Summary: Jesdus view of children, and weakness in general, was incredibly counter-culture. But it is what He calls us to.

Passage: Matthew 19:13-15

Intro: We live in a world of tactics, of processes, of gimmicks and approaches and “how to’s”

1. how to lose weight, how to get rich, to be successful, how to be happy

2. it’s no surprise, because as people we are more interested in results than righteousness.

3. frankly, in our world, the end justifies the means.

4. as we have gone thru Matthew, we have found some quite different.

5. we have found principles that are at tremendous odds with the way of the world.

6. and in this little passage, we find a ministry focus showdown between Jesus and his disciples.

7. very instructive, because once again, it is a principle that is at stake, and not a process.

I. The Disciples Acted Typically

1. the adult world judges people by a set of values and standards

2. we like kids, but are really impressed when they do things like adults!

PP 10 year old girl almost wins Americas Got Talent

3. disciples were “keepers of the gate”

4. tried to screen people who wanted to get to Jesus

5. Some broke thru

PP Mark 2:4

6. important people, like Pharisees, could get an audience

7. but these parents and their kids? No way! Rebuked=dishonor

8. they wanted a blessing in the OT style. Quite important.

Il) Manasseh and Ephraim, left hand and right hand of Jacob.

9. here’s the problem with these kids. They don’t fit the ministry agenda of the disciples.

10. what is to be gained by doing for these children?

11. small, weak

PP small black belt kid

12. penniless, powerless, socially inept, can’t vote, naïve, humble

13. when the disciples looked at these children from their ministry viewpoint (setting up a political kingdom), the brushed them off.

14. the spiritual leaders of Israel had the same type of view.

PP Ezekiel 34:2-3

15. ministry run by people will always struggle at this point.

Il) how do I attract the Christian pro athlete, the big time businessman?

16. how can this person benefit what I am building, benefit me?

II. The Good Shepherd Opened His Arms

1. don’t you love it when Jesus goes directly to principle?

2. he finds the principle, and applies it.

3. principle is at the end, “because the kingdom of God belongs…”

4. not just talking about kids here, though they are the best example.

5. Jesus is talking about the exact opposite of the human value system.

6. in terms of ministry focus, Jesus puts the weak before the strong, the poor before the rich, the humble before the proud.

PP I Corinthians 2:26-29

7. God is not looking to hire someone!!

8. God is looking to transform!

9. It is for God’s greater glory to take the weak and make them strong, instead of taking the strong and making them stronger.

10. He took a young shepherd boy and made him a great king.

11. so here we find the Good Shepherd opening His heart and His arms to these children

PP Jesus with young children.

12. in doing so, Jesus makes a strong statement about ministry focus that we cannot ignore.

13. so how are we doing?

III. What Kind of Shepherds Are We?

1. every group that seeks to have a ministry needs to ask this question.

2. has nothing to do with size or visibility or bank account.

3. we have to ask ourselves if we are shepherding or slaughtering

4. 1st question: Are we feeding our flock good food?

5. I am consistently amazed at reports I get from people who take their kids to church and they get nothing from God’s word.

6. by God’s wonderful grace, here we make this a priority, and always will.

7. thank you, SS, CC, Awana, leaders for the ministry you do for kids.

8. the very best thing we can do for our children is to teach them that God exists, and that He loves them.

9. the world won’t teach that.

Il) Christine O’Donnell, senate candidate from Delaware, ridiculed because she “doesn’t believe in evolution” Oh dear!

PP CBS poll in 2006, 55% believe God created humans in present form, 27% believe humans evolved, but God guided process, 13% believe in evolution with guidance.

10. 2nd question: Do we serve others for what we can get, or what we can give?

11. ministry to the humble can be incredibly cost-ineffective!

12. how much more efficient to minister to adults only, less space, less facility, and they have $ to give!!!

13. Feeding the Hungry, talk about a poor use of resources. But not in God’s economy.

14. 3rd question: very personal.

15. why are we building an additional building?

16. all the reasons need to be evaluated against God’s principles instead of the worlds.

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