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It's A Small World..After All.


"And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them."
Good Morning my beloved,

We welcome you to worship in the name of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is always a privilege to come together with you, I am grateful that you allow me that great privilege, I never take that for granted. 
I'm often asked "What's wrong with the kids today?" It’s easy for us to think that countless millions of children in the world today just get in trouble, but quite frankly, children don’t seem to matter much, until something goes wrong, then how dare they bother us. I believe the bigger question is where is God in the lives of these children? God is missing and more often than not, so are the parents, that's why the adults can’t control their children. The reality that those responsible for them, spend more time on social media than they do with their children, has had far reaching moral and social consequences, which has significantly contributed to many children today unsupervised supervised, struggling to manage their behavior.
The first thing I want you to notice, is children don't have the same sense of belonging in a family as previous generations several decades ago, nor do they have a responsibility to the family, like helping with simple household chores, or assisting a parent preparing a meal, which is all part of the work of the family. There is something very satisfying about preparing and cooking a meal for those you love and seeing the expressions of gratitude and enjoyment on their faces. I have found, the more responsibility you give your children, age appropriate of course, the more willing they are to step up and meet the challenge, especially when they can see the adults around them working. Children are motivated by what's fair, and in contrast, what's unfair.
Most of us probably grew up singing the children’s hymn written by C. Herbert Woolston, pastor, gospel songwriter, entitled "Jesus Loves the Little Children." He was the son of Isaiah S. and Sarah B. Woolston. In 1859, he married Agnes Claire Worrall. He entered the ministry under the influence of evangelist H.G. DeWitt in 1873, attending Crozier Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania, from 1877–79. He served as pastor at East Baptist Church, Philadelphia for forty-years and under his leadership, and according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "the congregation grew from 176 members to more than 1,000."  Woolston died not long after his seventy-first birthday. His extensive ministry to children undoubtedly inspired him to write the composition of this well-known three-stanza hymn. With its worldwide perspective, Woolston's hymn probably holds a place in the United States second only to "Jesus loves me! This I know," written in 1859 by Anna Bartlett Warner. Even the simplest of songs have the ability to carry a profound message. Jesus loves and values children, and often refers to them throughout His earthly ministry. As Christ's followers, we are to be as dependent on Christ as little children are on their parents.
I believe this passage should challenge us to bring the children to Jesus.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father,

Father, thank You for Your Word. Lord, I pray today for the families and marriages that are without Christ in their homes, blinded by their sin, O' Father work in their hearts as only You can and by Your grace and mercy, turn their eyes toward Jesus, grant them the gift of repentance that they may believe in the Gospel and be saved. We pray for those in the church, who think they are saved, but are not honoring You in their lives. Cause them to be grieved, devastated over their sin to the point of repentance, and throw themselves on your mercy and your grace and become obedient to Your Word. Lord grant us grace, for Your glory and for Christ's sake.
In His name we ask and pray

Today's Message: It's A Small World..After All

Open your Bibles with me to Mark chapter 10, verses 13 through 16. Mark 10:13-16. I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds. Let us open our hearts and minds and see how the Lord might use us to impact the lives of others. 
"And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them."
Let's look at verse 13, "And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them." While Scripture is not explicit in telling us who brought these children to Jesus, the Talmud tells us that it was customary for parents to bring their little children to the synagogue to be blessed and prayed for by the elders, so that God would pour our His favor on them. I believe we are safe in assuming they were brought to Jesus by their parents, that He might lay His hands on them and pray for them. Luke tells us "they were bringing even their babies to Him." 
I want to say, I do not believe we can interpret this passage to justify infant baptism. It is important to understand that a baby is neither capable of receiving or rejecting divine Truth. It is also significant to note that our Lord does not pronounce blessing on anybody outside His kingdom. Jesus gives us no indication of the spiritual condition of the parents, or the possibility of faith of the parents being transferred to their children. However, Scripture does teach that every parent has the responsibility to teach his or her children about God, to influence their children's response to God. Not merely take them to church where someone else can teach them. Unlike the youth in the past generations, the vast majority of children today do not have strong biblical principles reinforced to delineate between right and wrong. However, not every parent is interested in the spiritual well-being of their children and we wonder why they steal, kill and do not honor their parents?
In 2 Timothy 3:14-15, Paul wrote, "You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." As parents, part of our responsibility to love our children, to protect them, and discipline them, but also to instill an attitude towards learning and growing in maturity, and taking time to instruct them in the ways of God and pray with them. It is a beautiful thing for a parent to acknowledge our children are a gift from God. It is a disgrace that parents today are allowing their children to be misguided and manipulated by the adults they are supposed to trust.
It's interesting that the disciples, the ones who left Judaism behind to follow Jesus, turned on these parents and rebuked them. I've heard of some churches today who are just "too busy," ignoring the spiritual needs of children, hindering the spiritual life of children who have been entrusted to them. Tragically, I've even seen some churches who see those who can't contribute financially as a liability, rather than an asset. Perhaps, the disciples were convinced that Jesus was just too busy, too important, to be bothered with such a nuisance. Anyone who has ever tried to teach or listen to a sermon, knows that young children can be very disruptive. The word Mark uses for rebuke is the Greek verb "epitimáō," which is a very strong word, meaning to warn to prevent something from happening. Mark emphasizes the imperfect tense, which implies they continued rebuking the parents, really letting those parents have it, almost threatening them.
Verse 14, "But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant. It's a very strong verb, "aganakteó," meaning He is very angry that the disciples would treat children this way. In no uncertain terms, Jesus let's them know they were absolutely wrong in their assumptions. And said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them;" The Amplified version says Jesus said "do not forbid them from coming to Me."  The idea here is Jesus is strongly reprimanding the disciples, "Don't you ever tell anyone who can or cannot come to Me, now or in the future!" I believe this is no minor issue for the church today to understand. Have you ever noticed that little children generally don't see other people as separate from themselves. Perhaps it's because they have a way of accepting people as they are, as creations of the Creator. Unfortunately, as we grow older, we tend to complicate things by questioning everything.
Notice the end of verse 14, "For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Such as these, Jesus is not saying the kingdom of God belongs to these particular children, but belongs to little children like these. I believe this is significant because He's saying little children have a place in the kingdom of heaven. He's not isolating believing children from unbelieving children. Why is this important? Because He hasn't mentioned their parents faith, He hasn't said anything about infant baptism. He doesn’t say anything to indicate that these children are elect and not sinners. Scripture is absolutely clear that the entire human race are all born sinners from conception. Psalm 51:5, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me."
Scripture teaches the wages of sin is death, therefore, death is evidence of our corruption. It's important to note, children are born into sin, which leads them to choose evil. They're not born spiritually neutral. Jesus does not make them out to be some kind of perfect little human beings. When children reach the age where they can make their own choices, they make bad ones. The point is there are no qualifiers mentioned here or anywhere else in Scripture that indicate that little children who have not reached the point of accountability, the age of consciously choosing to sin, which we know they reach pretty quickly; belong to the kingdom of God.. If Jesus was ever going to advocate infant baptism, this would have been the perfect opportunity for it. He didn't, all He said was, "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  In fact, Deuteronomy 1:39 says little ones have no knowledge of good or evil, therefore, they have no understanding as to the remedy, which is salvation through Christ.

Listen as I read 2 Samuel 12, verses 15-23. "Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!" But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" And they said, "He is dead." So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.

Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food." He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." There's not a lot of comfort in joining your child in or grave or in Hell, is there? No, David understood that his child could not return to him, so he was rejoicing in the reality that he could go to his child, who was in God's divine care. Where did David get that confidence? From God the Father, Who gathers these little ones to the home He has prepared for them. When David's son Absalom died, who was a corrupt young man, responsible for his own choices, David went into mourning and kept mourning.

The reality that little children belong in the kingdom, who are not responsible for their choices before the age of accountability is an act of God's grace. Romans 9:14-16, "What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Verse 15, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."  In other words, the Kingdom of heaven is populated with two kinds of people; children and those who come like children, both powerless and dependent, trusting Christ for what they can’t do for themselves. The only way these children or anybody else could ever enter into heaven, is an act of God's grace. What a beautiful illustration that salvation is by grace alone. Jesus had to educate His hearers on the importance of children, including His own disciples, who attempted to block them from coming to Him. I believe is calling all of us to invest ourselves in His children, who are the future of the church until Christ returns.

That brings us to verse 16, "And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them." I love that! Jesus not only loves children, He made them His a priority, taking them into His arms and no doubt, into His heart, blessing them with His time and affection. What an opportunity we have this time of year to follow His example and instill hope for the future and will sustain them in times of trouble. Remembering the glorious reality of Whose they are, where they came from, and where they’re to return. Let us not waste this precious opportunity that God has given us to encourage the children in our lives, big and small, that Jesus loves them and wants to give them eternal life, if they'll just come to Him. One more thing, before you judge the disciples, let's all take a look at our own hearts, is there someone you're preventing from coming to Jesus by your actions?

I pray that we would all strive to invite someone to come to the Lord Jesus Christ today, not just with our words, but with our changed lives.  If we know someone is living in sin, no matter what it is, or whose it is, we would lovingly come alongside them and call that person to repentance and forgiveness and restoration. However, sometimes people don’t need rebuking, they need love to experience the riches of His grace.

God has called us to be holy, so let’s call each other to holiness, for the glory of God.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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