12/21/14- “A Child Shall Lead Them”
For Video of this service, click Here: http://youtu.be/dRJ-DdLLR2Q
?A Little Child Shall Lead Them? Isaiah 11- Preached at Lake Murray Presbyterian by Dr? J. Ben Sloan ???? Samantha looked at her father and said, ?Daddy, do you believe that God made me??? Now Samantha?s dad was a hardened hunter- about 6?5? and tough.? He was independent and had not gone to church in years.? But he knew deep down her question spoke to his soul.? His daughter did have his heart. ?Yes, sweetie?, he replied.? ? I know God made you.? You are a gift from God to us.?? ?Then?, Samantha replied, ?Why don?t we worship Him??? Samantha?s father didn?t say anything, but the next Sunday they made the hard and tremendous effort to go to church. Not for his sake, but for his daughter.?? This true story could be repeated over and over and over. ???? Last Sunday the elders elect shared their stories of why their faith in God is important to them and how the Lord has helped them through good and bad times.? The most common theme that I heard from both our elders elect and our deacons elect is that when they had children they came back to the church they had drifted away from- or they came to church for the first time in their lives.? ?Someone asked me at one of our senior citizens groups if we ever receive any new members from our Preschool.? My reply was one we had studied before we ever built the Children?s Ministry Building.? Thirty three percent of our new members come from people affiliated with our Preschool.? ?Perhaps this is what this passage in 1 Timothy means- when it says that women will be saved through childbearing.? Children lead us back to the Christ-child.
I. CHILDREN LEAD US TO FAITH- Children lead us to faith.? Marriages that have children are more likely to stay together than those that do not have children.?? Now children cause a lot of stress and heartache.? So you would think that relationships without children would do better.? But those with children have more peace and satisfaction in life.? So it is no wonder that the Lord said, ?Be fruitful and multiply.? Now, not everyone is called to have children- some cannot.? We should all recognize? and appreciate that.? But in general, we have things out of balance.? I have heard people say they want to have so much money to have children.? But the richer we get as a culture- the less children we have. There also have been false books to encourage us in this regard.? Paul Ehrlich of Stanford wrote the Population Bomb in 1968.? He began by saying we have lost the battle against hunger and that the death rate would go up tremendously- but truth is we have enough food now for the world- the problem is sharing.? He also said, that by 2010 we would have to have a 20 story building all over the world to house everyone.? Such fear tactics had a tremendous effect on ?the educated? of us feeling we had to do our share to keep the population down.? Fear of losing money or losing resources is real.? Having children does mean we need to be less selfish and more responsible.? But just having children at all takes faith and hope in the future.? With God there is hope and faith- and children actually do encourage us to have hope and faith.
II. CHILDREN LEAD US TO PEACE- To some parents- peace comes when the kids are finally asleep.? Sometimes staying up late with a sick child, or disciplining a child who is hurting themselves makes life entirely upsetting.? But the amazing thing about love- whether it is friendship, marriage, or children- love causes you the most stress and heartache- but brings you the most joy.? ??There was a study about parents and happiness put out by Princeton and Stony Brook- it said, People with kids living at home tend to have more money and are more highly educated, more religious and in better health, said Stone, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at Stony Brook University. “All of those are factors that go along with people having better life evaluations.” Ironically, the ones who consistently rate happier in life are mothers- more than fathers, more than a childless man/woman, more than children. Mothers might join Mary?s exclamation when told she was pregnant with Jesus ?My soul magnifies the Lord and my heart rejoices in God my Savior.? Studies show parents have the highest highs and the lowest lows. A few weeks ago we were keeping our grandchildren- 3 and 1. They are wonderful, but the noise level and drama level goes up about 20 decibels in my house when they are here, and the sleep hours are cut to two thirds. ?? Children are a symbol of peace. For a child cannot protect themselves. They are dependent on us for protection. So when a child, as this passage says, ?Puts his hand in the hole of the poisonous snake? and is not hurt- that is a miracle of peace from God. When a child shall lead the wolf and the lamb together- that is a symbol of peace. I do not doubt that there is a beautiful reason why Jesus was born as a child instead of just popping down fully grown. Being a child is a symbol of vulnerability- and a risk in order to achieve peace. ?? in New Guinea, when two warring tribes decided to make peace- they would give each other one of their children. As long as that child was alive- there would be peace between the tribes. The peace child was treasured and protected- for the peace of the village rested on that child. Jesus is the one who is alive forever- to bring peace between us and God. He should be treasured and protected. III. CHILDREN LEAD US TO LOVE- Love isn?t love until you give it away. I remember going to Peru and giving? a ball to one of the children there.? He told me it was the only ball he ever had.? But instead of writing his name on it- or hiding it- he called his friends and said, ?we have a new ball!?? ?The more you give the more you receive- Jesus said.? There is a real blessing in giving yourself to others and giving yourself in love to God.? We live in a time- I think in which we are afraid.? We are afraid of losing what we have so that we shrink back.? But it is when we risk giving that we are doing well. ???? It is not accident that when you watch children?s shows you see a lot more encouragement to believe than you do adult shows.? When Jesus said, ?Unless you humble yourself as a little child you will not see the kingdom of heaven? he was saying something profound.? Teens and adults are hardened by our own sin by our own skepticism from others? sin and failure.? Children still are trusting- that is why they must be protected. ???? I was amazed that when I googled, ?Why have children?? I came up with literally a hundred top hits on why NOT to have children.? When I asked Kay she said, ?Because they opened my heart.??? When I had my first one I asked, ?My parents loved me this much??? For the first time- willing to be selfless- giving yourself to them- willing to die for them.? Often married couples are too busy or too tired to go to church- but amazingly when they have children- they are motivated to be the best they can be for their kids.?? People may smoke or drink before they are pregnant, but many quit during pregnancy- both fathers and mothers- out of love for their children and wanting the best for them.?? This is what makes it so amazing that God was willing to give His child- His Son- His-fully-loved son-essence- to us.? ?Jesus was a perfect son.? He did not disappoint.? The voice came from heaven twice- at baptism and the transfiguration (Mark 1 & 9)- this is my Son, whom I love.? There have been a few times my children have made me angry over their attitude or mine- but God has no attitude problem and God?s Son did not disappoint.? This is why it is so amazing God gave. ???? Children lead us into faith, peace, and love.? Jesus is the ultimate child- leader.
Jesus, the baby born in a stable teaches us humility and faith;? Jesus, the boy Prince of Peace, teaches us to have peace even in trials and crosses;? Jesus, God?s only Son born in love, teaches us to love.? Jesus the child leads us.
“Last night my little boy confessed to me Some childish wrong;
And kneeling at my knee, He prayed with tears:
?Dear God make me a man, Like Daddy?wise and strong!
I know you can.
Then while he slept, I knelt beside his bed,
Confessed my sins, And prayed with low bowed head:
?O God, make me a child, Like my child, here?
Pure, guileless, Trusting you with faith sincere.”