All sorts of persons are invited to come to Christ, whatever their age may be. We begin here with the children.
Matthew 19:13-15. Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
The principal difficulty of children in coming to Christ frequently lies in their friends. Their parents or their other relatives think they are too young, and discourage them. Oh, that we all had a right idea of the possibility of the conversion of little children; nay, not only of the possibility, but that we looked for it, watched for it, and encouraged young children to come to Christ! You know that, in the parable I am going to read presently, we are told that the householder “went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.” What a privilege it is to be Brought to Christ early in the morning,—that is, while we are yet children.
Matthew 19:16. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
This was not a child, but a young man, who had come to riper years.
Matthew 19:17-20. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Externally, in the letter, very likely this young man had kept these commandments, and so far he was to be commended; yet internally, in their spirit, he had not kept one of them. Our Saviour did not tell him that he had failed, but he took him on his own ground. “You say that you love your neighbour as yourself; I will give you a test to prove whether you do.”
Matthew 19:21-22. Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
See, then, that often with men—with young men—the great hindrance in coming to Christ may be the world. They may have riches, or they may have a great craving for riches; and this may stand in the way of their coming to the Saviour. If any man loves riches better than he loves Christ, he cannot be saved.
Matthew 19:23-24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man go enter into the kingdom of God.
Somehow or other,-
“Gold and the gospel seldom do agree,
Religion always sides with poverty;”
because a man’s possessions are so liable to get into his heart. He is apt to turn them into idols, and to make devotion to them the great object of his life; as long as he does so, he cannot be saved.
Matthew 19:25-27. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
Always too fast is this impetuous Peter; ever ready to put in a good word for himself if he can.
Matthew 19:28-29. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
He shall find himself a gainer by his losses for Christ’s sake. If he has lost friends, he shall find better and truer friends in the Church of God. If he has lost possessions, he shall get a spiritual wealth that shall be better to him than houses and lands.
Matthew 19:30. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.