Summary: There are many ways people to displease our Lord, but even His most sincere followers can trouble Him in unique ways.
Blog stories: “Today, I went to my new job at a pre-school. I was really excited because everything was going so well, and a little boy even said he was drawing a picture of me. He even gave it to me when he was finished. Well it was me, but I was also on fire and being stabbed and shot multiple times.”
Adult children can still be childlike: “I told my dad I couldn't make the trip to see him this weekend because I had to work. I surprised him by driving ten hours, and while he was out, I let myself in with my key and hid behind the couch for when he came in. He walked in. I jumped out. I then had to call 911.”
Main Idea: There are many ways people to displease our Lord, but even His most sincere followers can trouble Him in unique ways.
I. When We REPEL People from Him, Especially Children
A. Godly parents number one concern should be the SALVATION and spiritual prosperity of their children
1. Good parents — they brought their children to Jesus
2. They didn’t wait until the children were old enough to bring themselves or make their own choice, as some parents sadly do
3. You should want to influence your children toward God’s truth
B. The disciples managed who saw Jesus: sincere but MISGUIDED
C. Can CHILDREN be saved?
1. People have made a science out of a mere theory (age of accountability)— some people won’t support CEF
2. Children have the full range of feelings we do — and a soul
3. Hannah was only 3; Luke about 7 or 8, I think
D. Jesus REBUKED His disciples
• Jesus was infuriated!
E. Jesus TOUCHED them
1. A touch signifies sharing your spiritual influence
2. It also can be a way to communicate love and warmth
Consider this story from The Blessing by Trent & Smalley...
A free-lance reporter from the New York Times was interviewing Marilyn Monroe years ago. She was aware of Marilyn’s past and the fact that during her early years Marilyn had been shuffled from one foster home to another. The reporter asked Marilyn, "Did you ever feel loved by any of the foster families with whom you lived?"
"Once," Marilyn replied, "when I was about seven or eight. The woman I was living with was putting on makeup, and I was watching her. She was in a happy mood, so she reached over and patted my cheeks with her rouge puff...For that moment I felt loved by her."
Marilyn had tears in her eyes when she remembered this event. Why? The touch lasted only a few seconds, and it happened years before. It was even done in a casual, playful way, not in an attempt to communicate great warmth or meaning. But as small an act as it was, it was like pouring buckets of love and security on the parched life of a little girl starved for affection.
Smalley and Trent continue:
"Promiscuous men and women… have told researchers that their sexual activity is merely a way of satisfying yearnings to be touched and held."
"In a study with homosexual men, a common characteristic they shared was the absence of meaningful touch by their fathers early in life."
II. When We Think We Are “ABOVE” Child-Like Trust
A. Child-like faith includes simple TRUST and SINCERITY
Warren Wiersbe writes, “We tell the children to behave like adults, but Jesus tells the adults to model themselves after the children!"
B. Many people reject Christianity as NAÏVE, gullible, mindless
• We don’t want to contribute to that stereotype, but for many it makes no difference… people want to believe this
• The real issue involved is usually arrogance and freedom to do wrong
C. The way to win people is not to IMPRESS them with credentials, scholarship, or match the world’s quality in the arts
We should have answers, and we need scholars and apologists, but that is not what really opens people up to the Gospel…. The Spirit and testimony of believers
D. When we love one another and walk the walk, others take NOTICE
III. When We View Jesus’ Blessing As UNIMPORTANT
A. A blessing can refer to being made happy, privileged/supported, or a PRAYER
B. Here, the idea of blessing is that of a THREE WAY PRAYER
1. Modern Jewish blessing of children….
To boys: “God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh”
To girls: “ God make you like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah.”
Then the Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:24-26):
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”