I heard a wonderful sermon at church today and I want to share it with you here in this article. The preacher is a friend of mine in the ministry. He has many disciples through the sport of TaeKwonDo (TKD). He works with children teaching them discipline and hard work through TKD as well as the Word of God. Since June 1 is International Children’s Day, he decided to speak about children and their value to God and the importance of leading them to Christ.
I. We are to value the lives of children at the moment of conception.
In Exodus 21, God gives the Hebrews specific instructions for daily living. One of the instructions is, human life has a very high value before God and is not to be taken, intentionally. He explains that with the example of punishment for a crime when one man intentionally murders another man. The punishment is that the criminal must pay for the victim’s life with his own life (life for life). We see that God values the life of people who have been born and are outside the womb. In this same chapter, just a few verses later, we find the following teaching about human life in the mother’s womb.
22 “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. 23 “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21)
Notice that God values both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in the womb. If two men cause the woman or the baby to die, then they must pay with their own lives. In other words, God puts the same value on unborn life that He does on life that has been born and is outside the womb. In order to bring children to Christ, the first thing that we need to do is value their lives from the very moment of conception. Children need the chance to be born and live. We must do all that we can to give them that chance. We must look at the issue of abortion the way that God does, a crude crime against humanity and human life.
II. We are to lead children to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel of Mark chapter 10, we see Jesus teaching the crowds like He usually did. He never tired in teaching the people the Word of God on all kinds of subjects. After teaching on the subject of divorce (the context of the family, keep in mind that children suffer the most when parents divorce) some little children wanted to come to Jesus and be blessed by Him (more than likely, they wanted to be taught by Him, that is why He uses them as an example to teach about the kind of faith that people are to have). The disciples did not seem to value the kids and just wanted them to be gone. They were probably thinking, “Jesus is busy enough with all these adults, He does not have time to waste with these little guys. They can come back when they are older and will understand things.” Here is how Jesus responds (which tells us how much He values children and how much we should value them as well by leading them to Him)
13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. (Mark 10)
Do you see the need of leading children to Jesus Christ? Do you seek to do your part on a daily basis to lead children to Jesus Christ?
III. Children need to be taught the Word of God constantly and from a young age.
4 “Hear, O Israel ! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one ! 5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 ” You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead . 9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6)
God gives the Hebrews precepts for prospering in the land to which He was taking them. One of the precepts is to educate the next generation by teaching the children of the nation the Word of God. It is interesting that the US educational system was founded for the purpose of teaching children how to read the Bible and the Bible was the textbook. Boy how things have changed!!! Anyway, the Hebrews were to teach their children the precepts from the Word of God day and night, when they were at home and when they were traveling. Bible study was to be a part of daily life. In our modern age, most people say they do not have time to take their kids to church once a week, much less teach them the Bible daily. That was and is the key to prospering as a nation, raising up the next generation based on the principles of God’s Word. How many families have a daily time when EVERYONE sits down together to study the Bible? Do you have this as a family practice? I love to walk in a home and see Bible verses displayed everywhere (like this passage teaches). Unfortunately, we have been trained to leave our children’s education in the hands of someone else. The state is to teach them life skills. The church is to teach them spiritual things. As parents, we are taught that we are basically to be the money makers and that is it, let everyone else teach them. That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible says that the parents are responsible for teaching their children the Word of God. As believers who live in the real world, we know that many parents are not going to teach their children the Word of God and that is why it is vital that we reach out to children and share the Gospel with them, teaching them how to study and apply the Word of God.
IV. When you teach children important truths, they listen, and ask questions which leads to more opportunities to share.
In this same passage of Deut. 6, we find out why God wants us to teach children.
20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the LORD our God commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 ‘Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household ; 23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ 24 “So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 “It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us. (Deut. 6)
Children love to ask questions and, as Christians, we are told to be ready to give an answer when they ask so the two (asking and answering) fit together like hand and glove. The more kids learn, the more they want to learn and they show this desire by asking more questions. Also, kids are the best form of advertising in the world. That is why so many ad companies focus on children. They talk to everyone they know about the stuff they learn. I remember last year while doing a day camp in a village, one lady stopped me in the store and began sharing with me all the things that her daughter came home and told her about the Bible study of Genesis that we were doing at the camp. She was so happy to share how much her daughter had learned. I was thrilled at how she was so willing to share the truths from the Bible with her unbelieving mother. After one day of camp, word spread through the entire village, faster than any ad we could have posted.
V. We need to be good examples for children to follow, so that they can mature to be good examples themselves.
That is why Proverbs 22:6 says
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
If he is taught the Word of God and has godly examples to follow then when he is grown, he in turn will be a godly example to follow. Paul taught this same thing when writing to Timothy (his “child” in the faith).
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, (II Timothy 3)
Paul begins his list with the most important, teaching, and then moves to the next, conduct. The conduct leads to the next, purpose in life, which builds faith etc. Children do not like to hear the phrase, “do as I say and not as I do“. They prefer, “do as I say and do myself“.
Do you see the value in children? Do you seek to invest in them by promoting pro life legislation, pro life voting, leading them to Jesus Christ and teaching them the Word of God day and night? Are you an example worthy of following? The stats say that 85% of the people who are born again Christians, repented and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior when they were between the ages of 4 and 14. After 14, it is only 10%. After 30%, it is only 5%. Just imagine what the next generation will be like if we were to reach 85% of them for the Gospel between the ages of 4 and 14 and then train them in the Word of God until they get out on their own and start filling their leadership roles. I would love to see that future and it is possible if each Christian would stand up and invest in the lives of the little ones all around us. May God help us.