Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39 NKJ).
God is keenly interested in our children. Not just ours personally, but all children. Each one is important to God and He takes special interest in each of them. Children represent the continuance of the species, the future of humanity. Without children our days would be numbered and humanity would face certain extinction. From the beginning of the lifecycles there is innate in every living thing the creative ability for reproduction that assures the future viability of that living organism. While humans may live productive and full lives without giving birth to children, there will be no future generations for those who are unable or choose not to bring children into the world.
God made provisions in the law for the most vulnerable among us, from the unborn to those left as orphans without the provision and protection of parents. The Lord God, “Defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18 NIV). We find those expectations throughout the Scripture. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17 NIV). Injustice against children will suffer retribution.
Jesus showed kindness to children. In the Gospels people brought their little children to Jesus that He might place his hands on them and pray for them. When the disciples rebuked the people and sought to keep the children at a distance and away from Jesus, He ordered them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:13–14 NIV).
In another setting Jesus motioned for a child to come and made him an example as He taught. He said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4 NIV). It is apparent that God values the innocence and trust exhibited by a child and elevates those virtues for all to emulate. Children are included in the kingdom of God and they are the future of the church!
The children were not left out of the picture when the church was ushered in on the Day of Pentecost. Following the instruction of the Lord they waited in Jerusalem for the outpouring of God’s Spirit, not fully understanding what would happen. Just as Jesus directed they waited in prayer. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out with dramatic signs. The sound of a rushing mighty wind was heard and tongues like fire appeared over their heads. All began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them the ability. When the crowds gathered to see what the noise was all about, Peter explained that this was part of Joel’s prophecy, “It shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17 NKJ). Yes, the children, sons and daughters, were included in the birth of the church. As Peter concluded his message that day he extended the future promise, “to you and to your children” (See Acts 2:38–39). Children are the future and our hope!
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJ).