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August 24, 2020 2:00 am
In biblical times, many Jewish parents brought their children to a rabbi to be blessed. Today we present our kids to the Lord through baby dedications. In the message "Jesus, Friend of Children," Skip explains just how special children are to God.
This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
It is much different when the child dies then when an older person dies. Never. It's never fun when anybody dies.
It's always a shock and always a tragedy but when a child dies. It is much different because with older people. There is an expectation that they're going to die child dies. It seems so out of order. Something's wrong, said likened it infant death to. That is placed for the end of the sentence. Things are more heartbreaking or difficult to understand than the death of a child in this sensitive and emotional issue is a dealbreaker for someone it comes to believing in God today on connect with skintight tackles this tender subject sharing with you some helpful biblical truths from this difficult time. Before we begin, here's a resource that paints a striking picture and delivers interesting insight into Middle East affairs. Here is Skip with Joe wasn't to talk about this month's offer Joel's book, the Jerusalem assassin Joel Rosenberg releases a new book. I can't wait to read it never disappoints. Recently, I was able to talk with Joel about this book from his home in Jerusalem, and American president who's about to roll out his Middle East peace plan Joel Rosenberg's novels are dramatic stories written from the reality of today's headlines have a Saudi Israeli peace plan that will be historic Summit in Jerusalem of the Jerusalem assassin. What's amazing about that is this is a plausible scenario for Jerusalem assassin by Joel Rosenberg is our special offer.
This month your hardcover copy of the Jerusalem assassin is our thinking gift you give $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach would Skip all now to get your copy 800-922-1888 will give online securely connectwithskip.com/offer. I hope you will order your copy of the Jerusalem assassin by Joel behind-the-scenes look at global events and you will be supporting RVD and that's 800-922-1888 online securely connectwithskip.com/offer to Matthew chapter 19 begin our study would Skip were doing a series from the edge of eternity.
Today we look at a very tender topic, a very difficult topic. In fact it's one that I have ever devoted an entire message to is I will today. It is an issue that recently Steven Curtis Chapman faced some of you heard about that. His five-year-old girl Maria was struck and killed in their own driveway was a tragedy struck the Christian community. It was all over the news, but it hurt more than anything the heart of those dear parents who lost their five-year-old girl. People magazine covered the funeral event. The magazine said the family raise their arms as they sang songs of worship and sought comfort in their faith and Steven Curtis Chapman told the press. We had talked with Maria about what it means to be with Jesus but I had no idea how soon it was going to be, but we know that she is in his amazing house where the most difficult things in life to face is the death of the child.
I watched my parents very one of their sons was much older but I saw the hurt, the pain Howard ravaged the emotions and I stood at the grave of many a child that with the parents. We laid to rest very, very difficult. This last month I officiated at two funerals for babies and one of them. I was at the cemetery earlier than the rest of the funeral party before the hearse got there before the little casket arrived and I was just walking around the section of the cemetery devoted solely to little children and I read the great stones very very emotional to read what parents wrote and read the child's life.
One year old four months old.
Two days old, 24, 48 hours and then gone. It is much different than a child dies then when an older person dies.
It's never it's never fun when anybody dies. It's always a shock and always a tragedy but when a child dies. It is much different because with older people. There is an expectation that they're going to die, but it child dies. It seems so cruel out of order.
Something's wrong. This isn't right. One person said likened it infant death too. That is placed before the end of a sentence. It's out of place. What happens to babies when they die they automatically go to heaven they go to a place called limbo. Anybody ever get taught that as I did as a child that the soul goes to a place of contentment, but not perfect joy in the presence of God because of Original Sin.
What happens, you might be asking will why this sermon while whole message on on this because you might be thinking, Skip this step and relate to my life. You don't know that yet you don't know what your life's gonna bring in the very least to this message, you will be equipped to help bring comfort to those parents have lost precious little ones. It's been estimated that 25% of all pregnancies will not complete the 20th week of pregnancy is a staggering number one out of every four pregnancies at least will end in miscarriage. We had two miscarriages in our family and many of you have faced them as well. That's just miscarriage. Then there's neonatal death death inside the room. Then there's perinatal death. Death at the time of delivery and and these are in staggering numbers proportions course the number one cause of death of children between one week and five years of age is called sudden infant death syndrome since and the numbers are amazing is estimated at 2 million babies will die within their first 24 hours each year worldwide.
All of these are eternal souls where they go.
What happens to them. It's a question that we really need an answer to. We need an answer more than just an emotional answer what we want. We need a biblical answer and essay as many churches do. I don't know, or we can never know that's not very comforting. I believe we can know and I believe unequivocally that when a child dies they go directly into the presence of God, and I want to show you that from Scripture that the text within a look at his Matthew 19, three short verses, verse 13 through 15.
Then little children were brought to him. That is to Jesus that he might put his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, let the little children come to me and do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of heaven, and he laid his hands on them and departed from there before we jump into unpacking this text. Let me just tell you what this text does not refer to it does not refer to infant baptism where people get that from you really have to stretch the meaning of the text but but they do they try to quote this verse as a proof of infant baptism. Those who believe in baptismal regeneration. Second, this verse has nothing at all to do with bringing little children into the main church service. Can I just get that out there.
You would be surprised over the years, especially before we had that wonderful family room. How many parents would be stopped by ushers when they wanted to bring their little babies and in the mothers or fathers in anger would say Jesus said, let the little children come to me. Well first of all I'm not Jesus. So get that out of the way through. I know that in the whole point of of the nursery in Sunday school is to in that environment. Get them to Jesus. As soon as we can in that age-appropriate way know these verses have everything to do with who Jesus lets into his kingdom when he says, for such is the kingdom of heaven that today. What I like to do is just sort of look at two main things.
There are at least four parties involved in this little meeting there is Jesus Christ. Then there are the disciples then there are the parents presumably who bring number four. The children to Jesus.
There may have even been a crowd of people watching this so there might be five independent parties involved in a deal really with two sections. That is, the parents their spiritual concern for their children. And then Jesus and his special care for children. Those two items as outlined in your bulletin. Let's look at verse 13.
A little more carefully. Notice says then little children. I marked that phrase in your mind will get back to little children were brought to him that he might put his hands on them and pray, this was a common practice to bring children to a rabbi to have the rabbi lay his hand on the child and to bless the child the pray for the child's safety and future was a common practice and it goes all the way back to the time of the patriarchs back in Genesis 42. Remember the story when Joseph who had his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim born and raised in Egypt. He wanted to get those two kids to his father, Jacob, their grandfather and half grandpa lay his hands on the children, bless them number the story it says Jacob was an old guy and he couldn't see, but he knowingly pulled a switcheroo that's not how the Scripture says a buddy across his hands he placed his right hand on the youngest and Joseph the nun on the know he's the youngest in Jacobs that I know what I'm doing the youngers to be more prominent than even the older and even the Jewish Talmud instructed parents to bring their children to a notable rabbi, spiritual leader, so it became accustomed that on the anniversary of the child's birth first birthday they would bring to the synagogue.
The little children to be blessed by the rabbis in here. They bring children to Jesus notices as little children, the Greek work idea. Toddlers are actually all the way from infancy, up to a young child now in Luke's same account of this text it says and they brought infants to him breath costs and so all the way from infancy to young childhood. That was the age of those who were being brought to Jesus here which are to follow that custom we have baby dedications. By the way, it's not to take the place of infant baptism.
We don't hold some superstitious element and say that we got get your child dedicated or else know we do it as a way to incorporate that new wonderful life of these children being born into our fellowship in a way that we can all stand behind those children and those parents will no wonder parents would want to bring their children to Jesus and place their kids in his hands. They watched those hands heal people give sight to blind eyes, unstopped, deaf ears. Who wouldn't want to get their children into the hands of Jesus.
So why did they bring their kids to Jesus because every parent loves his children, every parent wants safe passage and journey for the children wants their children to go into the kingdom wanting to go to heaven so they brought him to Jesus. I suggest the same for any parent your kids to Jesus. As soon you can in those earliest years when he think there they don't even know what I'm talking about mention his name instructed them. Charles Spurgeon used to put it this way before a child reaches seven. Teach him all the way to heaven and that are still the work will thrive if he learns before he's five agendas you can because a parent is a partner with God in discipling children beautiful story they're bringing their kids to Jesus.
But notice what the disciples rebuked them.
How weird is that you think we wait a minute. These disciples a bit now with Jesus for at least two years they've heard is messages they seen them. They obviously don't share his heart for children. The very strong word by the way review means to scold or sharply reprimand something like get out of here.
Why would disciples data I can think of a couple reasons possibility number one.
These disciples were influenced by the worldly idea of what children were the Greco-Roman idea that children were insignificant. That childhood was the most insignificant part of a person's life there just children.
Did you know that 2000 years ago in the pagan cultures, unwanted children were simply abandoned just cast out this thrown out, abandoned out in the open field, especially if they were a girl. Unfortunately, there was a lot of discrimination in gender because you see daughter in a poor family would mean a future financial burden but a boy could contribute to the economy of the family. In those days, so the girls were cast out. Here's a little excerpt from a letter little over 2000 years ago from one BC a man writes to his wife. He's out on the battlefield. If he says if good luck to you, you have another child.
If it is a male child, let it live. If it is a female casted out and so these babies that were abandoned were collected at night and placed into the city forum. Most of them didn't survive the ones that survived were made slaves, gladiators or prostitutes who could be that just that kind of thinking about children in the world had influence these disciples. You might say. While by that they were Jewish and they were Jesus disciples so they probably didn't think that way might be right. In fact, it could be that they were tainted by the very religious view of children. See what you mean by that the very religious view. Yeah.
Did you know that the most religious people of Jesus day the Pharisees they didn't think very well.
Children either. Here's why the Pharisees believe that you earn your salvation. And because a child is incapable of earning their salvation. The kingdom of God does not belong to children they can't do anything to earn their salvation. Thus there insignificant. I won't have you turn to it, but the accountable reading these three verses there so important are found in Matthew Mark and Luke all three Synoptics in Luke's account. Listen to this in Luke's account of the same passage, Jesus said this right after he told a parable.
I want you to see how it fits together. It says Jesus spoke a parable to those who trusted in themselves that they were more righteous than others. He said two men went up to the temple to pray, that story a Pharisee and the tax collector and the Pharisee stood and prayed with himself and he said God I thank you that I'm not like other people I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess and I thank you that I'm certainly not like that tax collector over there.
He was boasting in his own good work.
Jesus continued the parable with the tax collector would even raise his head uppity counties breast and he said God be merciful to me, the sinner really fast center. What did Jesus say that man went down to his house justified and the righteous religious guy did not. Right after that. Jesus said the little children come in to me don't forbid them for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
You get the connection. In other words, is not self-righteous or justified is not spiritually delete. It's not the moral achievers it's all those who like little children recognize their own helplessness, their own hopelessness apart from Christ and they completely and totally depend on his grace.
Something to note about these disciples and in their response. I think the children want to come to Jesus Christ. Once they find out about Jesus. I've even notices among children of unbelievers that children often want to come to Jesus Christ and it's too often the adults that get in the way I heard about an atheistic lawyer who had a plaque in his office and the plaque read get this God is nowhere. This little girl was in his office one day looking up this plaque.
God is nowhere, and she was just a killing time waiting for dad.
She took a couple pieces of paper and Copying that motto Copying it, but as she copied it.
She made a mistake and she put a space between the last word the W and the H so it read God is now here completely change the meeting and upset her father.
That little illustration just just points to how kids on their own.I think put that within their hearts and parents have to steer that away. Parents make it easy for your kids to love Jesus to come to him any kind of overture that they make that spiritual sees the moment evangelize them gospel lies them. I remember when my little Nady is now not so little is 22 and 644 but when he was just a couple years ago so small we were driving.
I remember the day I member the road we were on right appear and he had seen an altar call the church and he was asking me about it and what it meant to come to Christ and prayed to receive Christ were driving on the street is just turners the daddy I want to pray to receive Christ. I was on the way to an appointment. I did not say hold that thought, I went he pulled the car over stopped and looked at him spent the time and I remember holding his little hands as he prayed to receive Christ sees all of those little moments. Let's look at the next couple of verses that segue from from the parents concerns Jesus personal and tender special care verse 14 but Jesus said, let the little children come to me, I bet. I bet this blue the disciples mind be they didn't expect that sure delighted the parents. However, I do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Now this little section is a very short section really only one verse main verse, but it is so significant and so important. As I said it's mentioned in three gospel accounts.
Matthew Mark and Luke and I think it's a major statement that Jesus is making about the value and significance of children about his tender love for children and about their access to God and to his kingdom.
One thing you realize if you if you read to the whole of Scripture. You can't miss this God has a tender spot in his heart for children special spot a special care for children.
I think you see that all the way to the Scripture. There's a great text in Ezekiel chapter 16, where God is likening Israel to a little child is what he says I member when you were born God says is a nation. Nobody Kutcher naval cord. Nobody washed you.
Nobody rub salt on you as was the custom, nobody put you in swaddling cloths, but they cast you out, and they abandon you in the field and then I found you and I said to you in your blood live and you live in you grew up, but as you grew up you turned away from me, you rejected me. In fact, now you become idolatrous in their practices.
Then God says this in Ezekiel chapter 16 verses 20 and 21. Listen to this. Moreover, you took your sons and your daughters whom you or to me says God stop there.
You had them but you bore them to me. God's claiming them and these you sacrifice to the them to be devoured.
They were doing they were taking their little babies and placing them on, and idols arms called Molex and they would wait till that molten steel idol became red-hot and they would incinerate their babies as an offering to the God Malec so God says he sacrifice them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry, a small matter that you have slain my children and offered them up by causing them to pass through the fire you hear those words, God is laying claim to those children and is not laying claim to the children of believing Jews. These were idolaters. He's not saying that they were his children because the parents were safe got finger my children because they exist so the remind you bore them to me in their mind special tender care skintight message from the series from the script to share these messages going strong to connect more people to Scripture and the priority grid of life. God should always come first, and he should be at the center of everything you do. We want to keep connecting others to the life-changing truth of the gospel so they might be led to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.
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The children have in God's heart baby dies goes to heaven.
That child hasn't reached that level of accountability to stand or fall on his own choices to or for for or against God. I believe that special nurse is a baby deserve because God is so good night presentation of connection communication through ever-changing time