Lesson Text—Luke18:15-17 Luke 18:15-17 15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Lesson Text—Luke18:15-17 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Lesson Text—Psalm 127:3-5 Psalm 127:3-5 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Lesson Text—Psalm 127:3-5 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Lesson Text—Luke 2:46-48 Luke 2:46-48 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Lesson Text—Luke 2:46-48 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
Lesson Text—Luke 2:49-52 Luke 2:49-52 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
Lesson Text—Luke 2:49-52 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Focus Verse—Luke 18:16 Luke 18:16But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Focus Thought Christians should follow Jesus’ example to accept, love, and nurture children.
Culture Connection Loving Unlovable Children I. We Weep for Children Paul wrote to Titus and exhorted the church to teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children (Titus 2:4). Do you have to be taught to love your own children? Since most of us adore our children, this seems like a redundant command. It is conceivable that wives need to be taught to love their husbands. After all, husbands can be troublesome. But do we really need to be taught to love our own children?
Sometimes children are unlovable. What do you do when your thirteen-year-old tells you to shut up? What do you do when your first grader breaks your favorite piece of china? Some parents know what it feels like to walk the floor all night with a crying infant as they endure the discomfort of colic. It is shock and awe when a sixteen-year-old wrecks the new car or when a single seventeen-year-old daughter says, “I’m pregnant!” Every parent learns that sometimes children put love to the test. I. We Weep for Children
Children live in a dangerous world. We temper these dangers with seatbelts, car seats, bicycle helmets, knee pads, and warning labels. We are a safety-conscious culture. Yet in a more sinister way, our society is more dangerous than ever. Social and spiritual predators abound; humanism, atheism, pornography, violent movies, sensual music, homosexuality, drugs and alcohol, poor parenting, divorce, corrupt schools, and many other dangers lurk about. I. We Weep for Children
I. We Weep for Children Just as love motivates us to fasten an infant in a car seat, love will also motivate parents to protect their children from spiritual predators. Love is a decision. The emotion of love will go up and down, but real love will endure and transcend emotional feelings. We choose to love our children at all times because they are God’s children and He loves them unconditionally.
Contemplating the Topic I. We Weep for Children Days of leisure and occasional press conferences had vanished for the king. For the first time in his adult life he thought long and hard about the God of his ancestors. Feeling overwhelmed by the needs of his city and incapable of overcoming the enemy’s siege, King Jehoram paced the road on top of the city wall to mull over the awful circumstances. (See II Kings 6:24-30.)
The king’s steps probably took him by the miller’s shop where no sounds of the grinding wheel had emerged for a long time. Indeed, the entire business district probably seemed eerily silent. Perhaps he paused momentarily for a boy who was crawling along the wall, searching for pigeon dung that may have been overlooked by others. Needless to say, conditions in the nation were deplorable. Suddenly, he heard a frantic call. “Help, my lord, O king!” (II Kings 6:26). I. We Weep for Children
Jehoram already had more problems than he could deal with, so he asked curtly, “How can I help you? If God won’t help us, what am I supposed to do?” He sighed. “Very well, tell me what’s wrong.” “I’ve been robbed!” said the woman. “Do you know who the thief is?” “Yes, my roommate. We had an agreement. We were both starving, so we agreed to feast on our children. Yesterday, we killed my son, boiled his flesh, and ate him. I. We Weep for Children
I. We Weep for Children Today, we are to eat her son, but she has hid him and won’t let me have my fair share.” Nausea swept over the king. He convulsed and ripped his royal robe in despair. “No!” he shouted, weeping bitter, angry tears. “What has become of us?”
Searching the Scriptures We Weep for Children I. We Weep for Children We live in a selfish, twisted world that destroys children. It has been that way since children first came on the scene. Selfish people hurt kids. The prostitute mothers in besieged Samaria destroyed their own offspring to satisfy the urge for self-preservation. They are not alone. Abortion destroys almost four thousand children every day, mainly for the convenience of the mother.
Transparency 1 Per Per Per Per Per Per Per Abuse Perversion Abortion Divorce Entertainment Hunger Crime
1. Child murder is not new. Both Pharaoh and Herod murdered infants (Exodus 1:22; Matthew 2:16). In every age the devil has sought out ways to destroy people, especially the young. The pagans of Canaan murdered their children to please their god Molech. God responded to this outrage, saying never “came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination” (Jeremiah 32:35). Like Jehoram, the present-day destruction of children should disgust us. I. We Weep for Children
Carnage and waste of human life should infuriate us. We should rend our hearts for the little lost souls who will never know God’s purposes in this life. As the Lord Jesus told the city of Jerusalem, “Weep not for me, but . . . for your children” (Luke 23:28). It is time to weep. 2. Divorce consumes more children than anyone wants to admit. The estranged parents consider only their own feelings, it seems, as they rend the very fabric of society—the family. I. We Weep for Children
With only one quarter of fathers paying child support, the single parent home suffers financially, but that explains only a small portion of the hurt a split home suffers. The myth of “easy divorce” can be easily disproved in or out of court. Girls with fathers achieve better than those without. Boys without a father usually suffer from the absence of a male role model in the home. The loss of childhood that so many children suffer is heartbreaking. I. We Weep for Children
Consequently, many young men and women fail to embrace life’s responsibilities even into their thirties. 3. Illegal activities destroy the innocence of millions of children. From parents who teach their kids to shoplift to those who provide liquor and tobacco for minors, criminals arrive younger and younger at juvenile hall. Not only do some children learn to do wrong, many develop the habit of self-justification until any crime can seem justified in their eyes. We weep for those who will spend more time behind bars than out of them. I. We Weep for Children
4. Perversion rips away children’s privacy. From predatory adults in the seclusion of the home, to predatory boys on the school bus, a child may count himself or herself lucky to arrive at adulthood unmolested. Sexual molestation and incest abound in a world where female figures serve as marketing tools. We weep for those whose worldview has been misshapen around sexual promiscuity. I. We Weep for Children
5. Rude people destroy children’s hopes and dreams. Crude, hateful people tear the life out of youths full of expectancy and potential. Often impatient parents snuff out the creativity of a child by shouting about the dirt on the patio rather than complimenting the creative mud sculpture. Rudeness deflates budding entrepreneurs and God-given, free-thinking ability. We weep for those who could have been great but settle for far less in fear of rejection. I. We Weep for Children
6. Hunger consumes children in impoverished areas. With possibly one billion of the world’s population going to bed hungry each night, almost another billion struggle to survive without the needed nutrients to sustain life. We weep for those who will only rarely know a full belly or a good night’s rest. 7. Abusiveness warps children’s perspectives on reality. Some psyches suffer permanent damage even after the bruises and wounds have healed. I. We Weep for Children
While some children suffer physically, many more suffer verbal abuse from hateful parents and caretakers. Further, neglect is the most widespread form of child abuse. We weep for those who have missed the cuddling and affection that accompany a safe home. 8. Violence shapes the lifestyles of too many children. Fighting parents and abusive adults warp youths into defensive creatures. Even the young are beginning to carry weapons. I. We Weep for Children
Bitterness becomes anger, and anger turns into hatred. We weep for those who commit violent crimes long before they have a chance to hear the message of hope. 9. Entertainment whittles away the imagination of many children. Spellbound in front of glowing screens, kids text, surf, and play games for hours. One day they will wake up in a real world where virtual reality proves to be worthless for coping with life. I. We Weep for Children
I. We Weep for Children Incomplete reasoning skills, deficient social ability, and reclusive tendencies overpower young men and women who could have used their mental powers for the Lord’s kingdom. We weep for those who lose a major portion of childhood to Hollywood morals and Silicon Valley upgrades.
God Desires for Children to Enjoy Life II. God Desires for Children to Enjoy Life Through the prophets, God told of a time when “the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets” (Zechariah 8:5). God wants children to enjoy life, not to experience insufferable abuse and hurt. He wants them to have stable, healthy lives (Genesis 21:9-20; I Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6). Our weeping for children should not be as those who have no hope.
We cry out in intercession that they would find the life God intends for them. But we must do more than pray. The family of God must provide a safe place for children. Studies in orphanages have shown that newborn infants who receive human touch survive and mature at a much greater rate than those who receive only adequate food and water. How much more effective we can be by offering an environment where children can be touched by the presence of God. I. We Weep for Children
I. We Weep for Children More than a nursery haven, we offer a training ground—a place to overcome the evil influences and realize a better future. Children without number have been lifted out of the slime of this world, washed by the blood of the Lamb in a Pentecostal church, and set on a straight course far different from the sins of their parents. But we have to be willing to love them to the Cross.
Jesus Cared about Children A. Jesus Cared about Children In His earthly ministry, the Lord cared about the needs of children. Jesus was not an “adults-only” evangelist. He went out of His way to minister to youths who needed a miracle as much as any adult. From Jairus’s daughter to the widow’s dead son, Jesus apparently enjoyed turning a tragedy into a miracle.
I. We Weep for Children Our Lord illustrated kingdom principles with children. When His followers fell into position-seeking and politicking, Jesus picked up a child, set him on His knee, and said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).
We know that being born of the water and the Spirit is necessary to enter the kingdom, but first one must have the humility of a child in simple faith and repentance from dead works. Some of the qualities of children include their quickness to forgive, their willingness to display love openly, and their unfeigned enthusiasm. Jesus further used this toddler to exemplify how carefully we must treat our fellow humanity: “Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. I. We Weep for Children
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:5-6). Not only does He pronounce a specific curse on those who disparage or mislead a child from righteousness, but He also gives an amazing promise to our little ones: “Their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). I. We Weep for Children
Jesus, however, saw children as more than sermon illustrations or frail creatures that need angelic protection; He saw them as people right now. He laid His hands on children and blessed them, signifying a transfer of authority and supernatural empowerment. Jesus did not wait until these kids grew up and graduated from Bible school before giving them a purpose in life. He imparted ministry dynamics even in their childhood (Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:15-16). I. We Weep for Children
God Included Children in His Blessings B. God Included Children in His Blessings Lest someone think that Jesus’ impartations to children were just a whim, we should realize God has always wanted to bless the young as well as the old. God extends mercy and righteousness to His followers and “unto children’s children” (Psalm 103:17).
Through the prophets, God promised a blessing upon the youth (Isaiah 44:3; Joel 2:28-29), and through Peter, He promised the gift of the Holy Ghost to “children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). No child should have to wait through the teen years, a divorce, and a car wreck to qualify to receive the Spirit. The promise is for all who will accept it. I. We Weep for Children
Children are a gift from God. When the church recognizes the value of a child, we will accept our responsibility in training them in the ways of the Lord. As Hannah learned when God gave her the miracle son, Samuel, a child is a gift from God, but a gift we give to God as well. In return for this loan, God paid interest by blessing her with more young ones (I Samuel 1:24-28; 2:18-21). How blessed the body of Christ will be when we treat every child as a gift from God that we give back to Him! I. We Weep for Children
In the book The Blessing by John Trent and Gary Smalley, the authors outline the five elements of how to convey a blessing to a child and treat him or her as a special gift. 1. Meaningful Touch. Every person needs a touch that conveys acceptance, love, and commitment. It is a non-sexual, affirming touch that often conveys as much as any words in letting people know how special they are. I. We Weep for Children
2. Spoken Blessing. Along with a meaningful touch, we speak a blessing of encouragement. Words have incredible power. Unkind words hurt as much as being struck with sticks and stones. But we are built up and made whole by words that communicate that we are valued and appreciated. Criticism does not belong in the context of blessing. A blessing involves speaking only good things. I. We Weep for Children
3. Attaching High Value to the One Being Blessed. We have the power to communicate inestimable worth to the ones we love. This is not flattery but simply recognizing the special gifts that they are from the Lord. 4. Picturing a Special Future for the One Being Blessed. Not only do we recognize people for what they are now, but we also ask God to give us insight into how their gifts may lead them into the future. We can be the conduit of faith to help others reach their full potential in Christ Jesus. I. We Weep for Children
5. An Active Commitment to Fulfill the Blessing. Our words have conviction if along with them we make a commitment to the Lord and to those we are blessing that we will do everything we can to help them fulfill all the plans the Lord has for them. I. We Weep for Children
Our Actions Impact Children for Life C. Our Actions Impact Children for Life Carelessness left the child a permanent cripple. Of course the royal nurse did not mean to hurt the boy; but in her haste she dropped him, and apparently Mephibosheth never walked again (II Samuel 4:4). Our cities and rural areas are littered with adults who were wounded in their youth—wounded physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Some rude church member made them feel unwelcome to attend in their inadequate clothing. Some careless teacher’s helper spoke judgmentally about another believer, injuring the child’s respect for the body of Christ. You have met them somewhere along the way. Little hurts and stumbling blocks have waylaid more than a few would-be leaders in the kingdom, crippling their spiritual lives. However, there are those who watch for the welfare of the children. I. We Weep for Children
Jehosheba was such a woman (II Kings 11:2). She protected Joash from the troubles of his day. She hid him from the contention and disruption in the kingdom. Because one brave woman intervened, a godly leader survived to displace the usurper who sought to distort God’s people. How great a reward those Christians must have who will protect children from trouble! Children observe and absorb much more than we think. I. We Weep for Children