Love & Marriage: Blessing Children

Love & Marriage: Blessing Children

Opening Illustration: Confused Adults

You know, kids are pretty frustrating sometimes aren’t they?  I heard a story about a family who was living in a small country town. Their post office was only three block from their house.  One day, the mother was particularly busy but remember that she needed to pay the power bill.  She wrote a check, put into the envelope, and gave the envelope to her 8 year old son.  She told him that he would need to buy a stamp and then drop the letter into the box. A few minutes went by and the little boy returns home with a big grin.  His mother asks “why are you smiling so big, what happened at the post office”? The little boy replied, “I just fooled the people at the post office. When no one was looking, I dropped the letter into the box without buying any stamps."

Oh yeah, we have been there many times with our boys.  I recently had a discussion with a family friend, and he told me that being a parent was one of the greatest blessings of his life.  He also said that it was on of the most frustrating experiences of his life.  

Quote:
Recently, I heard a funny quote about raising kids…

"If it was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called labor."

Do You Bless Children Or Bless Them Out?

Matthew 19:13-15 NIV
[13] Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. [14] Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." [15] When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

đź”´Background of Passage:

We discover several things about Jesus' ministry in Matthew 19.  First, we remember where he was.  Previously Jesus had been moving throughout Galilee. He had been teaching, preaching and performing miracles.  Now, we see where Jesus is going.  Jesus re enters Judea and is making steady progress towards Jerusalem.  Jesus is looking towards the cross.  

However, there are still some things that Jesus desires to say.  In chapter 19, Jesus addresses the family, among other things.  He lifts high the standard for marriage, the grounds for divorce and He blesses children.  There are great crowds that are following Him including Pharisees who like to question Him.  

Jesus has just concluded his statements specifically on divorce when little children are brought to Him.  This is not done by accident.  I believe that Jesus wants His audience to see that there are bigger things at play in a marriage than an unhappy husband and wife seeking divorce.  Divorce puts our children at risk.  Our kids are on the line and generations will be affected if our marriages fail. 

In this passage, Jesus displays a curious attitude towards children.  An attitude that is not seen anywhere in the Gospels outside of Jesus Christ.  

đź”´Jesus And Children 

Jesus displays an incredibly compassionate attitude towards children throughout the New Testament.  We have already read that it is Jesus' desire to touch, teach and bless children in Matthew 19.  

The little girl was brought back to life in Mark 5:41.

Jesus removed a demon from a child in Mark 7:30.

Jesus removed a demon and healed a young boy in Mark 9:25. 

Jesus hugged a child in front of His disciples in Mark 9:36.

We see that people loved bringing their children to Jesus for blessings in Mark 10:16.

We also see the faith of a child demonstrated and applauded by Jesus in the feeding of the thousands in multiple Gospels.  

Jesus is a huge fan of children.  

đź”´How Were Children Treated In The Roman Empire?

Well it depended.  After birth a child would be set at the father's feet either to be accepted or rejected. Rejection often meant the child would be taken and thrown into the garbage.  Literally.  

It also depended on the social class of the child.  Children of distinction would have been treated well. The children that Jesus would have been dealing with were children of occupation.  They were children of subjugation.  These children would have had no rights in Rome and would have been on the same level as slaves.  Perhaps loved by their parents, the Roman government would not have cared much for them.  There were no social programs for them.  No welfare.  Life for a child during these days would have been difficult.  

Jesus loved them.  We are going to see just how much He loves them.  No, not because He blesses them in Matthew 19.  We will see just how much He loves them because He would die for them on the cross.  

What Can We Learn From This Story

I. Children Are A Priority
Matthew 19:13 NIV
Then little children were brought to Jesus...

We don't know much about these children or who brought them to Jesus.  We know it was not the disciples because we see their attitude later on in the scripture.  We know it was not the Pharisees because that is not why they were there.  We must assume that it was the mothers or fathers of these children.  These parents knew their most prized earthly creations needed Jesus.  

Perhaps the most important thing any parent or church can do is to actively lead their child to Jesus Christ.  Yet, why don't we do a better job of seeing our young sons and daughters come to salvation in Jesus?  I think I have the answer.  

NOTICE THOUGH THAT THE PARENTS DON'T BRING THEIR CHILDREN TO ANYONE. THEY BRING THEM TO JESUS. SO BY PLACING A PRIORITY ON THEIR KIDS THEY REALLY MAKE AN EXCLAMATION ABOUT THEIR OWN FAITH.  THEY PUT A PRIORITY ON JESUS. 

How Can Our Kids Miss The Feature Of Our Faith?

A. We Have To Many Excuses

-We have simply put the priorities on the wrong thing.  We will teach our children how to throw a football instead of thinking about faith.  

-We place importance on working, bringing home the bacon and providing for the family.  We work long hours and difficult weeks.  Because of our hectic work schedules our children languish at home in front of the television while the Disney Channel raises them. 

-Parents, it is not the job of a minister or a church to lead your kids to Christ.  We are supplement. We are an encourager and a place to come for answers.  However, it should be your main concern to leave a legacy of faith for your kids.  

-When parents here this, they usually respond by saying "Pastor, I don't know how to lead my kids to Christ."  I say exactly and that leads me to my next point.  

B. We Set Bad Examples

-Maybe you are busy.  Maybe you are busy doing and saying the wrong things at home to your children.  Parents, if your home is full of fussing, filthy language and fighting, you have not created a very good environment for the Gospel to thrive.  When you children see and hear the things you say and then you take them to church, do you realize what signals you are sending.  At best, it is hypocrisy.  If you want your children to know Jesus, then be Jesus in front of them.  Treat each other the way Jesus treated people He came into contact with.  

C. We Need To Have An Examination

-We need to examine two things.  First, we need to examine the Bible. Some parents don't share Christ because they are intimidated that their children may ask them a simple Biblical question they cannot answer.  So, they pawn of their spiritual privilege on a pastor or church worker. Parents' get into God's Word so that you can be prepared to answer these questions.  

Illustration: The Real McCoy
In the late 1800s, American welterweight champion Norman Selby boxed under the name "Kid McCoy." Two stories about Selby give a possible explanation for the phrase. In the first story, Selby was challenged by a drunk in a bar, who questioned whether he was really the legendary fighter he claimed to be. In response, Selby socked the drunk, sending him sprawling to the floor. When the man got to his feet, he announced that he was convinced the man who'd hit him was "the real McCoy." In the other story, sportswriters gave Selby the moniker because he was accused of throwing so many fights that they never knew which Selby -- the true fighter or fight thrower -- would show up at boxing matches.



Sometimes, parents need to question themselves.  When it comes to faith in Christ, are they the real McCoy?  Would there be enough evidence to prove your faith?

-Next, we need to examine ourselves to see if we are believers ourselves.  Could it be that you do not possess the drive for your children to be saved because you are not saved yourself.  There is nothing more tragic and comical when a non believing parent tries to lead their son or daughter to Christ.  Parents, kids can see through that act.  They know if you are the real mccoy.  Parents, if you are frustrated at your child's unwillingness to move forward with Christ, examine the scripture and look inward.  Are you giving them the correct example?

ONE FINAL THOUGHT ON THE PRIORITY OF CHILDREN.  YES, CHILDREN SHOULD BE A PRIORITY FOR EVERY MOTHER AND FATHER.  HOWEVER, THEY SHOULD NOT BE THE PRIORITY.  THINK OF YOUR FAMILY AS A CIRCLE.  BEFORE YOUR KIDS CAME ALONG IT WAS YOU AND YOUR WIFE.  HOLDING HANDS.  CIRCLED UP AND READY FOR ANYTHING. THEN THE FIRST CHILD COMES.  USUALLY THE FIRST CHILD GOES TO THE CENTER OF THE CIRCLE.  YOUR MARRIAGE REVOLVES AROUND THE CHILD.  THEN ANOTHER CHILD. HE GOES TO THE CENTER WITH HIS BROTHER.  AS THEY GET OLDER, YOU DON'T JUST HAVE THE KIDS IN THE CENTER OF THE CIRCLE, YOU NOW HAVE THEIR SCHEDULES, THEIR SCHOOLS, BALL GAMES AND EVERYTHING ELSE.  WHAT HAPPENS?  THE CIRCLE STARTS TO EXPAND.  IT IS HARD FOR MOM AND DAD TO KEEP IT TOGETHER. EVENTUALLY, IT BECOMES TO MUCH AND THE FAMILY BLOWS APART.  WHAT HAPPENED?  THE WRONG THING WENT TO THE CENTER.  MOM AND DAD, KEEP JESUS IN THE CENTER AND PUT YOUR KIDS OUT OF THE CENTER.  JOIN HANDS WITH THEM AND LET THEM PARTNER WITH YOU.  WHEN JESUS IS AT THE CENTER, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CONTROL THE SCHEDULE AND YOU WILL FIND YOURSELVES HAPPY AND HEALTHY.  

Proverbs 22:6 NIV
[6] Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

What Can We Learn From This Story

I. Children Are A Priority
II. Children Should Be Praised
Matthew 19:13 NIV
Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them...

The Parents Display A Priority

Now We See These Children Being Praised 

Notice that these parents bring their children to Jesus and He touches them.  He places His hands on them.  Why is that significant?  Touch symbolizes many things in the Bible.  It symbolizes affection.  It symbolizes love.  It also symbolizes blessing.  Look at Isaac and Jacob.  

Genesis 27:22-24 NIV
[22] Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." [23] He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him. [24] "Are you really my son Esau?" he asked. "I am," he replied.

Did you see what happened. Jacob came to his father.  His father touched him and blessed him. There was a transference of blessing that happened when Isaac touch Jacob.  This just just happen once, it happens again a few short verses later.  Both blessings involved physical touch.  

Parents, one of the primary ways you can show love, affection transfer blessings is through touch. When is the last time you kissed your son or your daughter?  When is the last time you held their hand?  When is the last time you gave them a hug?  Your children are starving for your touch. Show them you love them give patting them on the back or scrub their head.  

You Can Praise You Children By...

A. Touch

B. Time

C. Teaching

-Life gives parents many opportunities to teach their children.  If you want to hate your children, choose not to discipline them.  I meant what I said.  Discipline is a form of love.  You love your children enough to chart their course and to set their path.  Correct disobedience and love them through error.  Either way, parents you are your kids teachers.  It is unfortunate when I see the parents more concerned over being their 5 year old's buddy instead of doing his or her God given responsibility to parent.  This does not mean that you cannot be your child's friend.  But you don't sacrifice your role as a parent to achieve that status.  Raise your children as parents and when they are adults, they will be your friend and they will pay you the respect you have earned.  

Proverbs 13:24 NIV
[24] He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 23:13-14 NIV
[13] Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. [14] Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.

Proverbs 29:15 NIV
[15] The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

Proverbs 29:17 NIV
[17] Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.

Ephesians 6:4 NIV
[4] Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Notice what happens next.  

What Can We Learn From This Story

I. Children Are A Priority
II. Children Should Be Praised
III. Children Should Be Prayed For
Matthew 19:13 NIV
[13] Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. 

As Parents We Should...

A. Demonstrate Prayer (Out Loud And In Front of Kids)

B. Display Answered Prayer

C. Deploy Prayer Consistently

1 John 5:14-15 NIV
[14] This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. [15] And if we know that he hears us---whatever we ask---we know that we have what we asked of him.


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