Discipling Children

Discipling Children

Scripture: Matthew 21:16, Psalms 127:3-5, Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Date: 01/25/2014  Lesson: 4
"We can preach and sermonize all we want; in the end, as with adults, the best way to disciple children is to live out before them the love of God in our lives."

Mighty Men of God by Doug Batchelor

Mighty Men of God by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church right here in Sacramento, California. We're so glad that you're tuning in and you are a part of our program every single week. Whether you are listening on the radio, watching live on our website at 'saccentral.org' or on the various television networks, it does not matter how you're joining us, we're just very glad that you are and we'd love to hear from you as you sing your favorite songs with us each week and we open up God's Word and we study together. Today is no exception. We're going to start with your favorites and the first one is #457.

So if you have a hymnal at home, pull it out and sing with us. 'I love to tell the story' - this is a request from dustin in honduras, pascal in indonesia, rut in the netherlands, and andre in rwanda and there were a few more from around the world. We're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanza. Join with us. 'I love to tell the story'.

Thank you so much for sending in one of those good old-fashioned favorites. And if you have another song you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it's very simple. You just go to our website at 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in any song that is in the hymnal. It is right there for you to select and we will do our best to sing that for you on an upcoming program. We're back to learning the ones we don't know.

We took a little break for the Christmas season and we're back with #81 - 'though I speak with tongues'. This was new, I think, to every single person here at central church, but we learned it so we are ready to teach it to you and we hope that you started learning it this week so we're all ready for #81 together. This is a request from josefin in ireland, dorothea in the bahamas, and joyce in kenya. And we're going to sing all three stanzas so we make sure we really know this song. It's a beautiful song based on Corinthians 13.

So join with us - #81 - 'though I speak with tongues'. Thank you so much for learning this with us and next week we'll be doing #82. At this time please bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, like the words that this song says, though I speak with beautiful words but I have not love in my heart, it amounts to nothing. And you came down here to this world with so much love in your heart and you gave your life.

Your enemies - you gladly gave it up because you knew that one day the reward - the results of your decision would be worth it and you love us so much and I pray that we would have your love in our hearts for those around us - those that talk bad and are mean and rude and I just pray that you would help us to have the attitude and the Spirit of you so that we can show love to everybody. We thank you so much for coming to this world and for loving us and for dying for us and I pray right now, as we open up your word and we study together, that you would fill us - that we can be lights in this ugly world. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church.

Thank you, debbie. Morning everybody. You know, I've heard most of The Songs in the hymnal just in my travels - a piece of it here and there - but I don't think I'd ever heard that one either. But it's a very pretty song. I like the bass notes in it.

I want to welcome our friends who are watching via the internet and some of our extended class. Welcome to any visitors that are here. Sometimes it's confusing to people when you see this program to realize it was actually recorded three weeks prior to when most satellite stations are airing it, but it's also live now on the internet so is it appropriate for me to wish you a blessed new year? I haven't talked to many of you since last year, which was last week. But we have - we're going to be continuing in our Sabbath school study on discipleship in just a moment. Sometimes during a Sabbath school we have a little mission feature.

Today we have a guest that we would like to bring up here and hiloko - is that right? And she's going to share with us a little bit - there you go - there's your microphone. Thank you bob. And - good morning. She did something very unique. You have translated an entire set of Bible study guides into japanese.

With God's grace. And now, are you a professional translator? Oh, not at all. I - english and japanese is not my thing but the Lord helped me. So in your note you said you were actually still learning english. That's true.

And you felt impressed - you were looking at the storacles - you were doing the storacles lessons with somebody else. That's correct - in english. And you thought, 'we really need to put' - the Lord impressed you - 'we need to put these in japanese. Yes. And that was a pretty big project.

It took four months for just the draft and I worked on it every week - I mean every day - and so after I worked on it - til midnight I worked on it and by 4:00 the Lord wakes me up and I'm ready to translate again before go back to the - to my work. So as you were doing the translation from english to japanese did you use a dictionary sometimes to find out all the time. I mean, I want to make sure - sometimes each sentence - several words I make sure that I'm translating correctly. Now in the translation process something happened in your family. That's correct.

I'm the only Christian beside my late grandmother and as I was translating, I was sending each lesson to japan to take to my home town church and I send it to my sister in japan and two years later she called me and said, 'I read those studies. I decided to get baptized. When can you come to attend the baptism?' Amen. Isn't that exciting? Now friends, you just need to understand. There are about million people in japan - only one percent is Christian.

It's a largely atheist and a number of other religions there, but - so having these study guides - and the study guides they had were over thirty years old. They really needed updating. And so these are the new storacles lessons. What, are there twenty-two? Twenty-four. Twenty-four lessons.

That's a fabulous amount of work. Well, that is very exciting. And we had bob curtice who helped with - go ahead, stand up bob - bob helped - he developed a computer program with amazing facts, years ago, to help people to translate if others around the world - you don't have to be professional translators. If you want to see the Bible study guides in your own language, there's software and a program now that makes that all possible. And so that is just marvelous.

Thank you so much for doing the work that you've done. And the address is 'Bibleuniversity.com' and you'll find out more there. We have the study guides in farsi and romanian and many different languages. 'Bibleuniversity.com' and we're so excited, and this is - I have not touched them yet. This is the first time I'm seeing the japanese study guides.

That's correct. Praise the Lord. Thank you so much and - thank you so much hiloko - I sure appreciate it. God bless you. Can you say 'amen' friends? Isn't that wonderful? Now hopefully there won't be a test on these because I can't read japanese but we're going to treasure these.

I'll take them to the Amazing Facts office and it's a reminder. I better put them right here so they don't slide off the podium. It's a reminder of the - everybody can get involved in doing mission work, right? And that goes along perfectly with our lesson on discipleship. All of us are called to be disciples and Jesus, when he said, 'go, therefore, and teach all nations' is that just for the twelve apostles or can every believer be involved in some capacity in helping to teach - using your different gifts. And so I think this is just wonderful and we're very excited about that.

Well, today we're doing lesson #4 and it's dealing with discipling children. You know, whenever I see that word 'discipling' children - I kept putting in the word 'disciplining' - I don't know why. It just seemed - some freudian slip - but discipling children. And we have a memory - and that's lesson #4 - and the memory verse is from Matthew chapter 21, verse 16. If you'd like to say this with me here in your study guide, it's from the niv version.

Are you ready? Matthew 21:16, "'do you hear what these children are saying?' They asked him. 'Yes,' replied Jesus, 'have you never read, 'from the lips of children and infants you Lord, have called forth your praise'?'" The Bible has a lot to say about discipling children and the value of children. I'd like to tell you, before I get too deep in the lesson, we always have a free offer that goes along with our study. We're offering something we've never offered before. A few years ago Amazing Facts developed a new set of study guides called 'Amazing Adventure' and it's a brief -part evangelistic program for children.

And one of these lessons, it talks about salvation, it's especially written for children and we'll give this to anybody who asks for it. All you've got to do is call the number on your screen. It's called 'the only lifeboat' and oh, they're really great lessons for children because they're all fully illustrated and - ask for offer #805 and the phone number is 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966 and we'll send this to you. Look at it with a child. Get involved in discipling children.

That's the idea of sending that out. You might know some young person. These lessons are really designed for young people from seven to twelve years of age and - did any of you ever see the 'Amazing Adventures' program? You know, when we did that with 3abn a few years ago, jim gilley told me - he said, 'doug, I want to let you know, you'll end up baptizing as many adults from this program as you will children, because' - he said - 'when you make the message simple so children can understand' - he said - 'that's when the adults finally get it.' And so we found that to be true. A lot of people said, 'yeah, I wanted my children to see this' - and they watched it with their children and other people in the family were there and they got it and they got baptized. How many of you have heard stories of mothers that began to take their children to Sabbath school and in the process of watching the children hear the Gospel in some Sabbath school class, they become convicted and converted? And so when you work for children you're also working for adults at the same time and it's an interesting dynamic.

Anyway, there's a special mindset that the Hebrews had for children and that mindset was different from what you find in the average religion or even among the average cultures of the world. For example, I've been to different parts of the world and they say, 'oh, the Christian missionaries came in here and they just ruined everything. They brought in their beliefs and they took away the natural beliefs of the people. You know, in some cultures, children were not even counted to be humans until they got to be about eight or ten years old or they could do work and if they seemed to be any kind of a problem - they cried a lot - fathers would kill them. They'd throw them off of cliffs.

They didn't recognize the value of children. And so when you hear things in the Bible and it talks about - well, let me read you psalm 127, verse 3, "behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." You see, it says 'happy is the man that has his quiver full of them.' A person having a lot of children was seen as a blessing. What did God say to adam and eve in the beginning? He said, 'go forth, be fruitful and multiply.

It was to be seen as a great blessing. Someone look up for me Genesis 16, verse 2. I want to read another verse that's related. If you look in Genesis 30, verse 1, "now when rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, 'give me children, or else I die!'" Now, Jacob was a little upset about that. What would be your response? How important was it to a Hebrew mother to have children? It was - not just the mother - to The Father? Go ahead, read for us - what did I say? Genesis 16:2.

"And sarai said unto abram, 'behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And abram hearkened to the voice of sarai.'" How desperate - how important was it to Abraham and to Sarah to have children? So much so that when they couldn't have children, they invited a surrogate to get involved. What was - what was the prayer of hannah? Do you remember the story? How the book of Samuel begins? This man elkanah, he loves this woman named hannah - he marries her. But there's a problem. She's barren and so he takes another wife because it was absolutely essential - your only social security in Hebrew times was that children would take care of you in your old age.

If you had no children you could end up destitute. And so having children was really seen as very important. And, you know, they saw that part of the way that you dealt with eternity was that you lived through your children after you and so children were very valued and cherished. And the book of Samuel begins by this conflict between elkanah - or hannah and peninnah and hannah is there at the temple - what is she praying about? She's rocking back and forth. She's in great distress - so much so that eli thinks she's drunk and she's begging the Lord to give her children.

She makes a vow and says, 'if you'll give me a son I will raise him up and give him back to you. And did God answer her prayer? And I think she had, was it five more children after Samuel so the Lord, he blessed her abundantly. You know, I always thought it was interesting that the patriarchs - the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through whom God was going to raise up this great nation, all of them, at some point, had problem with the wives being barren. Sarah was barren and God performed a miracle. She had Isaac.

Rebekah was barren - I think she was married 20 years to Isaac before she had twins - Jacob and esau. Then rachel, the principle wife that Jacob wanted - she was barren. She was the one that said, 'give me children e're I die.' But you know what happened to the Israelites when they went down to Egypt? It says the Lord blessed them. Even though they were in slavery, what was the blessing? They multiplied greatly. Matter of fact, you read it.

It says they multiplied, they multiplied, they multiplied exceedingly great. It seems to say it even more - so much so the Egyptians thought, 'what in the world is going on here? These people, in just a couple hundred years, they're filling the land. You know, there's something of a demographic crisis in certain countries of europe right now in that the average french citizen has like .8 children. Do you realize that over a period of time, if you only have .8 children, you go into decline. You need to have, I think, .

1 children. How you have that .1 I don't know, but you're supposed to have like 2.1 children in a culture to grow. Well, the average french citizen, they're going into decline but there has been so much immigration from the islamic countries - whose average family is like 8 to 10 - that they're seeing this explosion. Now, I understand, in england there are more mosques that are opened than churches. So that's - the Egyptians were really worried when they saw the Israelites just growing like this because they thought, 'what's going to happen? They're going to take over the country.

' And that's why they tried to subjugate them. But God saw children as a blessing. That's the main point we're trying to make here. This was the Hebrew mind set. Conversely, the value of children was not recognized by a number of other cultures.

For instance, you can read in Jeremiah 7 - this is in your lesson - Jeremiah 7:31. The Israelites started to follow some of the pagan customs. It says, and they have built the high places of tophet, which is in the valley of The Son of hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart." And why were some of the pagan nations cast out of Israel? The canaanites - when the children of Israel came in - child sacrifice. They didn't understand the value of human life. What was God's plan for children? That they were to be protected.

That they would be preserved. They represented the future and they were to be trained for that. They were to be discipled. Let me ask you one of those, kind of a moral conundrum questions. You're in a ship that's sinking.

You've got a small lifeboat and you have to place a couple of people in the lifeboat. You finally get down to where there's only room for one more and you've got a 70-year-old woman and a 7-year-old girl. Who do you put in the lifeboat. Shall I vote? Let me see. Let's do a show of hands.

It's kind of - no one wants to vote, do they? You pray for a bigger boat. You can't - no, no, no - I know, no one wants to do this. But how many would think that it would be the right decision to put the 7-year-old girl there? Anyone the 70-year-old woman? It could be a man, it doesn't matter. I just wanted to make it more difficult for you because, you know, you say, 'women and children first, right? Why? Why do we say that? Because they've got their life spread before them. And so the Israelites recognized that - that the future - their lives were spread before them.

You wanted to protect them. You would lay down your life to protect the children. Genesis 18 - this is God speaking of Abraham - Genesis 18, verse 19. This is an important verse for our whole lesson today. "For I have known him," - Abraham - "in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has spoken to him.

" What would happen today if - if a father said, 'the Lord has spoken to me and God has told me that all of the male children are to be circumcised' - if it had never been done before? Now keep in mind, back in Abraham's day that was a new thing. If that had never been done before, what would happen? Would child protective services understand that? Can you understand Abraham trying to explain that to his family? The very fact that he was able to say, 'this is what God has told me' and they didn't question meant that they respected their elders and the children followed. The fact that he said to his son, Isaac - he didn't wrestle Isaac to the ground and tie him up like a calf at a rodeo when he offered him. Isaac was a willing sacrifice. When The Father commanded something they listened.

And so part of discipling children is children learning the importance of obedience. Let me read something to you here from - this is 'counsel to Sabbath school workers' page 44, "parents have a sacred responsibility and a charge committed to them and they are called upon to keep their charge, to bear their responsibility in the fear of God, watching for the souls of their children as they who must give an account." Now, am I the only one here that would confess that I wish I knew about raising children - what I know now - I wish I knew it when I had my first one. How many of you wish you could do it again knowing what you know now. It's kind of like you learn as you go. I think, you know, sometimes you have to pray, 'Lord, I hope you will overrule the mistakes that I've made.

But it's very important to know that children really aren't ours. They are a sacred charge. They belong to God. And so, we not only have the privilege, we have a responsibility to disciple them. For the children, the parents and the grandparents stand in the position of God and they are to - through respect and through obedience and through understanding of the will of the parents, that will later be superimposed on God as they grow.

And it's a very important responsibility. Look here, for a moment in Deuteronomy - someone look up for me Proverbs - I gave it to you so you already have it. Proverbs 22:6. I don't know who has that verse. Jolyne? Your hand went up first, I think.

So we'll get you a microphone. Maybe you already have it. Okay. In the meantime, I'm going to read Deuteronomy 4:9. Got your Bibles? "Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.

And teach them to your children and your grandchildren. Especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord and your God in horeb, when the Lord said to me, 'gather the people to me, and I will let them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.'" And you know what he says as you read on? Especially concerning the day that he delivered unto you his covenant. So when you're teaching your children, what's a good starting point? Ten Commandments, right? Just let them know what the law of God says. Teach your children - and then go to Deuteronomy 6 - and this is where you also hear that great statement, 'hear o Israel, the Lord our God is one. Thou shall love the Lord thy God.

' Go to verse - Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 6, "and these words which I command you today" - what words? Deuteronomy 5 - Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy 6 he says, 'these words I've commanded you today "you shall teach them diligently" - now what does diligently mean? Not just teaching them, teaching them diligently. Diligently almost has the idea in the Hebrew 'to the point of perspiration'. It's aerobically. It means there's intense effort.

It means it's not an after thought, it's a focus. There's an intensity to it. Teach them diligently. Make it a priority. ".

..teach them diligently to your children" - then he explains what that means - "...talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down" - evening worship - "and when you rise up." - Morning worship. And so - and it says you should put them on the posts of your gate and on the doors of your house. Surround them with the principles and truths of God's Word so that it's ingrained in their characters. Now why is this important? Go ahead and read for us Proverbs 22:6. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

" We are all, to a great extent, who we are because of what we've taken into our senses over the course of our lives. You've heard it said before that if you sleep with dogs you get fleas. And evil companions will corrupt a person. Choose your friends carefully because you will become like them. And so, if young people are spending more time with television than with their parents, what is defining their values? It's going to be the media.

And if they're spending more time with their friends than with their parents, what's going to define their values? It's going to be their friends. You know, we're - we're at a disadvantage today because for the first 6,000 years - 5,900 years of the world's history, families had to work together. Families that had a farm, they all worked together. If they ran a tannery, they all made leather together. If they did the blacksmithing, then the children in the family all worked together somehow in the business.

Whether they made brooms or whatever they did - if they were carpenters - Jesus, what do you think his primary skill was? He grew up in the house of Joseph. You learned the trade. You became experts. You learn from a very early age to work and because you're working day by day - you're out in the fields, you're in the shop with your mom and with your dad, there's a lot of integration. You learn.

You're able to embed that. But how is it today? Parents get up in a scramble. Mom and dad commute off to work. Kids commute off to school and then they come home and the parents - and sometimes they're latchkey kids and they turn on their video games, they turn on - they hopefully do some homework - they turn on the television and at the end of the day the parents come home. You race around, do some household chores and laundry and things like that - talk a little bit around the dinner table.

Then there's more tv and then you go to sleep. There's never been a generation that's faced with that kind of dynamic that we have today. And so what's molding the minds of so many of the young people? The parents or the other media? And so that's a real difficult dynamic that we have today that we haven't always had. Alright, Jesus' childhood. Let's look at Christ as our example here.

Luke 2:40, it says, "and the child grew" - someone look up for me Luke 2:51. Who has that? We've got a hand back here - jan - where's the microphone? Oh, you've got it. Good. Okay, we'll get to you in just a moment. I'm going to read Luke 2:40.

"And the child" - what child is it talking about? This is Jesus. "And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him." Now there's a lot of theories and speculation about where Jesus learned his wisdom. Did Jesus learn his wisdom from the rabbis in india or from some - people say, 'where - you know, there's the hidden years. There's the missing years of Jesus' childhood. Where did he go and what did he do?' And 'was he off learning from some gurus in persia or was he down in Egypt reading in the libraries of alexander? Where did he get this wisdom?" They even had a book that came out years ago - popular for a short time when I was a young hippie and it's called 'the aquarian Gospel of Jesus' and someone said, you know, 'Jesus had gone and learned these things from the mystics.

During those years - those mystery years - he disappeared.' The Bible doesn't say that he disappeared. And you can read, for instance, where was he during those years? You read in the book 'Desire of Ages' page 70, "the child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue school. His mother was his first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets he learned of heavenly things. The very words which he himself had spoken to Moses for Israel he was now taught at his mother's knee.

" So where did Jesus learn? From the Scriptures from his mother's knee. Why didn't she send him to the schools of the rabbis? Well, a couple of reasons. One is, I think mary understood that a lot of man-made traditions had, at that time, become embedded in the Hebrew teachings. And there might have been another dynamic. In small communities, was there some question about Jesus' birth? Did the religious leaders say, 'we don't know where this man is from'? There's some question about 'didn't mary seem to be pregnant before they had their wedding? What was going on there?' And so there was, you know, a lot of rumors and innuendo and part of the reason that he maybe was not subjected to that was he may have been a little bit of an outcast in that community.

But he learned the Scriptures from mary. It's interesting, the people who have changed the world the most - Moses and David, you know, hannah - Samuel - those young people they spent a lot of time learning from their mothers the Word of God and it impressed it on their tender hearts from an early age. And if they didn't receive it then, sometimes it just didn't take the way it could. Alright, read for us Luke 2, verse 51. "Then he went down with them and came to nazareth, and was subject to them, but his mother kept all these things in her heart.

" Yeah, read the next verse too, jan. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Alright, so people say, 'where did he go?' Well, it tells us where he went. He went down and went to nazareth, he was subject to them and he increased in wisdom and stature - he grew up - and this is talking about when he was twelve years old and he went to the temple and the parents lost track of him for a few days and they found him - he was in the temple exchanging and asking questions with the scholars there. Anyway, so is there a question about what Jesus did with his childhood or does the Bible tell us? Now, children need to be treated differently than adults. Children are children, they're not adults and the way that you teach children is going to be different than the way you teach adults.

When you have family worship and you've got children in the family, you may not want to pull down, you know, Matthew henry's commentary and read eight chapters. Is it going to - are they going to get a lot out of that? So when there's young children, you know - and if you've got children that are spread across the spectrum - I've got one friend that he's got like eight kids and so at the same time he's got teenagers, he's got toddlers. And so their family worship, they've got to do some singing and stuff that the little ones understand, then say something a little more challenging and profound that will appeal to the older kids and still make it relevant. And that takes some thinking to do it that way and you might even have some private time with the older kids where you do a study with them - do something simple with the little ones before you put them to bed - but you've got to be creative so that you make it relevant. The Bible tells us children speak differently.

Corinthians chapter 13, verse 11, "when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." And so children speak differently. Children think differently. I just sort of read that. Corinthians 14:20, "brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature." So babes have babe-like understanding. Parents sometimes become angry with their children for thinking like children and for acting like children.

Have you ever seen that? It's kind of sad. A father will come down real hard on the boy or child for doing something childish and be very severe and exacting and punish them and they just - they do silly things that children do. And so you've got to sometimes remember that. Children eat differently when they're young. Hebrews 5:13 and 14, "for everyone who partakes of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for his is a babe.

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." It's fun to watch as children start transitioning into teenagers and they start asking some deeper more philosophical questions. You know what I'm talking about? And you can just see their reasoning powers begin to mature as they grow up. And, you know, so when they're real young they ask questions. And even when they're real young, all of a sudden you can see their minds working and they're starting to rationalize and process in ways that only humans can. Only humans can think abstractly.

It's a gift. It's one of the things that God gives us where he says, 'come, let us reason together'. And when you see children beginning to reason these things out in their minds and process these profound truths of life, doesn't it make you happy? But there's a progression there and it takes time to grow. What's sad is that when people are in the church for years and - you understand when you're studying the Bible with young children, you walk out here to the cradle roll class and it's going to be pretty simple. They're going to be banging sticks together and singing about heaven and they'll have little lambs and things and they're just given the basic principles.

If I start teaching Sabbath school that way, for all of you, eventually you'd say, 'Pastor Doug, finally I'm getting it.' No. Eventually you'd say, 'can we have something a little more solid?' You know, all this pablam - all this just sweet stuff, you know? I remember once when I was really poor - living on the streets - that a friend, who was getting government assistance, ended up getting a case of baby food and he was willing to share it with me. All I had to eat was baby food. And, you know, when you're real hungry, that first jar tasted really good. But, you know, you can't get full on one of those little glass gerber jars.

And I remember sitting down and thinking, 'alright, this is breakfast' and going through a whole bunch of little peaches. And you're just...it tasted good but, you know, you feel - it's also very embarrassing. I heard about a prison warden that the prisoners were rioting and misbehaving and, you know, one of the wardens he said, if you misbehave they put you on bread and water.' And all the prisoners said, 'yeah, we're on bread and water now because we've been tough.' And what this new prison warden decided to do - he says, 'we're giving you baby food.' And so he just fed them baby food when they were misbehaving. It was so humiliating they started behaving. They didn't want the baby food anymore.

But, you know, you've got some people who are Christians for years and it's still just baby food. And you want to be able to, you know, challenge people. It's a challenge for pastors because when you preach, what some churches do is they separate the children from the adults for the worship service and they have - I think it's important for the worship service for all the families to come together and to worship God and children learn about appropriate worship from observing the parents. And they say, 'oh but, you know, they're fiddling and they need' - they need to learn to sit still. It does take time but they can learn that and, you know, we have a mother's room.

And the idea - it's really a training room. So when they start to squirm and get out of hand and you take them back there and you teach them how to sit. And that's why there's a glass - so they can look in and they can participate. But they're eventually supposed to learn to come in. So we all together worship God together.

But a lot of these churches they kind of separate out. And they say they've got the child church and the kids don't even worship with their parents. But it is a challenge for a pastor, when you preach the sermon, to say something that not only the adults will get some meat, but it's - you're not shooting so far over everyone's head that the children don't get anything either. That's why we have a children's story as part of our worship service. But it still ought to be simple.

Jesus was a master at that. Jesus would - he would, in a parable, say something that children understood it but the bottom-line teaching of it was so deep and profound that even the adults would get some meat out of it. And that's a challenge to be able to do that. You find that Jesus was interested in healing children - under our next section. If you look, for instance, in Matthew chapter 9, verse 18.

It says, "while he spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler" - ruler of the synagogue - "came and worshiped him, saying, 'my daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.' So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did his disciples." Now, you realize this story is told in a couple of different Gospels and when Christ first got approached by jarius, she was just sick. But while Jesus was on his way - and this is in the Gospel of Mark - to heal jarius' daughter, it's pronounced jah-ri-us and jarius - both different ways. And while he was on his way, word came from the ruler of the synagogue's house and it said, 'don't trouble the master anymore, your daughter has died.' And so Jesus saw how downcast The Father was. When you get the news that your child has died it's just like a shock. And he saw how - he said, 'don't lose hope.

Don't stop believing.' And they went to the house and this is where it takes up and we can read this. He brings him in and puts out everybody who doesn't believe - just brings in Peter, James and John. And when he brings them into the house why did he - why did Jesus evict from the house all those who were mourning? Jesus said, 'she's not dead. She's just sleeping.' Because well, you know, Jesus did a lot of his miracles - he would put out those who didn't believe. I mean, here he's getting ready to do a resurrection.

He brought in The Father and the mother of the little girl and he brought in Peter, James, and John and he took hold of her by the hand - she was twelve years old the Bible says. Interesting - same age as Jesus when he went to the temple. The other interesting thing about that story - this really doesn't relate to discipling children but in that story two women touched Jesus in the chapter. Jesus is on his way to resurrect this little girl and on his way, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years touches him and then he raises a girl who's twelve years old. I always wondered if that was sort of an analogy of how you've got the old testament church with all the sacrifices and she doesn't get any better - she touches Jesus and that same day Jesus then touches a twelve-year-old girl.

A woman sort of is an analogy for a church in many Bible stories and in the old testament people are saved by looking forward to Christ - because it wasn't the blood of lambs, it's the blood of Christ. Old testament - continual flow of sacrificial offerings but not better - only better when you touch Jesus. New testament - Jesus died but he rises. It's like the new testament church - both twelve years old. I thought that was interesting.

It might just be a coincidence, what do you think? But so here he raises this girl to life. Did Jesus care about children? And then you have this other story in Luke 9:38. Matter of fact, will you give me a little liberty right now? This story is also in Mark 9. I'd rather read it in Mark 9 if that's okay with you. It's the same story.

Mark seems to give more detail. Go in your Bibles to Mark chapter 9 - I think it starts with verse 14 if I'm not mistaken. This is another amazing healing. This takes place right after the mount of transfiguration experience. And he comes down from the mountain - verse 14 - Mark 9:14, "and when he came to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.

Immediately, when they saw him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to him, greeted him. And he asked the scribes, 'what are you discussing with them?' Then one of the crowd answered and said, 'teacher, I brought you my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him,, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to your disciples,'" - he had this convulsion - "so I spoke to your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.'" - Oh, that must have been kind of a - a dramatic scene. This father has this son, he's got this spirit, he would be overwhelmed - he wouldn't be able to speak - a mute spirit, and then he would go into convulsions and the disciples said, 'oh, we'll cast him out.

' Had the disciples cast out devils before and healed before? Yeah. And they said, 'in the name of Jesus come out.' Nothing happened. Maybe Peter said, 'here, let me try it. Move over John.' He says it and nothing happened. And then over comes andrew and he tries it and nothing happens.

Now the scribes think, 'this is the moment we've been waiting for. Jesus is a fraud. He's a charlatan.' And they said, 'we told you. They don't have any power.' And so there's this big dispute going on. This poor father, he just wants his son healed.

He doesn't want to get involved in an argument. And so they all came running to Jesus - actually, I said Peter, James and John, they were up on the mountain with Jesus so it wasn't them. It might have been andrew and Philip and thomas, who knows? And it says Jesus said, "'o faithless generation,'" - verse 19 - "'how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me.'" Alright, I want to stop right there. If you have a child and they need healing, what does Jesus say? 'Bring him to me.' Does that mean that you don't get any medical advice? No, one of the ways Jesus heals our children is by having modern medical advances and it might mean that you ultimately get some medical attention and, you know, I've seen and we've all heard stories of people who said, 'if you have faith you don't ever go see the doctor.' That's not what it's talking about. Sometimes God works through doctors, isn't that right? But first and foremost, when there's sickness, I think we bring every case to Jesus, right? 'Oh, but I've got a sore throat.

I'm not going to bother him with that.' How does that - can you bother the Lord? You pray about everything. I remember I did get woken up once by a church member called me at 2:00 in the morning and said, 'pastor, can you please pray?' I said, 'yeah, what's the problem?' He said, 'I've got a toothache.' And, you know, so I prayed. But, now I'm not trying to give you any ideas right now by sharing that with you. E-mail me your prayer request. But, you know, we should take everything to the Lord in prayer but, ultimately, when it comes to our children's salvation - our children's healing - bring these things to Jesus.

Jesus said, "'bring him to me.' Then they brought him to him. And when he saw him" - this young child saw Jesus - he may have been ten or twelve years old because The Father says he's had it since he was very young - "immediately the Spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth." - A fresh, dramatic display of this spirit - "so he asked his father, 'how long has this been happening to him?'" - Now this is interesting because this is one of the only times in the Bible Jesus actually asks a question to get a further diagnosis. Usually the Lord just did a healing but he - then he dialogues with The Father and said, 'tell me about it. Tell me how - "and he said, 'from childhood.' - Meaning from infancy - and he said, "and often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us.

'" - Again, I want to pause. What could be more opposite than fire and water? I mean, fire's a good thing when you're cold. Water's a good thing when you're thirsty. You can burn to death in fire and you can drown in water. Fire is a wonderful thing controlled and so is water.

You know, the Bible says you need to be born of the fire and you need to be born of the water. It's interesting that this spirit would try to destroy the child in the fire and in the water. Two extremes. Two opposites. You know, does the devil care whether you fall off the right side of the road or the left side of the road? Does he care whether you burn or drown? Does he care whether you become too conservative or too liberal? As long as you get off the road, he doesn't care how he destroys your children, right? And so that just really is sort of a picture of the extremes.

And this poor boy nearly drowned. He probably had burns on him. The devil - he had these convulsions near the campfire, in the kitchen, or by the lake and The Father's at his - he says, 'Lord, if you can do anything.' And what does Jesus say? 'Oh, don't say 'if' to Jesus. Jesus says, "'if you can believe, all things are possible.'" If you're going to pray, pray believing. And you know what The Father said? "'Lord I believe; help my unbelief.

'" He says, 'I do have a measure of faith but I need more faith.' And then Jesus, he cast out the devil and the boy went through this tremendous fresh convulsion and then it looked like he died. They all thought, 'oh, that's it. He died.' And Jesus took him by the hand, raised him up, and he was healed. And so does the Lord care about our children? 'Desire of Ages' page 511 - here's a great quote from that book on the life of Christ, "among the jews it was customary for children to be brought to some rabbi that he might lay his hands on them in blessing, but the Savior's disciples thought his work too important to be interrupted in this way. When the mothers came to him with their little ones, the disciples looked upon them with disfavor.

They thought, 'these children are too young to be benefited by a visit from Jesus' and concluded that he would be displeased at their presence. But it was the disciples with whom he was displeased. The Savior understood the care and the burden of the mothers who were seeking to train their children according to the word of God. He had heard their prayers. He himself had drawn them into his presence.

Doesn't Jesus say that unless you become converted and become as little children you will in no way enter the Kingdom of heaven? Yeah, all of us need to become like children or we can't be saved. Now does that mean that we're supposed to act like children and not be mature or to act silly? Or does he mean to have that simple faith that children have? And then we also touched about on that story where the mothers brought their children to Jesus and the disciples thought, 'oh, you know, he's too busy. He can't do that.' And Jesus said, 'no, that's the most important thing. Let the children come unto me.' When does evangelism begin? Once a person turns 20 years of age? Or does the Lord care about reaching and evangelizing children from the very beginning? And the Lord wants us to bring our children to him. He said, 'unless you become converted and become as a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven.

And that, by the way, is Matthew 18, verses 2 to 6. Well, I'm looking at the clock and it's telling us that we're out of time. We've learned something here about discipling children and how important that is to Jesus, today. We need to make that a priority because that's really the next generation. Whenever God's people, through history, have not put an emphasis on training and preparing the children, then the church - that next generation starts to drift away.

And one of the important ways is get them involved in evangelism and mission work. Free lesson for you we'll send - about reaching children. You can use this to study with children. It's called 'the only lifeboat' from the 'Amazing Adventure' series. Ask for offer #805 and call 866-788-3966 and we'll send that to you for free.

Thank you friends. God bless until we can study together again. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week millions of people worship on the first day.

What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'.

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