Date: 26 July, 2016
Text: Mark 9:36, 37, 42 and 10:13-16
Title: When I Am a Child at Your Church
Children's ministry can be admitedly tough. Paul said .....
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
exp. Paul was focused on us grown up believers acting like grown up believers - but he brought out a some good points about children's ministry.
1.) Children are childish in their speech.
2.) They are childish in their understanding.
3.) They are childish in their thoughts.
Why? Because they are children.
D. L. Moody - Mr. Moody recognised that the average mission school was not calculated to reach the lowest strata of society. There was too large a requirement of order, too little allowance for the homes from which the pupils had come. Accordingly, he decided to begin a mission school of his own, On the north side of the Chicago River was a district called "The Sands", sometimes also known as "Little Hell". To-day, some of the finest residences of Chicago stand there where, in the early fifties and sixties, crime and debauchery reigned supreme. It was to this home of vice Mr. Moody went to begin his work. He found a deserted shanty which had formerly been a saloon and hiring this ramshackle place, started out to drum up children to fill it. At first he found it hard to get at the young street Arabs; then he filled his pockets with maple sugar, and, judiciously distributing it among those who promised to come, soon had his little room overflowing with barbarians. One who visited the school in those days has described his experiences. "When I came to the little old shanty and entered the door," he said, "the first thing I saw by the light of the few candles, was a man standing up, holding in his arms a Negro boy, to whom he was trying to read the story of the Prodigal Son. A great many words the reader could not make out and was obliged to skip. My thought was, If the Lord can ever use such an instrument as that for His honour and glory it will astonish me! When the meeting was over, Mr Moody said to me, 'I have got only one talent. I have no education, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I want to do something for Him.' I have watched him since, and have come to know him thoroughly, and for consistent walk and conversation I have never met a man equal to him."
Do you want to do something for Jesus this week? We also get to work with children. You may not feel highly qualified and "spiritually educated" enough, but if you want to serve Him you have an opportunity this week.
So, here we go. Tonight we decorate and tomorrow the children come. I want to give us some practical helps from the Word of God to help us minister to the children this week.
I. Let's love the children this week.
Mark 9:36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
exp. Jesus has just picked the little guy up and is going to use him for an object lesson. Jesus loved children. Those little children knew they had someone who loved them nearby when Jesus was present.
Exp. It's sad in our day that you can't rightly put your arm on a child and show them love. (But, you can't.) So, what can we do to show them that we love them?
A. Learn their names.
exp. When the kids come back and we call them by name that means something to them. (It's tough to learn names, but it is worth the effort.)
ill. Kay Lee asked me this week, how do you know so many names. (Sometimes I just guess and get it wrong. But, I do my best to learn names.)
app. We all know what it is to have someone greet us by name when we didn't expect them to remember. That shows care for us individually.
B. Be excited that they are here.
exp. Get a big smile on your face and let them know that you are glad to see them at our church.
ill. When we traveled in the States, we were in several hundred churches.
· One church I didn't meet the pastor until the service started and it was only because I went up to him.
· I had to ask where to set up my table. I had driven a couple hundred miles and I was given 10 minutes to either share my presentation or testimony.
· The pastor met with a wedding rehearsal after the service and never spoke to me before I left
exp. I really struggled with that as I drove a couple hundred miles back to South Carolina that night. Would Jesus treat someone like that?
app. We want people to leave our church thinking about how well they have been treated, how caring everybody was and knowing that this church loves them.
C. Let them know that you are going to pray for them.
exp. And then come to the 9:30 AM prayer time and pray for them by name.
ill. When I was traveling in the States - people at times would be suprised how many names I knew. I may forget them the next week, but I told them what was true - I prayed for the people I met.
exp. When you pray for someone by name - it will help you remember their name.
ill. I'm praying for our MP - Owen Thompson. I saw him this week and had prayed for him that morning - I didn't have to work to find his name.
app. God wants us to show his love to those who attend our ministry. Let's do that this week!
II. Let's treat the children like Jesus this week.
Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
exp. If Jesus came to church today and introduced himself to you, what kind of service is he going to get?
A. Get them a cup of water.
exp. There are small things that we can do this week to help kids have a great time. If they need something and we have what they need, let's give it to them.
ill. When Matthew lost his ball last week - Benson gave him his yoyo. I'm going to brag on him a little bit - because that is what we need to do.
question - Did you know that Benson gave his yoyo to Jesus?
Mt 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
app. When you treat these children like Jesus then you are thinking right. Jesus is getting served in the way in which we serve them. He isn't going to neglect to reward us for our good service.
B. Help them find their place.
ill. Mr. E. D. Kimball - Moody's Sunday School Teacher - One Sunday the young man appeared in the Sunday school of Mount Vernon Church. The superintendent, Mr. Palmer, to whom he gave his name, took him to the class taught by Mr. Edward D. Kimball, and he took his seat among the other boys. Says Mr. Kimball, " I handed him a closed Bible and told him the lesson was in John. The boy took the book and began running over the leaves with his finger away at the first of the volume looking for John. Out of the corners of their eyes the boys saw what he was doing and, detecting his ignorance glanced slyly and knowingly at one another, but not rudely. I gave the boys just one hasty glance of reproof. That was enough - their equanimity was restored immediately. I quietly handed Moody my own book, open at the right place, and took his. I did not suppose the boy could possibly have noticed the glances exchanged between the other boys over his ignorance, but it seems from remarks in later years that he did, and he said in reference to my little act in exchanging books that he would stick by the fellow who had stood by him and had done him a turn like that."
app. It is awkward not knowing what to do - we need to spot those awkward feelings (where do I sit, where do I go now, what am I supposed to do?) and help them find their place.
app. Let's treat the children like Jesus this week and love them....
III. Let's not offend the children this week.
Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
def. offend - to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, to entice to sin.
exp. This isn't "Oh I'm put out with you - this is you have put a stumbling block in my way to turn my heart away from God."
exp. I don't know how much a millstone weighs, but they weren't made for swimming. They were made for crushing and grinding up grain. It's the same as saying it would be better for him to be killed than to turn a child's heart away from God.
A. Don't let your attitude or actions keep them from coming back.
ill. Inviting a man who worked at Greggs to come to church. He had tatoos all over his arms and said that he was told at church that he wasn't welcome because of those.
app. If that church had the Gospel and those were truly good people and that person was coming towards Christ - then their would be strict accountability for the person who spake so unadvisedly with their lips.
B. Don't let your attitude or actions keep them from coming to Jesus.
ill. If you've done any evangelism, you have probably heard someone say, "I want nothing to do with Christianity. I know some Christians and they are the worst people I know. (Let's hope that they don't know true believers.)
ill. Imagine that we were selling AMAZING TORCHES and had some examples that didn't work. Would anyone want to buy a "light" from us?
ill. We are the "LIGHT OF THE WORLD" (Matthew 5:14) He goes on to say in....
Mt 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
app. Satan is going to be active this week - a hasty or unkind word, could be just what Satan desires to hinder a child from following after Jesus. LET'S NOT OFFEND CHILDREN THIS WEEK. Let's love them, Let's treat them like Jesus.
IV. Let's not be put out with children this week.
Mark 10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
exp. They didn't want Jesus to be bothered with children and thought he had more important things to do.
ill. Had a warrant repair done on our vehicle this week and found the customer service at Peter Vardy Vauxhall to be outstanding.
exp. How we greet and care for those who come into our ministry will make all the difference to them. We don't just represent a company - we represent Jesus. Everyone is special to Jesus.
James 2: 1 ¶ My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
exp. We will have multi ethnic ministry this week. We will have multi class ministry this week. We will have multi - age, obedience and aptitude ministry this week. And every one of those kids is as precious to God as every other kid. Jesus has time for EACH ONE OF THEM.
app. If kids don't come back - let's make sure that it is not because we didn't take the time to get to know them and make them feel very welcome in our ministry.
trans. - Don't be put out with them, love them, treat them like Jesus, don't offend them....
V. Let's encourage children to come to Jesus for salvation this week.
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
ill. I remember thinking as a little boy - "When I get older I want to remember just how much kids can understand." Kid's can get the Gospel.
question: How many of you trusted in Jesus as a child?
ill. Moody's conversion (a little older - 17) - I started down town to Holton's shoe store," says Mr. Kimball. 'When I was nearly there, I began to wonder whether I ought to go just then, during business hours. And I thought maybe my mission might embarrass the boy, that when I went away the other clerks might ask who I was, and when they learned might taunt Moody and ask if I was trying to make a good boy out. of him. While I was pondering over it all, I passed the store without noticing it. Then when I found I had gone by the door, I determined to make a dash for it and have it over at once. I found Moody in the back part of the store wrapping up shoes in paper and putting them on shelves. I went up to him and put my hand on his shoulder, and as I leaned over I placed my foot upon a shoe box. Then I made my plea, and I feel that it was really a very weak one. I don't know just what words I used, nor could Mr. Moody tell. I simply told him of Christ's love for him and the love Christ wanted in return. That was all there was of it. I think Mr. Moody said afterward that there were tears in my eyes. It seemed that the young man was just ready for the light that then broke upon him, for there at once in the back of that shoe store in Boston the future great evangelist gave himself and his life to Christ."
app. Satan will seek to put us off encouraging children to trust in Jesus. He'll give us lots of excuses. But, we need to pray and as God's Spirit leads encourage them to trust in Jesus.
trans. - Encourage them to come to Jesus, Don't be put out with them, love them, treat them like Jesus, don't offend them....
VI. Let's trust like children this week.
Mark 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
exp. Jesus wasn't speaking to the kids at this point. He's looking at all the adults present. He says to them, "You must become like children to get saved.
A. There has to be childlike humility. "As a little child."
exp. It's not humbling for a child to be child, but it is humbling for an adult to become like a child.
ill. Dr. Pace
- A black man who stuttered so badly he dropped out of school after getting disciplined for not being able to say his alphabet.
- He was drafted into the military and ended up in Normandy 3 days after D-day.
- His wife did all the banking and bills. He couldn't even sign his name.
- If his kid's asked him to help with something that required reading he'd say, "I've had a busy day, go ask your mother." They didn't even know he couldn't read.
- Approached Bob Jones University at the age of 62 to ask for help to learn to read.
- Was in a literacy program for three years with primary 1 students.
- Couldn't read anything after 3 years but then could read his Bible.
- Was put onto the literacy board.
- Spoke at Bob Jones University and received a standing ovation.
- Told to attend commencement ceremony at BJU and was suprised with an honorary Doctorate.
- Was invited to speak with Barbara Bush etc.
exp. All because he humbled himself as a little child and got the blessing of his childlike humility.
app. There are many people who have not received salvation because they are too proud to humble themselves as a little child.
B. Childlike Faith.
exp. If a father sincerely tells a child something they believe it.
ill. I have to be careful as a dad because I like to be cheeky and I don't want to warp my children by not letting them know that I am just teasing.
ill. Children have a lot of confidence in what their parents teach them. THEY WILL TENACIOUSLY ARGUE ABOUT THINGS AND WHEN THEY ARE ASKED HOW THEY KNOW THEY WILL SAY, "BECAUSE MY DAD OR MY MUM SAID SO."
exp. Children have a built in ability to trust their parents expecially when their parents demonstrate trustworthiness.
app. When God, the Father, tells us something in His Word, we need to have "childlike faith" and believe it. Why? Because GOD SAID IT.
Nu 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
1Sa 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
VII. Let's bless the children this week.
Mark 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
exp. Jesus reached up to His Father in Heaven and obtained some grace for those children.
app.We have already spoken of praying for them. We are conveyers of grace this week. Do you want to be a spiritually blessing to them.Get involved. 9:30 prayer time. 10:30- 12:30 prayer time. Encourage kids to come. Bring them if your are allowed to do so.
Children's ministry is tough - BUT IT IS SOMETHING OF A PRIORITY TO THE LORD JESUS. We want to do it well so what do we need to do?
final app. -
Treat them like Jesus.
Don't put a stumbling block in front of them.
Don't be put out with them.
Encourage them to come to Jesus.
Perhaps you are here today and you aren't saved, because you haven't yet learned the lesson of Dr. Pace. Why don't you humble yourself today and get Christian literacy and trust Jesus.
Whatever God wants you to do - why don' t you deal with him about it in your heart right now.