Summary: Christ clearly teaches that it is not religious observance or our goodness that saves. Christ teaches that it simply takes child-like faith. But what does it mean to come to God in child-like faith?
Disclaimer: Concepts and source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledgethese sources whenever possible.
COMING LIKE A CHILD
INTRODUCTION: Sandwiched between the accounts of a Pharisee who believed that he would go to heaven because of his religious observances, and the account of a rich man that thought he could go to Heaven by being good and keeping the Ten Commandments; Christ clearly teaches that it is not religious observance or our goodness that saves. Christ teaches that it simply takes child-like faith. But what does it mean to come to God in child-like faith?
I. A CHILD COMES WITH EAGER ANTICIPATION
A. A child is filled with wide-eyed wonder and awe. You throw a child up in the air or bounce her on your knee. When you sit her on the floor, the first thing she says is, "do it again!" Throw her in the air, catch her, bounce her off your knee; set her on the floor. She’s going to yell, "do it again!" Do it a hundred times. The hundredth time, she will still be shouting excitedly, "again! Do it again!" A little child wants whatever they can have, whatever is for them. When you come home from the store, they excitedly ask, “what did you bring me?”
B. Coming to God with child-like faith is coming to God with eager anticipation of what God has in store for you and wanting everything He has for you.
C. 1Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
D. 1Corinthians 14:1 “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts…”
II. A CHILD COMES TRUSTINGLY.
A. A child comes with simple trust, not asking questions, without fear or hesitation, just trusting in His arms that when things go bump in the night everything will be all right.
B. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
C. A group of scientists and botanists were exploring remote regions of the Alps in search of new species of flowers. One day they noticed through binoculars a flower of such rarity and beauty that its value to science was incalculable. However, it lay deep in a ravine with cliffs on both sides. To get the flower someone had to be lowered over the cliff on a rope. A curious young boy was watching nearby, and the scientists told him they would pay him well if he would agree to be lowered over the cliff to retrieve the flower below. The boy took one long look down the steep, dizzy depths and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.” A short time later, he returned, followed by a gray-haired man. Approaching the botanist, the boy said, “I’ll go over that cliff and get that flower for you if this man holds the rope. He’s my dad.”
D. Too many of us are like Uncle Oscar when it comes to trust. Uncle Oscar was apprehensive about his first airplane ride. His friends, eager to hear how it went, asked if he enjoyed the flight. "Well," commented Uncle Oscar, "it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, but I’ll tell you this. I never did put all my weight down!"
E. Psalms 36:7 "How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings."
F. The Ladies Home Journal (Sept, 1981) asked readers, “in whom do you trust?” The responses were: Walter Cronkite - 40% of the vote, Pope John Paul - 26% of the vote, Billy Graham - 6% of the vote, and God - 3% of the vote
G. Psalms 56:3 "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."
III. A CHILD COMES HUMBLY
A. With a child, there are no pretenses, no boastings, they come just as they are. What you see is what you get.
B. Matthew 18:3-4 "And Jesus said, "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."
C. James 4:6 (HCSB) "But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
D. Luke 18:10-14 (HCSB) "Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people —greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘O God, turn Your wrath from me – a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”