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There's Something about Babies

Scripture: Matthew 18:3, Matthew 11:25, 1 Peter 2:2-3
Date: 12/15/2007 
There is something about babies, even in the Bible. What does the Bible say about babies? We can learn from babies to be teachable and open. We are all at one time babes in Christ. Jesus came to this world as a baby.
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“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’” --Luke 2:8-12

You’ve probably heard the expression before, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” I thought about that and I think there’s an answer in the Bible. The chicken came first. Now when you look around you, just about everybody here can brag that they were once a baby. You may not be able to brag about having been a king or a queen or a general or a politician. I don’t know if you’d want to brag about being a politician. But almost everybody can brag about saying I was a baby. You may not have been a beautiful baby, though no one probably said that to your face, but you were all babies once. There’s something about babies. I don’t know exactly what it is. A new one comes into the courtyard after someone brings the baby to church for the first time and there is an awful lot of gooing and cooing and attention and oohing and ahhing and periodically I’m at the door and someone parades their new baby. I try and say something encouraging. Sometimes you’re on the spot because they want you to say what a beautiful baby and you can’t honestly always say that, but you can say I’ve never seen a baby like that before, and that’s usually true because we’re all unique. But babies are different. Not only people babies, but I think God designed that the babies of all creatures, even the animal babies, they’re cute. See? Listen to you! We find them so adorable, and I think that it’s because there’s always a risk that parents might devour their young, and so God makes them cute to increase their odds for survival. That was right here in the church parking lot. Somebody had three puppy dogs and Nathan, he was having so much fun, I think he forgot the potluck. We all like babies. Erasmus, the great theologian, said, “Everyone knows that the happiest and universally most enjoyable age of man is the first. What is there about babies that make us hug and kiss and fondle them so that even the enemy would give them help?” What is it about a baby that will make a grown man get down on all fours and act like an imbecile? There is something about babies. Carl Sandburg said, “A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on. A book that doesn’t say anything to you is dead. A baby whether it does anything to you or not represents life. If a bad fire should break out in the house and I had to choose between saving a library of books or a baby, I’d save what is alive. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is more marvelous than a newborn baby.” There is something very interesting, unique, about babies. The Bible begins talking about babies, but not Adam. I asked you which came first the chicken or the egg. Adam was not the first baby, neither was Eve. They both came from the factory fully developed. The software was already in their brains. They knew how to talk and to think and to reason. The first baby would have been Cain and the first prophecy in the Bible deals with the seed of the woman and the serpent. You know if you go to the last prophecy in the Bible, if you turn in your Bibles, not the last prophecy, the last book of the Bible, one of the prophecies there is about a baby. Revelation chapter 12, “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.” I think one of the reasons that babies are so interesting is because there are nine months of anticipation. You’re sort of obligated to be excited after that, right? And all that a woman has to go through to bring a baby forth. The Bible says that there may be sorrow in the night, but there’s joy in the morning. There might be sorrow in labor, but then there’s great joy that a man-child is born, and I’m quoting the words of Jesus here. I tried to think about what is it about babies that makes them unique. Human babies in particular are sort of helpless. Somebody wrote an ad for a baby. This is what they said. Alfred Gingal put “Well designed, fully functional infant. Provides someone to live for as well as another mouth to feed. Provides cooing, gurgling and other adorable sounds. May cause similar behavior in nearby adults. Cries when hungry, sleepy, or just because. Hand wash with warm water and mild soap, then pat dry with a soft cloth and talc. Internal mechanisms are self-cleaning. Two genders: male and female. Five colors: white, black, red, yellow, and camouflage (after they’ve eaten).”

Babies are a big responsibility. I thought about it the other day and I’ve had children in my home for thirty years now and they’re still there. We’re trying to get Nathan into college by twelve, but I don’t know how that’s going to go. Some people grow up with their kids because they think, Wouldn’t it be nice to start a family? and they have no idea about what a tremendous responsibility it is. You’ve ever heard about imminent domain? When a baby is introduced into a family, that’s what you have. They rule.

Something else about babies is that they’re innocent. Matthew 18:3, Jesus said, “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Babies have that innocence, that purity. They’ve just got this sense about them that, you know, you sit down at the dinner table and you turn your head for a few minutes, and while you weren’t looking the toddler managed to get hold of something on the table and throw it all over the place. And every now and then you might take your toddler out to a public restaurant, and if you’re not watching, they just think it’s wonderful to turn the salt upside down and build a little mountain of these little white crystals. They don’t know they’ve done anything wrong because they’ve got this innocence about them, this sense of wonder. Somebody put a personal note in the Dayton News. A member of the staff of Leroy’s Diamond Center wanted to congratulate their secretary on the birth of her new baby boy that “weighed in at 18,176 karats.” There’s a purity about little children like little diamonds they’re clear.

Never are their eyes so clear as when they’re little children. Part of that is because they’re teachable. They don’t have prejudice when they’re born. That’s something that’s acquired along the way. They don’t have these preconceived opinions. They’re a clean slate. They’re wide open. They want to learn. Matthew 11:25, it says, “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.’” The Lord reveals the things to those who are babes in heart. You know I’ve discovered that if someone is a member of a church for many years and they may believe a doctrine that I don’t feel is biblical, if they have been settled into that for very long, and I want to study something with them, they can get to the point where it doesn’t matter how much evidence you’ve got, the concrete has set. They just can’t imagine believing something else. Babies are open to something that is new. Their minds are hungry. They’re teachable. While I’m talking about the subject of babies, don’t forget that there are baby Christians. Sometimes baby Christians can be thirty-five years old and still be babies in their faith. So they’re teachable.

They’re curious. Their minds are just absolute vacuums. They’ve got this wonder about them; they’re wondering about everything and I think that’s one reason that people like babies. You can pick them up, and they’re uninhibited. They’re not impressed with who you are. They might be impressed with the thread that’s on your coat. They might be impressed with the color of it or the pen, and I’ve found it’s very easy sometimes if there’s a baby and they’re getting a little bit fussy, all I’ve got to do is hand them my keys and they’re preoccupied. Once or twice I’ve gotten my keys back and they’re all slobbery, but it keeps them busy. So I’ve learned to hand them my Swiss Army Knife instead and give them something to… I’m sorry. They’re curious. They’re full of wonder. I’ll have to admit that now that most of the Batchelor tribe is past that stage, I kind of miss when they were babies because I’d walk in the room and they were happy to see me, you know? They’d reach up their little arms and just so excited and just because it’s you and you’re there and they appreciated you with all of your flaws. Kind of like the pet dog. They just didn’t care. They liked you just like you were. Babies have that openness.

They’re hungry. Yeah. All the time practically. Frequently hungry. We ought to be hungry, if we’re Christians, for the word. Peter says in I Peter 2:2-3, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” You know when we first come to the Lord we’ve got this insatiable appetite to feed and we start out on the milk and eventually you need to graduate to the meat, but what worries me is when people are in the church a while and they lose their appetite. One of the things a doctor will ask you to determine your health is, “How is your appetite?” A few weeks ago I wasn’t feeling too good. One way I knew I wasn’t feeling too good is I had no appetite. Matter of fact, my appetite was working in reverse. You know what I mean. That’s a sign of bad health. Babies, they’ve got this appetite. They’re wanting to eat all of the time. There’s a hunger for the milk of the word. Someone one time said that “a crying baby for one hour uses enough potential energy to climb to the top of the Washington Monument.” That’s a lot of energy. You’re better off feeding him. Someone said, “A perfect example of minority rule is when you bring a baby into the house.” There ceases to be no question who is in charge. Someone else said, “A baby is an apparatus with a loud noise at one end and no responsibility at the other end.” I thought what Queen Victoria said was interesting, “I don’t dislike babies though I think the very young ones are disgusting.” In spite of all of the trouble that they cause, that you’ve got to feed them, that they’re loud, they have no responsibility at both ends, people love babies. There’s something precious about babies. They’re valuable. They fight for them. I remember reading after the tsunami in 2004, December 31st, that terrible tragedy, and there’s a thousand stories that came out of that event. One story was that they found a four month old baby buried under some lumbar and debris that had been left behind by the flood in good condition. The angels somehow had protected this baby through the tidal wave. They announced that they had found this baby they had given the name Baby 81. I don’t know, maybe they had found more than eighty-one of them. Baby 81, and while it was being kept in the hospital and word got out that there was this baby and they were looking for the parents in Sri Lanka eight different families applied and said, “That’s our baby.” Well, obviously it wasn’t. The real parents knew that it was their baby. They saw the picture of Baby 81. They were arrested because they broke into the hospital and tried to snatch their baby and run off with it. Later it was proven through DNA that it was their baby, but they said, “That’s our baby! It’s precious.” Now you would think the way some people act today they would have said, “Well, if any of those other eight families really want it…” that’s not what they said though. They wanted their baby. You know it makes me think about the story where King Solomon was approached by two women. Both had babies. One of them accidentally smothered her little infant during the night. She didn’t mean to do it, but she was so desperate to get her baby back, to get a baby back, that she took her roommate’s baby, and Solomon had to decide who does it belong to. The real mother was willing to let it go rather than to see it perish because it was so precious. I think probably one of the hardest things for a young family or mother to do is to make that decision to put a baby up for adoption when they feel that natural yearning because they think, “I may feel this way, but for whatever reason I think there’s another family that’s going to do a better job of raising this child.” I’ll never forget in India, I got a call from the front desk and they said there is a man down here that would like to speak to you. I’m always wondering what that’s all about. When we were doing meetings there, I went to the front desk and the man was holding a little boy about five years old and he says, “I want to give you our boy.” He said, “Everybody else in my family is a Hindu and they’re insisting on raising him as a Hindu, but I know if you and your wife raise him that he’ll be a Christian and I think that’s more important.” And the man was, tears in his eyes, and he was ready to give away his little boy because he thought it would be more important that he be raised a Christian.

Babies are joyful. Have you noticed that? I think we learn to become inhibited as we get older. Matter of fact, sometimes during church I wish they weren’t quite as joyful. They’re very expressive and they’re not afraid to let everybody know. Let’s face it, doesn’t it make you happy when you see a baby smile? Don’t we go out of our way to try and get them to smile? Sometimes even doing ridiculous things? Even talking, try to speak their language to get a smile out of them because this uninhibited, free joy that babies express is almost contagious. You can see somebody that may not be having a very good day and they’ll just see the innocent… You know part of it is because they just have no guilt, they have no shame and so their joy is not tainted at all. Christians can have that kind of joy. When your sins are washed away and you have no taint of guilt to just have that exuberance.

Babies are very precious. Who would want to hurt a baby? Now I’m asking that question hypothetically. Sadly we all know the answer. We hear very bizarre stories. In the news recently more than one case where someone said, “Somebody stole my baby!” and it turned out that the parents had killed their own baby. That’s so unnatural because one of the strongest earthly ties is that of a parent, especially a mother for a baby. Even the Lord appeals to that when He says, “Can a nursing mother forget the infant that she bore? Yes, even these may forget.” Even there might be those rare, bizarre, unnatural cases where a mother would not love her baby, but God says, “I won’t forget you. My love for you,” He’s implying, “is stronger than a mother’s love for her little nursing dependent infant.” Who would want to hurt a baby? The devil would. You know, you go back to that story I started with in Revelation. I stopped on purpose. Revelation 12:2, the woman, with child, she’s pregnant, she’s cried out in labor. She’s going through labor about to have this baby, pained to give birth and another sign appeared in heaven. “And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven…” These are the fallen angels of Lucifer. “…and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.” He wanted to destroy the little baby.

Now I think a baby is evidence of God’s goodness and His love. Matter of fact, one of the ways that God made man in His own image, God said to Adam and Eve, “Look, I’m making you fully formed, but I’m going to give you the privilege of producing a baby.” Have you ever thought that when Adam and Eve had their first baby Cain they’d never seen a baby before? Can you imagine what they must have thought when this little human popped out? They could have thought to themselves, “He doesn’t look anything like us! Lord, is he going to stay that way?” He’s kind of cute. That must have really been something, the first baby. They’re cute when they’re young, most of them. How many of you think you were a cute baby? How many of you will admit it? I was a cute baby. I’ve got to hang onto that. It’s all I got left! We’ll show you pictures sometime. I was. I was a cute baby. I don’t remember it, but that’s what I’m told and I’ve seen the pictures.

You know there are several stories in the Bible about how the devil wanted to destroy babies. Just a little amazing fact, at birth there are about six percent more males than females; however, males suffer a higher mortality rate at every age, by the way, the babies that the devil wanted to destroy were all baby boys, so that the excess of males is gradually reduced. It starts out in the maternity ward there are more baby boys born, six percent more, than girls, but over time that is gradually reduced because they have a higher mortality rate. By the time they get to the age fifty the women begin to outnumber the men; from that age on women would be in the higher percentage. I think all of us know that the first year of life is the most dangerous, aside from the last year of life. But you sort of already knew that. You’ve probably read the story before where the king of Egypt made an edict that all of the baby boys should be executed. Exodus 1:22, “So Pharaoh commanded all of his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.’” But you know the story, did baby Moses get destroyed or did God intervene and provide a way of escape? See, the devil knew that the Lord was going to bring a savior, that God was going to come to the earth in the form of a man, but the devil didn’t know exactly when that was going to happen. So what the devil did is he knew that the time was going to come for a savior, a great deliverer and he had the pharaoh make this law to get rid of all of the baby boys. He didn’t care how it was going to happen, but God intervened and not only did He save Moses, have you ever thought about this before? Where did Moses end up getting raised? In the pharaoh’s house. Who ends up subsiding the care of this savior baby? The pharaoh who tried to kill all of the baby boys ends up underwriting the savior of Moses. Isn’t that interesting? God intervened. By the way, the devil tries to destroy baby Christians when they’re young too because they’re vulnerable then, but God will intervene. That’s not the only time this has happened in the Bible. You can go to the second book of Kings, chapter 11, verse 1. When Athaliah who is the daughter of Jezebel, she was married to Joram the son of Jehoshaphat, when her son died she didn’t want one of the sons of David reigning over her and so she killed all of her grandchildren. She wanted to eradicate… keep in mind, Athaliah was not even a Jew. She’s half Israelite. She wasn’t from the tribe of Judah. She did not want one of the descendants of David reigning over her. She probably wanted to help the kingdom go to the northern kingdom of Israel. So she was going to exterminate the seed of David. Now who do you think was inspiring her? The devil did not want Jesus to be born. He wanted to prevent it from happening, but God intervened. It says “…when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons who were being murdered…” This one baby boy, one year old, was taken into the temple and he was hidden there, he “and his nurse in the bedroom, from Athaliah, so that he was not killed.” God intervened. You know this is a great story in the Bible. Let me tell you why. This baby boy is kept in the temple of the Lord for six years. For six years he’s kept in the temple of the Lord, and while he’s there he’s being taught from the word of God. I mean, what kind of books did they have there? And after six years on his seventh birthday they bring him out of the temple, they blow the trumpets, just as the Sabbath was beginning he is coronated king, comes out of the temple, the people rejoice, Athaliah the wicked queen and all who follow her are slain. That’s sort of what’s happening in Revelation. Where is Jesus the son of David right now? Is He in the temple? Is He going to come out? Probably going to happen after seven thousand years. At least that’s what you read in Great Controversy and several other places. It seems like after seven thousand years of the devil’s reign. I’m sorry, after six thousand years, at the beginning of the seven thousandth year he’s coronated. He comes out. Then that’s the time when Jesus reigns. Jezebel that woman in Revelation seventeen and all of those who follow her are destroyed and Jesus is coronated like Josiah was. The devil wanted to destroy the baby, but God intervened. And then you’ve got in Matthew chapter 2 again the story we started with. “Then Herod,” the king, “when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.” But God intervened again. The devil wanted to prevent Jesus from being born, but He allowed it to happen.

Now the gospel is all about the miracle of Jesus being born within us. That’s what the new birth is. The first birth is your natural birth as a baby. If you’re only born once, you’ll die twice. You’ve heard of the second death? If you only want to die once, you must be born twice. You’re born once with your natural birth. Matter of fact, just about everybody here can claim to at least that first birth, right? Right? Is this too fast for you? All of us can claim the first birth; the question is can you claim the second birth? If you cannot claim the second birth, then you might experience the second death. If you want to avoid the second death, you must have the second birth. Have you ever gotten mad at your parents and said, I did it, said to your parents, “I didn’t ask to be born.” Anyone want to admit to that? “Nobody consulted me first.” Isn’t that kind of a dumb thing to say? I think my father said, “Well, I would have, but you weren’t around.” You didn’t have much choice for that first one, but you have a choice for the second one. You can invite Jesus to be born in you. Now, does the devil want that to happen or is the devil trying to prevent that baby from being born? You go back to Revelation. I still didn’t finish there. Chapter twelve. He “stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” If there’s anything in history that we’ve seen, well, the devil doesn’t like babies. He wants to destroy them, tries to get the children while they’re young, while they’re vulnerable, while they’re open, their minds are a clean slate, take away their innocence, take away their wonder, take away their joy. But God intervenes. “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” Have you ever seen a baby wielding a rod of iron? “And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.” The devil wanted to keep it from happening, but God intervened. Where is Jesus now? He’s there in the temple of heaven by the throne of God. The devil all along the way has tried to hurt the babies; he’s tried to hurt the Lord and to stop Jesus from being born. That was his real thing. He just doesn’t want Jesus to be born because the birth of Jesus is the death of the devil and he wanted to prevent it from happening. By the way, in your heart the birth of Jesus is the death of the devil. Everybody gets to choose who do we want to love. Do we want to love the One who made babies or do we want to love the one who kills babies? That’s really what it boils down to; having Jesus inside of us changes everything.

You know there was a story that I think I’ve shared with you in the past. It’s about a place called Roaring Camp. It was the meanest, rowdiest mining camp in the west. It was filled with about eighty men working the silver mines and one woman. They had a few saloons. Her name was Cherokee Sal, and the place was filled with shooting and cursing and gambling and drinking and fighting and there was no sheriff that even wanted to go to Roaring Camp. Well, as you might not be too surprised to hear, Cherokee Sal became pregnant, and she died giving birth. But the baby was fine, a little baby girl. Well, the men, somehow they fashioned together some apparatus and they found a goat and they got some milk and tried to wrap the baby up in some rags and they put it in the wooden box, but even all of these gruff, cursing profane men looked at that little baby in that wooden box and said, “This just isn’t right.” They sent one of them down to Sacramento to buy a cradle. He had to make an eighty mile trip, brought back this little rosewood cradle and put the baby in the cradle, but they still had the baby wrapped up in rags and someone made another trip to another town. They found something that was a little cleaner and one of them knew a little bit about sewing and tried to sew up some clothing. As the baby grew, they put the baby down on the floor and they saw “That floor is just filthy!” I mean, chewing tobacco and everything else. This was a really foul place. Some of the men said, “Look, this isn’t going to do!” So they got down on the floor and they scraped the floor and they sanded the floor and they finished the floor and they waxed the floor. Pretty soon they had this squeaky clean floor. They put some rockers on the bassinette so they could take turns rocking the baby. When they picked up the baby (they never used to bathe) and they saw their gnarly, dirty, cut, calloused hands holding this innocent little, pure baby and they said, “Hey, if you’re going to hold the baby, you’re going to wash your hands, brother.” So they required everybody that held the baby had to at least wash their hands. But some of them got the baby from others and they said, “The baby stinks now. You’ve got to take a whole bath if you want to hold the baby.” They weren’t in the habit of regular bathing. And as they cleaned up the cabin pretty soon they said, “You know, we need to put some curtains on the wall.” They’d set the baby out in front of the mine when they were mining, and she’s just sitting there among the rocks and they felt bad so they’d bring out some little pieces of silver as sparkling things to give to the baby to play with. Eventually some of them picked up some flowers by the river and planted flowers around the entrance to the mine. Little by little, the whole temperature of roaring camp changed because of the introduction of the baby. That’s why I said what is it about babies? They have this strange power that comes over people. Even great big, tough, strong men start to goo and to coo and to say these things when they see a little baby. There’s something about it.

Babies really represent hope, and when God came to the world in the form of a baby, what signal could He give us of humility and purity and wonder and hope more than that? You know I think about that verse in Isaiah we all know, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful,” babies are wonderful. They’re full of wonder. “Counselor,” babies are teachable, but He’s the Great Teacher. The “Mighty God,” Can you imagine God becoming a baby? The “Everlasting Father,” the Father creating Himself, the “Prince of Peace.” Having this little baby who is the ruler of all of the cosmos, I mean it is such a paradox when you think about Jesus coming to the earth in the form of a little baby. And then He says, “I’m willing to be born in you.”

Unto us a Son is given, a Child is born, unto us a Baby is given. He is given to us. He wants to be born in us. I’m hoping that you’ve all made a decision that you’d like to experience that second birth. We’ve all been born once. You were all babies once. Congratulate yourself, but you must have another baby born within and that is by your choice. Is that your desire? I thought it would be appropriate for us to sing as a closing song “Away in a Manger,” it’s 124 in your hymnal and we will stand together as we sing.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky Looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing the baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes, I love Thee Lord Jesus Look Down from the sky, And stay by my side till the morning is nigh.

Be near me Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children In thy tender care, And fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.

I want to remind you following our benediction stay and enjoy the postlude, but when you do exit the sanctuary we will have some ushers at the door. This is the time of year when we receive a special thank offering to support the music department at our school, and I hope that you’ll show your support for this program.

Let’s bow our heads.

Loving Father in heaven, Lord, it is with wonder we consider what You have done in coming to the earth, in sending Your Son to come and to enter into our hearts and to create Himself within. Lord, I pray that all of us will welcome that child, that gift, that baby to live within us and to bring that purity, that joy, that teachable spirit, that innocence. Lord, we thank You for what You have done in our lives. We pray that we will take that experience… that we can live out that new life. Bless our schools, Lord, we pray You’ll pour out the Spirit on the teachers and the leaders and just give them wisdom and watch over all of the young people. We just ask that You’ll help them to seek first Your kingdom and choose lives and careers of ministry. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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