Like a Child
Well I think you for the announcements think that's the 1st time the announcements will be longer than the sermon.
Maybe not the 1st time different the last time. Well last week for those of you who were here after Thanksgiving 1st Sunday after Thanksgiving usually a lot of people are still gone but I mentioned to you last week for those of you who are here that this year I'm going to be doing a lot more Christmas sermons that I normally do and that's when all of you erupted in applause and you were very thankful for that especially my wife but I'll all admit this to you I don't know if I've ever said this before you've ever heard another pastor say this but when it comes to Christmas sermons pastors aren't like all excited about Christmas season because it's it's the same story and so how do you find these unique and different angles to tell the same story year after year so what I've done in the past is I made sure that my sermon series go up until like the last Sunday before Christmas and then I do one Christmas sermon and then I went on this year I totally messed up and I'm done with my my sermon series in and I'm going to start another one until January so we have December and so I'm going to take advantage of this for your sake because I love you so much we're going to have some Christmas sermons OK But unlike last week or today we're going to look at another passage of Scripture and it's not about the Christmas story but what we're going to do is take a look at this passage and see how in a Christmas sort of way how it kind of gets our mindset focused on the things that we definitely think about right around Christmas time Well as I've been thinking about Christmas I'm excited about Christmas this year and I think that there's probably 3 different stages when Christmas is the best and what I mean is the holiday not the actual meaning of Christmas not the story of Christ's birth but Christmas the actual holiday and I think the 1st stage when Christmas is the best is when you are a young child.
You remember that something like No I don't remember that but when you are a young child Christmas is just so exciting and I'm talking about it's that morning where you run downstairs and you open the presents and it's wonderful and it's the 1st stage I think the 2nd stage when Christmas is the best is when you have young children yes.
Yes the way yeah it's very fine it's very exciting when you know you're going to buy a present for your child and you just you anticipate the look on their face when they open it up and how they're going to the shower you with loves and hugs and kisses they're going to say that they love you for the next 5 days and that's it's always wonderful and I think in the 3rd stage when Christmas is the best and this is this is a Syrian I'm guessing on this it's when you have grandchildren yet there we go there's a few years I think that might be the best well we have think what these 3 stages I'm at the tail end of the 2nd stage because my kids are getting older and bigger and the problem with when your kids get older and bigger you know what it means about the Christmas presents they get a little bigger and more expensive and a little bit more complicated but that's OK When the pure excitement in my children it's not the same as it was when they were little and I'm also really. Reminiscing about the Lego years the Lego years are over I love the few years with my boys all they wanted was Legolas and so now I have another 15 to 20 years to look forward to my grandchildren getting Lego's but I'm not in a hurry so we'll get there when we do.
But when it comes to the just the pure excitement of the holiday of Christmas it takes a young child to really experience that the most and again I'm talking about the holiday not necessarily the birth of Christ but when we think about the birth of Christ there is something about it that should make us all child like. Christmas is a time when we remember that Jesus came into the world to save us from our sins but it also should be a reminder that Christ is coming back
he's coming back and we will be with Him forever and that fact should cause us to be like children or for this morning the passage we're going to look at it's not a Christmas passage but we're going to tie it into Christmas it's found in mass you Chapter 18 so many Bibles to Matthew Chapter 18
Matthew Chapter 18 we're going to look at the 1st 4 verses and I will have this up on the screen as well but it's going to be nice if you open your your your Bible so you can follow along there or whatever you're using to read so here's our passage for this morning Matthew Chapter 18 verses one through 4
the passage reads says at that time his disciples came to Jesus saying who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and calling to him a child he put him in the midst of them and said Truly I say to you unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven it was a very interesting conversation and we have to ask ourselves the question what and what is Jesus talking about with his disciples don't understand the disciples those who followed Christ there were just 12 the Jesus was talking to is probably talking to dozens and dozens maybe even hundreds of His disciples and they were expecting very soon a literal physical kingdom they were expecting Jesus and they were wrong in this for they were expecting Jesus to be the Messiah who was going to overthrow the Roman government and bring in and re store the Kingdom of David So this is what they were expecting and this is the question that they were asking him in fact after the resurrection when Jesus had risen from the grave and they were all excited the disciples asked him this question this is found in Acts Chapter one Verse $6.00 and $7.00 they said to him and so when they had come together they asked him Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel and Jesus said to them it is not for you to know the times or seasons that the father has fixed by his own authority and so the Disciples of Christ they were following him and they were thinking this is the messiah he's the one who's going to overthrow the Roman government he is going to restore the kingdom to the nation of Israel and it's going to be this physical kingdom here on Earth and because I'm follower of Jesus I want the best positions in the kingdom and so that's what they were asking those are the things that they were that was really on their mind they wanted these positions in this earthly kingdom that still in the future and Jesus tells them 2 important things in this passage in Matthew he teaches them what they must do to enter the kingdom but then also what they must do to become great in the kingdom and the same attitude that we're going to look at this morning is needed for both and those attitudes and that mindset are seen very clearly in little children and so here we are today it's 2000. We are not anticipating the physical kingdom of Jesus Christ like they were at that time however what I want to do on some level is look at the way that we should be asking a similar question not the same question but a similar question that the disciples were asking to Jesus and the questions that we should be asking are how can I be sure that I have a relationship with my creator that's going to give me to a life how can I have that hope of spending eternity with Christ that's the 1st question and the 2nd one is how can I enjoy an even greater privilege and responsibility in the age to come all right now those questions and those answers they're really fascinating interesting that's not what the sermon is about today but that's fascinating to look at in like Sunday School classes and stuff like that but for day one for today what I want to do is focus on what Jesus meant when he told them that they must be like children all right so in what way must mankind become like little children to enjoy what God has planned for us I have some props today.
I have 3 gifts.
And there gifts for me so too bad I. Actually didn't really give school because this is Christmas time I'm going to kind of DART talk about how these are gifts and what they do is they each represent something in my life that reminds me of having the same mindset that Jesus talks about by being childlike all right and I need to emphasize the mindset of being childlike not acting like a child when my dad turned 50 a while ago I remember he said I'm 15 I'm now at the youth of old age now I can act like a child again I thought that was pretty funny and now I'm only 6 years from being 50 myself so I I don't think it's that funny anymore actually just saying that's depressing you know that it just happened so fast but I have 3 gifts appear in each of these represent one way in which we are supposed to be child like and the 1st point in your in your sermon notes if you're taking notes how can we be childlike The 1st is that we need to have obedient face that's the 1st way that we are to be childlike to have obedient face and the 1st president. Should even call a price because I already own it and I use it is is this how many of you know what this is it's a watch OK as a watch it's a read watch but it's a special kind of watch as anyone know a kind of special watch this is. It's a G.P.S.. Move That's right this is a very special watch a couple weeks ago many of you might remember Christine and I we had done this big race called race across the years for 48 hours we're trying to get to 100 miles and we were kind of reminiscing about this after Thanksgiving last week and so on Friday we had a 2nd Thanksgiving dinner because we're true Americans you have more than one Thanksgiving dinner and so that night we were like some calories so we went out there walking around the neighborhood brisk walk and we're having a great time we start talking about race across the years and we said how I'm feeling good are you feeling good yeah let's go home and sign up again so we did we signed up for going to do it again yeah I know the mental health check comes in January.
But what we did is we're going to do this again and this represents something that is very important to help us train to destroy our bodies over and over that race now this is a very useful tool because this is a G.P.S. watch how many of you understand how this works. Yeah you are liars if you're in or raising your hand because no one understands us except our scientists Well let me kind of give you a definition of G.P.S. G.P.S. is a global positioning system. This is to determine your exact location through a process called triangulation the process gets repeated with satellites that sit further away from the watch receiver which pins down its exact location and continues to track the receiver through the activity and so this is what this watch does it doesn't just tell me my time but I push a button and it talks to satellites and that cool yes like Star Wars and it communicates with a number of different satellites and what the information will send to my watch is my exact location how fast I'm going at that moment also the pace that I have how many how many minutes it's going to take to to reach a mile it'll tell me the calories burned it'll tell me the elevator all this one doesn't do but some of them will tell you the exact elevation and when I get home with my my walk or my run I'll plug it into my computer and it'll download all the information on a map and I can hover over different parts of the map and tell me exactly what time it was at that point on the map my speed all this information it's really fascinating this is a great tool to help me train for a race and guess what I have no idea how it works I just know it does that's the most important thing I just know that it works if someone put me in a room with all these materials and they said I want to build a satellite in a G.P.S. watch I would have the 1st idea how to do that but I don't need to I don't need to know how it works I just know that it does you know if you show a child you know what you know what does this have to do with childlikeness you know you sure child a watch like that and you say this will tell you all your speed and stuff like that they'd say cool just tell me how to work it like if you give them a videogame machine or a phone or a television they don't say now before I use this I want you to explain to me fully how this works and I need to compare it against other models and you test it scientifically and they don't do any of those things what they do is they just believe that it works because a parent is going to only give their kid something beneficial right hopefully that's what we're kind of the hope. Well here's the spiritual point I guess of this of this point
having our sins forgiven by our creator and being called into the hope of eternal life it takes obedient face not just a face that is in agreement with something but a faith that takes action 1st earn kolache and bring of a passenger in cautions Chapter one The apostle Paul tells us this truth about our salvation and our relationship with God cautions one verse 12 and 14 it says giving thanks to the father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins now the 1st portion of this passage of Scripture notice that it says it's the father who qualifies us he is the one who qualifies us to share in this inheritance he's the one who qualifies us to have a relationship with him that goes on forever and it's not based on our works it's based on God's mercy and His Grace you know anyone on earth can say I believe in Jesus Yeah I believe he was born and I believe that he was God's Son whatever that means that doesn't mean that someone is going to have saving face in Jesus it goes beyond that you have to have belief in the death and the resurrection of Jesus and that he is God's chosen instrument to save the world a couple other places in Scripture Jesus teaches us this truth in Matthew chapter 7 he's talking to the crowds here and he says to them. Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven so not everyone who just signal is that I am in this important person or parent possibly even a prophet only those who obey my father's will and in John 640 Jesus says a very simply I like how he says it here John 648 it says this This is God's will for this is the will of my father that every one who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.
Now that seems pretty easy doesn't it actually it is easy for us it's very easy God paid the price and what is required of us is to just have simple obedient face and because this is so easy to have facing God in this way it can become a stumbling block for lots of other people and especially people as they get older in life I believe that the older a person gets the more difficult it is for them to understand that God is a loving God who desires to forgive their sins and have them enter into a relationship with him it's so hard for someone at some point in their life to say Are you serious God's going to forgive all of my sins I know all the sins that I've committed and they're horrible and the older person gets sometimes out to be a stumbling block for them to just simply obey and have that faith in what God is what he wants to do and you look at this and you say is it really fair that God will forgive our sins Well no it's not fair for him.
But it's good and it's true God has done this and this is where being child like starts God says this is the only way to have eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ and so we must take him at his word you don't think it's a coincidence that I've heard statistics I don't know what the latest statistics is but it's around 80 percent of people who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ but 80 percent of them do so before the age of 18 because they have this childlike mindset that says God must be a loving God He sent His Son to die on the cross for my Senate so I placed my faith in that for myself Haitian The older a person gets the more they think about themselves and how unworthy they are and we're all unworthy but to have a relationship with God We need to become like little children like Jesus told the disciples and this is how we get to have any channel relationship with God Romans 1910 says a very simply because if you confess with your mouse that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved for with the heart one believes in his justified and with the mouse one confesses and is saved so when it comes to your relationship with your Creator how childlike are you. Are you thinking of all the reasons why God shouldn't forgive your sins or do you have simple faith that God does want to forgive you of your sense so when it comes to having a relationship with God This is where it begins by being childlike in this in this truth well you know the conversation that Jesus had with his disciples back in Matthew Chapter 18 it goes beyond just entering the kingdom of heaven as he says having a relationship with him that leads forever it also talks about being great in that kingdom so let's go back to a passage in Matthew Chapter 18.
Matthew Chapter 18 Let's go ahead and read this again
again the verse says about time the disciples came to Jesus saying who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and calling him a child he put him in the midst of them and said Truly I say to you unless you turn to become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven 1st for says whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and so the next thing is I think fairly obvious because it says it right here in this passage and that is this childlike attitude or mind so that Christ wants us to have is genuine humility God wants us to have genuine humility All right let me get to my next object here.
For those of you who have Cosco membership you probably know it's in here. Yeah eyeglasses All right so this is an object of humility I'm wearing these but just in case I lose these I have these and you know why I have glasses because my eyesight is getting worse for those of you have glasses you know the exact same thing and so yeah I guess the question is it to my IS IT MY benefit to humble myself and say My eyesight is getting worse and so I need help and go to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist or whatever it is and they say hey give me a prescription for glasses of course is to my benefit and for those of you who have glasses you kind of went through something very similar you know the thought of us saying that there's nothing wrong with us you know that's that's pride and arrogance and that's foolishness and so for us to say that there's something wrong with me in admitting that there's something wrong with you that is a very powerful thing well our bodies obviously did deteriorate over time we need help and the older person the older a person gets I believe what they like to do and maybe this isn't true for every single person in every situation but the older we get we like to hide our deficiencies in our weaknesses and we don't want anyone to know the areas in our life or we are weak and we need help. How many of you know that's true all right Lisa has a large sum of your humble enough to admit that's true but listen you know what children they're not like that they have no problem talking about their weaknesses and their hurts you know to want to all the kids run around in this this concrete parking lot and they fall down and they cry because they heard they're not afraid to show their weaknesses and a child is not afraid to show it to admit that they're not strong enough to pick up some heavy object in the not they're not have too much pride or arrogance to admit that they can't solve some very complex problem they don't have a big ego yet that starts in junior high.
That comes later in life or maybe my junior high and that trait this child like trait that God wants all of us to have is the trait that helps us to become great in God's eyes when a child approaches God they are genuinely home because the child does not stand before their Creator and think that they have all these accomplishments that they can impress God with they know that they have nothing to offer him they are fully aware of their dependency upon God just like a young child knows of their dependency upon their parents they don't pretend that they have their act together they don't pretend that they're the greatest thing on earth they realize their place in this world and that's one of dependence on those over them and that is the childlike mindset that Christ tells us we need to have in order to be great in God's eyes genuine humility is when we admit that we need God and we need others that we're not self-sufficient and a person who is genuinely humble they're OK with admitting that passage I want to look at really quick is 1st Peter chapter 5
1st Peter chapter 5 verses 5 through 7 or verses 5 and 6 it says this. Likewise you who are younger be subject to the elders clothes yourselves all of you with humility towards one another for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God So the at the proper time he may exalt you. When we humble ourselves gives God an opportunity to display his power in our lives truly humble people that have a relationship with God it's almost clear to some of the people around them that God is doing something powerful and so when it comes to this area of your life you know I'm not going to ask you to raise your hand but how humble are you how willing are you to admit the areas in your life that you truly need help how willing are you to admit the weaknesses that you have a genuine humility really allows God's power to be displayed in our life and in the life of others and that's why humility is so important to God because that's what makes us great well it's go ahead and for passage one last time as Chapter 18 on read just one more time and the 1st 2 points I think were somewhat obvious this 3rd one I don't know if any of you going to be able to guess this but will go through this Matthew Chapter 18 again verses one through 4 since that time the disciples came to Jesus saying who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and calling to him a child he put them in the midst of them and said Truly I say to you unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of have and I want you to notice what Jesus does not say to these disciples Jesus never condemns them for wanting to be great.
Their desire to be great is something that he doesn't say no you should never want that you should never want to have any kind of a position in the kingdom he does the same thing I got and he also does not say that the people that are in the Kingdom or in life after this are all going to be the exact same and have the same a level of privileges and responsibilities instead he tells them how to be great in the kingdom of heaven in fact the greatest Do you think that G.'s and tell us tells him how to be great because he wants them to be great I think the answer obviously is yes and so the final childlike attitude that we're supposed to have is one of pure ambition pure ambition and I'm going to explain that OK I can explain what I mean by that all right here's my 3rd and final gift let me put my glasses away I don't want to lose these kinds of I lose these and I'm going to need these all right.
Some of you are going to know what this is most of you probably won't but in this bag I have an example of pure ambition.
Is a pre workout drink called C 4 it makes you explode with power. And actually kind of does so this is a pre workout chip explosive original dietary supplements I'll read to you some of the things that it gives you and I need to take my glasses off so I can read home it gives you energy gives you focus it gives you pumps and there's a picture of some muscles right there and gives you insurance it's sports certified and some other stuff and.
So here's here's the here's the example that I'm trying to have a point with. You want to know when I take this right before my cross that workouts because when I go in there and I'm going to do Cross Fit I want to have all the energy that I can have because I have pure ambition was is a really pure ambition it's more like selfish ambition if anything else but I take it right before I cross the workouts because I want to do my best do I want to run out of energy or in the middle of a workout so I'll take something to help me do I want to get P.R. Do I want to do my best absolutely so I'll take something that is going to help me now I'm talking about pure ambition this is selfish ambition but what I mean when I say pure ambition I'm talking about there is an ambition or desire that God wants us to have that is holy and healthy there is a desire and ambition the God wants us to have and that is the desire ambition to please God wants us to have the desire or the ambition to please him. A young child loves to get the attention of their parents and some of them not all of them they want to please their parents they want to have their parents say good job they have this childlike desire to please their parents and that's especially when they're really young you know it doesn't tell us in this passage in Matthew the age of the child that God or Jesus brought in you know to show I'm pretty sure they're beyond the terrible twos because a terrible 2 does not want to please their parents right they just want their own way and probably not an older child maybe like in the ages 3456 and 7 you know when you have a child like that it's just so wonderful that they want to please their parents they want to do something that is going to make their parents very happy for them you know kids want nothing more than to know that they are loved and adored and so they will do everything to get their attention from their parents and this is the kind of ambition that God wants us to have towards him the simple uncomplicated desire to please God 1st above everyone and everything else that's what God wants for us and that's what it means to be childlike of one more passage I want to look at and this isn't 1st US alone Ian's chapter 2 and I know your price starting to read it because they're on the screen but in this passage Paul is talking about his desire and his motivation when he came to those in Thessalonica and he had just been in Philip I am Berea and he got ran out of Philip one of the one of those places right before he got to Thessalonika and he's talking about his motivation and his desire why he shared with these people the gospel of Jesus Christ so let's go ahead and read 1st US alone in Chapter 2 we go through one verses one through 6 Paul says to them
for you yourselves know brothers that are coming to you is not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philip high as you know we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict for our appeal does not spring from error or in purity or any attempt to deceive but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel so we speak not to please man but to please God who tests our hearts for we never came up with words of flattery as you know nor with a pretext for greed God is witness nor did we see glory from people whether from you or from others though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ and so Paul is reminding the people in Thessalonica I came to you not because I was wanting to build a name for myself I came you not because I was trying to build a church and a bunch of followers after me the reason why I came to you is because God isn't trusted with me this message this message of salvation and the reason I came and I shared that with you is because I want you to have that relationship with God and I want to please my savior Paul knew that someday he was going to face Jesus Christ again face to face and he was going to have to give an account for the way that he lived his life and polls desire was to please Christ his motives were pure His motives were for them to have a knowledge of the truth and to please a savior while in this life I think all of us. Especially as we get older we have a lots of different ambitions and different motives for doing what we're doing we can be ambitious and we can have strong motivations to do a lot of different things in this world and and most of them I think are probably good and healthy some of them could be selfish and greedy but right now if you look at your life and what you want more than anything else what you're most ambitious for is it for yourself or is it to please the savior that you're going to see face to face again someday. So when Jesus tells his disciples that you need to be great in God's household of people you need to become like a little child this is what he means to have that childlike desire to please him. Well it's Christmas time and we're going to really enjoy this all month long it's time for us to celebrate our birth the birth of our Lord and Savior but it's also a time for us to anticipate the return of Christ some day he's going to come again and so we need to be obedient with our face not just have a face in God but a face that acts not for salvation but because of our love for him we also need to be humble because when we're humble God's power is able to be displayed in our life and we should always desire to please him that's what it means to be childlike So not only during Christmas time but all year long when it comes to your relationship with our Creator let's make sure that we are childlike spray.
Dear Lord I thank you for including this passage here in Matthew and I think we can definitely apply this to our lives today in all of our settings Lord there is something about being your child your sons your daughter being within the family of God that requires a child like this to it and so Father thank you for showing us this passage in the other passages that help us in what it means to be faithful to be obedient to be humble and to be ambitious to please you or doubts our desire Lord I do pray that in in the context that each of us lives in at home and school at work that we will enjoy the month of December especially living in Phoenix we thank you for that will definitely enjoy the weather but just this whole time of year when when people their thoughts are on others their thoughts are possibly on the true meaning of Christmas or we might all have an opportunity to share the gospel of ourselves a show with another person so help us to always keep that in mind and help us help our desire to not be on ourselves but on other people and especially to please you or thank you again for a church service this morning Lord I do pray that for our our community outreach on Sunday night the 23rd that you might bring people from the community again so that we can share with them the one true hope of the world and that is the death and resurrection of you our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and it's his most holy name we pray Amen.