There is a specific prerequisite to getting into the Kingdom Of God that we need to be aware.
Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Matthew 18:2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
Matthew 18:3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
We are the children of God — we need to act in an appropriate way.
Matthew 19:13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.
Unless we become as little children we cannot get into the Kingdom of God.
Don’t be a Child in these Ways
As we know, children have both positive and negative qualities, and the Bible speaks of both.
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
We are not to be like children in being tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14)
These are definitely ways that we are not to be.
Don’t be Childish
He did not mean that those converted to him must act childish and immature. Rather he meant that those who are converted to him must be childlike. There is a vast difference from being childish and being childlike.
In referring to the good qualities of children, I know there are exceptions. But here I am referring to smaller children, who have had parents who have at least tried to be caring…raising them in a good environment. The way that they were supposed to be.
A parent or society can quickly turn a child into something that they aren’t meant to be. I want to speak today of that good example.
What are some of the characteristics of being child-like – not childish – that Jesus may have had in mind when He used the illustrations He used concerning children? Let’s look at some of the qualities we find in children.
No need to spend a lot of time on each of the qualities as many are a sermon in and of themselves
A reference list for later and to be looked at and studied from time to time.
INNOCENT / PURE
NOT BLEMISHED / TARNISHED
Have you ever looked into a baby’s eyes? It’s unspoiled landscape. They’re not yet alive to all the ugly things the adult world has to offer. Unhurt children are untainted, unpolluted, clean, wholesome, spotless, uncorrupted, without guile.
This is the way the we start
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
A child is without malice, guile, envy or jealousy. A little child doesn’t plot and scheme to get something for himself, to harm others, and take from them. His motives are pure and innocent.
We too are to become that way…Paul says we should have this childlike attitude.
HUMBLE / MEEK
NOT ARROGANT / PRIDEFUL
Children have a natural humility. Their meekness is the comes from understanding that they’re only little and have much to learn from someone bigger, wiser, and stronger than they are. They know they’re just little kids.
A child is without feelings of vanity, conceit or pride. Young children have not yet learned what pride is. They have no feelings of self-importance.
God says we should be like this.
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Do we understand our relationship with God our Father and the difference between Him and us?
If we do, how can we can we be anything but humble and meek!
Matthew 5: 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth
This is part of the better promises of God that we have waiting for us.
Most feel no apprehension going up to this child to talk or play.
What is there to worry about in going up to a child? There is nothing to fear.
1 Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.
How can we share the gospel and be a witness without this quality. If we want to or need to do this then we have to take on this child-like quality.
The simplest of toys, often even the box in which some larger item comes, may be of more interest to little children than the toys we heap upon them at every turn. Seldom does a little child demand designer clothes for his/her wardrobe. Again, not until we teach them that things are the key to happiness will they begin to think that way.
We are often wrapped up in the cares of the world. Pursuit of the Joneses. Bombarded with ads from TV, magazines, newspapers, and etc
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
This is an either/or situation. Do we want what the world has to offer (fame, money, goods) or what God has?
Materialism takes your attention off where it should be and it can become our god or idol. It can become your God and messes up your priorities.
Matthew 13:22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
Satan gives us enough to derail us — are we are of this tactic and how he may be using it in our lives? This world and what it has to offer does not last – we need to invest our time in the things of God!
TEACHABLE / RECEPTIVE
Children are not afraid to ask questions all the time. They are perpetually curious, constant learners.
Eager to learn
There is no creature so dedicated to learning as a little child. Their questions often overwhelm us, and their thirst to know “why” should be a lesson to us. Educators have long asked the question, what did we do to remove the child s innate desire to learn? Which is a question that we should ask of ourselves if it is pertinent.
Children are wide-eyed and enthusiastic about learning. They are like sponges. They observe everything, they are curious and inquisitive. Children want to know! They are always asking why!
Children are believing and teachable and often have an amazing ability to grasp simple truths that sometimes cannot be figured out by adults that no doubt consider themselves wiser. God called us in much the same way. Do we remain this way?
Christ brought out this principle when talking about His disciples, who, though they were adults and very imperfect, did have a measure of this childlike, teachable attitude.
Most of us wouldn’t be here right now if we hadn’t had this attitude at one time.
Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
Luke 10:22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
Luke 10:23 Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; [as babes]
Luke 10:24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.“
God shows and teaches His truth to those who have a receptive attitude.
Children will watch, study and closely observe the behavior of their parents. They will imitate everything they do. We need to be like children, as Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as [His] dear children.
We should pray Shew me your ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
Little children are supposed to look up to their mothers and fathers and they do. They want to respect their parents and begin to model their lives after them. That’s why they dress up like them and play grown-up. They want role models.
Society has taken advantage of that today and have substituted movie stars, rock bands and athletes for real role models
How does this translate to us? Children look up to us the way that we are to look up to God.
Psalms 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
The term Fear (of God): respect, reverence, piety.
This is a necessary attribute that we are to put on
Children are dependent upon their parents for almost everything. They cannot take care of themselves at all. They rely on their parents for food, clothing and shelter. Children realize they are not able to provide for themselves. They are very dependent on their parents for food and nourishment. They rely on them to protect them from dangers and evil. They know Mom and Dad will provide all their needs. Yes, little children do realize their own limitations and rely absolutely in their parents for help and protection.
Oh, they may claim to be big and strong and brave at times, but just let one of them get in the dark or get lost in a crowd or get hurt and the facade falls – and they come running immediately to Mommy or Daddy. They know they are little and weak, and they know where they must go for their real strength and protection. They are not embarrassed that this is true.
Christ wants us to act in the same exact way in our relationship with God.
If we do the following, it can free us up from most of the stresses and worries in this life:
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Matthew 6:28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
Matthew 6:29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matthew 6:30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Matthew 6:32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
If we learn to depend on God and have faith that He will provide our needs — HE WILL! When we see God and His ways we have a win/win situation. We get to lead a Godly life and God will take care of the rest.
Should we not recognize that we are also dependent upon God for the very sustenance of life? No need to worry, our only worry is if we drift away
Have you ever noticed a young child get scared when they realize that they have drifted away from their parents? They know that without their parents there is danger.
We also need fear nothing, except drifting from God. If we drift away, we are in danger of becoming independent. An independent spirit believes in themselves and that they know better than God.
One of the hardest things a Christian has to learn is to rely on God‘s ability and not our strength…our own sufficiency…Relying on self has to literally die… Can we raise ourselves from the dead. Can we give ourself Eternal life? …God tells us to depend on Him…We may be having problems…God tells us to seek Him out…Through Jesus Christ we can enter into the very presence of God…We can take our failings…our problems…our fears…our needs…any troubles or trials that beset us…and seek God…and He promises He will be found and will answer us…
Remember that God is near, call him and Cast your burden upon him and God will meet all your needs.
NOT DISTRUSTFUL / FEARFUL
Different from dependence:
You can be dependent without trusting…For example Govt and someone on welfare. While you may depend on them for help, sustenance you may not trust them to give you the CPI increases and other things that you need or trust them in other areas.
A young child trusts with all his heart that his parents will be there for him in his time of need. A child trusts that his father will be there for him when he takes those first steps, or takes his first ride on his new bike. A child trusts that his mother will be there for him when he scrapes his knee, or when the other kids are picking on him.
For us when God makes a promise, we should trust Him to see it through. When I do what He has told me through His word, I can rest assured and trust with all my heart that He will uphold what He has promised. I can also rest assured that He will be there for me–in times of need, in times of rejoicing, in times of despair. God is faithful and will not forsake His children
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
We can be secure and confident, even bold if we put our Trust in God. It is better to trust in the God than to put confidence in man.
SIMPLE / UNPRETENTIOUS
NOT COMPLEX / ARTIFICIAL
They act in a natural way — sincere and genuine. What you see is what you get! Unspoiled little children are unsophisticated. No airs and graces. They have not yet learned to be jaded or cynical. When that is perverted, life becomes artificial, forced, and ugly.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Children enjoy a unique simplicity. They live in an uncomplicated, direct-approach world. Children live, love, laugh, play, and rest without complexity.
It is impossible for a child to hold a grudge. They may get upset or fight even say I hate you, but they make up and put it behind them. With children there are no lingering grudges, no desire for revenge. A child is ready to forgive and go on about their playing. It takes an adult to hold a grudge, to prolong anger toward another for an extended period of time.
Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
Luke 17:4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
We don’t have a choice as a Christian — we must be ready and willing to forgive.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
(addendum) AND QUICKLY SO
Another thing is that two children engaged in a tussle,vowing to be enemies for ever and ever, will no doubt be playing together as best friends, within 5 minutes, as if nothing ever happened. Children are quick to forgive one another, while at the same time they are quick to forget.
Those who desire to live with God and the rest of our spiritually family for eternity must manifest a similar attitude of forgiveness. The child of God must be willing to forgive those who repent of their wrongdoing if they wish to be forgiven of their sins by the Father
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
It is saying here that it is a prerequisite for us to be forgiven, and if we are not forgiven our sins then how can we enter the Kingdom of God since we know that sinners will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Adults can sometimes harbor bitterness and hurt feelings for decades, but little children don’t think that way and that is one more lesson that we can take from them.
A little child has a tender conscience. Often just mild correction will bring the child to tears. He is so sad that his parents are displeased with him. And he wants to be forgiven quickly. They are quick to be contrite and repentant. Then when he is forgiven, he quickly puts it behind him and goes on. God wants us to be like that.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Isaiah 66:2 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.
We must never allow ourselves to get hardened to sin. The longer that we wait to repent, the more damage that we do, we must be sensitive, quick to repent, and willing to change — if we do then we can be in the Kingdom of God!
A child will accept what his parent says. They are that way from the beginning and often stay in the way that they were raised, with only a few course corrections along the way. Typically there is an obedience often before understanding. They often do not fully know why they cant play with knives or cross the street without mommy or daddy or eat berries off the bush in the back yard, but they listen and do as they are told.
They don’t know to be rebellious and haven’t developed that independent attitude. It doesn’t take long for an attitude
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil [do not submit to him] and he will flee from you.
Do not submit to Satan, his ways, his influence, worldliness, anything wrong!
Look through the eyes of others. A parent appreciates the submissiveness of the child will appreciate just as God is pleased about our submission to him. It would be good if we could appreciate what it means to be submissive to God now and not later. It is one of the most difficult things to do in life and that is to put yourself in the place of someone else and imagine what they want. The child to put himself in the place of the parent, a husband to put himself in the place of his wife and so on. If we can do this we will see the benefit of submission.
Lets submit to God and his righteousness — the sooner the better.
Children are loving. They find it natural to hug and cuddle and throw themselves into their parents’ arms. Nothing like a little child climbing into your lap and cuddling or saying , “I love you” unprompted.
What part does it have to play in our lives…a BIG ONE!
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It is the first trait listed as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love….
God is love and it is His character, nature and image — that we are to be putting on.
I don’t think that we really need to elaborate on this one — it’s a part of almost every message that we hear.
Children are zealous. Whatever they do, they “do it with all their might.” They enjoy what they do and they go after it vigorously. They are whole-hearted. How many times have we seen boy come in side sweating and dirty from head to toe. You are never sure exactly what they were doing but one thing you do know is that they were doing it with gusto.
Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
Especially now at the end time
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— [a horrible spiritual condition]
Revelation 3:18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
This is the way to go about the word of God. There is a malaise that is coming over the church and the love of many is waxing cold. Now is the time to wake up out this stupor.
It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good. Be zealous for the law, good works, church, spiritual gifts, towards God.
It doesn’t take much to make a child happy. Little children often express spontaneous joy. They have so much of the world in front of them and they are happy about life and what it has to bring.. That is the way that God wants us to be, albeit in a more mature way.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Even in times of adversity. Not only in the good times. Especially in a country like America, we have so much to be jubilant about, even when it seems like the world may be against you.
Lets be joyful in God and for all the goodness that the He has done, we can even be joyful in our trials and tribulation, we can be joyful in our prosperity, and we can be joyful throughout the year and at any time of the year.
HONEST / OPEN
NOT DECEITFUL / DISHONEST
A child can be read like a book, their face, eyes, body language, voice etc “give them away”? They will even tell the truth when they know they will get in trouble for it.
Why do people lie: To avoid being punished or taking responsibility; To get; to impress; avoid embarrassment; to control a situation; etc.
Christ set us an example; He did not mince words whether talking to the Pharisees a generation of vipers or Peter (get behind me Satan). He said what needed to be said, when it needed to be said.
Who is our first priority to?
A whole commandment is dedicated to this one…Thou shalt not lie. We can expand on this concept as it leads away from the truth.
Some children have not yet learned the art of selfishness that can be so characteristic of adults. I have more than you do, and similar competition are more characteristic of adult behaviour than that of little children. Ask a child for a bite of their ice cream and they are likely to hand over the whole thing; that is unless we adults have taught them to watch out for #1 all the time. Generous to a fault. Will give anything away regardless of monetary value. They have a different value system
Acts 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Jesus is saying that generosity has a boomerang effect. So why wouldn’t we want to do it?
We could probably come up with other childlike qualities and I encourage you to continue to think on these things and how we should develop them in our lives.
This is just the surface of these qualities. Just as the initial scripture didn’t tell us this much, each of these qualities that we are to take on have so much more that can be said about each one of them
Children: Our Living Example
They show us how our relationship with God should be
Children are an unspoken sermon in every home and they remind us what it means to be a real Christian.
We are to grow up, but don¹t forget to put on these qualities and characteristics “for of such is the kingdom of God”