Faithlife Sermons

WWJD #1 - He Would Love Children

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SERIES INTRO: We are starting a new series today and believe it or not we are going to talk a little bit about children. In fact I’m going to actually re-read one of the text from the Nolan’s dedication. So if you want to find your way to Matthew 18 and 19 that’s where we will find ourselves in just a minute. Everybody remember WWJD bracelets? Just by a show of hands anyone wearing one today? I wore multiple bracelets at a time when I was in high school when it was kind of the thing to do. But when we wear the WWJD bracelet, it was supposed to be a reminder that any time we were going to make a decision, that we should ask the crucial question, What would Jesus Do? So then, if you saw someone wearing one it might be fair for you to pose the question to them… So you wanna be like Jesus, huh? Over the next few weeks we are going to look at scripture to think about some things Jesus would or wouldn’t do, some things He did or didn’t say, and some ways He might want us to reflect His character in the way we mirror his teachings in today’s day and age. Let’s look at Matthew 18 and verse 1.
Matthew 18:1-6 “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him among them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Now we are going to jump to Matthew 19 verse 13
Matthew 19:13-15 “Then some children were brought to Him so that He would lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and do not forbid them to come to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.”
If Jesus taught on this back to back chapters, it means he knew the disciples didn’t get it the first time. If those 12 men who walked with Jesus didn’t get it in one try we are probably ok with a little refresher.
PRAYER
I can’t work with children… As a pastor do you know that this one phrase has caused me to hesitate more than any other phrase when I was considering whether or not to use someone in ministry. In the church we’ve accepted a lot excuses for a lot of different reasons. Well that person’s older so they shouldn’t be working with younger people. We need an energetic youth pastor. Now I will tell you that I’ve done alot of work with teens over the years, and I do think as we age it’s appropriate to say i don’t do all night lock-ins anymore. That’s just one of those things we get tricked into when we are younger. But when a person says I can’t work with children, I wonder if they have ever truly become as child-like as Jesus requested in Matthew 18. In back to back sentences Jesus says to humble yourself like a child, and then receive little children, and when you do it will be evident that you have received Jesus. Now I can’t help but notice the order in which Jesus said things. If becoming like a child helps me receive children, then if I struggle to receive, work with, or teach children, have I truly become like a child in the sense that Jesus meant?
I’ve heard that the older that we become the more difficulty we have in pretending to be who we are not. Because whether we realize it, the younger we are the more that we work to fit into molds to appease or impress peers and the current culture. But the older we get the more our true colors show. I mean just for a second, wives, I bet a whole bunch of you never expected to see allll the true colors that a man might show over the years of marriage, and kinda wish you could go back to when he was trying to impress you, am I right? Don’t answer that. I’ll tell you what though you could almost split a group of adults into two categories: One who grows more in love with little children, and one who grows more agitated by them. Think about it for a second, and you tell me that’s not just about right.
Just this week on the radio I heard there was a nursing home that recognized that when their tenants had their baby grandchildren and great-grandchildren visit, that it changed the whole atmosphere of the facility. And they actually started paying parents in formula and diapers if they would bring any child in under three just to hang out with the seniors. Now I’m sure pastoring is nooooooothing like running a nursing home, but I have hunch, that some of the old folks in that facility didn’t care for that too much. Babies cry and slobber, and make messes, and they don’t produce anything, and they are so dependent on others to take care of them… Hmm maybe about what Jesus was looking like for us, minus the slobbering of course. We get hard hearts church, we quit crying because we don’t think it’s mature to show emotion, we don’t want to be embarrassed or be thought less of so we spend more time on appearance than we do on being authentically who God created us to be. We are prideful and don’t want someone else to help us, and we’ve learned how to do such a good job of it that we don’t need to be dependent on God anymore. And do you know what happens when we become self-dependent? We start to casually and maybe quietly look down on everyone who isn’t. You won’t probably hear me preach politics as much as other pastors, but it sure is easy to speak down about someone on welfare, food stamps, or whatever other program you’re against… when you’re not the one who needs it. I think if the truth be known the more we protect what we have and use it to take care of OURSELVES MORE THAN OTHERS, the less like children we can be. How can I be dependent on God when I always have a surplus to fall back on? My surplus should be used to supply the needs of God’s children. I’ve also heard that some aren’t called to work with children. Let’s work that phrase a little
I’m not called to work with children...
Transition: Now maybe you would say pastor I would work with children but God hasn’t called me to work with children. Again, church, the more we get to know each other, the more I’m going to train you to be careful what you say to me. Let’s just work through this phrase I’m not called to work with children. You’re not called huh? How do we know what we are called to? We just talked about calling a little last week. And God can give you giftings for sure, no doubt about. But I can tell you that in my life I don’t consider my call to ministry at a particular church to be the totality of my calling. My calling comes over and over again, in fresh waves, as I read the Word of God, discern who He has called US to be, and then consider in my own life how I can live out that truth. So from the passage we just read today, Did He say if you are a woman, you are called to minister to children? Did He say if you were a particular age, you are called to minister to children? Did He say if you are an extravert minister to children? I say this to you with great confidence today church, as we begin a new series entitled What Would Jesus Do, (If Jesus were on staff at a local church today, which honestly I don’t know that He would be) But if Jesus were on staff at a local church today, he would not be standing here where I am, He would be the children and youth pastor.
Well children don’t tithe… they tear up stuff, if we don’t strategically position our ministries to reach their parents it won’t grow the church. I’ll tell you what I know, I’m young but 40 is still the next number I’m going to see, and as I enter the next stage of life I’m far less concerned about growing a church (in the north american sense of growth anyway), and I’ve become far more concerned with doing what the Bible says. Now... I think we can do both. But if we grow a church without being a people who love children, we will have missed the mark. We won’t have become people who look like Jesus, and then we will raise kids to be Christians or churchgoers that will miss the mark as well..
A group of megachurch pastors were sitting in a circle one day talking ministry and answering different questions they were being asked in an interview. One of the questions they were asked was, What is your greatest fear? And the first one said, my fear is that I will pastor thousands of people and my kids will grow up to hate the church. And one right after another they all agreed that to be their fear as well. My kids love it here at cap city, we are so thankful for that. But you can know this, that there is nothing that would ever cause us as a church leadership team to want to dismiss someone from a church more quickly than seeing someone act harshly, mean, or rough with a child. In so many words Jesus said if you cause trouble for a child, you should be fitted for cement boots and go swimming with the fishes. We are going to spend three weeks talking about what we should do to be more Christ-like and I know this isn’t a typical altar-call response kind of a message, but I wonder if you might just bow your head this morning, and say God, the pastor reminded us of how much you loved children. Will you show me how I can love children more? Will you help me be more patient, more calm, less annoyed, help me to see children the way you see children, because I know that’s how you look at me. Church, it’s a growth opportunity for us. If we love children more, we will be more like Christ. And if we look more like Christ we will carry a stronger witness to a lost and dying world.
(Invite team) Now some of you might have heard this message and think it’s about the way you treat or accept a child in the church, but the most important children you will ever love are your own. You might note that if you go home today and read the rest of the scriptures between Matthew 18 and 19 Jesus answered their questions on divorce. Matthew 18 and 19 might have just been one of the first marriage and family conferences in history, and in between Jesus’ two commentaries on children he answered a question on divorce, and some of you know this passage said it was only ever allowed because of hardness or stubbornness of heart. But I’ll tell you as I read, and re-read these two chapters over and over this week, can I tell you what I saw? Jesus knew what divorced or unhealthy marriages did to families and especially children. So I can almost picture Him saying, look if you adults want to beat up and be angry, and stubborn with each other that’s one thing, but you better take care of those babies. I’ll never forget that I worked with a person in Canada years ago that had zero biblical knowledge or concern for it and I asked him what he thought of parenting, and he said I think the most important thing a child needs is to see a happy mom and dad. And while i’m not putting that prinicple at the very top of the list... mom and dad hear this. There’s not a much more powerful example you can set for your children than a mutual love and respect for one another. And there’s not much more damage you can do than showing them examples of anger and disrespect. Consider your view and treatment of children this morning… I think it’s pretty fair to say our scripture today says it’s a clear reflection of how we receive Christ.
We just did a couple songs earlier because we thought we would mix it up today to extend the worship set here at the end a little bit. So if you’ll stand we’re going to sing a couple more songs, and you’re welcome to come pray about the message or anything else on your heart today, and then we will have a special announcement to share with you as we leave this morning.
Hope Central Announcement
ref worship service, enjoy it, wednesday nighs flooded? Voted, Randy a nursery worker an 2 foot long subs, we need everyone, debt free 23 acres, my prayer coming in is God if you will supply we will use every single acre to reach the lost for you.
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