Children, especially females, had little value at the time Jesus came. Into this world came Jesus. We’ve come a long way haven’t we? This year 1.5 million American children will be aborted. Millions of American fathers will abandon their children. Forty percent of our children will grow up without their fathers. Every ten seconds a child abuse report is filed. Child trafficking is at an all time high in the world and has consistently risen over the last three years. It continues to be a harsh world for children.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 18

Receive the Kingdom of God Like Little Children (Luke 18:15-17)

By Pastor Delbert Young

Receive the Kingdom of God Like Little Children – Luke 18:15-17

Scriptures: Luke 18:15-17, Ezekiel 16:4-5, Ezekiel 16:20-21, Luke 18:15, Luke 18:16-17, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:17

A parent who is a follower of Jesus Christ has no greater concern than the concern for the salvation of their children. Certainly there is no greater concern than our children. We pray for their salvation. We attempt to live the life of a Christ follower before them. We involve ourselves in our children’s relationships and school. We want “Christian” influences in their lives. Christ followers are not only concerned with the birth of our children, but also with the eternity of our children. How horrible it would be for our children to go to an eternity in hell. The selection of the church we attend and the teaching we subject ourselves and our children must include its influence upon our children. Let’s read today’s passage.

Luke 18:15-17 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “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 NEVERenter it.”

Matthew chapter 19 and Mark chapter 10 also speak of this event. Three times this story is taught showing the importance of what Jesus said. Its critical information for anyone’s salvation and anyone’s entering the kingdom of God.

A little understanding of the world and times Jesus stepped into and spoke this helps us realize the impact of what Jesus said. The ancient world was a harsh place for a child. Infant death was extremely high. It was common in ancient times to abandon children to die of starvation or be eaten by wild animals. Children were used as sacrifices for idol worship. Slave traders, child trafficking, bought or took children to become prostitutes or slaves (Joseph – Gen 37:27-28).

Ezekiel 16:4-5  On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.

Ezekiel 16:20-21   “‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.

Children, especially females, had little value at the time of Jesus. Into this world came Jesus stating the exact opposite. We’ve come a long way haven’t we? This year 1.5 million American children will be aborted. Millions of American fathers will abandon their children. Forty percent of our children will grow up without their fathers. Every ten seconds a child abuse report is filed. Child trafficking is at an all time high in the world and has consistently risen over the last three years. It continues to be a harsh world for children.

Luke 18:15 People were also BRINGING BABIES TO JESUS to have him TOUCH THEM

What would you give for Jesus to touch your child? Do you bring your babies and children to Jesus to have him touch them? “Well Delbert, he’s a long way away in heaven. That’s impossible.” No. Heaven is the spiritual dimension. So (1) you can bring your children to Jesus in prayer. Do you pray? (2) You can bring them to Jesus through the word of God. The word was made flesh (Joh 1:14). You can acquire children story Bibles. (3) You can bring them to Jesus by coming to church, the body of Christ, where they will become a member in particular (1Co 12:27). (4) You bring your children to Jesus by your example (Tit 2:7; 1Co 11:1).

Everything a parent does is connected to their children. Every decision, every dollar spent, every sin we commit, everything we do affects our children. Children have built in “bull” detectors and know when we say one thing, but actually live another. They live with us. They hear us talk. They know if we’re real.

Does this mean a parent must live in sinless perfection? No and actually they need to see you mess up, and you will, so use it. When you do, show them what to do. Show them how to ask forgiveness from God and people and how to repent. Be an example your children are proud of, not ashamed of.

It wasn’t the Roman government bringing them to Jesus. It wasn’t the Jewish religion bringing them to Jesus. If you wait for the government or religion to bring your child to Jesus for him to touch them it will never happen. It is first and foremost the parent’s responsibility to bring their children to Jesus to have him touch them.

We live in a time of entitlement where we are programmed to depend upon society and government institutions to take care of everything including our children. Our children are our responsibilities, not the governments. Judy and I sent our children to public school but we never thought public school was in charge and responsible for educating our children. Public school was a resource, but we were ultimately responsible for their education. The entitlement mentality spills over into faith. We think, “I’ll bring my children to church. It’s their responsibility to bring them to Jesus.” No. Church is a resource. Mom and dad it’s your responsibility to get your children to Jesus and the primary means for you to do this is to live it in front of them. They must see you as faithful. They must see you pray. They must see you praise and give. They must see you treat people correctly and live the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. They will follow you into the kingdom of God. Nothing is more important to the child than the parent.

So should we even have Children Ministries? Of course we should. There needs to be something designed for them. I don’t want children to think church is boring. I don’t want them to hate church. I want children to look forward to church. You should consider helping in this area and I don’t only mean women. It’s important children see men following Jesus. Don’t let children scare you. You’re bigger than them. We won’t chain you to a child, but you will change a child.

We tend to forget how Jesus himself was born of a single mother in poverty. We forget Jesus was adopted by Joseph the carpenter. My point is there are children we would never suspect capable of changing the world if helped, directed, and given God’s purpose for their lives. We will never change society until we change its children. Jesus is showing us the importance of children coming to him. History shows the rise of the early church brought change to the attitudes of people toward children. One thing the early church and Christians were known for was taking abandoned children and raising them in their own homes. These abandoned children helped change society and the next generation.

Luke 18:15  People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. WHEN THE DISCIPLES SAW THIS, THEY REBUKED THEM.

The disciples were concerned about Jesus and were attempting to micromanage God incarnate. They stopped and even rebuked people for bringing babies and children to Jesus. They didn’t feel children are important. They felt it was an intrusive interruption, unimportant and meaningless. Jesus was doing important kingdom stuff and those kids were a distraction. It’s easy to place children in a category of lesser importance in church and the kingdom of God. We tend to think along the lines of the disciples. This attitude hinders children their experience with Jesus and rebukes parents trying. Jesus corrected this attitude.

Luke 18:16-17 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and DO NOT HINDER THEM

Mark 10:14 When Jesus saw this, he was INDIGNANT. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and DO NOT HINDER THEM

The word indignant is aganakteo {ag-an-ak-teh’-o} meaning to be moved with indignation, angry because of a wrong. It’s wrong to hinder children their time with Jesus. We remember how Jesus was upset with the money changers in the temple. He also is upset by disciples not seeing the importance of children.

When we would do events like King’s Kastle, we’d see a hundred children so easily pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” accepting Jesus as Savior. When things like this happen we tend to marginalize it and question if they knew what they were doing? We ask, does this mean anything to them? Did anything really happen? The reasoning is they should wait until they are older and understand better. They should wait until they can contribute more then we’ll take them seriously. As we see, Jesus doesn’t go along with this reasoning. “Let them come to me now and never stop them from coming to me!” So here at Life Gate if they want to be water baptized we never stop them. We never stop them if they want communion. If they want to remain in the adult service we never stop them. We do expect parents to properly respond if they are disruptive, but we’re a church, not a library.

I heard a story about D. L. Moody, a great evangelist in the 1800’s. Moody was commenting about a meeting where he said two and a half people received Jesus as Lord and Savior. He was asked if he meant two adults and a child. He said no. He meant two children and one adult. The two children could give their entire lives to Christ. The adult only had half his life to give.

Moody said, “It is a masterpiece of the devil to make us believe that children cannot understand religion. Would Christ have made a child the standard of faith if he had known that a child was not capable of understanding His words?”

 (Graph) “Another survey — by the International Bible Society — indicated that 83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, that is, when they are children or early youth. The Barna Research Group surveys demonstrate that American children ages 5 to 13 have a 32% probability of accepting Christ, but youth or teens aged 14 to 18 have only a 4% probability of doing so. Adults age 19 and over have just a 6% probability of becoming Christians.”

I know many of us, including myself, made our most major decision to follow Christ later in life, but usually something happened much earlier and even though we didn’t stick with it then, we came back to it later.

The disciples thought the children were less important. Jesus kicked the whole thing over and said you’re all wrong. First of all …do not ever stop children coming to me and next it’s not that a little child needs to become an adult to enter the kingdom. It’s no adult can enter the kingdom until they become like a little child. The problem is not children. The problem is adults.

Children teach us how to come to God. How’s that? There are lots of ways we could discuss: born again, dependency, trust, need guidance (Jonah 4:11), need protection; but it’s not because children are sinless. Parents learn this sooner rather than later. Children sin from conception (Psa 51:5). There is innocence, but children are not innocent. They want you to think they are, but you know better. And, Jesus didn’t say childish. He said child like in how we receive the kingdom.

Luke 18:17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not RECEIVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD LIKE A LITTLE CHILD will never enter it.”

It’s simply receiving it. It’s believing it. It’s not doubting it. As I said earlier about King’s Kastle, they asked no questions. They simply enjoyed receiving Jesus. Children love receiving gifts. Children love Christmas time. They love receiving gifts on their birthday. Their eyes become wide with anticipation. They giggle and laugh and we parents giggle and laugh when they are made so happy by a gift we were able to give them. Father God is so happy when we receive his gift of the kingdom of God. What Jesus means is to enter the kingdom we must be excited about it, believe it, not doubt it, and receive it. Many of your children can’t wait to get to church. They ask, “Is today church day?” Are you this way? Do you get giggly? Do your eyes brighten? Do you have anticipation?

What if we did? What if we all had the heart for children Jesus had? What if we raised our children correctly and they came to Christ and they had children who came to Christ and they had children who came to Christ? What would happen to our world if we like children received the kingdom of God? For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Other Related Sermons:

Excitement of Christianity – Easter sermon video audio notes

The Promise – Easter sermon video audio notes

What Then? – Easter sermon video audio notes

http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/ages.htm