Summary: Our children stand for something. They stand for the kind of dependence and helplessness and need and insufficiency and faith that his required of adults to enter the kingdom of God. Like Jesus said, “To such as there belongs the kingdom.”
The Importance of Our Youth Ministry
Two young children were talking to each other about parent problems one day. One of them complained to the other saying, “First they teach you to talk, then they teach you to walk, and as soon as you learn how to do both, they tell you to sit down and be quiet.”
What is your view of young people in church? How do you believe your view matches up with Jesus’ view? Does your attitude toward the young sound something like this:
a. We want you in Sunday school but we’re not going to go out of our way to see that your spiritual education needs are covered.
b. We want you in Sunday morning worship service, but we’re not going to do anything that meets your needs – Just sit still and be quiet.
c. We want you here on Wednesday nights, but don’t make too much noise.
d. We want you in church as long as it doesn’t cost us too much of our time.
In Mark 10:13-16, people were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw, this he was upset. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” And Jesus took the children into his arms.
Our children stand for something. They stand for the kind of dependence and helplessness and need and insufficiency and faith that his required of adults to enter the kingdom of God. Like Jesus said, “To such as there belongs the kingdom.”
Don’t be upset if you’re a teenager and you hear me used the term “children” In the Greek, there was no word for teenager, the word used in our passage today means youth of any age. Also in the first century, you were either a child or an adult. Once you turned 13, you were treated like an adult. I know some of you are thinking, “Hey, that’s great!” But you not only were treated like an adult, you had the responsibilities of an adult and had to work like an adult. Now you’re thinking “What a bummer!” Actually, because you are young, lots of folks are jealous of you. We’re funny people, When we’re young, we want to be old and when we’re old we want to be young again. So what does our passage teach us about our ministry to youth?
I. Enlist (v. 13a)
a. Did you notice that it says “people” were bringing children to Jesus?
i. I wonder why Mark doesn’t use the term “parents” there.
1. I guess it was because more were involved than just parents.
a. There must have been grandparents, brothers and sisters, and even neighbors.
2. The same event is recorded in Matthew and Luke and they also use the term “people”.
ii. Many of us will sit back and talk about all that’s wrong with the young people and how things are not like they were when we were growing up, but we never do anything positive to get involved with them.
1. We’re called to bring the youth to know and be blessed by Jesus.
iii. As a result of the adults who brought the youth to Jesus and Jesus’ acceptance of them, the youth were able to find a intimate relationship with Jesus.
b. Why is it important to bring them to Jesus while they’re young?
i. A 2004 Barna survey showed that 85% of Christians began their relationship with Jesus before age 14.
ii. A fairly recent Gallup poll showed that:
1. 19 out of 20 Christians are saved before the age of 25.
2. After age 25, 1 in 10,000
3. After age 35, 1 in 50,000
4. After age 45, 1 in 200,000
iii. If you look at things statistically, it makes sense to spend time evangelizing the young.
iv. D.L. Moody once returned from preaching a revival meeting and reported that there were two and a half conversions. Someone asked, “Two adult and one child?” Moody replied, “No. Two children and one adult. The Children gave their whole lives. The adult only had half to give.”
II. Encourage (v. 13b)
a. Notice that the disciples kept the people from bringing the youth to Jesus.
i. They probably thought Jesus didn’t need to be bothered by people as insignificant as children.
ii. In no uncertain terms, the disciples were going to keep these noisy children and their nuisance guardians away from Jesus. After all, He had to have better thing to do, right?