This is an on-going series that provide an “overflow” of information or application from my weekly preaching. A preacher cannot, nor should not, get everything into a sermon. These will be posts that give some direction and resources related to the sermon that will help people better understand and apply the passage.
Yesterday, I preached on “Children and the Kingdom of God” from Luke 18:15-17. The Jewish culture of the day had a tradition of having the older, godly men bless the younger; especially to bless the children. When the people began to see in Jesus one who is wise and godly and loving, they began to bring their children to him. They recognized in Jesus one who has been sent from God and cannot imagine someone better to pray for their children. But the disciples wanted to keep the children away. Though the disciples rebuked the crowds, Jesus rebukes the disciples. He wants to reverse their thinking about children and the preaching of the gospel. Specifically, he says that we should not hinder children, but welcome them to the kingdom. Why? Because in children we see a picture of the gospel. Anyone who comes like an adult—independent and hard-working, a self-made man—that person cannot enter the kingdom. Jesus says, you have to be like a little child. When you come to God, seeking to enter his kingdom (that is, enter the realm of his salvation) you don’t come with hands full of all your good works. You don’t come with a spiritual resume of your years of service and holy living. No, you come like a children. You come with no clout, no standing, no importance. You come as one fully trusting and dependent on God. You’re looking for grace and mercy, not a reward for all your labors.
One of the larger applications of welcoming, rather than hindering children into the kingdom involves parents taking responsibility for teaching them about Jesus.
- Church at Brook Hills provides a simple guide to family worship.
- Joel Beeke has a small book on family worship you can download for free. You can also listen or watch an hour summary of same content online.
- Jason Helopoulos has also written on the why of family worship.
- Brian Croft has written an article on how you make sure to individually disciple your kids. It’s written from a pastors but could be easily adapted for non-pastors.
Beyond the immediate family, the application of this passage also extends to churches. How should they think about children and ministry?
- Children Desiring God has several resources for churches and families.
- Timothy Paul Jones is a “guru” on ministry to families and his blog posts on that topic are well worth checking out.
- Tony Kummer always has an amazing amount of resources at his Ministry to Children site. Again, a lot of this could be used by families at home as well.
- Logan Gentry talks about the benefits of including children in your small groups.