Suffer the Little Children


By John Thiel, Beholding Christ Series, Audio: mp3

When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself. {SC 72.1}

God has tied us to Himself. He has tied man to Himself by a love that can never be broken unless you and I choose to break it.

Satan will constantly present allurements to induce us to break this tie— {SC 72.1}

Satan will try to make us break the tie.

… to choose to separate ourselves from Christ. {SC 72.1}

Notice it is a choice.

Here is where we need to watch, to strive, to pray, that nothing may entice us to choose another master; for we are always free to do this. But let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, and He will preserve us. {SC 72.1}

Then He will preserve us from making that wrong choice.

Looking unto Jesus, we are safe. Nothing can pluck us out of His hand. In constantly beholding Him, we “are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. {SC 72.1}

It was thus that the early disciples gained their likeness to the dear Saviour. When those disciples heard the words of Jesus, they felt their need of Him. They sought, they found, they followed Him. {SC 72.2}

Now notice how close and how watching they were:

They were with Him in the house at the table, in the closet, in the field. They were with Him as pupils with a teacher, daily receiving from His lips lessons of holy truth. They looked to Him, as servants to their master, to learn their duty. Those disciples were men “subject to like passions as we are.” James 5:17. They had the same battle with sin to fight. They needed the same grace, in order to live a holy life. {SC 72.2}

One of their lessons that they had to learn is the lesson that we are going to look at now. Notice they were men “subject to like passions as we are”. We’re going to see what Jesus had to do to deal with these disciples on the subject that you and I are actually in need of learning as well. Especially when we are hearing a little child crying. How do you feel about it? Are you pleased with the sound of a little child? Listen very carefully to what Jesus wants to communicate to us, as He communicated to the disciples. As they were with Him, behold with them:

Mark 10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them].

Here comes a whole lot of mothers with their children to Jesus. Jesus is preaching and they come there with their babies, and they press their way onward to Jesus. What typical thing does a minister of God do, or even the members of the church do, when somebody important is preaching or sharing the word and children come along? What happened? The disciples thought they’d come to the rescue of Jesus. He’s such an important man. What did they do? The disciples rebuked the mothers for bringing the children to Jesus.

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, …

Suffer the Little Children

What is the next word?

Mark 10:14 … Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

The disciples are with Jesus and as they look upon Him, we are looking upon Him now together with them, what was their passionate reaction and what did Jesus teach them as they watched Him?

In these children who were brought to Him that He might bless them He saw the future men and women who should be heirs of His grace and subjects of His kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for His name’s sake. Certain unsympathizing disciples commanded that the children be taken away, lest they should trouble the Master; but as they were turning away in sadness, {4T 142.1}

The disciples who were surrounding Jesus turned the mothers away and the mothers turned back in sadness. As they were turning back in sadness:

Christ rebuked His followers, saying: “Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” {4T 142.1}

Here is Jesus proclaiming the kingdom of heaven, preaching to the people and to the theological mind, to the religious mind, we are now listening to Jesus speaking. That is the kingdom of heaven that we all reverently and quietly listen to Jesus, isn’t it? “We mustn’t be disturbed now”. Here comes these disturbing elements. We are thinking about the way that the disciples were thinking. “No, no, no, you go back with your children now, this is a very important kingdom of heaven exercise here.” Jesus is displeased. He says: “Suffer the little children to come unto me” “That which you regard as the kingdom of heaven is a mistaken view. Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

We adults who think that children cannot understand the spiritual messages that are communicated through the preacher, through the teacher, we who think that those lofty sorts of truths, as it is in Jesus Christ, is something that the children can be distracted from, “They can’t understand.”, behold Jesus with them. Let’s have a good look at Jesus as He says “Suffer the children to come unto me”, behold Him as He responds to the mothers with their children. What does He says? “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Christ Identified Himself with the Children

[Christ] identified Himself with the lowly, the needy, and the afflicted. He took little children in His arms, and descended to the level of the young. His large heart of love could comprehend their trials and necessities, and He enjoyed their happiness. {4T 141.1}

Think about it! Gaze upon Him!

His large heart of love could comprehend their trials and necessities, and He enjoyed their happiness. His spirit, wearied with the bustle and confusion of the crowded city, tired of association with crafty and hypocritical men, found rest and peace in the society of innocent children. His presence never repulsed them. The Majesty of heaven condescended to answer their questions and simplified His important lessons to meet their childish understanding. He planted in their young, expanding minds the seeds of truth that would spring up and produce a plentiful harvest in their riper years. {4T 141.1}

Isn’t that something to think about? Looking at Jesus, did you know He was like that? He identified Himself with these little ones. “His large heart of love could comprehend their trials and necessities”. Say, can you do that? Why was it that Jesus could comprehend their trials and necessities? How could He comprehend that?

John 1:9 [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Jesus gives light to every man that comes into the world. When does a man come into the world? When they’re being born. There is the light-giving, life-giving presence of Jesus.

As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. {Ed 29.1}

It’s there in the child and Jesus knows it. We are told under inspiration that every child loves to please because it’s instilled into the child because Jesus has put it there at birth. Jesus knows the desire for goodness, the perception of right that exist in that child’s heart. Watch Him how He brings this point across to the disciples who said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Why? Because He is the light that lights every man that comes into the world. Here this little child that He put amongst them who was identified to their minds as the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Why? Because the little child that has not yet been perverted by human interference as much as an adult is and has still inside of him that desire for goodness. That desire to please that isn’t there craftily working out something to try and impress people around it. It just lives with that certain element within it. That is why Jesus says that, “If you receive that little child in my name, you receive me”

Because we are to behold Jesus every day, what does this mean? Those of you who have children in the home may have a constant consciousness of Christ among them. You can behold Jesus constantly in your children. Does that sound feasible? Jesus says it. “If you receive any one of these children in my name, you receive me”

We are considering in this series “Beholding Christ” to behold Him in my children. How does that correlate with the following text?

Antagonism Inside the Child

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child;

Beholding the child you behold Jesus, yet foolishness is bound in the heart of a child? How does that compute? Can I behold Jesus in a restless, foolish child? Parents know what it’s like. You become very concerned sometimes and not only concerned you get fed up, “You children, get out of here!”, because they are constantly annoying you in some way or another. Is that Jesus? It all depends on what part of the child you focus on. All too often we focus on the nuisance aspect of little children, as did the disciples when they said, “No, no, don’t you come here and be a nuisance.” When burdened by childish display, by childish restlessness, we are to understand what Jesus understood about children.

As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. {Ed 29.1}

The statement continues and this is the part that we must differentiate when we look at children:

But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist. To withstand this force, to attain that ideal which in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power. That power is Christ. Co-operation with that power is man’s greatest need. In all educational effort should not this co-operation be the highest aim? {Ed 29.1}

Think about what we have just been meditating about. Jesus said, “He who receives a child in my name receives me.” That’s the one that we’ve got to concentrate on in the child because, simultaneously, the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has rendered the coming into the world with a power inside as well that is antagonistic to the power of Jesus that is in there. These poor children are suffering with the contrasting powers that are within it. You’ve seen a little child just not sitting still, “Be quiet, sit still!” we tell the children. Why is the child restless? Very simple, can you remember your childhood? Can you remember trying to be good? Can you remember really trying to be good and to please mommy and daddy? It’s so hard. And in your antagonism inside of yourself, you’re restless because of it. That’s the reason for children being restless.

There are two powers working inside of them. They can’t work them out. You and I need to know this and instead of honing in on the restlessness, instead of honing in on the foolishness, instead of honing in on all those negativities that your children have got, we are to hone in on Jesus in them. We are to identify the beauty of Jesus in them because they don’t know how to handle the conflict that goes on within. We need to know that and we need to help them and that is why Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” When we are burdened by these childish displays, according to the previous statement we can have compassion because they are struggling with what you and I are struggling with. But you know it can know better because your intellect has developed, the child is still unconscious of that. So it depends on what part of the child you focus on whether you’re seeing Jesus or not. Jesus displays this, “His large heart of love could comprehend their trials and necessities.” The same Jesus who spoke Proverbs 22:15 under inspiration, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child”, also inspired the words of the book “Child Guidance”.

Kindness Must Have its Limits

Even kindness must have its limits. Authority must be sustained by a firm severity, or it will be received by many with mockery and contempt. The so-called tenderness, the coaxing and the indulgence used toward youth, by parents and guardians, is the worst evil which can come upon them. Firmness, decision, positive requirements, are essential in every family. {CG 264.3}

That is what is mentioned in Proverbs.

Proverbs 22:15 … [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of the child yet Jesus’s light is bound up in the heart as well, the desire to do good and the conflict within that the child doesn’t know how to handle, so it is that instead of only kindness, only coaxing and gentle work, there is a limit because the foolishness of the child will make light of your gentleness. Think about it. The child has got the evil traits and it has got the good traits. You look for Jesus in the child and when you see the evil traits, how are we to work to fulfil the words of Jesus, “Suffer the little children”? “Be kind like I am”, He picked them up in His arms, He understood their conflicts, He worked with them. Did He use a stick on them? But kindness must have a limit. The same Jesus said the rod of correction will drive the foolishness out of the heart. If I am going to be harsh on the child, if I’m going to be impatient on the child because it is so ratty, Jesus said something:

Matthew 18:6 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.

Get this very clear in our minds as we gaze upon Jesus as we seek to understand how He worked with those little ones and how He wants us to work with them. Contemplate this strange anomaly that comes up before our minds’ eye.

A Very Nice Work

Every child brought into the world increases the responsibility of the parents…. Their dispositions, their tendencies, their traits of character are to be studied. {CG 205.2}

It’s lovely to have children, isn’t it? But …what’s the responsibility? Not just to enjoy your children, to study their disposition, their tendencies, and their traits of character.

Very carefully should the discriminating powers of the parents be educated, that they may be enabled to repress the wrong tendencies and encourage right impressions and correct principles. {CG 205.2}

What’s the work of parents, tell me father and mother. People go to university today to become child carers. What we have just read, is that what they learn in university? You have far higher calls, parents, and church members. We have a far higher call of education to understand. It’s the study of disposition, tendencies, and traits of character, by careful discriminating with the powers of your discrimination capability, so that you be enabled to repress the wrong tendencies, which are the foolishness we mentioned before, and encourage the rights impressions and correct principles.

Violence or harshness is not required in this work. {CG 205.3}

Isn’t using the rod violence? It can be. Isn’t it harsh? It can be. But it doesn’t need to be.

Violence or harshness is not required in this work. Self-control must be cultivated and leave its impression on the mind and heart of the child. {CG 205.3}

Self-control… can you engender self-control in a child by getting tired of his foolishness and going, “Ahh!”, smack you. Is that going to help the child? Do you remember your childhood? How did that work on you? Did that help you to make self-control in your life? In fact it raised up the lack of self-control, didn’t it? It made you “Grrr” inside, “and if I get a chance, I’m going to pay Mom and Dad back.” Then they get to you in later years and they do it. Is that engendering self-control? Not at all.

It is a very nice work to deal with human minds. {CG 205.4}

That word nice is not the way you first think it means, it means a very difficult work, a very fine, careful work.

It is a very nice work to deal with human minds. All children cannot be treated in the same way, for that restraint which must be kept upon one would crush out the life of another. {CG 205.4}

As it says, kindness has its limits. Stern severity is needed at times. But one child will benefit from a certain sternness and another child will be totally crushed. We need discernment. We need that which we just read about Jesus, we beheld Him, by beholding you become changed. He understood their perplexities and their sufferings. You need to understand what is going on inside of the child, as Jesus understood it, then you can act according to the way He demonstrated. When Jesus said, “Anybody using violence and harshness…”, what did He say? “Anyone who offends these little ones, it is better that he be drowned in the sea.” Ohh… may God have mercy on us when we have become violent upon our children, that we can now come to Him and ask Him for forgiveness when we have been. To exercise firm or stern authority, sternness, is not necessary to be violent. The child needs to know, “That was wrong.” And in its own little mind, as it tries to please, as a careful Christ like manner of child training is exercised, if the child comes up to a thunderbolt and it’s done with understanding that the child understands what’s going on, it will thank you for it. It will come back and be very nice to you because it loves you. But it’s needed, the rod of correction must drive out the foolishness. It’s the way in which we do it, whether it’s Christ way or whether it’s offending the child. There is a very careful distinction here. Did you notice in Matthew 18, what actually is in the heart of Jesus for Him to say such a thing?

These Little Ones Which Believe In Me

Matthew 18:6 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,

For someone to say that about a child, what is actually going on in His heart in reference to that child? Remember what we sang? “Jesus, friend of little children.” He loves me. How much does He love the child? He loves the child so much that He would be vindicating the nastiness of mistreatment of children. He loves them so much. Think about it, how much Jesus really loves you, children. He loves you and He wants to protect you, He wants to care for you but He wants you to overcome the wrongs in your life, the naughtiness. He wants to help you to get rid of that. That’s how much He loves you.

Matthew 18:10 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.

What does Jesus connect all of a sudden? These little ones… angels? Ohh… their angel in heaven is speaking for the little one, they have an angel, whom Jesus has commissioned to take care of the little one. So be very careful, he says, that you despise not one of these little ones. How do we despise them? We’ll look into this afterwards.

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

What a heart do we see here? Angels are speaking on behalf of the children. Something is going on inside of the children that causes God to love them. He doesn’t want one of them to perish. So, He commits the heritage of the Lord to us as parents and says, “Take care of this child, I don’t want it to perish.” Blessed, let Jesus come close.

The angels who watch over the children bear to heaven every word, be it cheering or disheartening, that is spoken to the little ones. {2SAT 230.1}

That’s what it says, “Don’t despise.” The angels are watching closely what parents should be doing as well.

The soul of the little child that believes in Christ is as precious in His sight as are the angels about His throne. {AH 279.3}

How precious are these little ones? As precious to God as the angels around the throne. As you next come across a child that is giving you trouble, bear this in mind.

Let us take a closer look at what Jesus did when He took the children and blessed them. Let’s have a real close look at it, so that we can actually gain what Jesus actually meant. Here we pick out these important principles, that we can watch Jesus, and to know and to bear in mind when we relate to children:

He identified Himself with the lowly, the needy, and the afflicted. He took little children in His arms, and descended to the level of the young. {4T 141.1}

Now follow carefully:

His large heart of love could comprehend their trials and necessities … His presence never repulsed them. The Majesty of heaven condescended to answer their questions and simplified His important lessons to meet their childish understanding. He planted in their young, expanding minds the seeds of truth that would spring up and produce a plentiful harvest in their riper years. {4T 141.1}

In these children who were brought to Him that He might bless them He saw the future men and women who should be heirs of His grace and subjects of His kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for His name’s sake. {4T 142.1}

He saw this in these children.

He knew that these children would listen to His counsel and accept Him as their Redeemer, while those who were worldly-wise and hardhearted would be less likely to follow Him and find a place in the kingdom of God. {4T 142.2}

When you teach little infants, do you think that you can’t tell them the lessons of the gospel because it’s over their head? Do you think that? Is it possible that we can actually teach the little infant mind what Jesus did here? People have sometimes communicated that, “That’s too much for a child to take, it’s over their head.” But take another look, how did Jesus do it? You remember your days of school, especially in the older generations, I remember my school time very well. Lots of things went over my head. Because, how were they passed on to me? School mom tactics, school authoritarianism. And I was scared, I was taught under tense circumstances, and I couldn’t pick up the lessons. What did Jesus do? “His presence never repulsed them.” Your presence is the first thing to think about. When an adult comes to a little child, you’re were down there and everything looks so big to you, doesn’t it? The moment that there is a sort of a stern-looking taskmaster that comes over them, “Now do as you’re told!”, “Listen to me?!”, all those kind of body language, that look on the face, what do you think the child picks up? Jesus’ presence never repulsed them.

He took little children in His arms, and descended to the level of the young. {4T 141.1}

What sort of a body language do you pick up here? What sort of an atmosphere is created by this teacher of righteousness?

[He] condescended to answer their questions and simplified His important lessons to meet their childish understanding. {4T 141.1}

Descending to the Level of the Young

“Daddy, why do you kiss Mommy?” How are you going to answer that? “Daddy, why don’t you kiss Mommy?” How do you answer that? There are situations in life, questions that children ask, they are ticking over in there in their little minds, and Jesus simplified important lessons to meet their childish understanding. How many times have you been asked by a child a serious question and you say, “You’re too young to understand that.” That’s a chicken’s way out because it means a little bit of hard work for the adult mind to come down and help the child to understand. “Wait ’till you older then I’ll tell you about it.” Don’t underestimate the mind of a child, don’t underestimate the mind. I can pick up when I look at their little eyes, they are watching so closely. They are watching every move you make and they copy everything you do. And when you become too irruptive emotionally, too excited, they’ll start crying because they’re picking everything up. Let us learn a lesson.

We should learn a lesson from this act of Christ, that the hearts of the young are most susceptible to the teachings of Christianity, easy to influence toward piety and virtue, and strong to retain the impressions received. {4T 142.2}

What does the catholic say? “Give me a child up to the age of seven, and he’ll remain a catholic for good.” Why? Because they know that the early impressions of the child are imbedded of the sensations of that being, and that soul will retain that, it will “retain the impressions received.”

But these tender, youthful ones should be approached with kindness and taught with love and patience. {4T 142.2}

So that when we use the rod of correction to drive the foolishness out, it is still done with compassion and firm severity. How can you melt those two? Only Jesus can show us. We, adults in the church and in the home, cannot but communicate our feelings to our children. Guard your feelings, let alone your words. If you feel annoyed about a child, the child will pick it up. Remember the disciples, they felt annoyed, they commanded, “Take these children hence.” How do you think the children reacted to the disciples? Their tender little hearts went backwards; and the mothers turned away with sorrow. Do we, like the disciples, feel that children are nuisances? You know the old word, “Children should be seen and not heard!” Is that right? Yes, it’s right to a degree, but not to be administered with that kind of mental activity. Are we, as parents, sensitive that our children are being a nuisance to adults? When you feel that your child may be just being a nuisance to somebody, what do you do? You immediately come to its protection. No, don’t worry about it. The child will grow up feeling your apologetics. A child will feel that, “I am a nuisance because Mommy and Daddy are protecting me.” They’ll feel it. It will come out in two ways. It will come out this way, “My mommy is better than you!” That comes out in the child in its foolishness. The other one is a cowering experience, a development of always wanting to hide under mom’s apron strings. The child will forever be under a sense of protection and it can’t come out and express itself. There are many psychological cripples that grow up in these last days, one way or another.

When I see a restless manner child, I think, “It’s sitting there, and it’s supposed to be listening, yet it’s sitting there moving.” And you think, “Sit still, you’re supposed to be listening!” Forget it, if it’s quiet that’s fine, it’s actually listening, whether you know it or not. A child that is restless can be listening very carefully at the same time. As long as it’s not making a noise, let it alone. Children are struggling with internal feelings and too heavy a protection to stop them from being nuisances is not going to help them, it’s to let them find their way through with great patience, “Suffer the little children.”

How will your children and the children among us receive our subliminal messages? They are subliminal; we don’t know that we are actually getting them to feel this way. We need to have Jesus in our hearts so that we can communicate the subliminal messages to our children.

Dried Up Affections

The perception of children is quick, and they discern patient, loving tones from the impatient, passionate command, {AH 242.2}

They discern it.

… which dries up the moisture of love and affection in the hearts of children. {AH 242.2}

You want to draw out affection from your children, not dry it up.

The true Christian mother will not drive her children from her presence by her fretfulness and lack of sympathizing love. {AH 242.2}

Oh, it’s so hard, isn’t it mothers? There is a beautiful statement where E.G. White says that when you go through those experiences, pray to God to help you, in front of their little detail childish ways, to just place yourself under the control of noble kindness. There is no room to become fretful because the child will pick it up and it will have devastating influence upon it, it will dry up the child’s affections. Have you ever wondered why children seem to be more affectionate to outsiders than to yourselves, parents? Where does it come from? Because our fretfulness has dried up their affections, that’s why.

Some parents—and some teachers as well—seem to forget that they themselves were once children. They are dignified, cold, and unsympathetic…. {CG 147.4}

Remember that we are looking at Jesus, and He was different.

Their faces habitually wear a solemn, reproving expression. {CG 147.4}

Remember that children are sensitive to that.

Childish mirth or waywardness, the restless activity of the young life, finds no excuse in their eyes. {CG 147.4}

What does this suggest? Are you to have an excuse in your eyes to them? Absolutely. That’s when the old school mom comes up, “Be quiet! Sit down!” and all that kind of thing. When it comes to these childish little things, “No excuse! Quiet! Don’t you make that! Sit still!” all that kind of thing.

Trifling misdemeanors are treated as grave sins. Such discipline is not Christlike. {CG 147.4}

We’re looking at Jesus; Jesus doesn’t do that.

Children thus trained fear their parents or teachers, but do not love them; they do not confide … {CG 147.4}

This is beautiful. Have you ever had a child coming to you and really opening his heart to you? Isn’t that nice? But what drives that out? This harshness, this unChristlikeness.

… they do not confide to them their childish experiences. {CG 147.4}

They know it’s only going to be a nuisance to mom and dad, “So, I might as well keep this to myself.” I’ll never forget the time I told my father a story that really happened to me, I was only about eleven or twelve. And I told him about this bird that came down and it knocked me in the legs as I was driving and I fell down, and I described the picture, and he said, “Oh, be quiet, that’s not true!” That just completely crushed me.

Some of the most valuable qualities of mind and heart are chilled to death, as a tender plant before the wintry blast. {CG 147.4}

A tender plant before a wintry blast …

A Life-Changing Countenance

Smile, parents; {CG 148.1}

Catch the eyes of your children when they are getting distressed inside of themselves. Smile at them. And see what happens.

Smile, parents; smile, teachers. If your heart is sad, let not your face reveal the fact. Let the sunshine from a loving, grateful heart light up the countenance. {CG 148.1}

Light up the countenance because the children are watching your face. Whenever a child does something, you watch it. And if it doesn’t know whether it’s doing right or not, it’ll turn straight to you to look at your face. Have you seen that? They’re doing something and they’re looking for where mom and dad is.

Let the sunshine from a loving, grateful heart light up the countenance. Unbend from your iron dignity, adapt yourselves to the children’s needs, and make them love you. {CG 148.1}

How can you make someone love you? Not by saying, “Don’t you love me? Come on let me take you up and give you a hug and a kiss!” Rubbish… The child goes, “Yuck”. But the child will go, “Oh, Mommy, Daddy, I love you” when you remove your iron dignity and adapt yourselves to your children’s needs, and make them love you.

You must win their affection if you would impress religious truth upon their heart. {CG 148.1}

The child can understand religious truth, if the way in which we do it is the one which we saw from Jesus. Here is this very powerful statement, that we may remember what it is that children pick up and what we must not do, but we must follow Jesus instead. Think carefully about this, how we often do this:

You are not uniform in your treatment of your children. At times you indulge them to their injury, {4T 141.1}

You’re all cushy, loving and kind to them, and you indulge them …

… while at other times you refuse them some innocent gratification that would make them very happy. You turn from them with impatience and scorn their simple requests, forgetting that they can enjoy pleasures that to you seem foolish and childish. {4T 141.1}

To you it seems foolish and childish but they’re having pleasure in it. So, while it seems foolish and childish to you and they’re enjoying it, should you go along and go scornfully, and look upon them? Maybe you didn’t say anything, but just your face will tell the child, “Oh, oh. I don’t think Daddy approves.”

You do not stoop from the dignity of your age and station to understand and minister to the wants of your children. In this you fail to imitate Christ. {4T 141.1}

What did Jesus do? He stooped to meet their childish yearnings and pleasures, their desires to please but only in their childish ways. Then you reach them carefully, that was Christlike, but the other way is not.

Therefore, by beholding Christ we will win our children. By copying Jesus we will win our children, our youth. As you reflect in your own life, how very nearly you discarded the faith because of maybe some sad experiences of teachers and adults in your life, the memory of a faulty parenthood chilling your interest in the word, then later on Jesus was displayed to you in a way that you had never seen Him before, you were just about ready to give up faith, and then the true friend of Jesus came along to you, as you realize this, as you reflect upon it, display to your children, display to the children of the church the thing that you yearned for when you were a child. Attract them to Him. Every member of a church, whether they have children or not, can help the parents of the church’s family by the manner and the position which they have in the church.

“Little Children”

Now, as you reflect upon yourself, as you reflect upon the way that you, as an adult, are on the way bridge of really following Jesus all the way, remember the words of Jesus. Here is Jesus speaking to His disciples, grown men, burley fishermen, tax collectors:

John 13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

What did He just address them as? “Little children” It’s very interesting, Apostle Paul says to the church:

Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Here are the disciples of Jesus addressing the members of the church, “little children”. Indeed. Are we not little children in our relationship with our Heavenly Father?

I have been shown that our relation to God is the same as that of little children to their parents. The God of heaven is watching His people, His church, just as loving parents watch their children. And we are as foolish as little children are; {2SAT 208.6}

Did you like to hear that? Do you want to accept that for yourself?

And we are as foolish as little children are; for how prone we are to think that we know everything, when really we have not begun to know what God is waiting to teach us when we show willingness to follow in His footsteps. {2SAT 208.6}

Will we come down from our position of self-righteousness, and as little children take hold of God’s work? Will we be willing to be taught and led of Him? With tottering steps we are just beginning to walk. {2SAT 209.1}

Is that right? Is that true with you and me? I’m just beginning to learn to walk as child of God, with tottering steps. How many times have you fallen over? How many times have you made a slip and you lost your balance in spiritual realms? Tottering steps.

In time we shall learn to take firmer steps, but now we are liable at any moment to stumble and fall. From the highest to the lowest, we each have spiritual weaknesses and troubles similar to the weaknesses and troubles of helpless children. And as these experienced children cannot place their dependence upon one another, but must depend on their parents, so we must learn not to hang our helpless souls on any human being, but cling to the One mighty to save. Man’s policy is valueless. We must individually depend upon God for strength and guidance. {2SAT 209.1}

God calls upon us to make our movements in His fear and to walk tremblingly before Him. {2SAT 209.2}

Little children, that’s what God addresses us as. As we realize that we are little children, let us open our hearts wide to the glorious love that is in the face of Jesus Christ as He seeks to carry us in His arms and to bless the little children, which includes you and me. Let our hearts be fastened upon Him so that we can communicate what He communicated to the little children, of whom He said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Amen.

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Posted on December 16, 2012, in Beholding Christ, Child Training, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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