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Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not

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Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not

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									Subject: Scripture Expositions

07.25.04 p.m.

Introduction 1. The Kingdom of God [as Luke and Mark (Mark 10:14)] is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven [used by Matthew (Matthew 19:14)]. 2. Rather than being neglected or taken for granted, children were cherished by the Master Teacher. Such should be the case today. 3. The above passage (and its parallels) have many implications for us today. I. Children are not born sinful. A. One of the most obvious conclusions from Jesus’ words is that children have the accept character of which Jesus approves. 1. Calvin popularized the idea of inherited sin. (See Ezekiel 18:20ff). 2. Speaking about Matthew 19:14, Clarke* states, “[It] utterly ruins the whole inhuman diabolic system of what is called non-elect infants’ damnation; a doctrine which must have sprung from Moloch, and can only be defended by a heart in which he dwells.” B. Children are welcomed by Jesus, and they should be by His church as well. Children can approach Jesus. A. Timothy was taught the Scriptures from a child (2 Timothy 3:15-17). 1. Jesus was said to have revealed His Word unto “babes” (Matthew 11:25, 26). 2. The simplicity of the Gospel is stressed in 2 Corinthians 11:3; Psalm 19:7; Psalm 119:130. 3. <<Tell of B.J. Clark’s being told to replace Scriptures with stories>> B. I once heard a man complain about the behavior of children in the assembly. He suggested that we “give them a ball or something and send them somewhere else.” In David Miller’s* excellent book, Piloting the Strait, he gives the following six objection to such alternative assemblies. (I summarize these points.) 1. They were not needed in the past to rear faithful Christians. 2. Adult attendants are in a position to have to “forsake” the regular assembly. 3. The rational that says children can’t get anything out of the regular service is simply flawed. 4. The way for children to learn what to do in the service is by actually being in the service. 5. Bible classes do everything these alternative assemblies are said to do; these side assemblies are, therefore, not needed. 6. Why is the Bible authorization? C. “Why are we losing our children?” is a hard-hitting sermon that Bert Thompson* preaches. His main points are summarized as follows.

II.

*

Citation, of course, does not equal full endorsement.

1. We have failed to teach our children spiritual values. School is important; Bible Class is optional. (This is not just aimed at parents). 2. Someone got to our children before we did, and they are doing a better job than we are. 3. Parents have served as faulty role models. III. One has said we need to be child-like not childish. Notice that positive qualities of Children that need to exist in every Christian. (The below article gives the other side.) A. Children are searchers and inquisitive. B. Children are innocent. (Notice their reaction when sin is seen.) C. Children are forgiving.

The words of the apostle Paul recorded in I Corinthians 13:11 are: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Though speaking of the function and intention of miraculous gifts, Paul points out the growth that should be typical of all people (especially God’s people). Jesus in complimenting (not contrasting) this growth instructed His followers to become as little children (Matt. 18:3). While instructing His followers to be child-like, Jesus is by no means suggesting that His followers be childish. The church of our Lord is full to its limit with adults who have not grown out of their old, petty childish ways. The Lord would have His children to behave like mature adults and not children. Children are often frivolousness, desiring to play all the time. Surely the parents reading this article have threatened children with stiff punishment if chores, homework, etc. are not taken seriously because of a desire to play all the time. God’s children must not display the childish quality of wanting to play all the time, but rather must realize the serious nature which Christianity demands. Frivolous children, not willing to understand the seriousness of any task, often stick out a stiff lip in pouting protest. Likewise childish (not child-like) children of God may throw out idle threats of not actively participating in the services or even leaving the services all together in immature tantrums. God demands adult-like sobriety (Tit. 2:6), and will not tolerate child-like frivolity. Also, children are often bossy. How many of the readers of this article have chided children for being bossy toward siblings, classmates, or parents? This nasty problem sometimes stems from a child’s improper perspective of the role of fathers, mothers, siblings, and even children. Likewise the Lord’s church is full of too many bossy members, and yes this childish problem also stems from an improper perspective of the role of elders, deacons, preachers, song-leaders, etc. Little boys and girls are sometimes subject to petty jealousies. Just think of how many skirmishes between children have been the result of jealously. Sadly there are childish children of God whose petty jealousies fan and fuel many a blazing fight among brethren. It is possible for song-leaders to become jealous of the time given to preachers and vice versa. It is also entirely possible for members to become jealous of the amount of attention given to those who are delinquent, sick, or shut-in, but such jealousies are really ridiculous any way since it is futile to compare ourselves with ourselves (see: 2 Cor. 10:12). Also, Solomon warns against envy which is a form of jealously (Prov. 14:30). Children can also be cruel and discourteous. Childish immaturity is what causes children to say or do something without counting the cost and realizing how many others may be hurt; however, Christians must grow out of this childish habit. Before a Christian ever stoops to tattling or gossiping the cost of doing such should be counted. God expects that Christians bear the burdens of other Christians (Gal. 6:2), and not add to those burdens by being cruel or discourteous. My hope is that we all will resolve to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior and put away childishness. Dustin Forthun


								
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