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Jack Graham - Jesus Loves the Little Children

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    Jack Graham - Jesus Loves the Little Children
TOPICS: Why Believe?, Abortion

We are determined to stop abortions! And we do this not only because we are opposed to abortion, we definitely are, and some of those reasons I'm going to share with you in the sermon today. But not only because we are against something but because we are for life! We are for families! We are for the unborn! And the born! We are for mothers and fathers! To support them and to share the life-giving message of hope to the hurting. But it's a big, big problem in America. It's a devastating problem in America. Since 1973, Roe v Wade established the law of the land, there have been 1.4 million abortions every year! That means over 54 million babies have been aborted legally in the United States since 1973.

Planned Parenthood in an article I received from Planned Parenthood boasted of performing 333,964 abortions in 2011. That's one abortion every 94 seconds from Planned Parenthood. Beyond Planned Parenthood an abortion takes place every 25 seconds in America. Now you put these numbers together and you could make a very, very strong argument that we have become a society that devalues children, that does not value children. Because I could not only give you statistics regarding the unborn and the aborted, but the born and the abused. In a fatherless America, in an America in which children are discarded by their own parents and left to grow up on their own, without much future, sexual abuse and other forms of abuse are prominent in our culture. Children are at risk of all ages. Again, not only the unborn, and the safest place on earth should be a mother's womb, but children are no longer safe unborn and neither are they safe born!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who died a martyr in Nazi Germany for opposing the dehumanization of lives in Nazi Germany, said that "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children". I couldn't agree more. And you could say that our culture not only nationally, but internationally, has become a world in which people are increasingly hostile towards children. And this is not a question for lawyers to debate or politicians to pundit; it is a question for Christians to consider. And while two-thirds of Americans say they oppose abortion in that it is morally wrong, nearly half of the same Americans say but abortion should be legal. It's an inconsistent position, of course. But even in the Evangelical churches, Baptist churches, Catholic churches, there's a great deal of confusion and a lack of information regarding life and the sanctity of life. I've known some Baptist people who are pro-life until their daughter gets pregnant.

So what do we believe? What do we think? Luke chapter 18, would you turn there in your Bible? Because what we think should be what Jesus thinks about children. And Jesus is clear about His love for children. Jesus loves children! And three out of the four of the Gospel writers included a passage in Jesus' life in which He embraced and welcomed the little children into His presence. And Dr. Luke includes this episode. Chapter 18 of Luke, verses 15 to 17. "Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. And truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.'"

I love this beautiful scene in scripture, don't you? It's a beautiful display of the tenderness of Christ, of the kindness of Jesus and the compassion of our Lord. But it also is descriptive of the firmness and the fairness of Jesus in embracing these children in that He severally rebuked. It doesn't say it here in Luke as much as it does in the Matthew passage... the synonymous passage in Matthew, but that Jesus was more than irritated; He was indignant that the disciples would attempt to keep the children... and with the children, of course, their parents who were bringing them... from Him. He invited the children to Himself. And can't you just see these little babies and toddlers crawling on His lap there? They are precious in His sight. Why? Because Jesus values boys and girls, babies. He said they are not insignificant; they are invaluable! Why? Verse 15: "They were bringing even infants to Him that He might touch them". Now here's one the key components of this message so listen up. Say "key component".

Alright here it is. Here's one of the key thoughts of this message. I need you to do a little word study with me from the Scripture. The New Testament written in the Greek language has two primary words for child. One is teknon or teknos which is the general word used for child or children, and it's used 98 times... nearly 100 times in the New Testament. But there is another word, a Greek word to describe children... babies that is brethos, B-R-E-T-H-O-S, brethos which is used only eight times in the New Testament. It is a unique word and Paul uses it, 2 Timothy 3:15, Here's one way in which it used. "How from childhood (brethos) you have been acquainted with a sacred writing which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus". Peter uses brethos in 1 Peter 2:2, "Like newborn infants (here brethos is a newborn, brethos) long for the pure spiritual milk".

Here is a child still dependent upon mother's milk; a small infant. He uses it two other times in Luke 2:16. This is the Christmas story. "And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the (say it) brethos... baby lying in a manger". It's also used in the passage, of course, that we shared today in verse 15 of chapter 18. The people were bringing their infants. That's the word, brethos. And now in all of these cases that I've just mentioned, brethos refers to children outside the womb. They are babies born, outside the womb. Now hold that thought and turn to Luke 1:41 in your Bible. Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist and this was her experience. "And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the brethos... the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit".

Again, in Luke 1:44 "For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the brethos... the baby in my womb leaped for joy"! This time the baby is not outside the womb but in the womb. Same word. A baby born, a baby unborn. Interesting, isn't it, as Mary exalts and praises God for her jumping John... Jumping Jack Flash in her belly. Interesting, isn't it, when some times we call a baby in the womb a fetus or a product of conception, or even a blob of cells. The moment the baby is born, "My baby, my baby". According to God's Word, He made each child in the womb. The hammer-down passage on this is Psalm 139, verses 13 through 16. Mark these words in your mind, in your Bible: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame (that is, my skeletal system) was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance... (And that is akin in the Hebrew language to embryo.) Your eyes saw my embryo; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them".

So God makes every child... God creates every child in the womb! And listen to me! Without question it is indisputable, not only biblically but scientifically and medically, it is indisputable that life begins when God creates life at conception in the womb! Period! End of story! You say, "Well, the life in the womb is not fully developed life". Okay, well, if you use that argument, then a toddler is not fully developed life. Far as that goes, a teenager, God help us, is not fully developed life! And some of you aren't fully developed yet, I might add! Now, I mean, don't say, "Well, what kind of life is it"? Human life! Human life. Small, seemingly insignificant, but a baby to be born with life in the sun. He made the child in the womb. The baby is a baby when the child is fertilized... there's fertilization, conception, however you choose to name it. Created life in the womb! Then He knows the child in the womb. God knows every child in the womb!

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you". You're not an accident; you're a plan of God, written in the Word of God. And then He calls children in the womb. Isaiah 49:1, "Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb. From the body of my mother He named my name"! Here was a prophet who was called to the nation in his mother's womb. And not just the prophets but every person. God has a plan, God has a purpose for your life. This is why children deserve to be born. This is why children deserve to be defended in the womb! Because they're invaluable to Jesus! To the world these little children were insignificant; to Jesus, invaluable.

To the world a burden, but to Jesus a blessing, and to the world expendable, "Get rid of them", but to Jesus an example, for notice what He said, again, in Luke 18: "Let the little children come to Me. Don't hinder them, for of such belongs the kingdom of God. Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it". While Jesus is very tender with these children, He's very tough in His language here. Later He would get even tougher when he would say, "If you hinder one of my little ones, it would be better to have a millstone hung around your neck... (which is a huge piece of rock with a hole in the middle)... have a millstone hung around your neck and thrown into the depths of the sea than to hinder one of my little ones". That's tough! That's what we see in Jesus, isn't it? His tenderness, His toughness; He's a velvet covered brick. But He advocates for the children. He advocates for the hurting and the helpless and for justice. And, yes, God will judge this! And that's what should break our hearts.

So in closing, I want to give you several ways that we can exercise faith and repentance regarding what we've heard today. Number one, pray for the mercy of God... pray for the mercy of God upon those who've made really bad decisions. For the grace of God, for the forgiveness of God. Pray for our country. We can't go on like this; we just can't. Pray for a Constitutional Amendment that will prohibit abortion. You say, "Impossible". Not impossible. We saw how our government is already responding to the gun debate that's going on. And that's another subject and it does involve children and the precious... the reason that this is so close to us is with the killing of the children, the killing of these innocents, it just grips peoples' hearts, and now we're moving quickly to do something. God can change the heart of a king. Just like that.

We need to educate ourselves on the issues, that's the second thing: Get informed. Don't be ignorant about this. Don't turn your head. I know it's not comfortable, me standing up here and giving you some of these numbers and talking about this subject. I know this is not comfortable, and it shouldn't be! This is not a political issue, primarily, though it has political ramifications. This is not a legal issue primarily, though there are legal Constitutional matters at stake. This is primarily a God issue! It is a life issue! We need to know, not what some lawyer says or what some politician says! What does God say? What does God say?

Thirdly, get involved. We need to volunteer to help children everywhere. Jarrett Stephens spoke, delivered a prayer at the Plano Advocacy Center this past week, and in Plano Texas, children are being abused like you can't even imagine! And this advocacy center is addressing that. The church ought to address that as well. Abused kids... sexually abused and otherwise; abandoned kids. We need to serve in our pregnancy center, Prestonwood Pregnancy Center. Listen to these statistic from our center over the past year, 2012: 3500 plus client visits 1991 pregnancy tests 1276 sonograms 284 confirmed births of babies 122 professions of faith, people coming to Jesus. We need to get involved! Fighting for the defenseless and loving our children!

Fourthly, we need to teach morality in the home and in the church. Teach morality in the home and the church! Teach total abstinence, sexual purity to our children! Obviously the government and public schools are very confused about what to do. I'm thankful for many of you who teach or coach or work in public schools; you're doing your best under difficult circumstances there about teaching morality and right and wrong. So God bless you, and we pray for you. But stand for what is right! Teach morality! Demonstrate purity in your own life! Teach it at church! Nobody wants to talk about sex at church. We better talk about here with our kids in the right context, the right environment.

Then finally, step out in faith. Stand up for life. Choose adoption. I know families in our church who are adopting children from other countries, because in other countries children are throw-a-ways, especially little girls in certain areas of our world. Some of you have gone to China and you've brought back children. There are many ways that you can be a part of this on a very deeply personal level. You could minister to hurting people who have been broken by abortion. I said it's not just about what we're against, but what we're for and who we're for! We're for people! Up, up with people! That's who we're for! We're for justice! I've been in this long enough now that I know that women who have experienced or chosen abortion live with a lot of hurt and a lot of pain. It's not good for women! It's just not! So maybe as a woman you would stand up and say, "I've been there; I've done that. By the grace of God I stand here today to say that there's a better way, there's a way of hope and a way of forgiveness".

Make your home a Christian home and by God's grace, let's never give up this fight. Why? Because Jesus loves the children. He said of such is the kingdom of heaven; such is the kingdom of God. He said in order to become a Christian you don't have to act like an adult, you have to become like a child. Child-like faith. And there's a difference in childish and child-like, right? You can be childish and carnal. Paul talked about that to the church of Corinth. So we're not talking about being childish, but child-like. Jesus said become like a... What is a little child like? Humble, teachable, wide-eyed, loving... humble. Jesus said if you're going to be converted you have to become like a little child and be converted. We're called the children of God! Show me in the Bible where it says we are the adults of God! No, we are the children of God, through a new birth and a new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus loves all the children of the world.
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