Gospel Witness, Suffer Little Children

1 year, 1 month ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the other posts in this series.

Matthew 18:1-6, 10, 14

“Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” – Matthew 18:14

In Matthew 18, we find several parables put forth by our Lord Jesus Christ. And, there is the example to the disciples that they should have the humility of a child, the simple faith demonstrated by those little ones that are Christ’s. Indeed, if only we would have such simple, humble belief as a child’s trust toward God; that He is who and what He says.

There is the parable of removing body parts that offend and the parable of the one and ninety-nine sheep. Those are woven through the text in a beautiful display of the grace of God both for salvation and the earnest approach of the believer toward Christ. But, the instruction on treating children in the kingdom is quite valuable and tangible. Jesus sets a small child in the midst and makes several statements for edification about how God views little ones and His expectations for adults in the Kingdom of God concerning children.

It’s not the will of holy Father God that children should perish. We take the meaning to be spiritual death in eternity, although judgment against that generation loomed. There’s not much more significant in the Kingdom of God than showing a little one how Jesus loves them, dying for them that they need not perish, and rising from the grave in majesty, might, and power to be King of all.

Children so readily take to the story, the mystery of the revelation of Christ hidden throughout the ages and to us, blessed beyond measure with life after the cross, and the historical record of the suffering of Christ that we might go free. It’s elementary to create a word picture of Christ the victorious King that little ones will listen to with rapt attention, fascinated. There is no Disney production, no fairy tale, no story of a gallant prince that compares to the level of Jesus Christ fulfilling the thousands of years of prophecies concerning His coming. It’s the best because it’s all true. And to think, as good as the story is now, just you wait until His return!

And so warning, there are the protectors of children to the detriment of the child’s eternal soul. Here’s the problem, the root of the problem is very disturbing in its scope and results among children of the churches; the lack of trust in the Holy Spirit by adults, especially their parents and relatives. We’ve seen several problems manifest from this distrust.

Intensely bothersome are those parents and other relatives that when their child is confronted with the truth of the Gospel, they seek to shield them, petting them, drawing them close as though the Holy Spirit of God or a verse of Scripture were a monster to pollute their mind and corrupt their body. We’ve seen this on too many occasions; it’s painful to watch the ignorance of the adults. The Holy Spirit of God knows exactly what He’s doing. There is no reason to guard children against the sound of the word of God or the story of Christ. On the contrary, these adults risk losing the child to damnation forever.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:31

Children are not alone; we all may experience the full range of emotions under the sound of the Gospel, especially the fear that can grip a soul under the pressure of the Holy Spirit about their station in eternal torment.

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14

It’s trust, do adults, can they, with their most precious of loves, trust upon unconditional terms that the Holy Spirit knows just the right amount of conviction in each individual child to bring them to Christ? If those children perish in eternity because their parents or loved ones protected them from the fear of God Almighty as the Holy Spirit presses upon them, heaven help them; may their millstone lay lightly (Matthew 18:6).

And we’ve another equally disturbing yet different treatment of children by loved ones. Those convinced beyond the evidence of their child’s salvation, of all ages, but even little ones. As a practical warning, I can coerce a confession and prayer out of just about any child, and so can most adults. Many thousands, perhaps millions of parents, are convinced of the salvation of their loved ones without any basis in fact, prima facie, all evidence to the contrary.

A parent’s hope is Christ indwelling the child. The hope is lovely; hope above measure and never cease to pray, but the reality of the lost child’s soul is what’s paramount if a child remains dead in their trespasses and sin. Please listen to this carefully; children that are saved know they’re saved, and the Holy Spirit in them will confess it, even with reason and evidence, without prompting or help.

Many children, maybe millions, have made a profession of faith, and no man knows their heart; but the Holy Spirit will change them and bear fruit of the Spirit as evidence. The Holy Spirit in the believer continues to convict of sin. This changes the believer’s mind over time; changes their likes, dislikes, and desires of the heart. The believer grows in love and knowledge of Christ, and when it’s genuine, it shows. It’s ridiculous above measure; the proposition that saved children are doing drugs, getting pregnant, watching porn, and going to jail. They’re not saved; they’re just not! People that are in Christ, of all ages, desire the things of God.

How many times have we asked a child how they know they’re going to heaven and gotten blank stares as though they were asked to calculate the proper route of a Mars landing craft? If they are saved, the Holy Spirit in them will testify of Christ, for this is one of His essential functions: He witnesses of Christ through the believer (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit of God knows His own.

Parents, sadly, will begin to prompt their children and coach them to say the right words when the child is obviously lost as a goose. It’s heartbreaking to watch. They’re likely headed to hell. Everybody has a bad day, but consistent ignorance of the knowledge of salvation is – evidence of consistent ignorance of the knowledge of salvation.

Then there is the instance, strange as it may sound, that unless the child gets saved the exact way, under the same verses, circumstances, or prayer as the adult, they are forbidden to come to Christ. It’s weird and hard to understand.

Everybody’s salvation testimony is unique; there are as many stories as saved souls. Why would parents care if the child gets saved at an altar, in Sunday School, at home, in a restaurant parking lot, or hanging upside down from monkey bars at the park? If a verse from Genesis three and not John 3 pricks the child’s heart, why forbid them? The word of God brings faith (Romans 10:17). When the Spirit is hot in pursuit of a lost soul, that is the time to strike at the heart with the extraordinary story of Christ, afresh and anew, while sharing Scripture. It’s God that saves souls under the conviction of the Holy Spirit; it’s not locations, circumstances, a parent’s favorite pet doctrine, or bible story; Christ saves!

The ignorance is astounding in each of these instances. It’s not the will of the Father that these littles should perish, and millions of professing adults are working counter to the will of God for the children in their families. It’s shocking to consider what’s happening in heaven’s throne room while relatives interrupt the sound of the Gospel in favor of their predilections!

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10

If that verse doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re too hard-hearted to reach. What can a preacher, youth pastor, witness, or soul winner do? It makes one want to grab them and scream; your child will burn in hell for eternity, and you’re making it happen! It’s so very frustrating.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6

If you have children, tonight, take them one at a time to bed and tell them of Christ; plainly and with love, share the truth of the Gospel and offer to pray with them.

But, there are great moments in the Kingdom of God; we’ve seen obedient parents wait in prayerful silence while their child hears a thorough explanation of the Gospel. That’s always a blessing. There’s no reason to dumb down the Gospel or try to make it less scary for children. It is scary; hell is horrible. The Holy Spirit does the work, leaving the pure word of truth in their soul.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:4

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