Kamloops Church | First Baptist Church of Kamloops

Matthew 19:13-15 ~ "Don't Hinder; Help"

Our text this morning is going to come from Matthew 19:13-15, so go ahead and turn there in your Bibles. However, before we discuss the King of Kings, I’d like to briefly discuss some of Israel’s earlier kings.There was a day when Israel had been one nation. God set Saul as king over the people. He did not follow God, so God set David as King. David’s son was Solomon. Solomon turned away from following God with his whole heart, so God only allowed Solomon’s son to reign over one tribe of the nation, Judah. After that, God’s people were split, there was Israel and there was Judah. In time, Ahab became king in Israel and was the most wicked and evil king. His daughter was Athaliah, and she married Jehoram, the King of Judah, and he was wicked like Ahab. Jehoram eventually died and his son, Athaliah’s son, Ahaziah, ruled for one year. He was also wicked like his father and Ahab, his grandfather. Ahaziah was killed after just one year of rule.  One of his children should’ve become king. However, his mother, Athaliah, daughter of the most wicked king, when she heard of her son’s death, she killed the entire royal family so she could rule. There was one son who lived. A baby named Jehoash. He was tucked away and hidden in the temple for 6 years. At 7 years of age, he was made king over Judah and his evil grandmother was put to death.

            Studio kids, is there a seven-year-old in here? Ok, here’s what I want you to do. Imagine that you’re 7 years old. Put yourself in Jehoash’s shoes. Your own grandmother is ready to kill you, a baby, at a moment’s notice just so she can rule. There is a legacy of evil. What’s to stop you from growing up to be like them? But Jehoash did not. He reigned for forty years and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. But how? How did this 7 year old break away from all this hate and greed and violence? And more importantly how do we break away from all of the temptations around us? How can we do what is right in God’s eyes not just for a moment, but for our whole lives? That’s what we’re going to discuss today.

            Let’s look at our text for today. [READ MATTHEW 19:13-15]. The wording in this passage is very similar to some of the verses in the previous chapter. We have to be careful not to glaze over it just because we think we’ve already read it. We need to be careful to study the details of these kinds of passages when we come across them. In chapter 18, Christ used one child as an example of humility in order to teach against pride. He taught that we needed to be childlike; humble and trusting. He further used that example to warn against leading believers away from Christ by laying snares and traps for them. But here in chapter 19, we see a group of children. Jesus does use these children as an example, but he does not merely talk about them. He interacts with them directly. That is a distinct difference that we’re going to look at a little later.

            When I was in university, I had a job working at Christian camps. Churches would drive hours and hours to bring their children and teenager to this camp for the week. There was 6 camps throughout the summer where we had 800 teenagers and adults. We were geared up for ministering to them and leading these young men and women to come to Jesus. Right in the middle of the summer, we had this stretch of several camps that were for children and preteens. The way that we ministered and interacted with them was completely different. With the teenagers, they had a knowledge of Christ and we were just challenging them to go deeper, and we were going deeper with them. With the children’s camps, it was easy to get into the mindset of just being a baby sitter. During the last children’s camp, I had a conversation with one of my coworkers that I’ll never forget. This camp was just about 30 minutes away from Pastor Joshua’s hometown, so after 8 weeks of running around outside for 12 hours a day we were tired and worn down. One of my team mates starting sharing his thoughts on children’s ministry. His name was Joe. He said, “Children’s ministry, and this whole week is a  waste of time. Kids don’t really understand salvation. The kids who profess their faith in Christ now will just be back at this camp in a few years needing to recommit their lives.” He said this statement in frustration. He was frustrated because he thought we were wasting our time and efforts on people who couldn’t understand and grasp salvation.

            Joe was exactly like the disciples in this passage. They believed in Jesus. They wanted others to follow him. But how could these children do that? Luke 18 tells this same story, but he doesn’t use the word “children”. He uses the word “infants”. We don’t know that they were all babies. Most likely, there was a wide age range of children from babies to teenagers. So what did it matter if Jesus prayed with babies or not because they couldn’t understand what was happening anyway and they wouldn’t be capable of making a decision to follow Jesus or not for a number of years? Why waste the time and effort. So let’s look at what Jesus said.

  1. 14. “To such belongs the kingdom of heaven”. Every person who is found in the forgiveness of Christ must be as helpless, trusting, and reliant on Christ as baby Blaklee is on her mother. She can’t do anything to provide for her own needs. She is completely reliant on her parents for every aspect of life. Christ has already made this point. In fact, I think I might have used that same analogy also when we looked at those passages. But he doesn’t just talk about children. They’re not merely valuable as an example, but they are valuable themselves. Christ cares for everyone regardless of their physical and mental abilities. He cares for them because he made them. The gospel, grace, love. These things are for all people, and there is no time that we shouldn’t be taking the opportunity to teach and display the Gospel.

            The other night I counted through our members and regular attenders. There are only 3 more adults than children in our church. That’s about to be reduced to 2 next week. And then when the next wave of babies hits (which I’m sure won’t be far away) we’ll be outnumbered. And that’s wonderful! But we need to heed this passage. Don’t hinder them, not the children, not even the babies. Let them come to Jesus. This passage is not only for parents. It’s for all of us. We are covenanted together with all these parents to help raise their children in a way that will lead them to Jesus.

            [READ DEUT. 4:9-10] Keep your soul diligently lest you forget and they depart from your heart. The forgiveness that Christ gives to us covers all of our sins. And His grace and strength is extended to us to continue to overcome sin daily, and cling to Him daily, and learn more about Him daily, and become more like Him every single day, not just the first few days of salvation. Every single day. We have a responsibility to teach these children, but if we just talk about God without really living for Him, then we won’t be teaching about God at all. If we say one thing and do another then we’ll be be teaching hypocrisy.

            [READ Deut. 6:6-7] Talk about God when we rise, when we walk, when we sit, when we lie down. We should be talking about God in every aspect of our lives, because He is in every part of it. And here’s the thing, every part of the day, every activity that you engage or neglect, these children see you and are learning something. The question is what?

            I would like to share some statistics that were gathered by the Barna Research group. These statistics are regarding the opportunity we have to teach children.  First, regarding the probability that someone will receive Christ as their Savior. Ages 5-12, that probability is 32%. 13-18, it drops to 4%. 19 and older, that percentage of probability rises ever so slightly to 6%. Secondly, most children’s moral and spiritual pillars are in place by the age of 9. The older a person gets, the more and more difficult it is for them to replace those existing pillars. Thirdly, there are three main tiers of influence on culture and society. I’ll just share the first one. It does include parents, but it also includes movies, television, internet, publications, laws and policies. As children get older, parents’ influence decreases greatly while media’s influence increases. Finally, the more intentional and strategic a person’s effort is to influence, the greater the effect is.

            Jesus said to let the children come to Him and not to hinder them. I hope those statistics show you one thing, if we are not actively and intentionally leading children to Him, then we are hindering. If we’re not intentional because we don’t think they’re ready yet, then we are hindering them and they’re learning how to live a life that doesn’t revolve around God. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be speaking the Gospel, the need and the plan for salvation, over our babies. Talk about it. Say it to them. Keep doing it as they go older. Saturate them with it as an essential part of life. Don’t plan on sitting them down for one talk about it when they’re teenagers. Explain the things you do and why you do them and how you’re serving God in it. If they’re alive, then the battle for their attention, their love, and their souls is already waging. So we need to teach them.

            The last couple weeks have been a bit difficult for my kiddos. We’ve had busy schedules that have gotten them out of their routines, they’ve been a little under the weather, they’re tired, Timothy is teething. So they’ve been waking up early before Kyla and I are ready to be awake. Some mornings one of us will get up with them and we’ll put on a show in the hopes that the kids will just relax and watch it and maybe even fall back to sleep. And that means that we get to rest on the couch for a bit longer. And that’s not wrong, but eventually, there is a point where if I continue, then I’m just allowing the TV to babysit my kids because I’m too tired or lazy to play with them or do whatever it is that needs to be done. Young children have an amazing ability to soak up facts. We fill their minds up with songs and pop culture and they know “what the fox says”, but do they know what God says? Why not teach them truths about who God is and how He wants us to act? Have them memorize scripture. They have an amazing ability and opportunity to learn about God now so those truths can continue to guide them as they grow in understanding.

            Again, this sermon is not just for parents. We, church, should be intentional about treating our children and teens the same as the adults in our church. Take time to speak to them, get to know them. Encourage them the same way you do with their moms and dads. Don’t just assume they’ll learn everything they need to know in one hour of children’s church a week. They won’t. Don’t just leave all the spiritual conversations to your spouse. Bring them to life group. Let them see and interact with other Christians. Don’t leave them at home or send them to bed. Take every opportunity to teach them. Let them come. Teach them when you rise, walk, sit, and lie down.

            Don’t hinder them. Prioritize the Word. Know the Word. You have to be in it every day. If we’re not int the word, and we’re only at church when it’s our week to “teach” a class. Then what are actually teaching? They will see that Christianity is just another obligation on you and nothing more. Let the children come and do not hinder them.

            Children, what about you? A lot of what I’ve said relates how your parents need to teach you. But what can you learn from this passage? If Jesus’ message to adults about you is to let you come to Him and to not hinder you, then His message to you is this, Come. Don’t be hindered.   Remember King Jehoash. He was a child when he became king. His family was consumed in greed and hate and violence. So how did he resist that and do what was right in God’s eyes for his whole life? 2 Kings 12:2, “And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” He was taught about God, and he obeyed. So come. Come to Jesus. Ask about Him. Ask your parents. Ask the adults in your life group. Ask your parents to bring you to life group. Ask them to explain sermons. Listen and try do what God says. Ask for help to actually be disciplined about things. Kids, and teens too, I know a lot of you are great helpers and you help out your parents when they’re teaching classes, but look at your heart. Are you helping so you can do something nice, or do you just get bored in the sermon and want to avoid it? Don’t be hindered.

            Don’t accept sin. What do i mean by that? When I was a kid, we always went to church. I learned that I shouldn’t ask to stay home because that was wrong. But then, a Sunday would come along where we didn’t go, and no one was sick and there was no reason to stay home except one or both of my parents didn’t want to. And I learned not to ask about it, because if I said something then they would feel guilty and change their minds. So even though I knew it was wrong, I didn’t call my parents out so I didn’t have to feel guilty for not wanting to go to church. It was wrong, and by doing that, everyone in my family missed an opportunity to learn more about God. Sin entangles. So it became easier and easier to stay away. I still have two sisters and now a nephew who don’t know the Lord. What might have happened if we had been obedient? Don’t compromise with sin.

             Put God first. It’s hard. Even at you’re age, you’re very busy. You have school, sports, friends, scouts, dancing, family, the outdoors. It’s hard to fit everything in. The world doesn't value God so it isn’t mindful of your schedule and time to worship. So more and more you have a choice to attend church, our life group, or youth group, or you can go do that other thing that you really want to do. Come to Jesus. Make Him a priority. You should do those other things. They’re good. But nothing is better than God.

             Come to Jesus, because the disciples were wrong. You are valuable to Jesus. You can know Him. You don’t have to wait to trust Him. I know a girl that decided at the age of 4 years old to give her heart to Jesus. She may not have understood as much as an adult, but she knew that she needed to ask Jesus to forgive her and make Him the King of her life. That little girl grew up and continued to follow Christ throughout her life. She now spends her life teaching you and trying to help you follow Jesus. That girl is my wife, Miss Kyla. She is one of the godliest women I know, and it started when she was 4. You can know Jesus. Come, and don’t be hindered. Adults, let them come and do not hinder them.

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