STAY FOCUSED: The parables and teachings in Matthew 18 are independent lessons that are held together with a common thread: get rid of whatever it is in your life that's pulling your attention away from the Kingdom of Heaven:
v1-5: Don't get hung up on world hierarchies; Heaven's 'ranking' system is completely the opposite of the worlds. The last shall be first.
v6-9: Get rid of whatever pulls you away from the Kingdom, no matter how valuable it may seem.
v10-14: Risk everything for the sake of the Kingdom.
v15-20: Keep the church (the representative of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth) pure.
v21-35: Realize the kindness, patience and generosity extended to you that you may become a citizen of the Kingdom, and then extend those same things to everybody else.
MATTHEW 18 PRINCIPLE: I've worked with a number of organizations whose bylaws referenced the Matthew 18 Principle: when you're having a problem with a particular person, go immediately to that person and get the problem solved. Don't smear the problem all over the place by bad-talking the person amongst all of the other organization's members. If the problem persists, slowly work your way up the chain of command. The goal, as with this entire chapter, is to keep yourself, the person bothering you, and the entire organization focused on the Kingdom of Heaven,
GOD IS NOT A GENIE: We could easily misinterpret v19-20 by concluding that God is obligated to fulfill any wish as long as at least two or three people agree on what ought to be asked for. This is another huge reminder why it's so important for us to realize that the Asking is the third A in the AAA sequence. First we Acknowledge who God is, we then Align ourselves with God's will, and then we can ask God for what we need and want. It's only after consistently going through the first two steps that the things we ask for will be the things God wants us to have, and which He will generously give. Joining our prayers with two or three other disciples will help keep those requests on track.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The High King of Heaven
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will help you stay focused on the Kingdom of Heaven and not be distracted by the allures of the world.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: When you have submitted your life to the King and His Kingdom, He will grant whatever it is you ask.
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