Except Ye Be Converted

By Markus Dammasch

The biggest problem in social relationships is self. When we relate with one another, nearly all problems are caused by self.

Every man’s experience testifies to the truth of the words of Scripture: “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it can not rest. . . . There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Sin has destroyed our peace. While self is unsubdued, we can find no rest. {RH, October 15, 1908 par. 5}

Isn’t this especially applicable to us on the Sabbath, the day of rest? We need to come to the Sabbath with a sense of nothingness. Of my own self I can do nothing. Jesus related with His disciples and they often squabbled. We know the story of the mother of James and John who came to Jesus and asked if her sons could sit on Jesus’ right and left sides. What was the problem? Don’t we all love to be in Jesus’ presence? What was wrong with them desiring to be at Jesus’ side? Because self had not been subdued. They wanted to be at Jesus’ side, but in order to get there they wanted to put everyone else further away. That’s why they squabbled later on, who is the greatest? Nicodemus came to Jesus and acknowledged that He was a great teacher. Jesus immediately began to teach. What did He teach?

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

This is the same as, except self be subdued, one cannot see the kingdom, because spiritual things are spiritually discerned. What does it mean to be born again? Starting a new life. Is there more to it? A new born babe, before it is born, cannot see the world around it, but it can discern different impressions of what is going on outside the womb; light, darkness, mood. We also can get the same impressions before one is born again spiritually, from scripture or a person’s testimony, whether a spiritual life would be pleasing to us.

Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Jesus spoke in parables so that those who were sincere and earnest would be fed and those that weren’t would not understand. Just like a new born babe, it can see and hear but doesn’t really know what is going on. The psalmist said, taste and see that the Lord is good. If we don’t taste or see, how can we know? If we aren’t born again, how can we criticize a spiritual life? Many people say, it’s not really for me. How do you know? People are often afraid to make changes in their life. Making changes means subduing and denying self, or doing something which they may consider unpleasant but yet has a beneficial outcome. When a baby is born the first thing it does is cry. This is a good thing. Spiritually, as soon as a person is convicted of the Holy Spirit, what will they do?

Psalms 107:19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.

They realize they have troubles and cry unto the Lord. When the baby is in the womb, its cushioned, warm, comfortable. When it’s born, all the sudden it is cold and the baby cries straight away. Some babies cry all the time and start to annoy their parents.

Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

How long does God bear with us? How long do we cry to Him? Just like the baby, every new born Christian will cry straight away, because they realize their helplessness. Is that the only time the baby cries? No – they cry every time they have a need and God bears long with us. What is God’s response to our crying?

Psalms 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

He doesn’t go away from us because we’re crying all the time. He’s right there with us, compassionate, trying to accommodate our needs and alleviate our distresses. One reason why a baby cries is because it desires to be fed. Do we desire to be fed and cry when we’re not?

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

We are to desire the sincere milk of the word. A baby can only digest mothers’ milk. If you have it a cashew, it will pass through with no benefit. It can’t digest the heavier stuff. Someone who is born again spiritually needs to come in on the milk of the Word. Babies also need warmth. Many people in the world have their comforts, busying their lives so they don’t feel their discomfort. What do we do spiritually to receive comfort?

Isaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

The Lord will comfort us when we are cold, alone, isolated. How does he comfort us? Do we suddenly feel so lovely? What comfort does the lord provide?

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The Lord’s rod and staff comfort. What does this mean?

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

The scriptures give us our comfort and hope. In times of discouragement, we must turn to the Lord in the bible. That is where we receive comfort. His promised are given to strengthen us. What else can a baby do apart from cry? Nothing really. It is completely dependent upon its parents.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Ask is the commission that is given. If we have a need, when we realise our dependence, ask and he gives. He will give you the Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit’s work? To reprove, teach. This requires self denial.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

When a parent is talking, the baby knows that it’s mum or dad. So we are also to acknowledge the Lord, even if we don’t know what to express. Cry unto him and he says, come let us reason together. If we ask, it will be given to us. Babies grow, they will look more like their parents.

1 Corinthians 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

As we grow and develop, we will reflect the image of the heavenly.

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

It is according to the image of Christ that we are to represent. When the disciples squabbled, what was Jesus’ answer? What does it mean to be born again and what happens after that?

Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

18:3 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.

Except we become as little children we cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, not as a new born baby. In order to see the Kingdom of God we need to be born again, but we can’t stay there. We need to grow, develop and represent our heavenly father more. That process takes us to being little children. What happens when the little child grows up more? It becomes an adult. There wasn’t any mention of becoming an adult to come to the kingdom of God. What is the difference between a baby and a little child? A baby is wholly dependent for absolutely everything. A child can do a few things for itself, but is still dependent on its parents to a certain extent.

Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Here is the second difference between the babe and the child. The young child can take in the meat, the babe, only the milk. This demonstrates also the importance of using the word. Not just reading, but using and sharing and witnessing. By using it, we receive nourishment to grow by. Another difference is that the young child will cry less often. Babies cry for all sorts of reasons, but a young child cries less and can communicate effectiveness. Come let us reason together. We can communicate together. This is another reason why the Lord wants us to become little children, not babes. Little children are very honest. They say exactly what is on their mind. They also hear exactly what other people say, not speculating or reading between the lines. For that reason, it’s a lot more difficult to offend a little child. They don’t hold grudges. We are to be more like little children.

Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

When we love God’s law, we will grow from babes to little children and won’t be offended by what people do or say around us.

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

18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

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.

18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Woe unto us if we offend a little child, because we’ve done it deliberately. What if we offend one another? Woe unto us. Let us be careful how we deal with one another so we don’t offend. Never read into others’ words, speculating. That comes from self. Just take what they say and leave all the rest. The word offend has a dual application. It comes from scandalon, meaning when you offend someone, you’ve done something either physical or verbal to cause them to trip up or stumble.

Matthew 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

If we offend our brothers and sisters and children, the lord will deal with us as he sees fit. What happens if someone is deliberately trying to offend us? How do we deal with that?

Ecclesiastes 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

Don’t go out to quarrel with him. If we yield then great offences are avoid. This requires self denial. It requires the spirit of a little child.

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

We are born of God, but God doesn’t want us to remain as little babes. He wants us to grow into little children, and remain as little children, not to continue growing into arrogant know-it-all adults. Be as little children, who are placid, easy going, easy to be entreated. This is what the Lord wants for us, to be as little children.


Posted on September 27, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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