Summary: Exposition of Mark 10:13-16 about not hindering children from the Kingdom
Text: Mark 10:13-16, Title: Separate and Distinct, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/2/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: A.W. Tozer says that people who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks: 1. They are facing only one direction, 2. They can never turn back, and 3. They no longer have plans of their own. “…it is that God’s life is eternally within himself a fellowship of three equal and distinct persons, Father, Son and Spirit…”
B. Background to passage: After dealing with discipleship costs related to marriage, Jesus took on a second party related to the family—children. In similar fashion children can be pushed aside and stripped of rights and dignity in the midst of broken marriages and family. So Jesus teaches about children and our attitude and practice related to how we treat them.
C. Main thought: in the text we will see three truths related to distinctions we make
A. Role Distinctions (v. 13)
1. Peter and the disciples demonstrate to us their view of their role as disciples: spiritual bouncers. They had to keep all the less desirables out of the way of Jesus. They didn’t view themselves as ambassadors for Christ, but as spiritual gatekeepers determining who got to come near and who didn’t. The word for rebuke means to punish, and carries with it an air of arrogance that others would even assume that they might touch Jesus. It from the text it seems that it was fathers, or other male siblings bringing the children because of the masculine pronouns. But coming off of the teaching on divorce, Jesus implies that the responsibility of Christians regarding those who are powerless is to stand in the gap for them; to speak for those that have not voice enough to speak for themselves.
2. 2 Cor 5:20, Luke 14:23-24,
3. Illustration: Paul Harvey said, "Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium." There’s an old story about St Augustine. Early on in his Christian life, he was intensely absorbed in the writings of Cicero. And around this time, he had a dream that he had died. And now he was standing at the pearly gates. And the keeper of the gate said, "Who are you?" And he said, "I’m Augustine." Then the keeper said, "What are you?" Augustine said, "I’m a Christian." The gatekeeper said, "No, you’re not a Christian. You’re a Ciceronian!" Augustine said, "What are you talking about? I’m a Christian!" And the gatekeeper said this: "All souls on earth are judged by what dominated their interests. In you, Augustine, it was not the Christ of the gospel. It was the Cicero of Roman literature. You are not a Christian. You cannot enter here!" Augustine was so startled that when he woke up, he resolved then and there to be fully committed to Jesus Christ for the rest of his life. And to live for Him.
4. Some of us feel like God has placed us in positions of authority in the church to help keep certain kinds of people out. And notably there is a place for making discernments about what church membership should look like. But we must be careful that the distinctions we make can be biblically supported. For refusing on doctrinal or sinful grounds may be necessary, refusing on personal likes, dislikes, preferences, opinions, cultural traditions, age, race, color, sex, or gossip should be equally hated. We must remember our role to be ambassadors for Christ welcoming others to meet Him. And also the role that we have as those called to speak for the weak, powerless, poor, etc. How do you view your role as a church member or as a church leader? Are you like the disciples? Do you stand up for those unable to do so themselves?
B. Value Distinctions (v. 14)
1. The underlying attitude that fueled the disciples to do what they did was the lack of appreciation for children. The Greco-Roman society into which Christianity was born saw childhood as only a necessary evil that took place between birth and adulthood. They commonly exposed unwanted children instead of aborting them. There was no soft spot in the hearts of society for children in general as in our day. And even though the Jews were a little better about exposing children, they did not have the high view of children that the scriptures taught. And what we have in this instance is a case of disciples adopting the prevailing view of society as their worldview.
2. Ps 127:3-5, 128:3, Deut 28:4, Isa 8:18,
3. Illustration: Sometimes we call them little rug rats, or worse, the trouble with children is that when they’re not being a lump in your throat, they’re being a pain in your neck. In his blog, Michael Spencer has said that "work must be entertaining. Education must be entertaining. Marriage must be entertaining. Family life must be entertaining. Children must be entertained. Our lives must be full of more and more entertainment. Entertainment will save our economy. Entertainment is the ultimate judge of talent, worth and value. We are entertained from cradle to grave. Leaders provide it, and the mob insists upon it. Of course, religion, church and God must all be entertaining, or we will have nothing to do with them.