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Kids, Idols, and Amazing Grace (Luke 18:15-27)

Luke 18:15–27 - 15 And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. 16 But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 18 A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 “You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23 But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! 25 “For 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.” 26 They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” What does today’s passage say? In today’s passage, people brought infants to Jesus, but the disciples rebuked them (v. 15). However, Jesus welcomed the children, saying the kingdom of God belongs to the childlike (v. 16-17). Then a rich young ruler asked how to attain eternal life (v. 18). Jesus told him to keep God’s commandments, sell his possessions to give money to the poor, and follow Him (vv. 20-22). But the ruler sadly left, unwilling to surrender his wealth. Jesus stated it’s extremely difficult for the affluent to enter God’s kingdom, as money competes for their worship and allegiance (vv. 24-25). The disciples wondered if even the rich fall short, who could be saved (v. 26)? Jesus declared that while entrance to God’s kingdom is humanly impossible, divine power makes salvation possible for those who rely fully on God (v. 27). How can I apply Luke 18:15-27 to my life? Today, Jesus teaches profound truths about approaching God with childlike faith, the cost of discipleship, and reliance on divine grace for salvation. These principles remain deeply relevant for believers today. When we lose the sincerity, wonder, and humility of children receiving the kingdom of God as a gift, legalism and self-sufficiency take root subtly. Busyness and earthly ambitions too easily eclipse following Jesus as the supreme priority calling for wholehearted allegiance. We also slip into the trap of vainly attempting to earn salvation by good works and moral effort alone, functionally denying the Savior. But Jesus reminds any who would enter God’s kingdom that childlike dependence, sacrificial devotion, and absolute reliance on God’s power marks the path. The call to discipleship remains the same in every generation - lay yourself completely before the Father, trusting solely in gracious justification bought by the Son, as you walk in submission to the Spirit’s renewing work. Where we have strayed from total surrender and faith, Jesus directs our gaze back to the Father’s abundant mercy awaiting all who come to Him as children. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Approach the Lord in Humility with the Awe, Excitement, and Expectation of a Child (vv. 15-17): When the disciples rebuked those bringing infants to Jesus, He corrected them, teaching that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the childlike. Children come with humble sincerity, not preoccupation with accomplishments. As we grow older, cynicism and self-sufficiency often corrupt childlike wonder. Yet Jesus calls us to nurture simple, trusting dependence on Him. Lay down the entanglements of intellectual pride that question God's power. Instead, come to Christ enthralled by His majesty and goodness, expecting Him to act. Ask Him for youthful excitement in pursuit of His presence and renewal of childlike submission. God delights to reveal His glory to those who approach Him with their guard down, sincerely seeking the Father's face. He looks for wholehearted devotion - not performance to earn favor. Approach Jesus awestruck by extravagant grace that welcomes all who come to Him as children. As you walk with Him, nurture humility, sincerity, and anticipation to fuel passion (Psalm 131:2, Matthew 5:8, Mark 10:14-15).

Food for thought: Do you consistently approach Jesus with childlike humility and hunger for more of Him? What might need to shift in your daily rhythms and mindset to recapture that sincerity?

  1. We Must Depend Fully on the Lord and Follow Him to Enter the Kingdom (vv. 18-25): When the rich young man asks the path to eternal life, Jesus tells Him to surrender everything and follow as His disciple. Though Living righteously, the man's heart clung to possessions and status. His sorrow reveals divided loyalty between Christ's call and comforts of earthly security. Jesus highlights our helplessness to earn salvation by moral effort alone. Entering God's kingdom starts by receiving new life through trusting Him. But it requires subsequent denying self to become His lifelong followers. Evaluate any earthly treasures that capture more heart allegiance than Jesus. Where fears, pride, or love of comfort obstruct fully relying on Him, confess idolatry. God calls us to find supreme worth, satisfaction and identity in Christ alone. With undivided hearts, we must depend fully on His power and obey wherever He leads. As you walk with Jesus, anchor hope in the security and comfort only He provides while surrendering all to follow Him (Matthew 13:44-46, Luke 14:25-33, Philippians 3:8-9).

Food for thought: What competes with Christ for your highest allegiance and affection? What shifts in mindset or habits might help you depend more fully on Jesus daily?

  1. It is Impossible for Man to Earn His Salvation; Only God Can Save Us (vv. 26-27): When the disciples doubt anyone can enter God's kingdom if rich men cannot, Jesus highlights our helpless state. Salvation depends not on human moral striving but God's merciful grace. Even the most righteous person falls immeasurably short of God’s perfect standard and cannot earn deliverance from sin's grip. We vainly exhaust ourselves attempting self-salvation while rejecting the Savior. Left to ourselves, eternal separation from God is our deserved end. But by immense kindness we cannot comprehend, Jesus bore divine judgment for sin in our place. Now through repentance and faith in Him, God grants salvation freely as an undeserved gift. Our only hope is receiving the life He offers. Abandon self-effort with a proud heart that rejects needing a Savior. Instead cry out to the only One able to atone for your failures and make you new. Rest in gratitude for the miracle He performs within all who trust in His power to justify and sanctify (John 15:4-6, Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 3:3-7).

Food for thought: When do you typically default to relying on self-effort versus depending on the Spirit’s power? What might it look like in practice to “abide in Christ” amid your daily responsibilities and challenges? Through this passage, Jesus makes clear that entering God's kingdom starts with childlike dependence, not impressive resumes seeking to earn favor. It requires subordinate allegiance to Christ as His followers over any competing devotion. Finally, salvation relies entirely on His power and grace performing the miracle within us, not our futile striving. May we reflect on where self-sufficiency has corrupted wholehearted faith, where earthly attachments prevent fully obeying Jesus' call, and where pride in self-effort persists. As we confront the hopeless condition apart from God's mercy, let us turn with humility, ready to receive the kingdom as children. May we embrace the joyful exchange - laying down lesser loves to gain the supreme Treasure who is Christ. Having tasted His goodness, may we walk as His devoted disciples wherever He leads, anchored in hope of His strength working within those who rely fully on the power of God for salvation and sanctification. As we rest in astonishing grace, may we live transformed and compelled to extend this grace to others. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would till the soil of my heart to receive the seed of Your Word planted through this passage. Expose and root out the weeds of pride in personal achievement, self-reliance, cynicism, and lesser affections choking joyful obedience to You. Renew childlike wonder, awe, and wholehearted devotion as I reflect on the power of the cross and Your invitation to freely enter Your kingdom. Give me grace to follow Jesus as His disciple daily, surrendering my whole life as a living sacrifice. Remind me that relying on my own inadequate strength leads nowhere. Teach me to rest in the power of Christ in me to equip and sustain a life laid down in faith. As I meditate on astonishing grace shown toward sinners, fuel my worship and send me out to extend this grace. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Luke 18:27 - But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby          

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