DISCIPLING CHILDREN. Lesson 4 for January 25, 2014. CHILDREN OF ANTIQUITY. “ And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them ” (Leviticus 20:23 ).
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Lesson 4 for January 25, 2014
“And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them” (Leviticus 20:23)
The pagan nations in Canaan had no respect for children’s life.
The Canaanites and other people of antiquity sacrificed children for the gods.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
CHILDREN OF ISRAEL
God taught Israel that their children were blessings: “The fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3)
Children were instructed in the Word of God since they were very young.
“From the earliest times the faithful in Israel had given much care to the education of the youth. The Lord had directed that even from babyhood the children should be taught of His goodness and His greatness, especially as revealed in His law, and shown in the history of Israel. Song and prayer and lessons from the Scriptures were to be adapted to the opening mind. Fathers and mothers were to instruct their children that the law of God is an expression of His character, and that as they received the principles of the law into the heart, the image of God was traced on mind and soul”
E.G.W. (The Desire of Ages, cp. 7, pg. 69)
“And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him”(Luke 2:40)
Jesus didn’t come as an adult man. He was born as a child.
He had to learn to walk, to talk, to write, to worship God…
As a child, Jesus was also an example to other children.
He was instructed in the ways of God by His parents; He was filled with wisdom and grace.
When the Israelite children were 12 years old, they were accepted as a member of the community.
When Jesus was 12 years old, He showed an understanding and a concern for spiritual things that was surprising for the wisest men in Israel.
“And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (Luke 2:47)
All those stories share something: distressed parents that brought their children to Jesus so He would heal them. Jesus restored the hopes and dreams the parents had for their children. He gave them a chance to grow and honor God, using their gifts for His glory. The children were healed because of the faith of their parents.
All fathers are called to bring their children to Jesus in fervent prayer, seeking physical and spiritual health. He listens to then and answers every prayer properly.
“and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”” (Matthew 18:3)
In what respect must we be as children (Mt. 11:25; 18:4)?
Modern disciple-makers need to learn another lesson: children need never leave their childlike dependency behind. Properly educated, children may carry their trusting innocence into adulthood. Certainly, as children mature and get older, they will question things, they will have struggles and doubts and unanswered questions, as we all do. But a childlike faith is never unfashionable.
“He [Jesus] knew that these children would listen to His counsel and accept Him as their Redeemer, while those who were worldly-wise and hardhearted would be less likely to follow Him and find a place in the kingdom of God. These little ones, by coming to Christ and receiving His advice and benediction, had His image and His gracious words stamped upon their plastic minds, never to be effaced. We should learn a lesson from this act of Christ, that the hearts of the young are most susceptible to the teachings of Christianity, easy to influence toward piety and virtue, and strong to retain the impressions received”
E.G.W. (The Adventist Home, cp. 47, pg. 275)
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6)
“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Mateo 18:10)
As parents or adults, we should do everything possible to teach the children God’s love and understanding. The best way to show that love to them is with our life, our kindness, our compassion and our care for them.
Either you are parent or not, you are responsible for how you treat children at your church and the example you give them.
“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God”” (Mark 10:13-14)
“When Jesus told the disciples not to forbid the children to come to Him, He was speaking to His followers in all ages—to officers of the church, ministers, helpers, and all Christians. Jesus is drawing the children, and He bids us, “Suffer them to come;” as if He would say, They will come, if you do not hinder them”
E.G.W. (The Ministry of Healing, cp. 2, pg. 42)