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Mark 9:33-36; 10:13-16

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Dear Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
To whom does this belong? (Holding up misplaced wallet of member of congregation). It would be wrong of me to take this for myself, to withhold it from you because it belongs to you! What if this was the title to an inheritance, great amount of property and bank account of youngster whose parents had died. Could I withould this title to him of his little kingdom, just because he was a child - could I say have to wait until 18for you to hold this title? Or are there all sorts of hoops he has to pass through to get it? Even though there are ways he could be disqualiified - shouldn't we still give the title the inheritance - to thtat child because that was his parents wish, it's what belongs to him or her, even if not guaranteee actually comes intothe inheritance in later years?
Now how about the kingdom of God, to whom does this belong? Is it just the men who very sriously follow reiligoius way of a Rabbi, is it those who reached certain standard in moral living? Isn't it shocking that Jesus not only says that the kigndom f God belongs to little children, but that only those who realize their own helplessness their own childrishness and turn to God can really receive and then enter into His kingdom!
HP: The Lord Jesus receives into His Kingdom children of believers, and those spiritually like them, he touches and blesses them that they might truly enter the kingdom to which they belong!
Context: Final trip from Capernaum in Galilee, through region of Judea and beyond the Jordan (10:1-100 teahcing on marriage, and now going to Jerusaelm - Lazarus raised, moutning opposition, but also heightened xpectation - Mesisah going to Jerusalem - disciples on edge , keyed up for big religious idea,s, politiical intrigue, lives on the line… kingdom about to be established…
And look just gotten up early, Jesus teaching us again - preparing us for what lies ahead - this is prominsing look comoing out from the city - there are believers - heard of - they are comiong to Jeuss - but oh what are they carrying - can you believe it? Don't they have day cares some wear \can't you put them in the nursery - As they come closer -those disicples are looking athtose parents the way you might look at a JW coming to your front door - in middle of a busy Saturday morning - running kids, doing chores … argue about what false teadching … don't have time for this…
But these are bleivers in Christ - and now they are close, don’t' they know we're heading to Jerusalem - matterso f utmost imoprtantce, verge of estavblishing the kigndom - And you are coninog with your kids - Closeest one is about to open his mouth, and you want to dispatch him - like you do a telemarketer calling at dinner time!
What do they want? You want the Master to touch them. Not an unheard of requst - but now - why?
And here we must note the word Mark uses to describe what these parents are doing - they are "bringing them to Jesus"
Specific Grek word used repeatedly of friends bringing the sick to Jesus - unclean, desperate, no claim - carry them bear them along to - to jesus!
Really what the gospel is about beginning to end: Philipp to Nathaniel - Come and see… , Nicodemus - comes to see Jesus at night; Smaratian woman at well - gathered townspeople neighbours, ridiculers everyone - Come and see. End of the Gospel - the gentiles, greek proselytelys… Sir, we would see Jesus!
So Jeuss answer should come as a wake up call to us too: "More imoprtant than the moral reform , more imoprtant than the poiltical and even religious change I can bring - most iportant of all - is that helpless unclean, outcast siners, with nothing to their credit, totatlly dependanent on grace - that people like that including children come to me!
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them,
Mark 10:14a ESV
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Do not miss this - only time used word of eexterem anger - other ties angry at sickness, gospel of John idgnant at grave. But when we get in the way of people coming to jesus, .. When we atnd what is the word hinder … drive them away - because more concerned about moral imoprvlement, and plitical reform, and grwoth of ognanizaitonk than people knowing Jesus and Jesus is saying that it is these little helpless children that are capableo f coming to Him.
But it is the reason Jesus gives that is most iopprtant to us this morning! To these children of believers, and such as they Jersus says, the Kingdom of God Belongs! Undersatnd the Statuso f Children of the Covenant as Members of Christ's Kingdom
“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:14 ESV
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Children of believers are not excluded ffrom the Kingdom of God! Don't rush to adults receiveing and entering like children. Not yet what Jesus has said. He says now that the kingdom belongs to children like these babies and toddlers, maybe up to 12 years old…
What does he mean His kingdom belongs to them? Look back to 9:37 as he puts a child right in the middle of their circle and says: Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Mark 9:37 ESV
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Do you see the parallel Jesus makes… children of believers are to be received in Christ's name. Doesn't mean they are autoamtically saved, It means that they are in a family and church family - that has a special relationshiop to God through him. Even before the child can exercise faith or know anything!
1 Corinthians 7:14 ESV
For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
- households are like that even unbelieving spouse sanctified..not saved.. But household in which Christ at work! Children even in brokenness because of daeth or divorce, or mixed marriage - childrn are holy - not perfect in themselves, not necessarily saved - but they belong to Jesus!
Memebers of Christ's church, outwardly adopted into family -like children of Israel before they enter3ed the promised land, even though blew it, waiting to see if take hold… Yet engaged with God, they are his heritage!
God says:
Deuteronomy 14:1–2 ESV
“You are the sons of the Lord your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Numbers 14:1–2 ESV
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!
like that kid have to grow - converted by Spirit, come to faith - to claim the inheirtance - but Christi s walking with their family, God at work in their family - they are part of the covenant of grace - for sure have to respond to it - but jesus says kingdom belongs to them!
Like on the day of Pentecost
For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
Acts 2:39 ESV
For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
For sure child must grow to know the Lord,must repente and place faith - but outwardly a member of Christ's church - with promsies of covenant extended to him or her!
Do you see it - children of believers are covenant memebers enagaed with God in their lives - either break or keep that covenant - God in Christ already at work - Thisi s why the instruction in parents…in the Lord
Ephesians 6:1 ESV
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Do you see this is what the Lrod so passionately wants us to do with children! Receive them in my name - raise them iin the Lord, remove any stumbling block … Interesting that other religions conent to get men, others mystery religions intiaties men or wmoen but only very smart or dedicated… But Christianity - - empty hands only requiremnt --- book when Children became people! -
Our culture says - let the little children alone - blosoom into whoever they want to become … too young to learn evil and sin… too young to think of God and heaven and hell, … "They think in their childish way about God, and their souls and a world to come far sooner and far more deelply than most people are aware. :" And Jesus says receive them, every family, every congrtegation duty bound to make every eoffrot to provide for the spiritual training of its children. No church can be in a healthy sates which neglects ints young meembers, or lazily just says the yougn will be young… don't you see work in vcoveannt , in family church familyies,.. Can't take approach busy ourselves with church stuff and God will convert them some day if he thinks fit… No we are to receive them in His name!
But look what Jesus does because of this fact of their status as members of the covenant of grace, adopted into His family - And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Mark 10:16 ESV
And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
This far beyond what they had hoped for - and better see in baptism beyond what we expect too!
Like Jesus extending hand, reaching for leoper before spoke - jesus going to ignored untouchables… to make them whole .. So too Jesus reaches out His hands, and does what a priests, propehtts did as confer their status to asomeone being ordained, what early church did when set a part Paul and Barnabas for mission work - And Jesus Christ blesses. Covenant word - there are curses and blessings, and he is praying blessing on these children whose parents took them to the Messiah! - prays for these children - pronounces blessing upon them!
Happened to jesus himself , Simeon on steps of the temple,. Remarkable happened to Jesus on day of puirification … firstborn redeemed with a blood sacrifice … recall the Passover… Jesus was dedicated tto the Lord!
And the question must now be asked don't you think Jesus in heaven now, after fulfill all the blood sacrtifices, fulfilling the Passover … don't you think he still yearns to bless the children of his covenant?
Jesus truly blessed, prayed for those children, didn’t' savet hem right then and there .. But a real blessing tot heir lives!
Don't you think we ought to seek for him to do the same today - even those don't agree with babptism feel this - last hundred years started to have practice of dedication! Use text with Jesus
But don't you see in infant baptism , really covenant baptism - have the real mckoy - Jesus adopts this child into the visible church -not saved, yet, but member of the covenant; better than just the parents dedicating themselves and their child to wak with Jesus ;
Jesus Christ - places the sign and the deal of grace upon them. Jesus dedicates Himself to them, to going to the Cross, dying for the sins of shi people, rising for their new life - can only be received by faith, but in receiving childdren in his name, he says, don't need that sacrfice any more made for you - dedicated to extending this promise to them
While not a text about baptism, indirectly it speaks of our need to receive our children. In the bigger bipcture of the whole bible - Abraham believes, but whole family all descendants, botht those who would believe and those who in unbelief refused - all receive this blessing from God - of the grace sign eda nd sealed extenedetothe m - gospel given from the begninng of their days in picture form!
Why
Colossians 2:11–12 ESV
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
says sign and seal of baptism is about a covenant, this physical syign and seal - place on head, of new convert, or child of believers, like Jesus blessing, it is the Christian's circumcision but offered to all and without blood now - God was saying in the OT by blood , by sacrifice - righteousness of faith - nwo live like tht with heart circumcised!
but here is the miprtant thang what it pictures is the new life in jesus prioses d - and that not washing of dirt with water, but of our sins, with blood of Jeuss. Not the sign but the reality it points to … Trust in Christ, not only takes sin, punishment shame from you; he took took the cruses of being a sinner on to himsel, so that you and I by faith might receive the blessings and new life!
We must must accept and live into these promises God makes peronsally to us in baptism!! Christ gave his life as the method of cleansing your life, Thijs’ life - but just like the OT sign is given - but now must become true in our hearts, take him to Cross - this is how sin is dealt with, this is where new life found - raised with Christ through your faith in the powerful working of God!
We all must come like children, receiving what Christ pictures in our baptisms! Greatest blessing - ask ourselves - like I have Lucas and Lindsay what’s pictured in baptism - come true in your life - born once, twice, born twice, die once and live forever!
That is the hard part of what jesus says to all of us, as touches the children.
It is the hard part of what he says to his whole church anytime anyone is baptized!
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Mark 10:15 ESV
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Some speak of all the virtues of being a child and say - become humble innocent sweet like them! I wonder have you spent anytime around kids. Humble sweet innocent! If I turn to you and say - boy you are so childish - such a baby - Do you take that as a complement? It isn’t the virtues of childhood Jesus is referring to. He is saying, to these disciples who think they are the most imoprtant, so worthy of status - Can’t come into the kingdom - unless realizer spiritually helpless and in need of the Messiah - like these children. Nothing in my hands I bring, only to the Cross I cling! Emphasis here is on the total depeendence, the completellackof any credentials. The lack of standing that children had - pushed off to side!
And Jesus is saying, when you come before me like that, you will receive and etner my kingdom. I will lift you, carry you, protect you. First thing jesus did after made theat sacrfice that cleanses - breathed on them - blessed, them, Going up to heaven, ilifted up hishands in blessing!
Get that - not just good for that baby and totdller, touched by Jesus, but for all disciples watching Jesus pick up take into his arm - touch and bless - reminder that Jesus needs to touch them like that!
So too in baptism - great day for Thijs! Great day for Muelenberg and Roberts family. But not just cute and sentimental, not just a ritual maybe it will be better! As church father Augustine put it - God is giving this child and all of us - an outward sign - sign of grace - sign of inward grace that jesus must work in our heart. Grace of Christ at work in this family, in Thijs life. But eralize that there is grace at work in the lives of believers who observe another persons baptism, you put your faith in Christ doing this, then saving faith as inward grce - works in you!
As a church - baptisms tool for you and I - to experiencie deeper menaing that we are totlaly depraved, that lost in our sins, and no amount of parenting, church going ever fix that - but that Jesus Christ has a washing for poor vile sinnres, that he died to sin for us on the Corss, but rose to share His righteousness to make us right with Gd, and Sends His Spirit daily to refresh and sustain us -
You are to teach Thijs and all our kids every time see it - outward sgin, but what'the inward reality - have you understqaood the promises, believe them, When you sin instead fo trying harder or covering, do you prayin faith - experience forgiveness; are you experience the blessing - the salvation - pledge your self back to God!
Unless you receive this kingdom as the that needful little child, herlpless on your own, = see that is the boy insdie the man, little child locked inside in the dark - see that Jesus loves helpless lost children - blesses them, touches, them, put your faith in Him - know your savlation! unless you come to it with simple faith and inquieistive mind - never enter the kingdom.
Congregation, receive it wwith the faith of a child - and rejoice!
Not oout of custom or superstition but to truly receive a covenant sign - not so much you dedicating your child to the Lord, as the Lord dedicating His promises to them - yes only rece3ived by faith - but real covenant of your household with him; real inclusion of this child Theis in number of god's visible people, his covenant family, the church - real benefits and real responsibilities confered - nothing automatic - dynamic - but in very r3eal and true sense - Lord extending His hand of promises toward Thijs this mornning… note carefully what Jesus attitude to children of believers is, what he expects our attitude as church famioy - but even more what this says about how all of us, must receive the kingdom of God like a helpless child! = comport with whole teaching of Scripture, in big settingo f covenant of grace, of our children's place in that covenant!
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