Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me
Or, Of Such is the Kingdom of Heaven
by Katie Stewart
am a Christian mother. Our children
are all grown-up, and I'm just so grateful to our Sweet LORD Jesus to be able to
say, "Our children love the LORD". Small children are saved the same way
adults are-- by grace through faith. God's grace, or help, works faith in them. But
how soon is too soon? You don't have to know about a doctrine of sin nature to sin.
The flesh can teach sin with no more knowledge than knowing right from wrong. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth
it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). A little child can be, and should be, taught to obey at
a very young age. By young, I mean when they learn the MEANING of "yes"
and "no". When they can understand that "yes" pleases you, and
"no" displeases you, then they are beginning to climb up on that foundation
of moral obligation. When your child knows that he/she is SUPPOSED TO DO the good
and right thing, and does not-- then your child has sinned.
A child should be introduced to the goodness of God and the sweetness of His Person before they actually know the difference between right and wrong. That way, your child has the opportunity, from you, to know Jesus before knowing sin. Isn't that a beautiful goal for a parent to have for their child? Children need to know who Jesus is, and what He did for them when He obeyed His Father, and that He wants them to obey their parents, also. "Children, obey your parents in the LORD: for this is right" (Ephesians 6:1). For those children who already know this, to disobey, is for them-- sin.
But how soon is too soon? As for myself, our first child was 2 years old when my daughter and I had our first formal Bible lesson together. But even before that, I was teaching her about Jesus. "And thou shalt teach Them [His Commands] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou SITTEST in thine house, and when thou WALKEST by the way, and when thou LIEST down, and when thou RISEST up" (Deuteronomy 6:7). She began to equate being "a good girl" with "making Jesus happy". Of course, with the daily habit of reminding her, she gradually understood that being "a bad girl" would make Jesus "so sad". By 2 years old, our daughter knew the difference between simple right and wrong. But more importantly, she LOVED Jesus, and didn't want to make Him "so sad". Rev. Charles G. Finney, an evangelist from the 1800's, who had a great love for the Word of God, said, "Willingness to obey Christ is to be a Christian". When a child obeys Jesus because they "Love Jesus!"-- mark it down-- that child is a Christian. They may not know more than that-- yet-- but that's all it takes to get started! Even a little child can understand the basics of "God is love" (1John 4:8). "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein" (Luke 18:17). "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right" (Proverbs 20:11). "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).
What a profound verse: "God is love" (1John 4:8)! This is the first verse our daughter learned. Since His very essence is love, since there is no other definition of love, and since His sacrifice was the perfect picture of love, then KNOWING Jesus is knowing love. And loving Jesus is obeying Him. These concepts are foundational, and basic to any relationship with Jesus. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments" (1John 5:3). "If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My love" (John 15:10). And a GREAT PROMISE, especially for a parent, "He that hath My Commandments, and keepeth Them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will MANIFEST Myself to him" (John 14:21). Notice these passages are all spoken by John the Beloved, who constantly told His "Little Children" to "love one another" (John 13:34; John 15:12,17; 1John 3:11,23; 4:7,11,12; and 2John 1:5).
nce a child learns to love Jesus, loving His Word is the natural next step. "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" (2Timothy 3:15). "Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45 ). Knowing what Jesus did for them on the Cross begins their love for Him-- but then continue to grow love with their understanding of the things of God. "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, LORD of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast REVEALED them unto babes" (Matthew 11:25). "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby" (1Peter 2:2 ). As newborns desire milk, so should our children be taught to desire Jesus' Word. Then they can grow in His likeness. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 3:18). "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD" (Ephesians 6:4).
We should not hinder our children from coming to God, because they surely will, if we will only guide them to Him. And the earlier it is, the easier it is. "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Proverbs 29:15). The following is from "Children Brought to Christ" ---New Window, a sermon excerpt by Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon:
Rev. Charles G. Finney, in "Finney's Systematic Theology" ---New Window, helps us understand this idea even more [note: Dear Mr. Finney was a lawyer before he came to Christ, and therefore his speech, at times, still sounds much like a lawyer's speech would]:
And finally, as a Christian parent, you have the wonderful privilege, and responsibility, to claim the LORD's Word, His Promises, for the conversion of your children:
If little children can't be saved, then how can any of us expect to be?
Our Children in the LORD ---New Window
compiled by Katie Stewart
in our "Promises" section
The Very First Account of the "I Love You, Jesus" Day ---New Window
graphics and story by Katie Stewart
in our "Stories" section
An illustrated "story-reminder" for every young person who loves Jesus.
"And he was called the friend of God" (James 2:23).
Five animal friends have a terrific idea. They invent a holiday! They wish to make a special occasion just for telling Jesus how much all of them love Him. The party is also to be a surprise that they want to share with a human friend, their boy, Jonas. This special day reminds us that every single day should be "I Love You, Jesus" Day.
Please join Koala, Leopard, Teddy, Bunny, and Raccoon
as they encourage each other, and Jonas, to Love Jesus!
"Exhort one another daily, while it is called To day"
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