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March 13, 2021 2:00 am
Today's subject is a tender one. The death of infants and children is the greatest fear of any parent. Does the Bible speak clearly about what happens when they die? It certainly does and it also gives great comfort to many who suffer the horrible loss of a little one. In this series on Eternity we must consider this subject since it affects so many and will also help us understand the fate of those who, like children, have diminished capacities.
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 a child dies then when an older person died and since 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 is wrong. This is right. One person said, like it did infant death to.
That is placed before the end of the sentence. Things are more heartbreaking or difficult to understand than the death of an infant in a cruel world. This is often the harshest reality we face. In fact, this sensitive emotional issue is often a dealbreaker for people. What it comes to believing in God.
After all of the living God ever allow a baby to walk today here and connect with Skip weekend division Skip Heitzig tackles this difficult subject and bring some truth and hope into the issue but first we will let you know about this months connect with Skip resource offer. It's pretty obvious that this world is filled with imperfect people and that's on purpose God is into restoring human beings he could make perfect people and populate heaven with perfect people, but he doesn't do that. He takes people ordained up who could beat up bruised by time damaged by sin, and he does a full resto job on complete restoration celebrate the joy and beauty of redemption for the morning.
That changed everything with skip. I think this DVD collection of six hope filled Easter weekend messages is our thanks to you when you get $35 or more today to help connect more people to God's word and the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. Restoration is based on redemption and redemption is tied to resurrection to give call 800-922-1888, or get online securely connectwithskip.com/offer Matthew chapter 19 today for study Jesus friend of children to get us started. Skip Heitzig today we look at a very tender topic, a very difficult topic fact is one that I have never devoted an entire message to is I will today. It is an issue. 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. We know that she is in his amazing house. One of 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 how it ravaged the emotions and I stood at the grave of many a child that with the parents we lay 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 a section of the cemetery devoted solely to little children and I read the great stones is very very emotional to read what parents wrote and read that the child's life.
One year old four months old.
Two days old, 24, 48 hours and then gone. It is much different when 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 is wrong.
This isn't right. One person said likened it infant death to a period that is placed before the end of the 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 and 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 who have lost precious little. It's been estimated that 25% of all pregnancies will not complete the 20th week of pregnancy that's 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 paranasal 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, and 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 is 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 under 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 to 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 in 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 have grandpa lay his hands on the children, bless them. Remember the stories as Jacob was an old guy and he couldn't see, but he knowingly pulled the switcheroo that's not how the Scripture says a buddy he crosses hands he placed his right hand on the youngest and Joseph that none of these, the youngest of Jacob's that I know what I'm doing. The younger's going 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 of 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. We sort of follow that custom we have baby dedications.
By the way is not to take the place of infant baptism. We don't hold some superstitious element and say that we gotta 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. Get your kids to Jesus. As soon issue can in those earliest years. When you think there 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 gems you can because a parent is a partner with God in discipling children. Such a beautiful story there, bringing their kids to Jesus. But notice, but the disciples rebuked them. How weird is that you think way with 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 rebuked it means to scold or sharply reprimand something like get out of here. Why would disciples do that 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 my 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 is a 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. Now I won't have you turn to it, but the county were 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, member the story, a Pharisee and the tax collector and the Pharisee stood and prayed with himself and is a 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. He pounded his breast, and he said God be merciful to me, the sinner literally the center would Jesus say that man went down to his house justified and the righteous religious guy did not. Right after that, Jesus said, let the little children come on to me don't forbid them for of such is the kingdom of heaven get the connection. In other words, is not the self-righteous who are justified is not the spiritually elite. 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 even notice this among children of unbelievers that children often want to come to Jesus Christ and it's too often the adults they 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 at 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 meaning and upset father. That little illustration just disappoints to have kids on their own.I think put that within their hearts. This is a Skip mention very tender topic.
Fortunately we serve a very tender God knows exactly what it feels like to lose a child you've ever wondered what God was the face of a tragedy like the death of the child know that he's right there weeping in pain and hurt along with others while at the same time providing hope and comfort with the promise of resurrection.
Jesus Christ well before we go to a Skip a line you have a few more thoughts they'd like to share blame you Skip that topic today is just so so tender and it's close to us because we have dear dear friends have experienced this in the loss of a child has to be the most painful of human the worst experiences and witnessing the grief of her mother up close is so so tragic. What guidance can you give us so that we would become agents of healing to those who are suffering, loss, rather than hurting them any further.
I remember I watch my parents lose their son. My older brother and I watched in one instant. How my mother's visage physically changed in hearing the news of her son's death and how different she was. After that, and it made a profound impact and then the statistics are a pretty amazing that 2 million babies worldwide died in the first 24 hours of of that life. So if there's an enormous amount in somebody once said that heaven will be populated with more babies than adults just just because of infant mortality because of the abortion rate. A number of things so I I would have our audience realize a basic truth to life every pregnancy, no matter how that pregnancy occurs is part of God's idea was his idea to have reproduction take place this way so so God had a plan in that pregnancy. And even if that pregnancy was cut short.
Even if that there's a child's life that was.
Not long enough, is to focus on the purpose that God had in that pregnancy for the parents, even for the child. Even for those people that the child had or will impact because of that life.
There's a number of reasons, we don't always see the reasons but we need to find the resources in the midst of the pain because when it comes down to. We don't really need reasons we do need resources, we don't live off reasons. Even though we want them. We live off resources so be an agent to give God's comfort God's resources God's truth. God's word and sometimes you know you've often said sometimes it just to be quiet to be there to be present and you know we lost a pregnancy to in fact unveil pregnancies and there is a couple who came to the door and just showed up. They were just there with their presence and admittedly they said they didn't have the right thing to say the right thing to do, but they were going to hug us and pray with us and I think presence to speak some sheets to ministry just to be there because it speaks that the Lord is there is just a reminder of that and I put this message that we talk about in this radio program I put in booklet form we sent this all over the world and we've had so many people get impacted by having it in written form so I'd encourage those who want to be healing agents to get a hold of this in just to digest it understand some of the truth and be able to share some of those great things but but share truth in a very walk softly around a broken heart. That's the rule and share it incrementally don't.
Don't be a fire hose in a just a little drip here and a little drip there when they're ready. Thanks N you really encouraging thoughts today if you'd like to get a copy of this teaching. Jesus friend of children.
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Call now 1-800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com will continue to explore this very sensitive issue. Next time here and connect with Skip weekend edition so be sure to join us for the conclusion of Jesus friend of children directly Skip weekend division is a presentation of connection to the ever-changing true and ever-changing time