Preached Sunday, October 30, 2011
Lighthouse Independent Baptist Church
And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Zechariah 8:5
Last month we began a series in I Corinthians and the plan was to continue that series tonight finishing up chapter 1. However, what I had planned was not what the Lord had planned. How many of you as we were singing those old children’s songs here tonight went back to that time when you were in Sunday School singing them? Made you feel like a little child again, didn’t they? I know they did for me and what fun times they were! I’d ask that you stay with that thought for the remainder of this message, back to that time when you were a child.
As most of you know, we brought the kids back for the new year of King’s Kids in September! And my oh my, was I was thrilled! We got off to our best start with the King’s Kids since we began it back in 2009 and I truly believe that God is in what we’re doing and is blessing! To see the excitement of these little kids when it’s time to come to church thrills my soul! And I know it thrills Larry, my dad, and Mrs. Kerr as well!
Now trust me, there are nights when we all go home tired, wore out, and on those nights that the kids are more than just a handful, I’m sure we even wonder if it is worth all of the time and effort it takes to bring them in! Well folks, we’re still bringing them in, so what do you think the answer is? Of course it is still worth it all to bring these children in to hear about God, His son, His love, and His life changing power from people who love and care for them! No matter how tired we may get, it’s still worth it! No matter how wore out we get, it’s still worth it! And folks, we must keep bringing children in to learn about the things of God! We must keep loving and caring for them because sometimes, this place is the only place some of them ever feel that love!
And as great as it is and as much as it thrills my soul to see the ones that we do pick up and bring in and their excitement, it also burdens my heart for the ones we can’t bring in. Whether it be because we don’t have enough room on the van or because we don’t have a teacher for them; we just can’t bring them in! And folks, that burdens my heart here tonight! And our verse that we read here tonight shows a perfect picture of most cities in America today, streets full of boys and girls! Only they’re not playing as the verse says. No, rather they are children that are lost, with no hope, broken families, hungry, struggling to just get by, failing in school, thrown to side, forgotten about, and the list goes on and on. And folks it is a dangerous time for children to be out in the streets even if it is just to play as our verse says.
And the challenge to us and the question we must ask ourselves is this. Are we doing everything within our power to reach these children and teenagers or are we just content to bring in those that we do while the others are just forgotten about and left to a Christ less eternity? If we’re honest, the answer to that question and challenge is no! But folks, that answer can change to a resounding YES tonight if those that are here are willing to step up to the plate and be used where God can use you!
Some of you are great with kids; you can become a teacher or a helper for a class level we don’t have a teacher or helper for. Some of you can drive and bring in those the van can’t. Some of you can help prepare the snacks for the kids. Some of you can send notes and cards to them. Some of you can simply join us in prayer for the kids and classes here at Lighthouse! All of us can and should be involved!
We had a great Missions Conference two weeks ago, people saw a need, chipped in, and got the work done! Well folks, we have a need right here, right now on our very own mission field! It’s great to be concerned with worldwide missions but if we’re letting our own backyard die and go to Hell, we’re missing the mark! We must get these needs filled so that we can reach these children and teens for Christ, and Lord willing as a result of reaching them, we can reach their families!
You may be sitting there and thinking, oh they’re just children! You’re making a mountain out of a molehill! They have all their life to trust Christ as their Saviour! We don’t need those troublemaking kids in our church! If that is your thought process, listen to this staggering statistic; eighty-five percent of those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour do so between the ages of 4-14, less than ten percent after age 19. With just under 40% of the world’s population under the age of 21, what has become known as the 4-14 Window is a prime age group to reach. So no, it’s not a mountain out of a molehill! We must reach them and we must reach them now! Or the chances later on, while still possible, are slim!
But not only that, we also see just how important children are to our Lord. Psalms Chapter 127: Verse 3a – “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:” So you see, when we bring them in, we honor the Lord! And if they are important to our Lord, than they need to be important to us as well! Again we see how important they are in another key passage. Turn with me to Matthew Chapter 18.
Matthew Chapter 18: Verses 1-10
So now that we see their importance to the Lord and their needed importance to us, the question then becomes what must we do with these children once we have them here in our church? We see how in this passage!
1. They Must Be Converted (Verse 3 and 14)
The most important of all things, children must be converted! They must accept Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour! And it is our job to show them how! But if we want nothing to do with them, we’ll never see them reached! I remember August 1, 1999 when I was 9 years of age (that 4-14 Window again!), Brian Bennett took the word of God and led me to that saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and to this day I’m thankful for it!
Christ wants all children to hear at least once that Christ is the answer! Christ wants moms and dads to hear at least once that Christ is the answer! Christ wants all to hear at least once that Christ is the answer! Let us get moving with that wonderful hope – CHRIST IS THE ANSWER!
How do we reach them you ask? It’s simple; we must follow the Biblical pattern that gives us a passion for souls! What’s that pattern? Again simple; see, feel, and do! Seeing will cause you to feel and feeling will cause you to do! See the need, sinners in need of a Saviour! Feel for that lost person but just don’t stop at feeling for their need, do something about it! Share with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and how they can know for sure that Christ is their Saviour and Heaven is their home!
Matthew Chapter 9: Verses 35-38
But you see folks we’ve gotten away from this Biblical pattern! We’re seeing, we’re even feeling, but we’re just not doing and as a result our children and people in this city and around this world are dying and going to Hell!
Lamentations Chapter 1: Verse 12
Now listen, I know that some of the people and children in this city could test the patience of Job, I know that but we must still have a heart for them to reach them! And truth be told, those are the ones I’m interested in, the “uns” of our city.
You say the “uns”? Yep, the “uns’. The unables, the unbearable, the uncaring, the uncivilized, the uncommon, the unconcerned, the unconscious of sin, the uncouth, the undesirable, the unfit, the unfortunate, the unfriendly, the ungodly, the unhappy, the uninterested, the unkind, the unloving, the unlovable, the unlovely, the unpopular, the unpleasant, the unruly, the unsanitary, the unscrupulous, the unsightly, the unwanted, the unworthy, and the simple old unbeliever! These are the “uns” that we must have a heart for to reach them! They must be converted!
You’re here tonight and you’ve never settled the question of your eternal home, you’ve never been converted, you don’t know if Heaven is your home, you don’t know that Jesus is your Saviour, may I say here tonight – CHRIST IS THE ANSWER! Not turning over a new leaf, not truting in man or a church, not getting religion, not giving up whatever sin that you love and yes all those things are good and come after the fact of salvation but turning to Christ alone first and foremost for CHRIST IS THE ANSWER! They and you if you’ve not already must be converted!
2. They Must Be Received (Verse 5)
Secondly we see that children must be received! Sadly, some churches today have seperate everything for the children, and that’s if they even have any children’s ministries to begin with! They don’t want the children to be apart of the church family but again we see the importance of Children to our Lord saying whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me! What a thought that is!
But also we see that Christ in verse 2 sits a child directly in the midst of Himself and the disciples! Now folks, if that is not receiving a child, I don’t know what is! So folks, when we bring in the children, receive them, welcome them! Don’t treat them as if they don’t belong! Treat them like Christ would treat them! Make them feel apart of the church family! Take time with them, get to know them, take an interest in them! They must be received!
3. They Must Be Protected (Verse 7)
The word “offended” in this verse means “cause to stumble”. And folks there are too many out in our world today that are causing our children to stumble and that are hurting them! May that never be said of us! Children should not be abused, children should not be neglected, and children should not be frightened!
We have our government and well meaning people trying to throw money at these problems but the answer for children and families is not in money or worldly possessions but in JESUS CHRIST! Jesus right here said, don’t harm them, don’t abuse them, don’t cause them to stumble! Children should be loved, children should be cared for. And if they are not getting it at home, than they ought to be able get it here! They must be protected!
4. They Must Not Be Despised (Verse 10)
Finally we see that children must not be despised. This goes back to that thought of receiving them. Sadly some people and churches today think that kids not only should not be heard but not seen either! They don’t want the children as part of the church! They think they are nothing but trublemakers and will do everything in their power to make sure the kid know they are not welcome in the church! They despise the children!
However folks we have a clear command here in verse 10; despise not one of these little ones! Sure, some of the kids we bring in can try your last nerve and sometimes they do but our command is clear! Recieve them, depise not! They are important to our Lord and in turn must be important to us! They must not be despised!
Are you still thinking of that time when you were a kid? And how someone opened this precious Book and showed you how to be saved? How someone took an interest in you? In something that you did? Well folks, just like when you were a kid and needed and wanted someone to take an interest in you, there are kids that we bring into this church for the Wednesday night and Sunday School programs and even those that we don’t that need that exact same thing!
Remember I Corinthians Chapter 6: Verse 11 – And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Such were some of you! If it were not for someone taking the time with you, ask yourself where would you be tonight? These children need someone that will simply take the time!
The question and challenge to each of us here tonight is are we willing to do what it takes to see them converted, received, protected, and not despised? I close with two different poems that over the last two years or so have been a great encouragment to me and I trust they will be to you as well! They are The Last Bus Ride and Through the Eyes of A Bus Worker!