qualities that constitute greatness.

C. 18:6-7. “causes…. to stumble.” I. e., leads into sin, “stumbling blocks (v 7) are occasions for stumbling or temptations to sin. “millstones” (v 6).

D. 18:8. “cut it off.” (See note on 5:29-30). This is strong language, used to emphasize; i.e., sin is so dangerous, because it leads to eternal condemnation, that it would be better to lose hands or eyes temporarily than to lose life eternally.

E. 18:16. “Two or three witnesses.” An ancient law (Deu 19:15) for the purpose of reconciliation.

F. 18:17. “church.” Here and in 16:18 are the only mention of the church in the Gospels. [Re: the church (Mt 16:18, Eph 1:22-23), is the spiritual body of born again believers: Jesus promised His church (built on His redemptive work) will be victorious over death, 1 Cor 15:51-57 (Dr. Merrill F. Unger, Th. D., Ph. D., DTS). (Mine; there was no church until the Day of Pentecost.)]

G. 18:`18. On binding and loosing see notes on 16:19 and John 20:23.

1. [ “Matt 16:19: “the keys.” The authority to open the doors of Christendom was given to Peter, who used that authority for Jews on the Day of Pentecost, and for the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10). “shall have been loosed.” Heaven, not the Apostles, initiates all binding and loosing; whereas the Apostles announce these things. In John 20:22-23 sins are in view ; here, things, (i.e., practices). An example of the apostles’ binding practices on people is found in Acts 15:20].

2. [John 20:22-23: (22: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This was a filling with the Spirit for power until the regularized relationship of the Spirit began at Pentecost.) (23:”have been forgiven…have been retained. “since only God can forgive sins (Mk 2:7), the disciples and the church are here given the authority to declare what God does when a man either accepts or rejects His son.)].

H. 18:21. “Up to seven times?” The rabbis said to forgive three times, so Peter thought he was being exceptionally worthy by suggesting seven times.

I. 18:22. “seventy times seven.” Forgive an uncountable number of times.

1. Mt 6:14-15. Notice that the only point the Lord emphasizes in the prayer is the necessity for forgiving one another. Forgiveness with the Father depends on forgiveness among the members of the family of God. This is the forgiveness that affects fellowship within the family of God; not forgiveness that leads to salvation.

2. Dr. Merrill F. Unger, Th. D., Ph. D., DTS). The Lord was indicating a forgiving spirit in the citizens of the kingdom. He was offering if they, in turn, as regenerate believers, wished to enjoy forgiveness and and unbroken fellowship with their heavenly Father.

3. Personal Salvation. John 3:16.

4. Security in personal salvation. John 10:28-30.

IV. Summing it up.

A. It is clear from the Scripture context, and the commentary of Drs. Ryrie, Walvoord and Unger, that the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, as well as all prior chapters, relate to the offer of Jesus of the Davidic Kingdom, that was made to the Jews of Israel, and only to Jews. Gentiles would have had no understanding of the teaching of the rabbis, in relation to forgiveness.

B. The teachings of Jesus to the Jews is shown throughout the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), with many of them based on the 613 Torah Laws of the Old Testament, and were intended to emphasize discipline of Jews. Torah means teaching, instruction, etc. In Matthew Chapter 18, Jesus discussed such Torah related subjects as: cutting off limbs (vs 8), and plucking out eyes (vs 9). The Law was in effect during the ministry of Jesus, but was fulfilled in Jesus (Matthew 5:17-19).

C. The Law and Animal Sacrifices.

1. The Law Of Burnt Offerings. Leviticus 1:1-17. (1:2″Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock.”)

2. God required animal sacrifices to provide a temporary covering of sins and to foreshadow the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 4:355:10). Animal sacrifice is an important theme found throughout Scripture because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). When Adam and Eve sinned, animals were killed by God to provide clothing for them (Genesis 3:21). After the flood receded, Noah sacrificed animals to God (Genesis 8:20-21) (got

3. For the Jews who rejected Jesus as their Messiah, animal sacrifices done in obedience to the Old Testament covenant were stopped in A.D. 70 at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the armies of Rome. Jesus warned of this in the Gospels. For the Christian community, animal sacrifices stopped with the death and resurrection of Christ (

4. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “it is finished!.” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (John 19:30). (The price for our redemption was paid in full by our Lord’s death).

V. For education and other supporting data for each source of information in this article, please refer to my Page, “About My References.”


Author: Equipping

The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible.

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