Summary: This sermon was for the commissioning of missionaries from our church who were going to Dominican Republic to work with children.

Commissioning Service for Coopers

Sunday, August 15, 2004

This morning we are commissioning Paul and Marcie Cooper to the work in the Dominican Republic with Kids Alive. Their ministry for this next year will primarily be with children. So this morning I want to ask a question that I have asked before - what is your theology of children?

Now when I have asked that before, I have gotten some weird looks. People can tell me their theology of God or of salvation, but very rarely does someone have a theology worked out for something like children. Let me ask it another way. In God’s creation, most of the creatures He made are dependent on their parents for a relatively short time compared to human beings. The baby antelope on the Serangetti has to get up and run with the herd moments after its birth. A human child generally can’t walk until around her first birthday. Why did God make human beings with the biological reality of a child’s dependence on parents for years rather than weeks?

We have provided some answers to that question in the past.

We have noted that God intended to portray Himself as Father. Therefore, the role of child is important theologically as we contemplate how we relate to the Heavenly Father.

We have observed from the Old Testament that the treatment of the helpless in society is often a barometer of the spiritual character of a nation. When a society destroys the helpless or abuses the powerless it reflects that the society is far from God. That says a great deal about our society that aborts the most helpless.

Today I want to look at what Jesus has to say about children.

Incident Number One Mark 9:33-37

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?"

34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

36 He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,

37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."

In this incident, the disciples were arguing about who was greatest. Jesus uses a child as an object lesson of how one must serve in the kingdom of God.

Incident Number Two Mark 10:13-16

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.

14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.In this passage, Jesus tells us that the helplessness of children reflects the state we must be in to receive the promise of his Kingdom.

Paul and Marcie, we commission you to work with the children.

When William Carey went as the father of modern missions, his friend and fellow pastor Andrew Fuller agreed to stay behind and rally support for the effort.

Here are Fuller’s own words as he described what happened:

"We saw that there was a gold mine in India, but it seemed almost as deep as the centre of the earth. Who will venture to explore it? "I will go down," said Mr. Carey to his brethren, "but remember that you must hold the ropes." We solemnly engaged to do so; nor while we live, shall we desert him."

There is our challenge.

Paul and Marcie have agreed to go down into the mine. We commit ourselves to hold the ropes. This morning we make the commitment that "while we live, we shall not desert them."

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Reyna Bartlebaugh

commented on Jan 10, 2021

Mr. Todd, Thank you for sharing this sermon. The reminder that we most never forget that “Jesus tells us that the helplessness of children reflects the state we must be in to receive the promise of his Kingdom.”

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