Thursday, August 19, 2010

Suffer the Children, part 2

Jesus’ Compassion to Care for His Flock, v. 16

Picture the scene: the Creator of the universe took the children into His arms, laid His hands upon them, and blessed them. What a tender picture of love! A book entitled, "The Blessing" by Gary Smalley and John Trent details many things regarding the importance of the Old Testament "blessing" that was passed on from father to son. Would you desire for your child to be influenced by an ex-murderer and reviler of Christians? How about being influenced by the Apostle Paul – that is exactly what he was! Often, a parent’s influence upon a child is emphasized to the exclusion of others who may also contribute in a great way toward influencing a child for righteousness.

Suffer Children to Lean on Jesus
"My son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (II Timothy 2:1)

The word for "son" used here is the same word Mary used in speaking to Jesus (Luke 2:48) and indicates that Paul felt a kinship with Timothy as a true father for his son.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
"A father of the fatherless..." (Psalm 68:5)

The Biblical pattern is that a parent has the first and most influential role in a child's life. From that foundation, God adds others who assist in influencing that child for righteousness. With Timothy, there was Lois, Eunice, and Paul. After that, Paul's command to Timothy was for him to impact others:

"…commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2)

Of course, the most important influence in one’s life is Christ Himself. Hence, the complete pattern of influence is:
Jesus, the Creator
Parents & Grandparents
Faithful teachers

Suffer Children to Learn from Jesus
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (I Timothy 3:15)
The word used here translated "child" is the Greek word, "brephos" which is the youngest age indicated previously: an infant age 0 – 8 days. This is quite interesting that God would use this term, indicating that we must understand that children are teachable even in the womb!

The Importance of Teaching Creation to Children
Jesus is the Creator.

For by him (Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him (Jesus) all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17)

The familiar Bible “stories” that children are taught in Sunday school…Jesus walking on water, healing the blind man, feeding the thousands…are all based upon the fact that not only is He the Creator, but Jesus was and is in control of His creation! Therefore, it just makes sense that if He made it, He can control it!

What about evolution?
If we teach children in Sunday school these “stories” (better terms would be “history” or “Bible lesson”) as fact, but then turn around and send them to a science class or to a museum that says “millions of years ago,” are we not contradicting our own teaching? We must take great care when we take a group of children to a museum or watch a TV documentary. We MUST realize that at some point, our children will be taught evolution. The question we must ask ourselves is:
Are we ready to effectively counteract and contradict the lies,
and show that the evidence points to a Creator…the LORD, Jesus Christ?

Suffer Children to Live for Jesus:
Once young people know that there is a God and that He has a special design for their lives, it is but one step for them to say (like Isaiah of old), “Here am I, send me.” However, God has not left us to serve Him alone or to fend for ourselves. He has given to us each other to influence for the sake of righteousness.

Isaac was influenced by Abraham & Sarah, Samuel by Hannah and Eli, the priest. David was influenced by Jesse, Samuel, Jonathan, and Nathan, the prophet. Timothy was influenced by Lois, Eunice, and Paul. Every parent must realize that he or she has the extremely important task not only of influencing a child, but also of choosing others who would impact the life of their child. Later, there is the vastly important aspect of helping young people to discern in choosing their friends. The most important One to influence one’s life is the LORD Jesus Himself, and the wise parent is willing to turn the child over to Him and to His perfect will. Even those who do not have children of their own can, like Paul, be used of God to be spiritual "parents" to young people.

Who & How?
To whom are you passing along your faith? Are you sharing evidence that causes others to trust the Bible? How are you influencing others for Christ? Is there someone younger whom you can “adopt” as a “spiritual child” and with whom you can share the evidence of your faith? May each of us find a “Timothy” with whom we can share our faith and vision!

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