Growing in Christ - Every branch bears fruit (Jackie/RK)
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Children are part of the God’s family and need to grow in Christ too.
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As we continue in our “Growing in Christ” series, I’d like to start by reading a story out of the book of 2 Kings...
If you have your Bibles/App, you can open up to that passage… or you can follow along on the screens...
The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy. At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? Why is this man asking me to heal someone with leprosy? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.” But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’ ” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!
This is an awesome, faith-building story… with so much to learn from, but here’s what I’d like us to focus on: A child’s faith is powerful.
Here we have a young girl… a girl who would be in our Youth group… or even in our River Kids classes. She’s captured and made a servant, but apparently her masters are kind to her. Because when she observes Naaman’s disease, she desires for him to be healed. And I’d like for us to consider a couple of things:
Consider the boldness of her faith. She believed her God (through the prophet) could do the miraculous! And this was true faith, because as far as we know… no Israelite had ever personally seen someone healed of leprosy! Consider what Jesus Himself said...
And many in Israel had leprosy in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”
It’s not like this was a regular thing! Yet, she believed. So, here’s the second thing I’d like for us to consider...
How did she get that way?
Let me tell you why these questions matter to us… I believe, if we want to grow in Christ, we need to do that together. That means we need the children in our church (who are filled with the same Holy Spirit and part of the body of Christ) to grow in faith too.
So, two additional follow up questions are...
How do we cultivate young people with great faith - Kids who are growing in Christ?
How can we become people willing to both invest and value in the younger generation?
Because when Ephesians 4 says...
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Again… kids are included in the body and Christ gave them gifts too. They are part of our church family and crucial to the mission of God - in the same way the young girl was bringing good news to Naaman. So, to help us answer those questions, I can’t think of a better person in our church to help us than Jackie Owens, our River Kids Director!
Interview / Sermon
Interview / Sermon
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
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