Last Sunday morning I preached from Matthew 19:13-15, using the title above as my subject. What is it about children that might have provoked this statement from Jesus? (Vs. 14). Obviously, Jesus did not say that children are in the kingdom, but that the kingdom is “of such.” That is, the church of God on earth is composed of those who have certain child-like qualities. So, obviously there is something to be learned from little children.
Children do grow up. For example, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Lk. 2:52). In his youth Jesus taught adults academically (Vss. 46-47). And through his years on earth Jesus taught by example – he still does (Acts 10:38).
On July 19th a group of 11-12th graders/chaperones/parents came from the church in Madison, Alabama and spent five days with us. They engaged in many different activities such as door knocking, nursing home singing and visitation, a car wash, taking cookies to local businesses, kid’s camp (mother’s morning out), putting together bags for the homeless, and they took care of the preaching for both services on the 21st, as well as the entire service that evening. I am certain that I have not mentioned everything that this wonderful group of people did for and with us. Might we learn anything from what the Madison group has done for us? Should not we who teach also teach ourselves? (Rom. 2:21). If we don’t learn & grow from this experience God will hold us accountable (Matt. 11:21)!
What might we learn from our hosting the Madison group? On Mabelvale’s Facebook page last week I asked the host families to give me one or two lessons that we might learn from the Madison group’s working with us. Here are the points that were suggested to me, and which I used in yesterday’s sermon.
1. WE LEARNED THE PLACE OF EVANGELISM IS THE LIFE-BLOOD OF THE CHURCH.
A. These young people demonstrated a zeal for Christ not often seen these days.
B. If they are a fraction of a sampling of the church today, maybe the tide is turning.
C. Away with doom & gloom prognostications of defeat – we have reason to rejoice!
2. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT EFFORT OVER HANDICAPS.
- We are all different – every Christian stands on equal footing at the base of the cross.
- We can be happy & zealous for the Lord’s work regardless of our physical-mental state.
3. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT PERSONAL SACRIFICE.
- 66 people sacrificed their time, convenience & money to help us.
- We think we are too busy for things like this – are they less busy than us?
- Do they teach us something about redeeming the time we have? (Eph. 5:16)
4. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT FACING REJECTION.
- Going door-to-door is difficult under any circumstances.
- They handled negative responses in a positive way (Matt. 5:10).
5. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT PREPARING OURSELVES FOR SERVICE.
A. The church is a prepared place for a prepared people (Matt. 25:34; Mk. 10:40).
B. The Madison group did not go into this without person-to-person preparation.
6. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT THE NEED TO GIVE OF OURSELVES.
- We watched a groups of people who were selfless in giving & doing for others.
- They didn’t come here asking, “What can the church do for me?”
- They came asking, “What can I do for the Mabelvale church, shut-in’s, children, families?”
7. WE LEARNING SOMETHING ABOUT ENERGY & DRIVE TO DO THE LORD’S WORK.
- They knew what needed to be done – planned their work & worked their plan.
- It was easy to see that their hearts were in the right place.
8. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT COMMITMENT TO CHRIST & HIS CHURCH.
- These young people will be workers in the kingdom long after some of us are gone.
- Commitment is the most difficult thing to get from people.
- It’s not difficult to get attention, interest, involvement or money, but commitment is rare.
9. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT FRIENDSHIP.
- Madison has a motto: “Every Christian needs a job and a friend in the congregation.”
- Some survive isolation, neglect & lack of friendship in a church, and some do not.
- Our extending friendship means spiritual life or death to many new a new convert to Christ.
10. WE LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT TRUE LOVE FOR EACH OTHER.
A. It was obvious how the Madison group loved each other.
B. Every congregation needs genuine love & mutual support of each other to grow.
1. I have not pointed out anything that originated with these members of the Madison, AL church.
2. These qualities were first reflected in our Lord.
3. If you need a Savior, there is no other. If you need a spiritual family, his church is the place. If you need a place to grow, come over to Mabelvale and help us!