Monday, May 24, 2010

Suffer the Children, part 1

Mark 10:14
Evangelist Jeff Setzer
Creation Family Ministries

There is a story about a man who punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he was infuriated when she decorated a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl gave the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared once again when he saw that the box was empty. He yelled, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something in it?" The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into the box, all for you, Daddy." The father was crushed. He put his arms around her and begged forgiveness. He kept the box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a sense, parents, teachers, or church leaders have been given with each child an empty container ready to be filled with unconditional love and truth. In addition, the container is ready to give truth and love in return. There is no more precious possession that anyone could hold than this immense responsibility.

In our ministry, we sense a great burden to see young people receive unconditional love from the ones who influence them and to see their leaders lovingly and forthrightly share with them the truth. However, in our nation we often see examples that promote lying, adultery, murder, worship of false gods, ignoring special days of devotion to God, etc. The corrupt lives or philosophies of public figures such as Barak Obama or Tiger Woods go a long way toward teaching youth to believe and to do the same things. Explicit violence in media shows that murder is entertaining, while news programs seek better ratings by covering salacious details of some Hollywood divorce, murder, or rape, all the while glorifying crime and indecency. Examples abound of how youth today are encouraged to break all of God’s Ten Commandments. While it is a fact that we are all sinners and have broken God's laws, never before in the history of mankind has Satan’s lie of evolution been so accepted. What would be the main result of an evolutionary teaching that humans are related to animals, but humans behaving like animals? In fact, if we truly consider the end result of evolutionary ideas that are presented in public schools, museums, zoos, on television, the internet, and in the movies, we must realize that false beliefs such as humans being related to apes or dinosaurs existing today as birds, among others, contradict Scripture AND science while undermining the faith of our children. Beliefs have consequences!

Children in the Bible
Before we look at Mark 10, we should examine different Biblical terms used for children and their ages. Some years ago, my pastor (who is now with the LORD) asked me if I had a message on the subject of children, to which I had to say that I did not. However, his query prompted me to study the Scripture regarding children. The descriptions that follow are a result of some of that study: The word “brephos” (BREE-fos) refers to an infant from age 0 up to 8 days and is found in Luke 2:12 ("Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes…). “Paidion” (Pie-DEE-on) is a very broad term as far as age, indicating 8 days up to 12 years (Luke 2:21 "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child…"; Luke 2:40 "And the child grew…"). The word “Pais” (pah-EES) has a variety of meanings, including age 12 to adulthood (Luke 2:42-43 "And when he was twelve… the child Jesus tarried…").

Suffer Children to Look to Jesus:
His Commitment to Conserve the Family
When the Pharisees sought to trap Jesus on the subject of marriage, He took them back to the Genesis account of creation when God made Adam and Eve to leave and to “cleave” to one another as “one flesh.”
And he answered…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matthew 19:4, 5)

He then said,
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
(Matt. 19:6)
Thus, He laid a solid foundation for children: the home, a permanent relationship between a husband and a wife as “one flesh.” Why then do we see rampant divorce in our society…even among Christians? What’s more, can we trace divorce back to a particular philosophy, namely the teaching of evolution?

Brig. Gen. F. D. Frost stated…
“There is no doubt about it that the doctrine of evolution is the greatest curse in our educational system… This philosophy seeks to determine the morale, the principles and practice of virtuous conduct, and to reduce man to the level of animal nature… The surging unrest, the broken homes, the frustrated lives, the increasing divorce cases, the multiplied number of criminals are but the inevitable outcome of the acceptance and practice of this evolutionary doctrine.”
(H. Enock, Evolution or Creation 1966, pp. 1146-1147)

Jesus was not like many today who misuse or abuse the so-called "exception clause" (Matthew 19:9), using it to advocate divorce as the only remedy for certain marriage situations. There are a number of wrong views about this clause and why it has been so used to teach an allowance for divorce when “fornication” is involved. However, two main thoughts will help us understand that Jesus was not making an “exception” for “fornication.”

The term Jesus used for “fornication” is a word that refers to all kinds of immorality, particularly that which is outside of the marriage relationship. He did NOT use the specific term for adultery which meant infidelity within marriage. Even today, the term “fornication” refers to sexual activity outside of marriage. In fact, all of the other uses of “fornication” in Scripture refer to illicit activity outside of the marriage relationship.

The tell-tale response of the disciples to Jesus’ statement shows that He was not making an allowance for divorce. Rather, He was establishing more permanence to marriage than what was allowed in that day! This is clear from
1.) The disciples’ response to question whether one should even get married in the first place, and
2.) Christ’s use of the subject of permanent singleness (“eunuchs”) in His response to the disciples.

His Concern to Correct His Followers, v. 12-14
After Jesus strengthened the home, people brought children to Him. However, the disciples rebuked those who did so. Perhaps they said to them: "Jesus is too busy," “He is in a board meeting," or "We don't have a nursery." In response, Jesus said:
Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 19:14)
With the subject of creation in mind, let me add another hypothetical response from the disciples: "Shouldn’t your kids be in school?"

Similar to the rejection of the disciples, the church has basically given over to the public school system the education of our children. As a result, they are indoctrinated with God-less, humanistic, evolutionary teaching (couched as “science”). This handover essentially hinders or prevents children from believing in Jesus as the loving Creator. In the wake of this gradual move by the Church, we see today that even many Christian parents and schools often blindly take young people to secular institutions (e.g. museums or universities) to be indoctrinated even more so with an evolutionary world view! Why should we wonder when our children grow up and neglect or reject the beliefs they were taught?

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