Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The heart of the Father for the little ones. 11.30.2014
Dear friend,

Is it not wonderful to observe children and how they depend so much on their parents? Is it not wonderful to observe the fruit that their union has has brought into this world? Another offspring of God! Another child of God! What a joy and privilege it is then to extend the love of our Father God towards them and in so doing train and teach them of the heart of God, their Father in heaven.

When the question is asked about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus responded by telling His disciples that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, one must become as a little child. He then went on to explain what he meant as he gave details to expand on how His Father/our Father define greatness.

1. He spoke of humility.
2. He spoke of welcoming children in His name.
3. He spoke of not offending the little ones who believe in Him with serious warnings to those who do so.
4. He spoke of not despising the little ones.
5. He spoke of the joy in heaven when a little one later in life returns to His Father's house.
6. He spoke of His desire that when a little one has gone away from His house that we seek them.
7. He spoke how it is the will of our Father in heaven, that not even one of these little ones should perish.

Today we will be witnesses to the Baptism of Connor Lorentz, the son of Brent and Keitha Lorentz. May the Lord richly bless Connor as He lives his life in Christ Jesus as a child of God through the merits of His Saviour. May we all recognize and support that who our Lord Jesus Christ has made Connor to be through His redemptive work on the cross, the benefits which are poured out into his life through the act of God towards him today: Holy Baptism

May we all be faithful in training, teaching and praying for those little ones who have been placed in our care by their Heavenly Father.

As Jesus and His disciples traveled, as he continued to teach them there arose a question among that as to who is the greatest in the kingdom. By putting the various Gospels together it is plain to see that there was some jealousy, rivalry and arguing amongst the disciples and at this point Jesus decided to give them some teaching. We also know that Jesus had chosen Peter, James and John to be with Him on special occasions and perhaps as a result of this, the human emotions and feelings had risen that were threatening to cause dissension in the group of His disciples. He wished to teach them and us as to how True Greatness is measured in His kingdom.

Why do we baptize children?

We baptize children because there is nothing they do to receive God, He has done it all. Faith does not begin with us, for it begins with God's faithfulness. He did for us what it was impossible for us to do. God has received them through the merits of Christ, and this sacrament declares that God has accepted His offspring, and we confirm that which He has done. This is what Jesus is trying to show His disciples. He was sending them out to tell the world that He has bought them back through the cross, He has made all acceptable and they are to go tell all they Christ has received them, that they are the offspring of God. Jesus wanted to show them of his longing to gather by calling a tiny little child in the middle ofl them, saying,

KJV 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.

Children live in simplicity, they are forgiving, and they are trusting. Studies have revealed and simple observation of life reveals this also. Children ask a lot of questions when they are young, the questions begin to drop off in the middle school years and continue to drop off as they grow older.

1. They are dependent on their parents/guardians.

2. They are not able to hide their emotions and thoughts.

3. The believe that which they are told.

4. They are largely naive and ignorant of their sin nature and of the sin natures of us all.

5. They are very teachable in general.

6. They are forgiving.

We cannot get in by ourselves, but it is through the act of Christ making us ready, that we are able to enter in. We need to come to a place of neediness to receive that which God has done for us. Unless we turn and change our mind about God, we will not enter in. Unless we understand that we are like a dependent and needy child, we will never enter into Him for we will never come to him.

The work of Christ brought unto us salvation and it not only changes our idea of how God receives us, but it also has an effect on how we view others. We see them as God sees them. Connor is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and everyone of us who is brought into union with Jesus Christ are the greatest in the kingdom of God. We confirm the union, and when we all stood, we gave honor to the One who has united us to Himself through the redemptive work of Christ.

How should we receive children?

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

Baptism is no trick as if by magic, for when we baptized Connor we confirmed that which God has done through Christ. Connor is Christ's as all the children here, both young and old are Christ's.

What warnings are given to those who offend one of these little ones?

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.
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!

There will be offenses against this little one who is united with Christ, little ones will be negativelly affected, but their God will care for them, but those through whom the offense come are warnings given. The worst punishment is threatened even to the point that the violater's body would never be found for it would remain under the water with the millstone attached to it.

8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

If one continues to relate this to children, it would refer to mortifying those parts of our body that would cause offense to the little ones. Are we using that which we have been given to bless our little ones or to use or to dominate for our selfish purposes?

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.

Our Father knows everyone of His offspring, He is mindful of all that they go through. This child, Connor has constant representation before God, as in this scripture it is said that their angels behold their Father in heaven.

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

In Baptism, we confirm what Christ has done, for when people come to us, we simply need to bring them in. He was baptized into us, He not only died for us, He took our place in death, so that we would not have to die. He was joined to us, so that we could be joined to Him. When Jesus told John to baptize Him, He did not expect John to understand, but He wanted him to do it.

13: So then what do you think in light of what I have said? Do you not think that you will go to all lengths to find one of these lost ones? And don't you think that when you find that one, you will be happy beyond imagination?

14: Even so, perhaps we could say, Yes!!! God has sent us to gather, not to scatter or to sort out. How then could we think that we have the duty to be segregationists as far as who God wants in His kingdom? Let us be integrationists, not separatists. Let us be gatherers and not sorters.

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

There will be no joy in God's heart for everyone who enters into eternal separation and torment. We must guard our hearts from thinking things like that.

Connor is not only Brent and Keitha's baby, but he is also our baby. Why do I say that? Because if we are God's children, then Connor is our brother. For God has received Connor through the offering of His Son and united Him unto Himself so that we are the family of God. This is the nature of the kingdom of God, a reality which remains hidden to human reasoning. God receives sinners and makes them pure through the blood of His Son. This is the will of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and what we have done here today is to do the will of God.

This is the purest imitation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, who on the cross received all to Himself. When we receive a little child, and when we bless them into the kingdom, we imitate that which Jesus did, gather them into the kingdom of God. We are all like children, for Christ looks at us like we are little children, for Christ takes us into His arms even as Connor's parents take him into their arms.

We ask a blessing upon Connor, but not only upon Him but for all who have been united to you through your Son. Give us eyes to see those around us through the merits and the gathering touch of Jesus. Let us be touched by the feelings of those around us, let us be touched by them in physical ways, let us seek to touch them in their need and so on.

Jesus taught us today about the contrast between the ways of the world and the ways of His kingdom. Using a little child as a live illustration, He points to its openness of feelings and emotions, to their trusting nature, to their naiveness of evil, of their forgiving nature, and that they are teachable. He calls us to be like them in all these ways.

It has been said that children are like wet cement. As they grow they are becoming shaped and eventually they are hardened into the form that those who were doing molding shaped them into.

At what age does the molding begin? It begins with the parents

who through whom the fruit of their love comes forth their child,
through the givingness of the mother and father who nurture their child while it is yet in the womb, through esp the mother when it is an infant,
through the example of the husband and wife loving one another through serving one another by putting other's needs first and so on.

As the child gets older it begins more so to be affected by the attitudes, words and actions, both good and bad of its parents. Here is where the wet cement idea comes in, as we will see in these closing illustrations. I will tell two stories which are connected to one another. We not only want to cause our children to love the Lord and to serve Him, but when they go astray we long for their return. These two stories will illustrate these two desires.

The heart of Our Father.

A brother in Christ of mine died during this past year who lived to be 90 years old. At his funeral service a story was read by one of his grandsons which related a happening of the deceased when he was five years old. He had found a knife and had begun to run around with it until his older sister approached him and told him that he could not have that knife. Of course, he did not go along with that, but instead held onto it all the more and so she did the only thing that she could in trying to get it away from him. She grabbed it by the blade and began to pull it away from him, but....he was stronger. He yanked it through her hand, leaving her with a cut and bloody hand. He ran away into the woods, and hid there for the rest of the day, not wanting to face his father because of what he had done.

But it began to get dark, and soon he was more afraid of the dark than his father. So in the darkening skies, he crept towards the porch, and as he did, he saw the light in the room. As he stepped up onto the porch, he looked into the room and all he could see was his father's big boots. He opened the door crept in, still seeing only the big boots. He lifted his head, up the body of his father, not know what he would see, but then........ he saw his father's smiling face, he felt his father's big arms wrap around his body and he heard his father's kind voice saying, "It is all right, my son, it is all right my son." The wet cement was being formed in a good way, as his father revealed the heart of God towards his son.

But what about if the cement got formed and hardened over the years in a wrong way, one that never known the heart of a loving father, one who had gone away from the heart of the seeking father. One that had become formed and hardened in bitterness, isolation, manipulation, control, apathy, and so on. Let us listen to the next story.

One was lost, but is found.

A month or so ago, I did a Mildred Schrode's funeral in Buffalo. Mildred was a resident of the Care Center where our Jen Lorentz serves the elderly in that town. Some years back I had began to minister to Mildred and at some point she asked me to conduct her funeral services. During that funeral I told the above story to those who were present. After the funeral, just before we were to leave for the cemetary, an older woman came up to me and asked me if I had five minutes before we left. I said, sure and she began to relate to me of a recent happening in her family. She began by telling me that as I was telling that story, her recent experience with her son was on her mind and on the minds of her family who were sitting next to her.

She went on to relate that over the years her son who was now near retirement age had drifted away from the Lord, had not come to see her much at all. All the years she had been praying for her son, had been calling upon the Lord to find him and to bring him back to Himself as well as to her. Then one day within the last year, he knocked on her door........She opened the door, and he did not mince any words, for he immediately began to cry out to her that he was lost and that he needed to return to the Lord. His mother, quite overcome, but yet rejoicing in her heart, began to listen to his heart as he confessed his sins. After doing so, she encouraged him to believe that through the cross of Christ all his sins were forgiven. and about the need for him to turn from his former life.

He listened and they then together sang some songs that he had learned in Sunday School, and eventually went to bed. In the morning his mother was wondering if what had happened last night had really happened, but before long her son was down in her kitchen, happily singing his Sunday School songs of the past and then he told her. "Mom, I'm so happy, I am going to heaven!" At that all doubt was removed and she went on about her day. A little while later in the morning, as she was working around her home, he went to sit in a chair in the living room. She thought it kind of strange that he was there so long so she went to check on him and.......he had been called home by the Lord......The mother there in her living room rejoiced for the salvation of her son............

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Lord, thank you for your grace towards us, for your forgiveness toward us, for your kind and compassionate care for us. Thank you for being patient with us when we do not teach and train according to who You are, for we in our sin are selfish, prideful and narrow sighted. Thank you for patiently teaching us through our parents, thank you for continuing to teach us through many other of your people, thank you for continuing to seek us when we moved away from You, thank you for protecting us when we were away from you, and Lord, thank you for never never never giving up on us. Oh, Lord, cause us to have your heart towards our little ones, not only the young in age, but also the young in maturity who still need training and nurturing so that they would be molded in your ways. Lord, give us hope today for those who are in the wilderness and who are lost in sickness and sin. Help us to see them in their need of your saving through the Gospel. Give us your seeking and gathering heart so that they could be brought back to you. Lord, help us to imitate you in these these. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 30 Nov 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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