A Time For Children

Title: A Time For Children

Bible Book: 1 Timothy 3 : 13-15

Author: J. Mike Minnix




Today we are participating in Parent/Child Dedication and it is great to see this number of parents sitting at the front of the church today, and to know that a large number of children will be brought before the Lord today in commitment and expectation of God's blessings. As you know, we don't baptize infants, for we know that salvation comes from a personal decision in the the life of a individual who has felt God's Spirit wooing him or her to redemption through Christ. That decision can only be made by someone who has reached the age of accountability. Oh, it would be a wonderful thing if a parent or guardian could make a decision for a little one, but that is not God's plan or way to salvation. If a person here today had the ability to decide salvation for others, I would just step to the front of the church today for everyone in this room, especially those little ones. That cannot be done. We also know that those too young to understand or make a decision to receive Christ are protected by His grace, for Jesus said concerning little children, "Of such is the kingdom of God." Our prayer today is that these parents and this church will have such an influence on these small children that they will grow up with a heart open to the voice of God and that this will lead them to respond to Him in salvation and service as they grow.  Thus, we set aside a day once a year to allow parents to make a commitment to Christ for their homes and their children. We need this today as much or more than any time in history, for Satan has attacked our homes with vengeance and hatred. Only God can establish solid homes, loving homes and homes where children can grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Now, before the parents and children come to platform, I want to share something important from the Scripture. This day is a special time for children, and for their parents. Raising children is one of the most joyful and challenging tasks in life. Sometimes it seems the challenges outweigh the joys.

I read somewhere about a little boy named Mitchell Miller. He wrote a letter to the President of the United States. He wrote something like this: "Dear Mr. President, I am excited about our space program. I think you should consider sending children on the next space flight. I would like to go on that trip, especially if it is a trip to Mars." He signed the note, "A Future Voter." Mitchell's parents put a note at the bottom which read, "Mr. President, you have our permission to send Mitchell anywhere you would like." Apparently the challenges of child rearing had gotten the best of the Millers. That does sometimes happen!

No matter how great the challenge, parents must pour their greatest energies into helping their children grow up with the right faith and the right values. A boy and his father were walking in the woods one day when the lad saw a gnarled and twisted tree. The boy asked, "Dad, what made that tree so crooked?" The father replied, "I don't know son, but it is likely that somebody stepped on it when it was little."

Sadly, many people grow up twisted and gnarled in life because they are stepped on when they are small. We need to do our best to help our children grow up standing tall and straight in society. To do that means we must get them to the only One who can grant the blessing of a meaningful life - that person is Jesus.

On one occasion people were bringing their children to Jesus. The disciples thought that Jesus was much to busy to be bothered by such an insignificant issue. Jesus however said, “Let the little children come to me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14)

There are barriers placed before the feet, mind and eyes or our children, seeking to keep them from coming to Christ and hindering them from following Him. We must be sure we remove those barriers and get them to Jesus. I commend you parents who have come here today with your little ones. You are doing the right thing. I pray that your commitments today are from the heart and that you will carry them out with all diligence.

I want to speak to you today from 2 Timothy 3:13-15. If you can and if you will, please stand and honor the Word of God and the God of the Word as I read the Scripture:

"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned; 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." You may be seated.

You will note in this passage that Paul is writing to Timothy to remind him of the faith that was first implanted in him at the knee of his grandmother and the knee of his mother. I want you to see three critical issues found in this passage, all of which relate to parenting and caring for children.

I. A Lurking Deception (Verse 13)

Paul reminded Timothy that evil men were lurking in the shadows seeking to destroy God's work, especially the work being done in the heart of a child. What an image for our day and especially for our children. There are those who are trying to deceive you and hoodwink your children. This is a satanic trait and practice. He uses deception by appearing as light, when in fact he is total darkness. Where he can, he leads adults and little ones down a dark path and toward a terrible abyss. He is called the father of lies. Even Adam and Eve were misled through deception and the first sin was committed in a perfect garden. In the best of homes, the best churches, and the best places, Satan is doing his evil work. Be assured that he is lurking in the shadows with his own plan for your marriage, your children and your home.

Compare Satan to Jesus - Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life. And believe me when I tell you that evil deception does not subside with time but moves from bad to worse, just as the text tells us. Just think of the ways our young are deceived. I read somewhere that a child will see 50,000 television commercials a year, if that child watches TV along the lines of the average American children. Just think of that - 50,000 messages passing into the minds of your little children. And what message is being given to them?

The ads imply, "If you don't wear this type clothing, perfume, cologne or tennis shoes, you are a failure." Message to the kid: It is what is on the outside that makes me someone, not who you are on inside that matters. We all know at this is a lie! Also, it presents the idea that my goal in life is to be better than others and have more than others, and by all means not to have less than others. There is no love or compassion is such ads. Is it any wonder that we live in the most materialistic age known to man? It is this type of thinking that leads some young people to attack and even kill another young person in order to steal his or her tennis shoes!

The ads portray, "Drink our beer and you will be around beautiful, happy, partying people all the time." The ads for alcohol never show the drunk girl who is raped, the drunk boy who wrecks his car and kills innocent people, or the drunk boy who grows up addicted to alcohol and ruined for life. The ads never show the home destroyed by drink or drugs. Satan presents the stupefied life as the happy life. The results show up every day in prison records and the records found in our city morgues.

Another way that an evil is lurking in the shadows around our children is in peer pressure. Most kids who use drugs for the first time do so just to be included into a group they feel will make them more important and included. Many young people say that they suffer from loneliness and for them being accepted is paramount. This leads to a herd mentality, gang involvement and many other sorrows.

Paul was writing to a young man who was really blessed when he was a child. Why do I say that he was blessed? Is it because he lived in the right neighborhood? Is it because he wore designer clothes? Is it because he was included in the right group or peers? Is it because he was admitted to the ivy league college? No! No! and No! He was blessed because he had a mother and a grandmother who taught Him the Scriptures from infancy! Yes, even when he was very young, he was taught that what really makes life meaningful is a relationship with God!

I am proud of you as parents today for bringing your children here to be part of this Parent/Child Dedication Service. You are doing the right thing. The only way your children will have the hope of avoiding the lurking deception in the shadow of life's pathway is to get them to Jesus when they are young!

But, I want you to see a second issue found in our Scripture passage today.

II. A Lasting Conviction (Verse 14)

Paul reminds Timothy of that lasting conviction which first came into his heart because his grandmother and mother taught him. I sometimes hear parents say, "I don't want to force my son or daughter to make a decision about religion. I want them to decide later in life." Parents don't let their children decide if they wish to go to school. Parents don't let children decide whether to play in the street. Why do parents think faith in God is any less important? What those people don't understand is that evil is everywhere and the child will get messages from the wrong places and develop a faith in self, greed, things, pleasure or something else unless he or she is taught otherwise. Timothy was taught very early that he was to place his faith in the Lord.

Timothy's grandmother and mother had a faith that they lived and a faith which they taught. A godly parent must do both. You can't just drop your children off at church, you have to come yourself and show by example how important worship is through your personal commitment. You can't succeed if you merely say to your child, "Do as I tell you, not as I do." Your example will make a great difference as to whether your child sees your faith as real or hypocritical.

Another reason it is important to start early in leading your children to trust the Lord is because of the repercussions to your family if you fail to do so. In Exodus 20 the Lord states that He visits the sins of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations. Think about that for a moment. The Scripture does not imply or state that God causes the children of unfaithful parents to go astray - rather, the Scripture is revealing that our sins influence our children to do things even worse with each succeeding generation! Some parents say, "Well, we did some crazy things, too!" Yes, you probably did. Sadly, however, if you don't seek to protect your children from your mistakes, they will make every greater mistakes and form even worse habits.

Look at an example in the Scripture. In 2 Chronicles 26 we see the story of King Uzziah. The king went into the Temple to burn incense even though a king was not supposed to do so. Burning incense was the exclusive work of a priest. So, the king was committing an arrogant and wicked act. While Uzziah was in the Temple he was stricken with leprosy, taken out of the Temple to a private house, away from the public, and lived that way till he died. Then we read about his grandson who became king as recorded in 2 Chronicles 28. He was extremely evil and he burned sacrifices to Baal and led the people to do the same. He brought sorrow and shame on his family and his nation. Now here is my point. Uzziah rebelled against the will of God and by the third generation his grandson had turned his back completely on the Lord. That was not God's fault, but it does reveal a principle - a lack of faithful commitment by parents can lead to several generations that forsake the Lord.

Don't get me wrong in this matter. There are parents who do everything the right way - at least as far as it is within human power to do so. Yet, they have children who go astray, leave God behind and live lives that are shameful. Each person makes his or her own decision about life once he or she reaches adulthood. You cannot guarantee the walk of your children into adult life. However, you can do all that God asks of you so that you don't look back with regret and wonder if things might have turned out differently has you just obeyed God in these matters.

To create a godly commitment in your children, you need to first have that godly commitment in your hearts and in your daily practices as parents. Most of you have heard of Ben Carson, one of the greatest pediatric brain surgeons in the world. Ben was a black child growing up in the city of Detroit. While still very young he started to get into trouble. The best grade he got early in school was a "D" - his teacher congratulated him for doing the best work he had done in that class. His friends called him, "Dummy." Ben's mother was a Christian and she determined she was not going to let her boy throw his life away. She set forth a strict regimen of study for young Ben. He could watch only two hours of TV a WEEK - not a night - but two hours a week. He had to read two books a week. Soon his grades got better. Ben Carson, the young who had tried to stab a friend, and who was called a dummy by his friends, ended up graduating from high school with honors. He went on to become America's greatest brain surgeon for children. Why did this happen? It happened because his mother decided to take time with him, to discipline him and guard him for the world. You can't change a child by simply getting him out from under your feet - a Christian parent who wishes to do the best for a child must spend time and energy in the effort.

That is clearly what Timothy's mother and grandmother had done with him. They spent time with him and taught him the Scriptures. Don't leave the job of teaching and training your children to the church or school - get involved and stay involved. It is the only way to leave a lasting conviction in the heart and mind of your child.

III. A Loving Companion (Verse 15)

Paul reminded Timothy that he was to continue in the things he had learned - things that make one wise to salvation in Jesus Christ. Note something important here - we do not just get salvation from Christ - we have salvation IN CHRIST.

When we are saved, Jesus is our constant companion. He will never leave you nor forsake you. To bring up a child in the fear and admonition of the Lord, is to help that child reach a time when he or she can personally accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Once that decision has been made, you can know that your child has a Friend closer than a brother throughout life. You will not always be there for your child, but the Lord can be there when you can't be!

All godly parents want their children to hang out with the right friends. There is no Friend like Jesus. Teaching your children that Jesus is not a by-word in life but is the living Word who will never leave them nor forsake them can make such a great difference.

One of the greatest problems faced by this generation of youth is a feeling of loneliness. A few years ago a news story told of an eight year old who committed suicide. It shocked the family, the community and, as the word filtered out, the entire nation. Reports stated that the young boy had left a note for his family saying, "I am so lonely." No child should be lonely - and no child is lonely who truly knows Christ as Savior.


As we come to the time to bring these beautiful children, some of them precious babies in the arms of their parents, I wonder if there are parents here this morning who realize a need to get closer to the Lord. You know that the job is bigger than you are. You desire God's help in leading and rearing your little ones, so you can be a better parent to your child or children? Some of you may have adult children who are going through crises of one kind or another - they are dealing with problems that man cannot solve. Why don’t you make a new commitment to the Lord this morning and ask Him to show you ways to help and influence your children (young or old) to turn to Christ for answers in life. We are going to have an invitation now, and I ask you to come for prayer and commitment. The staff and I will meet you hear at the front, or you kneel here and talk to the Lord and seek Him. He promised that those who seek Him will find Him.

Most importantly, is there someone here this morning who needs Christ in your own heart and life? If you have never accepted Him as your Savior, He is calling you right now and telling you to come to Him in order that you might receive forgiveness and everlasting life!

Now we are going to sing. Now you may come. The Lord is calling, what is your answer to Him?

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