S-1516 19SAP/3B 10/04/2015 Hymns: (O) #592; (S) #605; (C) #862
Texts: Genesis 2:18-25; Hebrews 2:1-18; Mark 10:2-16
Theme: “Bring the Children…” (Mark 10:13-16)
Question: “How are you raising your children?” (6th sermon at Trinity)
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is the Gospel reading. “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them” (Mark 10:13-16).
Precious bride of Christ, purchased with His crimson blood, nurtured on His lap and fed from His Table the precious life-giving and life sustaining body and blood, what a beautiful thing it is to know that we are truly the children of God and He wants us to come to Him always.
I remember well the day of our wedding. It was a glorious day. But I also remember few other special days. I remember the day my wife looked at me and said, “Honey, I am pregnant!” “Wow! To be a father is something special indeed!” I remember well the day my first born (Tony) was born and the joy that filled our hearts. I remember the day we brought him home. The day he was baptized, confirmed, graduated from high school, college and another college degree, and the day he got married. All of these days are imprinted on my heart.
These are days of memories given us by our gracious and loving Savior, Jesus Christ. But on one of these memorable days, December 26, 1979, when we brought our youngest child to the Lord’s house to be baptized as Evelyn Grace was earlier in the service, we promised God and those gathered that we will bring our child to the Lord’s house to be fed and nurtured. Thankfully, by the grace of God we were able to do that most of the time. And now two of my sons are doing the same with their children: taking them to the Lord’s house and showering them with God’s Word! PAUSE.
Far too often, parents stand before God and promise to do the same thing and they don’t. Many parents go through the motion in making the promises but once they leave His house they forget their role of instructing their children and bring them to the Lord’s house as they have promised.
It is truly sad and tragic that many children are being raised without the knowledge of the LOVE of Jesus or His Word. Many claim to be Christians but have nothing to do with Church and the life of the Savior. This is the saddest thing that I witness as a shepherd of God’s flock.
But that is precisely what the Lord of the Church and Life is asking us to do in this text today. Listen once more to the words the Holy Spirit gave to St. Mark to write: “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”
When the disciples of the Lord hindered the people from bringing their children to Jesus, He wasn’t very happy. He wanted to be near His children so that they receive His gracious blessings. He rebuked the disciples and said, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”
Yes, “Bring the children!” Jesus cries out. Why you may ask? Because they too, need to have their sins washed and saved like the rest of humanity. They may be cute, loveable, adorable and precious, but they are still born in sin. And without the removal of sin, there is no salvation. When we bring the children here, they learn of the great love of Jesus and the great sacrifice He fulfilled on their behalf through His death on the cursed tree and through His glorious resurrection from the grave on the third day.
The disciples thought like first century Jewish people. A child is not responsible for sin until the age of accountability. But that is not true. Jesus’ teaching is clear here. Bring the children so that they may know Him, believe in Him, follow Him and serve Him. Oh, the damage of those who don’t bring the children to Him. We saw it playing out on TV with the shooting in Colorado this week. Jesus begs us to bring the children to Him because unless we believe like a little child that is by faith we will not receive the grace of God. PAUSE.
But what do many people do? They bring their children to be baptized and leave. Never stepping back into the Lord’s house, until they are ready to be confirmed. When that happens many are being negligent. They forget their promises. But they explain: “I want to let my child decide on their own what they want to do when they grow up.” That is the way of the world to let them be their own without any teaching, any guidance or any protection.
I am reminded of a story I read long ago. Someone was visiting a friend that she hadn’t seen for a long time. The lady of the house was showing her friend the house and went out to show her the rose garden. As the guest was looking at the garden, she said: “I don’t see many roses! All I see is thorns chocking the roses!” The owner of the house defended her actions by saying, “I left them alone to fend for themselves!”
Tragically, foolishly and carelessly many parents and grandparents do the same. We let the children grow up without encouraging them to come to the Lord’s house. How dare we as parents ignore the voice of God who said, “Bring the children to Me?” How dare we neglect our responsibility of being true and loving parents? How dare we ignore the Lord’s teaching, who instructs us in His Word, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Pro. 22:6).
God’s Word is clear, concise and crisp in giving us these instructions. “Bring the children to Me!” Jesus wants us to bring the children. I am thankful the gracious Lord moved Tyler and Sarah to bring Evelyn Grace to the Font, but don’t stop here. Keep on bringing her and the rest of the children so that all may learn of Jesus great love for them.
Bring the children we are told. Did you know that includes you? Don’t forget you are a child of
God. If you are too old to have new children by birth, don’t forget that you are still a child in the eyes of God! Don’t forget that whether you are a child, teenager, parent or grandparent you play a major role in coming to the Lord’s house to hear the Word and dine as a guest at His Table. He wants you here! He wants you near Him. Anything or anyone that keeps YOU away from Him will make Him indignant! PAUSE.
Precious Bride of Christ—you’re His beloved children, purchased with His crimson blood, nurtured on His lap and fed from His Table. If you have been hearing the admonishing of Christ, I thank Him for the work He has done in you. But if you haven’t heeded His command, then call upon the Holy Spirit to help you be a faithful bringer of God’s children whether they are a day old or a century old. Bring them here to receive healing, help and hope and point them to heaven.
Here in this place the Child of Mary, born in Bethlehem’s manger, grew up in Nazareth, taught the nations of God’s love by dying on Calvary’s cross; declares to you that He loves you and wants you to be His child. He went to the cross for your negligence, ignorance and defiance of His holy Word. He paid for your sins—all of them because He as God’s heaven-sent Savior listened to the voice of His Father and was faithful in being in the Lord’s House always.
Dear precious Bride of Christ and loved dearly. Do you want proof of this love? Behold His hands and side, see, it is Him Your groom who has finished the work on your behalf; who has paid the price of your redemption, and has restored you to be His for time and eternity.
Today, as His child, lift your eyes up and see Him anew. See Him as the One who paid for your soul with His life’s blood. His death destroys your death. His resurrection guarantees your resurrection. And in mercy He makes you His child forever and ever.
Join me then as the Bride of Christ in saying thank You Jesus for not leaving us alone to fend for ourselves, but dying in our place that we may live with you forever as your children. Amen and Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA