Summary: In this message I am speaking to the great need we have in our churches today to reach children. We had 11 people volunteer during the invitation to teach children in our church.
“Children...the Future of our Church”
Children are great aren’t they? I read a story this week of a little boy who had just gotten into bed and was thirsty. The conversation went like this. The little bot called our from upstairs Dad can I have a glass of water please? He says no go to sleep. Dad I’m thirsty can I have a glass of water please? No go to sleep. Daaaad, I’m really thirsty, can I have a glass of water please????? No and if you ask once more I’ll spank you. Long silence. Dad when you come in to spank me can you bring a glass of water please?
Children can be persistent and they can say some things that can really be funny. These are some actual letters a group of children wrote to God
* from Neil....Dear God, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that O.K.?
* from Nan....Dear God, I bet it is very hard for to love everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.
* from Mickey...Dear God, if you watch on Sunday I will show you my new shoes.
* from Denise..Dear God, if we come back a something please don’t let me be Jennifer Horton because I hate her.
* from Raphael....Dear God, if you give me a genie lamp like Alladin has i will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set.
* from Larry...Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel would not have killed each so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.
In the ancient world in the day of Jesus children were not very important. If you were counting the number of people present at an event, women and children were not even counted. Some people literally threw them away. Or they might keep the child if it was a boy but cast it away if it was a girl. This was the world that Jesus lived in...it was a world that did not have time for children. It is different today but unfortunately in some ways it is still similar. I hear stories it seems every week of babies being found in dumpsters unwanted. The disciples were preventing the little children from coming to Jesus. Often we do the same thing. (1) We do it by our attitude....children are a bother, they’re messy, they’re noisy in church (2) we do it by our example. We say do what i say not what I do. (3) by our theology. We say children can’t understand the Bible. They’re too young. Now the text we have read this morning is recorded in 3 of the gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke...all have a record of this conversation...i think that something of its importance.
It is easy for us to think that kids just get into trouble, they’re a bother or they simply don’t matter. But Jesus took the time to minister to children. On 2 occasions when he fed large groups of people he also fed the children. And it was a young boy who gave Him the fish and bread to feed the 5000. In Matthew 18, Jesus called a little child to Him and had him stand among the disciples. It strikes me that Jesus didn’t have to look for a child-there was one nearby and I think that’s the way it was. Jesus loved the little children and they loved Him also. And because Jesus loved children so much w should do the same. I see 3 steps he calls all of us to take in this passage.
1. Let children come to Jesus. Notice in verse 13. People were bringing little children to Jesus...it was customary...it happened all the time. The people that brought them didn’t think twice-they knew how Jesus treated children. But the disciples didn’t like the interruption. They were trying to protect Jesus so they scolded the parents (rebuked). You know Jesus has more important things to do. The word used here “rebuke” is strong. It’s the same word used when He rebuked the wind and the sea in the gospel of Mark. It means to be muzzled. Now we think how could the disciples be like this? But you and I have to be careful too. With our attitude because we may be more like the disciples than we realize.
Verse 14 says Jesus was indignant with the disciples. It’s a strong word, used only once in the NT. It means to grieve much. The question is why. Here’s what I believe...Jesus knew we have a limited window of opportunity here...children grow up fast and we’ve got to give our best to them during these years. Listen to what the Barna research group tells us...if a person does not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior before the age of 14, the likelihood of them ever making a decision is slim. The older a person gets without accepting Christ the less likely they are ever to do so. Write this down. Over 80% of those who ever give their life to Christ do so before the age of 18.