13th May 2023
Read (Matthew 19v13-15)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
As children we were often sent out of the room when the adults were talking but even so I remember putting my ear to my bedroom floor in an attempt to hear what was being said downstairs. I may have been frustrated by my parent's approach but I practice it to this day in my own family - little ones don't need to know everything and we would be wise to guard our conversations in front of our children.
Nevertheless, we would be wrong to think that children are of little importance in the kingdom of God. One day parents brought their children to Jesus in order that He might lay hands on them and pray (v13). This seems to us like a reasonable request but the disciples rebuked the people for their actions. We are not told by Matthew the reason for the rebuke - perhaps the disciples felt that the Lord was much too important and much too busy to be bothered by eager parents and their little ones. Whatever the reason, the disciples soon discovered that Christ had all the time in the world.
The Lord said “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (v14). Was Jesus saying that children are automatically members of the kingdom? Are all children saved? No. We must reject the false teaching that says children are innocent of sin until an undefined "age of accountability". However with that stated we should not treat our children's presence in the church as a frustration. Do you know what it worse than a child crying in church? A church that has no children. Rejoice over the little ones in your fellowship, be patient with them and allow them to sit under the Word of God each Lord's day.
As we consider the children in our own fellowships we remind ourselves that children are vulnerable and to be loved and protected by their parents. A little child is dependent upon his mother for everything. When are girls were wee and crying their hearts out, we'd ask each other "Is she hungry? Is she warm enough? Does she need changed?" We considered every possibility and we sought to help our child's discomfort.
Jesus welcomes the weak, the weary, the vulnerable and the dependent. He doesn't call good people in order to improve them by faith, He calls sinners to repent and believe the Gospel. Christ had time for the children and saw no need for His disciples' rebuke. In the same way the Lord invites us to exercise a childlike faith, one which clings to Jesus throughout the storms of life.
How often do we go the other way? We are proud and pretend that we are strong and in no need of anyone's help. Faith is not a receiving and resting in ourselves, it is a receiving and resting in Christ. As we have received, so may we rest for "unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18v3)
Q45 Which is the first commandment? The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.