#1) Children were brought to Jesus

#2) Jesus wanted to bless them.

Mark 10:16 says that the Lord Jesus took these children that were brought to Him and didn’t just pray a quick prayer over them but it says,

"And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."

He tenderly held them in His arms and placed His loving hands on them and then He prayed for them.

It reminds me of when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus Himself to the temple and Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and blessed Him.

It was a common thing in those days for a person to bring their child to a prophet or priest so they could lay their hands on them and bless their children.

Here in the Gospel records, they wanted Jesus to pray for their children and to give them a special blessing from Him.

Jesus still wants to bless the children. He wants to use us to share with them this week the blessing of eternal life. For some it might be to let them hear for the very FIRST TIME that Jesus loves them. For others it might be to plant the seed of the gospel, that later will be ripe unto harvest. For still others, it might be to touch their heart to trust Jesus as their personal Savior.

I think it was Dwight Moody who once was asked how many decisions that he had a one of his meetings and he said that they had 2 and a half saved. And the person responded, "Oh, you mean two adults and one child?" Moody responded, "No, I mean two children and one adult." He said the two children still had their whole lived to live for the Lord and the adults life was half over.

I don’t know HOW Jesus is going to bless His children this week in VBS. BUT – I DO KNOW, that Jesus still WANTS to bless the children.

#3) There were hindrances to the Children coming to Him:

The Disciples rebuked those who brought the children to Jesus! They thought that Jesus was too important to deal with little children. They thought perhaps that they were a bother or a nuisance. I can just hear them saying "Can’t you see that Jesus is busy with more important things than children? He’s got work to do … leave Him alone! He’s busy teaching US … He doesn’t have time to waste on little kids!"

They were being very selfish. Look what they were discussing just before Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 18:1,

"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

Luke 9:46 says it this way,

"Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest."

These disciples were so busy worrying about which of them would be the greatest in heaven, that Jesus went and got an young child and was going to teach them a lesson in humility.

In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus goes on to tell His disciples,

"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

The Disciples in their pride about who would be the greatest, hindered these children from coming to Jesus. That’s hard to believe, but that’s what the Bible says, "the disciples rebuked them." "Hey, get these kids out of here, we are busy talking about whose going to be the greatest in heaven." But Jesus as usual got right to the heart of the matter and used a little child to show them who would be the greatest in heaven.

Sometimes, WITHOUT REALIZING IT, we provide HINDRANCES to the little children.

  1. The Hindrance Of Neglect

Children often get overlooked in ministry. We have a tendency to view children differently:

-Some people may not prepare themselves in teaching their lessons … like they would if they were teaching adults.

-Some people might treat a children’s Sunday School class, or a Wednesday Night Youth group or a Children’s Church like a time to "occupy" the children to keep them from interfering with "adult" worship. (tell the story about the men in our church in Florida who didn’t want to teach either kids or seniors, only adults)

-Some people might even ignore the children of our church because they can’t contribute to the church … they are a liability and not an asset … an expense and not a source of revenue. Jesus didn’t feel that way.

The Hindrance of neglect and also you have:

B) The Hindrance of Example:

The Disciples sure weren’t being very good examples, WERE THEY?

BY EXAMPLE, they were teaching the little children that they weren’t important to Jesus.

What kind of LESSONS are we teaching our children … What kind of message are we sending our children when:

-We don’t bring our children to Sunday School … or V.B.S.?

-We only come to Sunday Morning Worship Service … occasionally … if nothing else comes up?

-The only thing they hear about the Church is negative?

-They don’t see that Jesus is important in YOUR life? No Devotion time, no Bible reading or Bible study or prayer time.

The WORLD is full of HINDRANCES for our children … drugs, sex, violence, TV, movies, bad influences, peer pressure, etc.

Let’s be a POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT to our children … not a HINDRANCE to them.

The Disciples didn’t want the children to come to Jesus.

#4) Jesus Rebuked the Disciples –

Look again at 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."

Jesus was livid, enraged, and furious … like when He drove the money changers out of the Temple. He was NOT going to stand for this!

The Disciples had "rebuked" those who brought the children …well, Jesus "rebuked" them!

Jesus knows what we don’t know when it comes to getting children to Jesus. Did you know that:

-83% of those who come to know the Lord, do so before the age of 18.

-Only 17% are saved after age 18.

NOW you see why children were such a priority with JESUS … NOW, you see why children ought to be OUR priority!

Children are an INVESTMENT … an ETERNAL investment. Where will this church be 20 years from now if we don’t invest in our children TODAY?

-We invest in HOUSES that will get eaten by termites, burn, or blow away in a hurricane.

-We invest in CARS that will rust, break down, and get crushed for scrap metal.

-We invest in CLOTHES that go out of style, get too small, and we throw them away.

-I won’t be able to take my HOUSE with me to Heaven … I already have one there waiting for me.

-I won’t be able to take my CAR with me to Heaven … I will travel at the speed of thought.

-I won’t need any CLOTHES in Heaven … I will be clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

The things I spend my time and money on here on earth won’t mean anything in Heaven. BUT … what we invest in our children this week in V.B.S. will count for ETERNITY.

Story:

Many of you here can remember I am sure the song "The cat’s in the cradle by Harry Chapin. It was a popular song of my generation. The main theme of the song is a young father who was too busy for his children. As the man began to age and the child grew, he became too busy for his dad.

The melodrama of this song was played out in Chapin’s own life almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is a fact that his wife, who wrote the words of the song, asked him one day when he was going to slow down the torrid pace of his life and give some time to their children. His answer was, "At the end of this busy summer, I’ll take some time to be with them." That summer, ironically and tragically, Harry Chapin was killed in a car accident.

CHILDREN are our HERITAGE …our future and they are an ETERNAL investment. V.B.S. is an INVESTMENT in the Kingdom of God. We need to see the IMPORTANCE of that.

#5) Children are an example:

Mark 10:15 says,

"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."

"as a little child" … What CHARACTERISTIC of children is Jesus talking about here?

I can tell you this, Jesus isn’t talking just about their:

-Humility … because as humble as children can sometimes be, we also know that children are full of pride & selfishness.

-Innocence … because as innocent as children seem, we know that children can be quite devious … looking for trouble.

-Obedience … because as we all know too well, children aren’t the most obedient creatures known to man!

 

Property Laws of a Toddler

Evidences of Original Sin. Test this on the toddlers in your home or church this Christmas!

1. If I like it, it’s mine.

2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.

5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.

7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.

8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.

9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.

And so what is Jesus talking about that He sees in children that we are to emulate?

Jesus is talking about TRUST … children are very TRUSTING.

They have to TRUST adults for their very existence … their food, clothes, welfare, protection, education, etc. They are DEPENDENT on us.

As adults, we earn money, buy our needs & necessities, and look to our talents & abilities. Children have to TRUST.

This is the EXAMPLE Jesus wants to give us here. How do you enter into the Kingdom of God? You have to TRUST Jesus … to do for you what you can’t do for yourself.

Children are powerless and dependent. That’s what God wants to see in us … our total DEPENDENCE on His POWER … to forgive us of our sins and give us eternal life. You can’t get to Heaven in your own strength … on your own goodness … in your own power.

If you have never trusted Christ today, you can come to Him as a little child, trusting in what He has already done on the cross.

#6) Lastly, Jesus Blessed Them:

Mark 10:16,

"And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."

Jesus loves children … He made them His top priority … He made them our example.

This is what we need to do this week in V.B.S. We need to do what Jesus did … take them into our arms and into our hearts … pray for them … and bless them with the best that we have to offer them.

Jesus blessed them with HIMSELF … we need to bless them this week by giving them Jesus. Only Jesus can give them eternal life.

Let's pray.