Sermon Title: Let the little children come to me
Text: Matthew 19:13-15 (ESV)
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Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
In the month of May we’re having a “Train up a Child” campaign—we’re hoping to be able to fill all of our children’s Bible class rotations with teachers through May 2019.
In conjunction with this emphasis, we studied the text above. We discussed how children weren’t highly valued in the world of antiquity for different reasons, which may explain why the disciples discouraged people from bringing them to Jesus. The disciples also probably had an inflated sense of their own importance, and they may have thought Jesus was too busy to take time for kids. There were badly mistaken, of course—Mark’s account demonstrates this more clearly than Matthew’s: “But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant . . .” (Mark 10:14). Jesus wasn’t happy with people who ignored children.
It must’ve been a memorable sight: the hands that fashioned this world into existence reached down and scooped up little kids and blessed them (“And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them,” Mark 10:16).
We applied this story to our church family: (1) Children matter; and (2) Children’s souls matter. Most of us have attended or visited churches with few children, and it doesn’t speak well of those churches’ future. At Hoover we’ve been blessed with a lot of young children, and God expects us to treat them as Jesus did: to love them and bless them. We have an hour or two each week to shape the hearts of these children, so we must take advantage of these opportunities.
How do I live out the implications of this passage? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)
- Why might the disciples have discouraged these people from bringing their children to Jesus?
- What does it say that this is one of the rare occasions when Jesus became upset with the disciples (Mark 10:14: “[Jesus] was indignant . . .”)?
- Jesus is the Creator of the world and the One who will judge it on the final day. Yet here he takes time to bend over and scoop up little children and hold them in his arms. What does that image say to you?
- This story is sandwiched between two other stories. In the first (Matthew 19:1-12), Jesus corrected the Pharisees’ understanding of divorce, and in the second (Matthew 19:17-22), he lovingly chastised a rich man. Both the Pharisees and rich people were enormously influential in Jesus’ world, but he rebuked them. In our story—that falls between them—Jesus takes time to pay attention to children. How is this picture consistent with the Bible’s image of God’s being the God of the overlooked and marginalized? Can you think of other examples where Jesus noticed people that his world ignored or devalued?
- How do we specifically apply this story to the Hoover church?
- As a church, how do we value our children?
- How important is it that we have classes for them?
- It is often said that 20% of the people in an organization do 80% of the work. Have you observed that principle being true in churches?
- How can we do a better job of dividing the load of the children’s program?