Are We Hindering Children from Coming to Jesus?

Childlike Toward God

In his message “Let the Children Come to Me,” PastorJohn Piper examined Luke 18:15-17 and made the following statement,

Disciples of Jesus should remove all hindrances that keep children from coming to Jesus.

He then went on to spell out five hindrances that we should try to remove in ministering to children. Here are excerpts from four of these:

1. Pride …If you are receiving the kingdom yourself like a little child, then you will not do anything to hinder little children from coming to Jesus. But if you are trying to enter the kingdom some other way than by receiving it like a child, then you will probably be a hindrance to children. If you are not childlike toward God, children will probably be beneath you and not worth your time.

So there is a very close connection between your own humility and your ability to lead children to Jesus. The great hindrance to effective ministry to children is pride, and the great gift for ministry to children is humility.

2. Parental Unbelief When a child’s parents are not believers, the child is at an extraordinary disadvantage. There is no one at home to bring him to Jesus. There are some children in our church and many in our neighborhoods who live in these tragic circumstances.

There are two ways to remove this kind of hindrance. One is to try to reach the child and lead him to Jesus, even if the parents don’t want to come along. Many parents are willing to let someone else take their children into the presence of Jesus. If they will let us, we should do it.

But it would be far more effective for the child and beneficial for the parents if we could lead the parents into the presence of Jesus at the same time. If the unbelief of the parents is the chief hindrance to the children, then the best way to remove the hindrance is to seek the conversion of the parents. So you can see how closely related are the ministry to children and the larger ministry of evangelism in our church.

3. The Lack of Deep and Accurate Theology … It takes as much or more understanding of a biblical doctrine to teach it to children than it does to teach it to adults. If you understand a thing well, you can usually make it plain for ordinary people and children. But if you are fuzzy in your own understanding, you will generally be overly complex in your explanation.

A great hindrance to the salvation and the growth of our children is the weakness of our own grasp of the full range of biblical truth and the unity of the whole counsel of God. I am overwhelmed at what children can absorb and retain when they are repeatedly and systematically and progressively instructed in the great doctrines of the Bible.

The best way to remove this hindrance is to help all the adults of our church get excited about the joy of knowing God and growing in their understanding of his character and ways.

4. The Lack of Disciplined Planning …What I have in mind is the fact that we often fail to teach our children not just because we lack understanding of what needs to be taught, but because we do not take the time to plan to teach. Periodically we feel guilty that our children are growing up so fast, but then we never sit down for fifteen minutes and plan a strategy to take ten minutes a day to teach them the most important truths in the world.

Fathers, it is your duty to teach your children about the glorious truths of justification, sanctification, redemption, regeneration, adoption, salvation, reconciliation, original sin, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, the resurrection, the second coming, the work of the Holy Spirit, the nature and importance of the church, the inspiration and authority of the Bible. It is a great hindrance to our children that we do not sit down and plan a systematic presentation of these things to them during family devotions for a few minutes each day.

The way to remove this hindrance is to cultivate a church in which parents do not neglect their duty thinking that it is the responsibility of the church to teach those things.

You can read the entire sermon here.

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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