Matthew 18:2-4 and 19: 13-15, August 5th, 2018
At 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 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.
The children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
OPENING (PICK ONE OR MORE):
1. What is one of your favorite childhood memories? What makes it so special?
2. Compare differences between adults and children. Have some fun with this.
3. Are you a kid person? Don’t be ashamed if you are not. If you are, why? If you are not, why?
4. Where do you feel you are childlike in your walk with God? Where do you feel you have lost that innocence?
5. What thoughts, ideas, emotions come to you when you hear the phrase “childlike faith”?
TEXT: Read Matthew 18:1-6; Matthew 19:13-14; Mark 10:13-16; and Luke 18:15-17
1. HARD HEARTS: In Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18, the disciples rebuked people who were bringing their children to Jesus. Why do you think they did that? What do you think they were trying to accomplish? The disciples prevented children from coming to Jesus. What prevents you from coming to Jesus like a child? Is it something in you, is it something someone has said, is it just life?
2. CHILDISH VS CHILD LIKE: It is clear in scripture that we are to be mature in our walk with God (Luke 8:14; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Hebrews 5:14). How do maturity and childlike faith fit together? Where are we supposed to be mature and where are we supposed to be childlike? Does one get in the way of another? Where have you seen mature believers who were not childlike? Where have you seen childlike faith with a lack of maturity? How do we walk in both?
3. NEVER FORGET: It appears children never forget anything. Take some time and remember your salvation experience. If you are in a group and have time, please share that story. Remember the first time you understood God’s grace, love, mercy, compassion, power, etc. Why are we so quick to forget these moments? Why does life seem to force us to forget? How do we never forget what God has done or His promises?
4. WOW: When was the last time you were wowed by God? By creation? By anything? Why do we as adults struggle to have the same genuine excitement about life as children? How does this impact our view of church, worship, the Bible, God? What would a life filled with “wow” look like in our church, worship, reading of the Bible, view of God, etc.?
5. DEPENDENT BELIEVERS: Children are completely and totally dependent on their parents for everything. Are you a dependent believer or an independent believer? Read John 15:5. How often are you completely dependent on God? Why is dependence so challenging for adults? Children also believe without complication. Children never believe that someone is lying to them. Do adults have that same faith in God’s promises or His Word? Why or why not? How do we get this back? How do we believe all of God’s promises and His Words? What is a verse you want faith to believe? What is a verse that you want to come to pass? Pray for that. Have the group pray for that.
NEXT STEP: Turn and become like a child.
1. NEVER FORGET: Take time to write out your salvation story. Take time to write down the “firsts” that God did for you. Take time to remember all the times God has come through. Write them down so you never forget.
2. Wow: Find something that amazes you. Look at it. Study it. Don’t try to understand it. Just be wowed by it. Think about God’s grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, passion, power. Be amazed by the God who loves you.
3. DEPENDENT BELIEVERS: Once each day, purposefully be dependent. Review your thought life and decision making to see how many times you are independent and how many times you are dependent. Work to move towards dependence on God. Write out those verses or promises of God that you are struggling to believe. Pray Mark 9:24 for these verses and promises. Don’t become cynical or allow the past to invade. Depend on God and allow Him to increase your faith.