Summary: A sermon that looks explores Jesus teaching that Christians have a childlike...not a childish faith
This morning I would like you to think about your faith.
When is your faith child like and when is it childish?
This morning’s Gospel points out there is a difference.
There is a difference between child like faith and being childish with our faith.
Jesus gives us a child like faith.
He wants us to have a child like faith.
Listen again to Jesus as recorded in verse 25 of Matthew 11.
25At that time Jesus said, I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
And from Mark 10:14, Jesus says
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
The Christian faith is not complicated.
Jesus is stressing that being a Christian is not something that you have to achieve or obtain to be working in your life.
It is a gift from God to you.
Martin Luther emphasised this when he said scripture indicates that,
"I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has calls me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith."
The faith I have,
the faith you have is something Jesus has given us.
So even a child can have this faith.
And it is amazing the faith Children do have.
And it is a faith that means we trust Jesus with our lives.
This is what child like faith looks like.
But Jesus doesn’t want us to be childish with our faith.
Now interestingly in this section of Jesus was not addressing the children.
He was addressing ’this generation’.
And the generation, Jesus was addressing appears to be a lot like the generation we are part of;
willing to leave it to someone else,
wanting things down their way.
They were not willing to respond to the messages from Jesus unless it suited them.
And they got upset when the form of the message is not the way they liked it.
And we need to remember it wasn’t the young people Jesus was having a dig at.
When he talks about this generation,
He is talking to the adults, about the adults.
And for us today that means He is talking to you and to me.
He is especially directing his comments
to people with experience,
to people with knowledge,
to people with the ability to hear the messages from God,
and to people who are able contribute to being part of a Christian community.
Listen again to what Jesus says to them and to us, from verses 16-19
16"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17" ’We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge
and you did not mourn.
18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ’He has a demon.’ 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ’Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners."
These comments from Jesus highlight the problem that Jesus has not just with children,
but with every human.
The problem is that our immediate reaction to most situations is to think of ourselves first.
This is exactly what sin is.
Luther used the phrase that sin is being curved in on oneself.
Recently I heard it described as this.
Sin is looking at oneself.
Try looking at yourself now.
When we look at ourselves we look down.
What do we see.
We see no one else.
We see our tummies and focus on filling them.
We see our pockets and focus on putting and keeping money in them.
We see our hands and we see what is missing from them.
And we see our feet and focus on them not moving too far or getting too dirty, or how quickly we can move away from someone.
And the actions that sin produces can clearly be seen in children.
I love my children…
I love many of the things they do…
But occasionally they drive me up the wall.
They almost send me insane.
At times they can be very generous.
But other times they can be very selfish and stubborn.
There are times they want every thing their own way.
They want everyone to play the game their way.
And when they don’t get their way they can be very difficult.
They can not only make life miserable for everyone around them,
but as a result of their actions they often miss out on things.