Stories in The Story - Why/Because
Message Summary
This message looks at two incidents that happened back to back in Jesus’ ministry. They happened after Jesus had informed the disciples that He would be going to Jerusalem where He would be put to death. In a way, these two events reveal the reason Jesus had to die on the Cross, and that reason is the fact we as human beings could never save ourselves. The reason we cannot save ourselves is revealed in an encounter Jesus had with some little children and subsequently with a rich man. In this story Jesus reveals that anyone who enters the Kingdom of God must do so as a little child, but then shows us the difficulty adults have in doing this. Adults are somewhat hardened by life, while children have a certain innocence. Children have an ability to exercise faith and trust, while adults are skeptical and distrusting. Children know they need help while adults have a problem with pride and want to do everything on their own. Children are very transparent and real, while adults many times hide behind a mask and are fake. Children are teachable while we as adults sometimes fall into the trap of thinking we know it all. The only answer for this dilemma is the grace and mercy of God and the only way for that to be extended to us was by Jesus’ sacrifice on the Old Rugged Cross!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Why is it so hard for adults to come to God as little children?

2. Why is it we adults can be so skeptical when it comes to the Word of God and yet so quickly buy into the worlds deceptions? Paul gives a good description of this when he talks about life before coming to Christ.
Eph 2:1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
Eph 2:2  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
Eph 2:3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

3. Children have traits which are essential in our relationship with God, like faith, trust, dependency on others, teachability, and transparency. Discuss why these traits are essential to our spiritual well being.
Mark 10:13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

4. The question the rich man asked Jesus reveals much about his heart; “What must I do to inherit eternal life.” He wanted to earn it or maybe just inherit it. He was probably willing to spend some of his wealth to buy it. However, when Jesus revealed to him that his wealth had become his idol and he would need to get rid of his idol, he was sad and walked away from Jesus. Why is it so hard for some people to let go of the world and follow Jesus?
Mark 10:21  Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Mark 10:22  At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Mark 8:36  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Mark 8:37  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?


Stories in The Story Why Because


"You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger. Your name is great and our heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find."
Jonas Myrin & Matt Readman.

And today we're going to talk about some of those ten thousand reasons we worship and bless The Lord! We're going to do this by looking at some of the stories leading up to the story of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. With each story we look at, we'll ask the question "why" and give the "because" answer! Let's pray and ask God to help us understand the why and the because of these stories!

Let's pray!! "Father God, we need to hear from You today! Teach us and help us to understand truths that will help us become the people you created us to be!! I yield my will and voice to you this morning. I pray for Your Holy Spirit to move in amazing ways in our hearts, minds and lives today! Thank You for hearing this prayer! In Jesus Name I pray!

We're going to start this morning with an event that you're probably familiar with.  Take your Bibles and turn to Mark 10:13.
I know your Current says Mark 9. My mistake. It's Mark 10, verse 13.

Mark 10:13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Why do we have to come as little children?
Because we adults can be so hard headed and hard hearted!

It’s so hard for us to trust
It’s so hard for us to believe
It’s so hard for us to follow
And yet sometimes we fall for anything and everything, especially Satan’s lies! We are major skeptics when it comes to believing God’s Word, but we can’t seem to see through Satan’s lies. “If you only had more stuff you would be happy! Take another drink, you’ll feel better! God just want's you to be unhappy!”


Isn't that ironic. We won't trust God, but we'll trust Madison Avenue for what will make us happy. It's so hard to believe the Bible, but if we read it on the internet, it's gotta be true! It's so hard to follow Jesus, but we are really good at following the crowd!! And where does that take you?

Why do we have to come as little children?
Because we adults need to rediscover the power of childlike faith!

Have you ever noticed how children don’t set around and worry about the house note, the electric bill, or the car that's broken. They simply trust! One of my music buddies who co-wrote several songs with me and played on all three of my albums told me this story years ago. He was having trouble with his car and it would just quite running sometimes and it might take 20 minutes or more before it would crank again. One day he was late for work and still had to drop his little girl off at  kindergarten, when it just quit. He was so upset. He looked over at his little girl and said, "Sweetheart, you're going to have to pray and ask God to help us get our car going, I'm not in a good attitude right now!" She said, "Okay…Dear God, Please help daddy get the car going, so I can go to school and he can go to work. Amen!" She went back to coloring in her little book, and Mark turned the key and the car cranked right up! He was amazed and looked at his little girl and she never even looked up. She was just coloring away. It didn't even phase her. It didn't surprise her at all. She just expected God to do it! What a lesson!!

I had another dear friend years ago. An elderly lady who is now with Jesus in glory. She told me one day, "Brother Larry, I just wish I had the faith of a little child!" I went home and wrote a song. One of the verses says this...

I need the faith of a little child
when dreams are shattered and innocence fades away
I need the faith of a little child
to give me strength to live another day
God give me the faith of a little child! ltm

I love the way John put it when, as an elderly person, he wrote to an old friend, and listen to what John wrote...

3 John 1:1 The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
3 It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

You just don't get too old to have childlike faith in God!!! Now, what happens next shows us why it is imperative for us to become like a little child when coming to God! Mark 10:17-22.


Why do we have to come as little children?
Because adults insist on doing everything on their own!

Mark 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Do you hear the question? What must I do?
We just don't like admitting there's things we can't do on our own! This really bothers so many people. We just want so badly to be able to say "I did it! I earned it! I worked so hard! I deserve it! Look at me! Look at what I did!" Sounds childish doesn't it?
How ironic? Jesus says we should become like a little child! There's a reason He said like a little one! It doesn't take long for attitudes of human pride to develop. But little children just know there's somethings they can't do so they don't worry about those things. But we as adults we sometimes insist on doing everything ourselves. And when we insist on taking care of our own salvation, we are going to fail and it will be a tragic failure. Whether you like it or not their's some things you just cannot do!

Max Lucado gave a perfect illustration of this in one of his books...

"Let’s say I invite you to go sailing on my new sailboat. (I don’t really have one). We get out in the lake a short way when you notice that I lift the sail only a few inches on the mast. You think it even stranger that I position myself behind the partially raised sail and begin to blow...

“Why don’t you raise the sail?” you ask.
“Because I can’t blow on the whole thing,” I pant.
“Let the wind blow it,” you urge.
“Oh, I can’t do that. I’m sailing this boat by myself.”
Those are the words of a legalist, huffing and puffing to push his vessel to heaven. (Ever wonder why so many religious folk seem out of breath?)
Lucado, M. 1996. In the grip of grace . Word Pub.: Dallas, Tex.
 
Or let’s say we go fishing and the boat keeps drifting away from the spot where we want to fish. I take the anchor out of the hatch and set it in the front of the boat and say, “there that should stabilize the boat.” And you look at me like I’m crazy and say, “Don’t you realize you’ve got to anchor to something besides yourself if it’s to do any good?” It’s just as crazy to think that you can save yourself in a spiritual sense.

Ephesians 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved.

What is grace?
GRACE – “Undeserved acceptance and love received from another, especially the characteristic attitude of God in providing salvation for sinners.”

Don't get me wrong! We do things for God, but is not so we can be loved by Him, it's because we have been loved by Him!

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

Why do we have to come as little children?
Because we need to be real!

One thing I think we can all agree on is this; Little children may be a lot of things, but they aren't fake! They say what they think, and they let you know exactly how they feel. Let's look at this man's actions and words when he first approached Jesus...

Mark 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Kneeling is good, but if you’ve not bowed in your heart, the body’s posture doesn’t matter. And we'll find out in a few minutes where this guy's heart was. And his words were flattering, but Jesus calls him out on his statement. Not because he was wrong, but because Jesus wanted him to understand if he really believed what he said there were serious implications! Listen to Jesus' words...

Mark 10:18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

Was Jesus’ response designed to help this man and the disciples consider Jesus' divinity? I believe yes. The word good this man used was a word that meant “perfect in moral attributes.” This kind of designation for a man was rarely if ever used. Jesus’ response may have also been intended to help the man see his own sin and his own need for God’s Grace. In other words, God by nature is holy and good! Man by nature is unholy and sinful! Paul put it this way in Roman 3:23.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Jesus is about to use a most impressive technique to reveal this man's true heart, and to show him his true need!

Why do we have to come as little children?
Because we need to be teachable!

Mark 10:19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

What was Jesus trying to teach this man? Maybe this? Self-righteousness is self-deception! But this man got excited because he felt he had kept each of these laws from the time he was a boy! Interesting. Since he was a child! However, this man had evidently forgotten the ancient writings...

Isaiah 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Now how did Jesus teach this man this truth? First of all, we have to look at what Jesus didn't say!

Mark 10:19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ’”

That's six commands Jesus asked him about. How many were there? Yes, Ten Commandments! Which ones did Jesus leave out? The first four! Exodus 20:3-4 & 7-8.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

These are the commands dealing with our relationship to God! He had missed the most important commands of all! More on this in just a minute, but look at this amazing statement  the Gospel writer makes about Jesus...


Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him...

Maybe You’ve doubted God’s love for you
Maybe You’ve rejected God’s love for you
Maybe You’ve had other things that were more important, Yet God still loves you!!!!
Paul put it this way in the Book of Romans...

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It's so important for you to realize Jesus is thinking the same things about you this morning. He's looking at you and He loves you very much. Regardless of the wrong things you may have done in your life, He still loves you! But listen...

Why do we have to come as little children?
Because we need must learn to trust!

Children are trusting at times to a fault. On the other hand, we as adults are skeptical and distrusting, at times to a fault!

Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Why did Jesus tell him to sell his possessions? They were his god. They were his idols. As a result, his use of God’s name was probably in vain. Acquiring wealth was his priority, so there was no time for a day of worship. Why was the man sad? He didn't hear what he wanted to hear and he wasn't willing to trust Jesus that there was a better treasure in heaven awaiting him. The man was sad, because, while the truth Jesus had taught him was simple, it was not at all easy!

Mark 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Receiving God’s forgiveness, mercy, grace and love is simple, but it is not easy.
It requires removing yourself from the throne of your heart and allowing Jesus Christ to be your King! The disciples followed up with a really good question and Jesus had a really good answer...

Mark 10:26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

God can change any heart yielded to Him! Any heart. No matter what you've done or haven't done. Remember, come as a little child! It's not up to you! If you are willing to trust The Heavenly Father and His provision for your salvation through His Son's death, burial and resurrection, you will become a child of God!
And guess what? You gain more than you give up!! Jesus has a follow up statement for the disciples and for us...

Mark 10:28 Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

What was Jesus saying? When you trust Him and accept Him, you become a member of the coolest family on earth. God's family all over the world. Brothers and sitters in Christ! We look after each other. We share with each other. We encourage each other. We love each other! And even with all the good news, Jesus keeps it real. He says with all the wonderful things you will inherit by becoming a part of the family of God, you will certainly face persecutions from those outside the family. But we know we are to stay strong, love our enemies, and be willing to be last in the things of this world, because Jesus says we will be first in the things that really matter.
I want to end by quoting Peter and Paul. They knew why it's so important to come as a little child, and they give us two great ways to state the because! 1 Peter 2:9-10 and Philippians 3:7-12.

1 Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Philippians 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.