Children of the Kingdom

Pastor Jonathan Drake - December 30, 2018

Community Group Study Notes

  • Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
  • What is the difference between childlike and childish? What are some character traits surrounding each?
  • Read Matthew 18:3 – the main verse from Sunday’s message. Why do you think Jesus emphasized becoming like children as a prerequisite for entrance into His Kingdom?
  • What is the biggest heart obstacle you face in admitting your need of Jesus? Where does pride and self-reliance play into our dependence on Him? How does this connect to Jesus’ statement about becoming like a child?
  • What is one action step you can take in response to what you heard in Sunday’s message?


Sermon Transcript

Good morning, Chapel family. Good morning. Guests who are with us today. I want to welcome you to the chapel. My name is Jonathan. I'm one of the pastors here and grateful to be able to share God's word with you today. If you have a copy of the scripture, we're going to be going to Matthew Chapter 18. We know we've got a lot of kids and students with us in worship today, so if you've got a Bible, find one, get it to Matthew Chapter 18, there'll be probably someone around you who can help you get there if you need help doing that. But Matthew Chapter 18 is where we're going to be in just a few moments.

I hope you had a very merry Christmas with you and yours. We certainly did in our household. My wife and I, we have a four year old daughter and a six month old son, and we really had a great time this past Tuesday.

Many of you have come up to me over the last couple of weeks and said something similar and along these lines, "Oh, your kids are how old? Oh, you're going to have a great Christmas this year" and we certainly have. We had a blast. It was so fun to be able to watch for my wife and I to watch our four year old wide eyed jaw dropped mouth gaping, seeing the Christmas presents, but need the tree. She had a wonderful Christmas. Our six month old son, he really enjoyed chewing on the bag that had Christmas, logo on it, right, Santa Claus, that kind of thing. So we had a really, really awesome time. We really just enjoyed sharing I would just say the wonder of Christmas and like you, we've got traditions that enhance the wonder of those things.

Some of those started with my family growing up and we've now brought those into our home like every single Christmas morning growing up before we opened a single present, my Dad would get out the Bible and we would read from Luke Chapter 2 verses 1 through 20. And as a kid, lest you think like a pastor's home is just this peaceful, serene kind of thing. I'm itching to open the presents, I'm eight years old, nine years old and those 20 verses of Luke 2 could not have taken any longer, that kind of thing. And my dad, this excellent Bible teacher, he started to riff on the Greek language while we were going through, it was going to be a long morning, that kind of a ... But guess what? Now as a Father, as a parent, guess what we do every Christmas morning? We read Luke 2 before we open any presents.

And that's not just a formality, that's not just to get it out of the way. No, anything but that. It's to remind ourselves that before we open a single present, we've already received so much. And so really just the season is so wonderful. And being around small children, even if you don't have kids of your own, being around small children at the season, maybe that's a niece or a nephew or a grandchild or just a family friend or something like that, being around a small child that the season of Christmas can really change things. Can't it? You watch them, you watch their eyes light up with excitement and with wonder, and it's really amazing because it's almost like the kids can can teach us some things. Any maybe I would even better say this way, they reteach us some things because we knew how to do it, but we've just forgotten. So being around a small child can really, really change that.

They can reteach us some things. I don't just say that like as a sentimental all mushy kind of Christmas thought or like a Rockwellian portrait. I say that because if we paid more close attention, the little ones that are around us, not just today in worship, but around us all the time, the little ones can actually teach us some things. I didn't say that first. Jesus actually did. The verses that I want to direct your attention to in Matthew Chapter 18, say just that in Matthew 18 verses 1-4. At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who then is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" So he called a little child to him and placed the child among them and he said, "Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."

This question, who's the greatest in the Kingdom? It was something that the disciples talked about a lot, and here the 12 bring it up again. Who's the greatest? Just two Chapters later in Matthew 20. If we kept reading, we'd see James and John having their mommy come to Jesus and asking for positions of prominence in the Kingdom. Luke's Gospel actually seems to indicate that they had this conversation again on the very night that Jesus was betrayed. Just moments after the Lord's Supper is instituted and moments before they're in the garden of Gethsemane, the disciples are arguing over who's the greatest. They're flexing with one another. So this was a common topic for them and as such, it was something that was a common conversation piece with Jesus, and his response and his answer, his actions and his words are just incredible what he does.

As shocking as it might be to us now is even more so then because it wasn't just the 12 that were around Jesus, the 12 disciples, there was a crowd like this one filled with children, much like this one, around Jesus probably coming to hear him teach. And out of the crowd he calls a small child and brings that child right among them. Our text says, "Placed the child among them." The language originally is a lot more specific. He placed the child right at the center, right in the middle. That this kid is going to be the sermon illustration for Jesus. What an amazing thing.

And as shocking as that might be, he goes onto say, "Unless you change and become like children," you can almost imagine Jesus placing his shoulder, his hands on the shoulders of that small child. "Unless you change and become like this one, you will never enter the Kingdom." He says, "Unless you change." The Greek word is "strepho", which means turn. In fact, some of your translations may even say turn, other translations say convert. But it means to turn. And most often in the Gospels, that word "strepho" is used to speak of someone physically turning from one direction to another, like Jesus turned and said to them, in that sense.

And so I almost wonder if at one level what Jesus is saying here in Matthew 18:3 is okay, you want to know who the greatest in the Kingdom is? Just turn around, look at the little ones that are behind you. You've got a lot to learn from them, But that word can also mean something different in addition to physically turning. It can also mean kind of how we use it in our modern vernacular, just as they would have understood it in their day as well. And that could mean to indicate a radical transformation. So we say things like this in our day, they really turned their lives around, right? Hey, we're moving into 2019, and man, in the last year they've really turned some things around, right? That's how they would have understood that word as well.

And I think Jesus definitely had some of that meaning in mind because he says unless you change, unless you turn and become something you're not, unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom. So he says that there's a transformation that has to take place. You have to become like these little ones. You don't have to become them themselves. You don't have to become a child that would maybe be impossible, but you can become like them.

So in what ways does Jesus want us to become childlike? Now, I've heard Pastor Jerry talk about this. Maybe you've heard him talk about it as well. The difference, the distinction between childlike and childish. You get that distinction, the difference between being childlike and the difference between childish? I think the Apostle Paul had some of that in mind when he wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 14, he said, "Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature."

So he's drawing a distinction. Hey, as it comes to purity of conduct, I want you to be like a little baby, but in your thinking, I want you to be mature. I don't want you to be childish in you're thinking, but I want you to be childlike as it pertains to purity of conduct. See, the rational part of the brain in a child is not fully formed, right? Right out of the gate. The rational part of the brain is apparently still developing and some adults as well when you're driving on the roads and you say who's driving that car, a seven year old, like what? Who gave them a license? Sears? that kind of a thing. But for us to be mature in thought that there would be a distinction between childish and childlike.

So I've got maybe three things for us today to consider that we need. All of us need, grownups and children. Everyone listening today, we need these three things. The first, we need a childlike dependence. We need a childlike dependence. You see, it would be very out of the ordinary. you'll allow me to illustrate I'm sure from the life of my child as I'm a parent of a four year old and a six month old, like I said, and so you'll allow me to illustrate throughout this from my own experience with them.

It'd be very out of the ordinary for a child that grew up in a home that's loving and caring, for a child to wake up in the morning and run downstairs to the kitchen, whip open the refrigerator door and breathe a sigh of relief that there's still food in the fridge. In fact, some of you parents might think, yeah, it seems that my kids believe that food man magically replenishes by the way they go through it. That kind of a thing. But it would be very out of the ordinary for them to do that, for them to worry about life's essentials.

My daughter's not ever wringing her hands over where the next meal is coming from. It just magically appears every time. She's not pacing in her bedroom wondering if there are going to be clothes that are going to fit her when she outgrows the ones that she's currently in. Though my wife and I, we've never ever had to sit her down and say, "Okay honey, now you know we're going to provide for everything you need."

We've never had to do that. But listen, our track record of providing for her, gives her that trust for the future. We're not perfect parents, but our track record in the past gives her some trust for the future that she can depend on mom and dad.

And Jesus actually taught us to approach God this way, to look at God this way. As his children, we need to have a childlike dependence. Jesus said the following in a different teaching in the same. Matthew 6, Therefore I tell you, don't worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food? Yes. And the body more than clothes? Yes. Look at the birds in the air. They don't sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they. You are. Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? No. And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They don't labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you? Oh, you of little faith.

So do not worry saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear. For the Pagans, those that don't know God run after these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them, but seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. I say that we need a childlike dependence because those that know that their Heavenly Father understands their need can depend on him and rest.

They don't have to worry. They don't have to wring their hands or pace. They know that they have a Father who knows their need. He says the pagans run after these things. What does that mean? Those that don't know that they have a benevolent Father have to run after these things, have to let their minds be consumed with the thought of these things who wake up and go to bed thinking about how the money is going to work out and he says, "Don't worry, be anxious not."

I recognize the season that we're in and the season that we're in can bring out some of that anxiety in us can't it? Maybe you just feel like you just barely made it through the Christmas week, the Christmas season. After cooking for everyone and shopping for everyone and being around certain someone's at this time of year that seemed to bring out that anxiety and you more than others, maybe just feel like I need a holiday to recover from the holiday, or maybe it's more pressing than that, more constant. That you're worried about your job, but you're worried about your marriage. You're worried about your relationship with your kids. You're worried about how you're going to make the ends meet. You're worried about your singleness again. You're worried about your health.

We need to have a childlike dependence. Why? You have a Father who knows your need. He hasn't missed it. You haven't slipped off his radar. You can trust him. You don't need to worry, and by the way, what good would worry do anyway? We need to have a childlike dependence because our Heavenly Father knows our need.

Second thing that we need, we need a childlike wonder. We need a childlike wonder. I alluded to this at the outset of the message, but I want to bring it back to our focus here. We need a childlike wonder, but maybe you've categorized, maybe you would even categorize wonder as childish, not childlike. After all, you're too mature for some of those things. Maybe you've categorized wonder that way.

You see, if we're not careful, some familiar things that maybe at one time were all inspiring, we can allow familiar things to become commonplace. So what would have left us speechless 10 or 20 or five or one year ago, now is just kind of humdrum. We take it for granted. so for us to have a childlike wonder means how do we rekindle that all? How do we get back at that place of, wow? Because that can happen even just in everyday life. I grew up in western New York like many of you did, and so being here as a western New York native, we've got the Niagara Falls, the wonder of the world in our backyard. and when guests come from out of town and we say to them, what do you want to do while you're here? Get some chicken wings? See if Duff's or Anchor Bar is better? Like many of you probably have done this week. But before that they say this, "We really want to see the Falls."

And maybe you're like me and sometimes your first thought is "Really? Okay, yeah sure. We could fit that in. It's a day trip. We're probably gonna have to pack a suitcase, I don't want to deal with the bridge and the 190 and I know it's the tallest bridge and all that thing, but I don't want the hassle," that kind of thing. They're ready to see something that's  astounding. And we're just kind of like, "It's water. It goes over a cliff and it repeats and it's the same thing." And you're probably like, what a horrible person. I'm sorry.

And any of my family and friends from out of town, I was so excited to take you to the falls. What a memory. But isn't that true? This is this amazing thing in our world and it's in our backyard and because it's in our backyard we can kind of become complacent about it. Right? So think of what your approach was. Think of what your attitude was when the light of the Gospel shown in your heart for the first time and you were in awe that there was someone who would love you as much as Jesus does. You couldn't believe it after what you've done. After what I'd done. That there would be someone who would love you like that. Are you kidding me?

It leaves you speechless. Maybe you can even think back to a time when you were new and your faith and you'd be in a worship service like this one, you wouldn't even be able to sing because he just be choked up because you were in wonder that there was a God who loves you like that. But what happens with time? That the love can grow cold, that what was so awe inspiring can now be common. That can happen in our faith if we're not careful.

See, Jesus had this interaction with this pharisee named Simon who had been around God, had been around the things of God, so much so that he was pretty convinced that God was lucky to have him. And Jesus tells that man, Simon, this story in Luke 7. Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him 500 Denari. More than a year's salary and the other 50, couple of months salary. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both.

Now, which of them will love him more? Simon the pharisee replied. "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven."

"You have judged correctly," Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You didn't give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn't give me a kiss, the customary greeting in Israel, but this woman from the time I entered has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven as her great love has shown, but whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

Jesus says there's these two that owe money and neither can pay him back. One is seemingly insurmountable. One is manageable but pretty big and both can't pay back. So the moneylender forgives both. Who's going to love the moneylender more? The one with the bigger debt. And then Jesus says, "So whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

But what Jesus is not doing here is establishing a hierarchy of sinners. Like there's some really, really bad sinners and then there's some sort of bad sinners and then there's some light duty sinners, that kind of thing. Like there's a scale. He's not saying that at all. He's saying here what he said elsewhere. It's not the healthy who need a doctor, it's the sick. But the irony of that statement is everybody's sick. There's just a few people who are willing to admit it.

Everybody needs forgiveness for an insurmountable debt, but there's some people who are working with an incomplete ledger. They think, I'm not bad. I'm not that off. Really, God only needs to forgive me this much and what kind of God would he be if he didn't forgive me this? Instead of the insurmountable debt of a life and a heart of rebellion towards God. And maybe that was your acknowledgement at the first, but time has passed and maybe your list has shrunk of what you knew God forgave you of, to the point that you've moved from the low place of the woman washing Jesus' feet with her tears, that she would be forgiven. You've moved from that low place to the moral high ground of the Pharisee.

It's a dangerous spot for us to be in. It's hard to wonder when you're looking down your nose at the Gospel, but it's easy to wonder when you're looking up at the savior who has reached down for you. That's easier. We need a childlike wonder. We need to move in the reverse direction. It's like that hymn Amazing Grace. The second verse to His grace that taught my heart to fear and grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear? The hour I first believed. May every hour be as the first, that we saw the grace before us and that we would have that childlike wonder.

A third thing and the last. We need a childlike confidence. We need a childlike confidence. You'll give me one more opportunity to illustrate from my daughter's life, I'm sure. You see my daughter, four years old, she never worries about bothering me with things she wants to tell me. In fact, she tells me everything. Everything. Now I know that there's a day coming because many of you who are fathers and parents to teenage daughters have told me, cherish that because there's a day coming when they won't want to tell you everything, and I do cherish that, and thank you for that sage wisdom.

But for right now, she wants to tell me everything and she never thinks to herself I've already told dad too many things today, I'll save this one for tomorrow. I know that because she tells me everything. Everything. Did I mention everything? See, for her, it's not a concern that she's bothering me because she knows that I want to receive what she has to say. I want to hear from her and she wouldn't put it like this of course, because she's four, but really the joy that she feels over a drawing that she just did, or a puzzle that she just completed or a new word that she learned how to write, the joy that she feels, of course, she wouldn't put it this way, but this is what's going on in her little heart. The joy that she feels there isn't even complete until she can tell me about it. Dad, look what I did. Dad, come see this.

For her it's not a concern that I might be in my study at home preparing to preach a message at church tomorrow, hypothetically. That doesn't bother her and it shouldn't. And she runs in and wants to jump in my lap and tell me whatever's on her mind. She has that childlike confidence that if she comes in or sees me doing something and lovingly interrupts me, she knows I want to hear what she has to say.

Jesus told us to approach our Father this way. That we would have that same kind of confidence to run into his presence. Many times when Jesus would teach, if he was teaching in parables, he would use a story and say, well, just like this person did this, God does this. But there were other times when Jesus was teaching, when he would say, sometimes people are like this and God is the exact opposite, and Luke 11 is one of those opposites.

Look at this passage beginning in verse five: Then, Jesus said to them, "Suppose you have a friend and suppose you go to him at midnight and say, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. A friend of mine on a journey has just come to me and I have no food to offer him,' and suppose the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door's already locked and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship.

He's not doing this because like he likes you. He's doing this because you won't stop knocking on the door yet because of your shameless audacity, he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives the one who seeks, finds and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you Fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead, or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion. If you then though by comparison to the perfect God, you are evil. You know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?

This is incredible, that we would approach God with the same shameless audacity, that we would have no shame coming into his presence, but that we would come boldly into his presence because of our high priest, Jesus, that we would come boldly before him and he says you understand how this works in the human level, your neighbor would be so annoyed that you're knocking at the door that he'll finally give you the bread to shut you up. If you understand how that works in the human level, imagine how that works when you elevate that to understand that you have a benevolent Father who wants to hear from you. That when you're knocking on his door, he's not saying, I can't get up. The door's locked. I'm already in bed.

No. You have a Father who says, come on in, and that's what he means when he says to the one who knocks, the door will be open. That's what he means. When you knock on that door, it's not bolted shut. You've got unlimited access that you would have the same shameless audacity to come into God's presence over and over and over, that God's not thinking, oh, this request again? You've already asked for that 14 different times. You're bringing that to me again? Okay, fine. Just so you won't ask me anymore. That's not the portrait of God that we get from the scripture. That's a caricature, a skewed perspective based on our human experience, not based on anything that God has revealed about him.

So a childlike confidence means we know exactly where to run and how often, that we would learn to run not just in crisis, but that as we mature in our thinking, we would recognize we run to him every day at the beginning of the day, in many times throughout the day. That it's not just, "Hey Lord, I'm in a foxhole, can you get me out of this?" but that I would want to run to my Father and say, "Father, look what I was able to do with what you gave." Look what we were able to do as a church with our Christmas offering. Father, look at this. What do you think? And that we would know he looks on that as a pleased Father who wants to hear from us, that we're never inconveniencing him by coming to him.

You see, your prayer life, my prayer life, it's not just a reflection of your dependence on God. Hey God, I need you to come through with ABC and D. No. It's a reflection of your confidence before God. Your prayer life is a reflection of your confidence before God, that you would come to him and say, Lord, I just want to praise you for what you've been doing in my life.

That's even what we endeavored to do at this portion of the service earlier in celebrating God's activity at this season specifically. Father, we give you praise for that. We're not coming because we need something. We're coming because we're thankful. Your prayer life and mine is a reflection of our confidence before him, that we would run into his presence. Now, I've been talking to the grownups and all of the kids that all of our venues and all of our campuses, I want to commend you for doing such a great job for hanging in there. We're almost done.

And it's actually your turn, that I want to speak to you specifically about something and we're going to have the grownups listen. Okay? So we're going to flip that because you already know how to be a child. You're really doing good at that and we're going to flip this now. Okay? So every child at every campus at every venue looking right at me because I got something for you. You're walking out of here with this, okay? I want you to know this and maybe you've never heard it put this way, but if you've been around our church for a while, you probably have, that God always wants to hear from you, that you are not too small, that you are not too young for God to care about you. He cares so much for you.

And I want to make sure you hear that clearly before you leave today. You got a bulletin today when you walked in, you can even be writing down some of the keywords that we've been talking about today, but I want to make sure that you heard this. That God always has time for. See, maybe when you're at home, sometimes maybe you're playing a game or you're coloring or maybe you're doing a puzzle or doing something and maybe you think to yourself, man, I really wish mom or dad or grandma or grandpa or aunt or uncle could come and play with me. And maybe sometimes you look over into the kitchen and you see them preparing dinner or you see them taking care of your little brother, your little sister, and I don't know, but maybe sometimes the thought runs through your head, I don't want to bother them. They look too busy.

But suppose that you do say, mom, dad, can you come play with me? Isn't it the best feeling in the world when they say yes? Isn't that the most amazing feeling when they say yes, when they stopped doing the grownup thing for a minute and they come and play with you? Because you know that there's grownup stuff that they have to take care of and you're super grateful for that. But isn't that the most amazing thing when they stop and play with you? You feel really special, don't you?

I want you to remember this always, that God, he always has time for you. that you might be thinking sometimes he's big. He's in charge of the whole world. He's got the whole world in his hands. He's got bigger problems to take care of than what I've got going on. I don't want you to ever think that because that's not true. You might think sometimes God's got bigger problems than what that person said to me at school that really hurt my feelings, God's got bigger problems than the fact that I woke up feeling sad again today, God's got bigger problems than what I'm worth walking through. I don't want you to ever think that because God loves you so much. He's never too busy. He's not got anything more important than you. You matter to him and you know that you matter so much that he sent his son for you, Jesus, because he wants to be your best friend forever. He means it. When he says it, he means it. So I want you to remember it.

And also remember this, that every single day you can talk directly to God. You might think, no, I'm a kid. I can't talk to God. Absolutely you can. That God has given you almost like an invisible walkie talkie that you could take with you everywhere you go. It's called prayer. That you can talk to God every single day and that maybe you're at school or at home or you're at on your soccer team or with your dance team, and you might feel like I'm alone I've got nobody in the world. I want you to always remember, you can always talk to him because you matter to him. He loves you. He loves you forever. So don't ever, ever forget that.

So that was a word for our kids, but that's also weird for all of us. See, I'll remind you of Jesus' words once again, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom. We didn't really interact with that last phrase, did we? You will never enter the Kingdom is. See, you and I can be busy about a whole bunch of things trying to justify why we should be granted access into the Kingdom of Heaven. A whole bunch of pursuits. That's that pull our attention from really the simple things that Jesus said in his word and he said, unless you take the low position, that means that pride has to be dealt with.

You see, pride will always keep us from running to the arms of our Father. Pride will always prevent us from admitting that we need a savior. Pride will always keep us in a place where we think those things are childish and that we've moved past it. In fact, maybe you're here today and maybe you're looking back over a year and you would even think yeah, I've kind of outgrown some things in my faith. Maybe you believe the message of Jesus really early in life, maybe even as a child and now you kind of feel like that was kind of childish and that's nice and it's a part of my childhood, but that's all it is. Maybe you feel like you've outgrown faith. But faith isn't something that you outgrow. Faith is something you would grow in.

So whatever you outgrew, it wasn't faith. It might have been some childish ideas. It might have been thinking that, well, just because I'm in church that God's happy and that's all there is to this. So whatever you outgrew, it wasn't faith, because faith is something that you grow in. So whatever your situation is, maybe you need a brand new beginning. We're about to turn the page of a calendar in just a couple of days and that's maybe too long of a wait.

I think today's the best day for you to start over and to start a fresh and to say, Jesus, I need you. Don't allow pride to get in the way of you taking the low position of a child because Jesus said, unless you can humble yourself and come to me and admit that I'm your only hope, you will not enter the Kingdom.

And I want to encourage you with this, it's never too soon and it's never too late to come to Jesus.

Let's bow together for a word of prayer. I want to thank you for your attention will be gone here momentarily. We've ended a little earlier today as this is a family service, but if you don't have to move right now, I'd ask you not to. If you're here today and you'd recognize that you don't know God personally through Jesus, that you don't have that new life in him and then maybe there's been a whole lot of reasons that you've stayed away, that you've kept God in an arm's length. But maybe today, for perhaps the first time or maybe just finally everything clicked. You'd recognize your need of Jesus.

I'm going to close our time in prayer, we'll be gone here momentarily, but when I say Amen and everyone starts to go out to their vehicles, if you know that you need Jesus, I don't want you to just rush past this moment. Perhaps God was stirring in your heart on Christmas Eve. You were maybe were with us in one of our worship gatherings and God was stirring in your heart then and you kind of put it on a shelf and tried to forget about it, but you haven't been able to shake it. Well, there's a reason you haven't. There's a reason you haven't been able to is because God wants your attention. He wants to speak to you. He wants to know you. He wants to receive you as one of his children to become a child of the Kingdom.

So if that's you, when we dismiss, I want you to come by the fireside room. It's just through the atrium. It's labeled clearly so you can see it fireside room. There's some pastors and prayer partners that are in there who would love to be able to take a minute to pray with you, give you a Bible if you don't have one, and send you home with some help on the journey of faith. We want to be here for you because we want to walk with you. Even as others have walked with us in the past, we want to do that for you.

So Father, we thank you for your word, for making it abundantly clear. There's nothing that I need to do to make it relevant or clear. Your word already stands that way. But I pray that these truths have taken root in our hearts. God, that as we head into a new year, we wouldn't be anxious. We wouldn't think that we need to be God of our own lives, but that you've got that position covered. You can handle it. May we trust you increasingly. Maybe we run to you. May we be in all awe of your grace in a fresh and a new way. Even today, before we leave this building. God, confirm your presence in the lives of those that are your children through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and would your Spirit prompt those who are not yet children of yours to begin that journey today and say yes to Jesus. God, we trust you with all of this. We look forward to seeing what you'll do. And it's in Christ's name that we pray all of this. Amen.

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Subject: Children of the Kingdom

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