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Jesus Loves The Little Children

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(11/17) Art Linkletter had a spot on his TV show House Party, and then Bill Cosby hosted a TV show based on that segment, called, Kids say the Darn-dest Things. It was basically a show about hearing what small children have to say about issues and whatever question the host would ask. It was cute, simple, honest, humble, and sincere. Like this email that someone sent that contained these:

LOT 'S WIFE - The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot 's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, 'My Mommy looked back once while she was driving,' he announced triumphantly, 'and she turned into a telephone pole!'

GOOD SAMARITAN - A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked the class, 'If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?' A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, 'I think I'd throw up.'

DID NOAH FISH? - A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark? ''No,' replied Johnny. 'How could he, with just two worms.'

HIGHER POWER - A Sunday school teacher said to her children, "We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?" One child blurted out, "Aces!"

UNANSWERED PRAYER - The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.

'Well, Honey,' he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. 'I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.'

'How come He doesn't answer it?' she asked.

SAY A PRAYER - Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.

'Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer.' said his mother.

'I don't need to,' the boy replied.

'Of course, you do.' his mother insisted. 'We always say a prayer before eating at our house.'

'That's at our house.' Johnny explained. 'But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook!

Kids do say the darndest things but adults donít always want to take the time to hear what children have to say. Many adults have the old philosophy that Children should be seen and not heard. We often want to train our children to act like adults. Donít wiggle, donít squirm, donít touch, donít talk, sit up straight, donít eat that, and more. The problem is that God built kids to wiggle, explore and touch stuff.

My own journey to faith in Jesus Christ includes seeds that were planted when I was a child. I donít who taught me the bed time prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep," or the meal prayer, "God is great, Good is Good," I just remember from a child having this little Golden Book about God. I remember getting a big Bible story book for Christmas one year when I was just six or seven. My parents didnít go to church then, but a neighbor asked my mother if she could take us to Sunday School and though not every week, we would go often when I was in elementary school. And then another friend of my parents would take us to a VBS each summer. When I was in the 6th grade, the mother of one of the girls in my class did a Good News Club after school in their home each week and I went for some time. Combine all that with the fact through the 6th grade we began our public school day with a recitation of the 23rd Psalm, or the Lordís Prayer, and we still did Christmas and Easter programs about Jesus, and I see how God was sowing seeds in my life. We even took a field trip to River Valley Ranch when I was in 7th grade and they preached the gospel to our class. When I was 15-17 years old I attended the same little Methodist Church each spring and summer, because they had a great softball team and I loved to play ball, and if you wanted to play that week you had to attend that week. That was the rule. Though I was a young adult when God saved me. All of this had a major part in my coming to faith in Jesus Christ.

Our Words in Red today come from Matthew 19:13-15 and I also want to read the same account from Mark 10:13-16. "Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. (Matt. 19:13-15) Mark says this (Mark 10:13-16) "Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them."

I. The Context Ė Several of the recorded miracles in the Bible are of Jesus healing Children. Two that had died. Jesus had first used a child as an illustration of humility and trusting faith while in Galilee at Capernaum. He then left there to go 75 miles or so south into Judea, where He encountered the divorce debate. When He had finished speaking to that issue, parents began to bring their small toddler and infant children to Him for a prayer and a pronouncement of a blessing. This was an accepted practice in Israel. Parents would often bring their children to a respected Rabbi and seek him to pray over their child. Sometimes the child would be passed to the arms of all the elders of the synagogue and they would all pray for the child. The prayers usually were about growing strong in the law (or the Bible), having a good and fruitful marriage, and being known for their good works. Such was similar to the infant dedication services that we sometimes hold today, or even the christening or baptism services that some denominations do. They wanted their children to grow up with Godís favor. But notice:

II. The Conflict Ė I think it was W.C. Fields that made famous the expression that Foghorn Leghorn used a lot, "Get away from boy, or kid, you bother me." Iím not sure why, perhaps thinking that Jesusís time was much too precious, or that He wasnít interested in children, or perhaps they werenít interested in children and were still consumed with their own sense of self-importance, but they rebuked the parents or guardians who brought the children, (so says, Markís version). What they said or how they said it we donít know, but whatever the intentions, it was wrong. "Get those children away, Jesus doesnít have the time to fool with your kids. Come back when you grow up. They are too young for Jesus and you are wasting your time." I donít know what they said, but that is what my imagination pictures.

III. The Concern Ė Notice what Mark 10:14 says, "He was greatly displeased." Most other versions translate this as, "He was indignant." He was upset; angry, incensed. What in tarnation is wrong with guys? Have you lost your minds? What are you thinking? Are you thinking at all?

IV. The Compassion Ė Verse 14 literally says, "Stop stopping them, and let them come, or in fact, bring them to me. Didnít we just talk about this a few days ago." Johnny Hunt from first Baptist Church of Woodstock (Atlanta) Ga. said, "I've thought for some time that we have confused the attitude required for "Kingdom Entrance." We believe children should come like adults, however, Jesus calls adults to come like children." Luke 18:16 says, "He called them to Him." Mark 10:16 says, And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them." We donít know what our Lord said or prayed over these children. But He held and hugged them and prayed a blessing over them. This reminds me of the famous childrenís song we used to sing a lot when I was a child. "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little Children of the world." I remember when Ray Stevens had that as part of his Everything is Beautiful song. Now that is the end of the text, but just the beginning of this life lesson.

V. The Children Ė It is Godís will and desire to give us children and that we are to have an impact upon the lives of children. From the first command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and Psalm 127 and 128 that talk about children being a gift and a heritage from God, and from the desire of God that we look out for orphans. God adopts us as children and calls us His children. Children and teens under the age of 18 comprise almost 25% or 1 out of every 4 people in America. Thatís right around 74 million young people in America. It is our Creator and Saviorís desire that we impact the lives of these children. There are at least 4 ways we are to impact their lives.

A. Educate them. When Moses was going over the laws of God to the new generation of Israelis who were about to follow Joshua into the land that was promised to Abraham, he gave them this instruction (Look at Deut. 6:1-9), ""Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised youóĎa land flowing with milk and honey.í 4 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Teach your children about God, who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing. Teach them His laws, and His promises, His blessings and His discipline. Look for opportunities in the daily affairs of life to teach them about God. Take time during the holidays to tell them about God. Dads, and Granddads, are you listening? Start today to think about Thanksgiving and what you can teach your family or how you can lead your family to thanking God for His faithfulness. Repeat it at Christmas, and Easter, and Memorial Day, and the 4th of July, and even Halloween, etc.

Listen to me, the pop culture, the TV, the Computer, the Classroom, the social media, and more is teaching your children all about the things of the world and lies about God, sex, creation, sexuality, history, purpose, and more. Who has the truth, and who is telling children the truth. Donít assume that they will just come across it. Moms and dads, grandparents you must teach them or they will grow up believing that they came from gas, frogs, and monkeys with no special purpose for existence. Look at Deut. 31:10-13, "And Moses commanded them, saying: "At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess." Not only your childís future, but the future of America depends on how you teach your children. And it is important that we establish and focus on Childrenís ministries if we want to impact Emmitsburg, Taneytown, Thurmont, or Fairfield. Be it a Sunday school, Childrenís Church, Team Kid, Awana, Center shot, etc. I am praying that some of you will get a vision and a desire to teach the children.

B. Evangelize them Ė Bring them to Jesus. Look at the back of your outlines. Of all the true born again believers in America today, nearly 85% came to faith before their 15th birthday. Do you see how important it is that we focus on Childrenís ministry? There is a 1 in 3 chance that if the gospel is presented to children under 15, they will trust in Jesus, but for every year after their 14th birthday it becomes increasingly more difficult to win people to Jesus. The numbers say that there is only a 1 in 25 chance that a teen between 15 and 18 will trust Jesus. Thatís why VBS, Back Yard Bible clubs, Good News Clubs, or Childrenís after school Bible clubs are so important. And thatís why the gospel needs to be presented every time there is a Bible class. Itís amazing to me that the ball fields are full every Sunday, and thousands of parents took their children trick or treating but few used Halloween to teach their children about Jesus. If Jesus was indignant because the 12 wanted the children to go away, how does He feel about us who want someone to do something, somebody should, you know, just not me. So, we do nothing. Itís time to start thinking about what we can do. I could be wrong but I think Andy Stanley built a lot of North Point Churchís ministry around the children. I know that the statistics say that there isnít a big chance that if you win a child you will win the whole family; that it is of greater importance to win men, and I am all about that, but we have a much greater chance of changing the world if we can win the children. Folks, it is a truism, win the hearts of the children and you can change the world. Thatís why Hitler and Communism focused so much on children. Jesus said, "Permit them, let them, bring them to me."

C. Encourage them Ė Look back at Psalm 78:1-11, "Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,

3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, 7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; 8 And may not be like their fathers,

A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God. 9 The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. 10 They did not keep the covenant of God; They refused to walk in His law, 11 And forgot His works And His wonders that He had shown them. Asaph writes this song encouraging people to encourage their children to follow God and His ways and to place their hope in Him. He is encouraging them not to repeat the mistakes and the sins of their parents and former generations, but to look to the hope that is God. The holidays and holy days are wonderful opportunities to encourage your children to never forget what God has done in the past and what He has promised to do in the future.

Paul had a similar purpose in mind when he wrote to Timothy. In the first epistle, he encouraged Timothy to be a leader even though He was young. In the second letter he encourages him to keep the faith that his parents taught him despite persecution. We need to encourage our young people, commend them when they make wise decisions, and guide them when they do not. It is a tough thing to ask a young person to not follow the crowds but to follow God, when at the core of their being they long for the acceptance of their peers. The broad way is appealing to the 15 and older youth. But a few good words and high fives from the adults goes a long way with young people. They need our support and encouragement.

Solomon encourages youth, "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them." (Eccl. 12:1) We are to encourage them to remember that it is God who gives us the ability and opportunities that we have, and not ourselves. We encourage them to honor Him in everything, because he has said he will honor those who honor Him. (1 Sam. 2:30)

D. Exemplify Christ for Them. (1 Tim. 4:12) I canít place too much stress on this point. Your children and grandchildren know if your walk and talk donít line up with the faith you are supposed to have. They need to see grace, forgiveness, and holiness in us, at home, at the sports events or wherever. And when they donít, they donít want our faith. But when we do, we give them a solid reason for following Jesus. Young people often want to be like their parents when they admire their parents. They know when you donít keep a promise, tell a little lie, cuss, fuss, and kick up dust. In conversations with people about drinking alcohol, I tell people that no matter if it is okay or not okay to have a little wine, I donít because, I never want my children or grandchildren to use me as an excuse to drink. We need to model charity, giving, worship at home, hospitality, and service for Jesus to our kids. Dads, do you pray over your meals with your children, in public. Do you pray for your wife or husband in the presence of your children? Do you pray for your children in their presence? Is Sunday a dedicated day of worship, or just if there is no ball game or grass to cut?

E. Jesus made children a priority and so must we. The future of the church and dare I say, the future of America depends on how the church reaches and teaches the children.

In what way is your life impacting the lives of Children?

What would you be willing to do to win and to teach Children?

What do you need to do in your home to exemplify, educate, evangelize and encourage your children?

What children do you know that arenít going to church? Why not ask their parents if you can bring them? Jesus loves the Little Children and He wants you to love them too.

Are You a Child of God? Not sure? Why not make sure today?

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman