Busy Fathers, Bring Your Children to Jesus!
By Matthew Black, Pastor
Text: Mark 10:13-16
Date: Sunday, June 21, 2009, 11am
Tabernacle Baptist Church
7020 Barrington Road
Hanover Park, Illinois 60133
Introduction: Open your Bibles to Mark’s Gospel. We will be looking today at how busy life is, and in that busyness parents, especially fathers, are prone to overlook their children. We are going to see that it is a tragedy to gain the whole world and lose your family for Christ. The title of the message then this morning is “Busy Fathers, Bring Your Children to Jesus.”
Mark 10:13-16, “And they [various parents] brought young children to him [Jesus], that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 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. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
[Prayer for Guidance]
We as parents are so busy providing for our family, we have the tendency to neglect what is most important for our family, specifically, bringing our children to Jesus Christ. It is important to work, it is important to serve the local church, but we must never sacrifice our family’s spiritual need to come to Jesus on the altar of 21st century busyness. Today we have a thousand ways of technology to supposedly save time, but if we are not careful, we will waste our time, and our family, specifically our children will get the leftovers, which isn’t much.
We need to remember Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”
We see in this story how the disciples were too busy to bring the little children to Jesus. We have a command we are studying in Ephesians 6:4 that we need to look at. Keep your place in Mark 10, but turn over to Ephesians 6:4. It says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”. Paul says the same thing we find in Mark 10. We need to bring our children to Jesus Christ, the Lord. We need to raise them in His presence. We need to bring them to the throne of grace. They ought to be with us regularly in our prayer closet. Now look at what Paul says, “Fathers”. It is the father’s responsibility to bring the children to Jesus! With that in mind let’s go back to Mark 10, and let’s make application to fathers.
O how we need to bring our children to Jesus! How we need to see them come to know the Lord! The greatest mission field in all the world is right here before us! Children—they must be taught what it is to come the Lord at a young age! This is the theme of our message this Lord’s Day! Let the children come to Jesus!
We come to this passage of the word of God in need of learning a lesson from the Lord. What does the Lord think of children?
I. There is a Blindness that comes with busyness of wrong priorities. Hard work is vital, but we can be busy about the wrong things. We can be so blinded to our children’s spiritual needs that we neglect our children. Jesus’ disciples were shockingly REBUKING the parents from bringing their children to Jesus. The Lord’s disciples “rebuked those that brought…” [the children] (verse 13). On this Father’s Day, perhaps we say would NEVER stop a child from coming to Jesus, but are you BLINDED by priorities that you have placed ABOVE your children?
A. Blindness often comes from a zeal even for something good. Yet, it we have a zeal for a good thing, but a secondary thing, then we may miss the most important thing. It was zeal for the Lord that motivated the disciples to keep the children away from Jesus. They thought they were doing right. They were wrong!
In your zeal to reach the pagans of this world, do not forget that your own children will perish if you do not point them to Christ.
Application: You may be faithful in the work of the church, but that does NOT mean your children will come to Christ. You must personally invest the Gospel in them. Years ago, the attitude was, if you take care of God’s church, God will take care of your family. This was especially the case among preachers of the Gospel, and many families were lost. But this was also the case in many families at the time, and it is still the case today.
B. The disciples had a wrong Assessment of the children’s state that led them to rebuke the parents. Jesus said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven”. God can save children of the youngest of ages.
1. Fathers, take your children seriously. Put your zeal in the right place. Do you weep for your children’s souls? They are daily coming closer to their appointment with God. This day with your children will never be repeated. Cherish the moment. There will be a time very soon when you will not have this great influence over them. Your children will soon be gone. Reach them while you still have influence with them. You may say, I will wait until they understand more to teach them. You are making a mistake!
Application: My dear friends let me assure you that children can understand the Gospel as well as you! You see in both children and adults it takes the illuminating work of God the Holy Spirit, and without that supernatural work of grace in the heart, neither you nor I will understand the Gospel anymore than they can.
Illustration: We see the Lord Jesus, the God of the universe, taking time with children. Children became followers of Him. When He rode into Jerusalem, Matthew 21:15 tells us that the little children were “crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David!” We see from Mark 10 that Jesus put children as a top priority in His ministry. If Christ takes children very seriously, so should we!
For the disciples, there were more important things to do than bless the children. They missed the most important mission field in the world. Fathers, this Father’s Day, take a good assessment of the children in your home. Do discount them because they are young. It’s more CRUCIAL that you reach them now BECAUSE THEY ARE YOUNG. If you do not point them to Christ, you may lose them to the world. How many of you wish you would have heard the Gospel as a child, but you didn’t and you ended up wasting precious years of your life?
Do you think children are not sinners? Do you think they are less depraved than adults? Their greatest need is to come to Jesus!! Is it because you believe they are in less need of salvation than those who are much older? God can save very little children, but He will not normally do so outside of the diligent application of the Word of God.
Children must have and need to have a conviction of sin, and an understanding of the Gospel, and a concern for Christ, and we should say, let the children come! Let them receive the Lord Jesus and join us in the church membership. I have seen children as young as four years old repent of their sins and trust Christ.
The disciples rebuke came because of ignorance regarding the children’s need. If they had been sick or deranged or demon possessed, the apostles would not only have allowed them to come, they would have brought them to the Lord Jesus and helped them along the way. What they did not see, was that they were in far greater need of the Saviour because they were coming to the Son of God simply as children who were in sin—they looked fine on the inside, but these children were in need of the Saviour’s grace. That my friend is the condition of every boy and girl in this church today who has not been converted through the regenerating grace of God the Holy Spirit. They are sinners, lost, under the wrath of God. If they have not been brought to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.
II. Second we see the Barrenness of busyness with the wrong priorities (verse 14). When I say busyness, I’m not saying we ought not to work hard. I am saying we ought to be busy about the RIGHT THINGS. The attitude was—Jesus is much too busy, and too important to take time with these little children. It is a waste of time. He didn’t have time to take up with children!
A. Christ is Angry when we have misplaced priorities. We see the Anger of the Lord in verse 14, “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased”. Do you realize that if you don’t make personally bringing your children to Jesus that Christ is angry with you? Verse 14 says He is “much displeased”.
You don’t think they’ll be able to understand Him when He speaks anyway do you? Christ is zealous to save little ones, and He flashes anger when we neglect and despise the little ones. Shall not the Lamb that was slain receive the reward for His suffering?! Christ would today bring your little ones in to the Kingdom. Will you neglect them and think that He will not save them? How do we neglect them?
1. We neglect them when we fail to pray for our children
2. When we fail to pray WITH our children
3. when we do not lovingly and earnestly teach them the Gospel.
4. when we get exasperated with them
5. when we do not spend time with them and show other things to be more important then them.
Application: One way we hinder children, is that we as parents do not really expect the conversion of our children. How many mothers and fathers really expect their children to be converted at an early age? Your indifference will show in their lives. The fact that you do not pray for them, that you do not evangelize them, and that you do not admonish them in the way of the Lord may be the reason why you may lose your child to the world in just a few short years. Are you teaching your children?
aIllustration: In reading of the stories of the Great Awakening, when God’s Spirit did a great work in this country through men like George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, one of the most striking type of events to read about was the conversion of very small children who could give very clear testimony as to the Gospel and the work of God’s grace in their heart. Testimonies far clearer than what most adults give in our churches today.
I have seen in my own experience children with clear understanding of Gospel truth, and with deep conviction about sin and spiritual matters. They from an early age are able to discuss these matters and show concern.
I believe on the other hand that some children have been hindered from coming to the Lord Jesus Christ because as we grow older, we are prone to forget the real value of the child. I’m fearful of that person that does not love children. Think of a child as a long candle who has his whole life to burn for Jesus Christ.
These children are gong to be the ones that step into our positions and carry on the work of God and Word of God in our place!!
B. We see the Command of the Lord to realign His priorities in our life. Jesus said unto them, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God”.
Isaiah 55:1, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
Revelation 22:17, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
C. We see the Obedience of the Parents to Christ’s will. You’ve got to bring your child to Jesus!! Do you understand that your child must interface with the One who can give them a new heart?
1. Being Religious is not enough! There are others who look at this Scripture who are greater scholars than I will ever be, who look at this Scripture and put infant baptism into it. Dear friend, I will give you the car I drove to this church if you can show me anywhere in the New Testament where an infant was baptized. It is most certainly not in this text of Scripture, and it is a concept that is entirely foreign to the Word of God. This wicked sin of baptizing unbelievers into the church is what has killed the Gospel in the churches throughout the ages. Any church that is baptizing infants will eventually apostatize and deny the faith because the NT requires that you must REPENT and BELIEVE if you are to be a part of God’s Kingdom. Show me any infant that has repented of their sins. Show me any infant that has confessed with his mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
2. Being Dedicated to the Lord as Parent is Required. Now there is an evil in this day as it was in the days of Jesus Christ’s ministry on this earth. What is it? It is to think that a child, because of his natural birth into a Christian home is going to be saved. This is why little emphasis is seen in preaching the Gospel to children and seeing the conviction of God come because of their sin that they might be saved. Well if I send them to a Christian school, they’ll be saved. Well, if I go to church every Sunday, they’ll be saved. Some even think, well they prayed a prayer and were baptized so they must be saved. Dear friend, unless the child sees the wrath of God on him and is convicted of his sin, and owns his sin, and receives the free grace of God, then that child is still lost—dead in trespasses and sins! You had better worry about your children. There is no difference between your child and the one that is in the darkest pagan land raised in idolatry. You had better suffer in your soul in prayer over your child’s eternal salvation! You had better pray to the Lord that they will experience far more than a natural birth. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” You know as well as I that the natural birth is nothing but corruption. There is no grace in it.
III. Then we see Barrier of Misplaced Busyness produces. Dads, you can be so successful in life, but “what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). If you are busy with misplaced priorities, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
We see this in our text in verse 15 of Mark 10. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein”. Jesus Christ says we learn more from children than they learn from us. We may teach them algebra and science, but THEY TEACH US HOW TO ENTER THE KINGDOM!
We have much to learn to learn from children. We often go to the deep theology books first, but children are “taught of God” if they are born again. Often the most profound things come from a child’s mouth. We make a blunder if we don’t realize that we ourselves must become as a child in humility and transparent sincerity. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the…HUMBLE!” God will share His glory with no one. If you come to Christ, you must come as a child!
IV. Finally, we see that we miss Christ’s BLESSING if are so busy with wrong priorities.. Look at the love of Christ for your children. How do you get your priorities rightly aligned? We must look at Christ’s HEART. We must see that the only hope for our children is to bring them to Jesus. A nice home and car, and a good education and good grades will do your children NO GOOD in hell. We must bring them to Christ.
Christ literally took these children in his arms one by one from the mothers. He took care personally to deal with each one. Verse 16, “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” It is the parent’s responsibility to teach and evangelize their children—we seek His blessing, specifically the blessing of the NEW BIRTH. Without that radical transformation of the heart, no one will enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3). We need Christ to take our children in His arms and transform them!
We as parents, especially fathers, are RESPONSIBLE to bring our children to Jesus. We must constantly work with our children to see the badness of their sin. The good news is only as good as the bad news is bad. We as parents are spiritual heart surgeons. We must constantly feel the weight and burden that our children may one day enter hell if we neglect their soul! We are responsible for what goes into our child’s heart 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Do not allow yourself to wiggle out of that responsibility. You will be held accountable for raising your children.
A. Scriptural support.
1. I want you to consider Psalm 78:1, “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments”.
2. Deuteronomy 6:4-7, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”.
3. We read about Timothy when he was a child in 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul said, “that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”.
1. Fathers and secondarily mothers are responsible for the child’s education. Deut. 6. Application: The general attitude is that it may be important what the preacher preaches at church, or what our children learn in Sunday School, but it’s not so important what our children are taught 6 to 8 hours a day, five days a week. You ought to know what your child is being taught—you ought to know their teachers. If you can and are able, you should attempt to teach them yourselves. No wonder we lose our children!! When they are taught the very opposite of what is preached to them on Sunday. What are you teaching in your home? It is the responsibility of every parent to know the people that teach your children. It is important what their taught.
Application: The whole purpose for learning to read for any child is so they might read the Bible. Look at the schools we have today. They have outlawed the Bible from their curriculum. Do they not read the history books? The schools in this country were established for one reason and one reason only. So that children might learn to read for the direct purpose of reading the Scriptures!!
2. Fathers and secondarily mothers are responsible to seek their children’s regeneration! Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Fathers and mothers, are you so busy that you are failing to evangelize your children? Will you work with them on their schooling, but you will not work with their heart? They may gain the whole world with their good grades, but lose their own soul because you failed to give them the education of the Holy Spirit in the Word and prayer.
Until you are absolutely convinced that your children are converted, you ought to make it the constant subject of your conversation with them. They need Christ! Bring them to Jesus! Fathers, according to Ephesians 6:4, this is MAINLY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
3. Fathers and mothers are responsible to seek their children’s transformation! We must be very careful to aid what God is doing in our children’s lives. We must never neglect that child. Each child is a gift from God. Every child is a miracle.
Illustration: You don’t know whose sitting in the high chair. Spurgeon tells of an old school master in London who whenever he saw his young students—young boys, he would always tip his hat to them. Someone asked him why he bothered to acknowledge and interact with the children. He said “I never know which one of these young boys might become Prime Minister of England”. You never know what that child in this church one day might be used of God to do. God might send us another Awakening. That person who God will use as an instrument might be here today. Jackson or Braeden or Evan or Luke might be a name that people recognize a hundred and fifty years from now as the preacher who was used of God to bring another mighty awakening to this country. You don’t know what God will do with any one of these children!
Conclusion: Busy fathers, I’m talking to you. Slow down and see the greatest mission field in all the world. You see every creature shall give an Account! One day we and all our children will die. We read in Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Let us not be so busy that we do not constantly preach the grace of God to our children!
SPECIAL GIFTS FOR FATHER’S DAY!