Grace Baptist Church Decatur, IL

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Gospel of Jesus Series

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Suffering Children

Matthew 19:13-15



The word ‘suffer’ in the KJV means to let, allow, or permit [them to come to Me].  Or even, ‘send them to Me.’  Yes, there are many suffering children out there, but not many who are ‘suffering the children’ to come to Jesus.  As we have VBS this week we are striving to suffer the children, as we do all year long.


Don’t you love children?!  They really do say the darndest things!


Joke -- A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their town their sons were probably involved.


The boys’ mother heard that a preacher in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The preacher agreed, but asked to see them individually. So the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the preacher in the afternoon.


The preacher was a big man with a booming voice. He sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is God?"


They boy’s mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open, wide-eyed. So the preacher repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God!!?" Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the preacher raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face and bellowed, "WHERE IS GOD!?"


The boy screamed and bolted from the room, ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened?"


The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time, dude. God is missing - and they think WE did it!"


Joke -- A Sunday School teacher asked her students, “Do you believe that story about Lot’s wife looking back and turning into a pillar of salt?”
        One little boy said, “Sure I do. Just yesterday my mother looked back and turned into a telephone pole.”

Joke -- A mother asked her son, “What did you learn in VBS today? “That God created the world in eleven days.” “But that’s wrong.” “In that case, I didn’t learn anything.”

Joke -- A youngster went home after VBS and said to his father, “Today we heard a wonderful story from the Bible. The teacher said the Jews were chased out of Egypt by Egyptian tanks.”
“When they came to the Red sea, the Jews saw the Egyptian tanks coming after them so they built a bridge and went over safely. But when the Egyptians kept coming, they blew it up with an atomic bomb and the Egyptians were destroyed.” His father said, “Did the teacher really tell you the story that way?”

He replied, “No, but if I told you how he did tell the story, you’d never believe it.”


Child’s Perspective on Retirement--A teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their vacation. One child wrote the following:


"We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live here in a big brick house, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida and now they live in a place with a lot of other retarded people.


"They live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass. They ride around on big tricycles and wear nametags because they don’t know who they are anymore. They go to a building called a wrecked center, but they must have got it fixed, because it is all right now.


“They play games and do exercises there, but they don’t do them very well. There is a swimming pool, too, but they all jump up and down in it with their hats on. I guess they don’t know how to swim.


“At their gate, there is a dollhouse with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out. Then they go cruising in their golf carts.


“My Grandma used to bake cookies and stuff, but I guess she forgot how. Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And they eat the same thing every night: Early Birds. Some of the people can’t get past the man in the dollhouse to go out. So the ones who do get out bring food back to the wrecked center and call it potluck.”



God bless the children! They need to be blessed by us. In our text, Jesus blessed the children. The disciples apparently thought that Jesus didn’t have time for children, but they were wrong.


One writer said, “The disciples thought that Jesus needed protection from bothersome children. But what Jesus points out is that the children needed protection from bumbling adults.”


Jesus said, “forbid them not,” meaning “do not hinder them from coming to me.” And we adults do that at times. How so? We hinder children by deed and by direction.


Our own deeds indicate or show that we are not as interested in Jesus as we ought to be. We put things before Jesus and the church. And children see this. THEY ARE NOT FOOLED. They see where our values are.


ILL.- When daddy or mommy take off some weekend to go play golf or whatever and make no effort to go to church, the children see this, learn from this and are hindered in their faith. OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US AND LEARNING!


We also hinder by direction, that is, by the direction we point them.


Sometimes we well-meaning parents give our children bad advice and a bad example. But Jesus wants all children to come to Him! After all, they belong to Him in the first place!


In light of VBS and life in general, we must bless the children. They are the hope of the world. How do we bless them?





Jesus paid attention to children and so must we.


ILL.- A father of four boys came home to find them all engaged in something of a free-for-all. Addressing his remarks to the most aggressive of the four, he asked, “Butch, who started this?” “Well, it all started when Harold hit me back!”


ILL.- In a Peanut’s cartoon Lucy addressed Snoopy: “There are times when you really bug me, but there are also times when I feel like giving you a hug.” Snoopy replied, “That’s the way I am, huggable and buggable.”


And that’s some children as well. Some are very huggable but many are buggable. However, they all need attention.


Pay attention to them – play with – listen to – look at – touch appropriately – tease – hug – hold – kiss – bless.


No connection with children means no attention and no affection. No attention, no affection also means no positive influence.





Mark 10:16 “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”


Certainly some children require more “hands on” than others but all children need to be blessed by us.  We do this thru prayer among other things.


All the time in the news we are hearing about missing children who have wandered off or gotten lost on camping trips and such.  Immediately we become people of prayer for those children.


But what about our children who stray away from us and / or the Lord in life? They are just as lost and need to return.


We should pray for them all the time.  No generation has needed prayer more than this one.  And even better yet, pray for them in their presence.  You may say, “Huh?”  Yes, that’s right. It does something for a person to be prayed for in their presence. If it does something for an adult, what about a child? We parents should pray for our children by name and in their presence! We should pray that God will bless them and direct them in life. Our children need this blessing!





1 Timothy 4:12,  “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”


The apostle Paul was giving some good advice to the young preacher Timothy. He said, “Be a good example to your people in these areas of life.” I have discovered that people do watch preachers! The people may not follow after him in regard to the faith and the church, BUT THEY DO WATCH HIM!


1 Peter 5:1-3,  “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:   Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;   Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  


ILL.- A preacher said one time, “Watch the deacons in the church. Keep an eye on them. Whatever they do, you can do.” Afterward a deacon approached the preacher and said, “Hey, cut that stuff out.” The preacher replied, “NO, YOU CUT IT OUT!”

In other words, they were doing some things they shouldn’t be doing and needed to cut it out.


All people are examples to others. All people. From the rich and famous right down to us.


We criticize actors, politicians, and those in the public eye for being bad examples, but what are we doing in our own homes?


Brothers and sisters, it is probably never too late to clean up our act in order to be a better example. We all need to be better examples to our children. We need to be a model for them, that is, someone for them to model their lives after.


You can never be too faithful to Christ and to His church. Or too faithful in Bible reading, prayer and Christian service.


We have a lot of young families here.  As a matter of fact, almost everyone here right now knows what it means to be a young family at Grace.  Even a few of you who were here 30 and 40 years ago know what that was like, and I hear you talk about some great examples [by name] that you had, and now you are being terrific examples to a new generation, and now we have a great responsibility to our kids!


Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.      


We all need to be the best model we can for all children in regard to the Christian faith. WHAT KIND OF MODEL ARE YOU? Faithful? Committed? Occasional?





Some would gather money

Along the path of life

Some would gather roses

And rest from worldly strife.


But I would gather children

From among the thorns of sin;

I would seek a golden curl

And a freckled, toothless grin.


For money cannot enter

In that land of endless day,

And the roses that are gathered

Soon will wilt along the way.


But oh, the laughing children,

As I cross the Sunset Sea

And the gates swing wide to heaven

I can take them in with me.


[much material above from great sermon by Steve Shepherd, “Bless the Children.”]



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