|Volume 23 Number 2 February 2021
Martha Lynn Rushmore
I found this sermon outline in one of my late husband’s books. It was written by Tom W. Butterfield, who passed away many years ago. He was one of the great preachers of the Upper Ohio Valley. He spoke the Word plainly and simply as told us in Scripture. Even young children understood the lessons he taught.
Little children are innocent. Jesus would have not used little children as examples if they were guilty of sin. He would not have used them in Matthew 19:14 if they were anything except pure. Jesus taught the disciples in Matthew 18:1-3 that they were to become as little children in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This applies to us today. Children are blameless until they attain the age of accountability, knowing right from wrong.
We are not born in original sin. This is where false teachers say we are born as sinners, bearing the guilt of the sin of Adam and Eve and thereby inheriting their sin. We are born innocent at birth. A little baby only knows three things. He knows if he is hungry, if his diapers needs to be changed or if he hurts. Since babies cannot talk, they cry to let us know they need something.
How can these babies believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 16:16; 9:23)? How can they repent of sins (Luke 13:3, 5)? Can they confess Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10)? Can these little ones choose to be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)? The answer to all these questions is, “No!” They have no understanding about any of these things.
Well, then, why do parents want their little ones baptized (sprinkled or poured water upon)? Neither sprinkling nor pouring are Bible baptism. Either is just a little water sprinkled or poured on the little one without any biblical significance. Usually when this happens, the babies cry. They do not like it. These acts are the choices of parents only – not of the babies. These parents want their babies baptized (so-called) because of the false belief that babies are born in sin.
Let us look a little deeper. What is baptism? It is a burial in water. In Acts 8:38, Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptized him. Why would they both go into the water if Philip were going to pour or sprinkle water on the eunuch? Baptism means to dip, to plunge, to bury or to immerse. These words all mean to be completely covered with water. If you bury a person who has died, do you just sprinkle or pour a little dirt on the deceased? Of course not. The body is completely covered.
Little children are forgiving. They can argue with each other. One child might say something like this, “I hate you and I am never talking to you again.” Within five minutes or less, they will resume playing again as best friends, and the argument is all forgotten. This is one way we as adults are to be as little children. Are you forgiving? Do you say to yourself, “I am going to forgive this person, but I will not forget?” Is this really forgiveness? I think not. I understand as humans it is hard to forgive and to forget.
Children are very inquisitive. They learn by asking questions (Exodus 12:26). They want to learn. Young children are so very curious and are like sponges. They absorb everything they hear. Young ones can learn a lot if parents are prepared to answer their questions. We as Christians should also be inquisitive. We need to study God’s Word as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11. They studied daily.
Little children are grateful. If they are taught at a young age to say “please” and “thank you,” this will come naturally to them as they get older. We as adults are to be grateful to our Heavenly Father for all He has done and continues to do for us. We are so richly blessed (Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 2:4-7). We have an awesome God, and He provides what we need, as He does for the flowers and the birds, too (Matthew 6:26-34). So, let us be thankful and prayerful to God and tell Him how very appreciative we are for His loving care and for giving us what we need – much more (Philippians 4:6).
Children are imitators of their parents. Little ones learn by watching us. If we do not want your children to lie, then do not lie to your boss that you are sick, when really you just want to take a day off of work, even though you are feeling fine. Another example is when the phone rings and you do not want to talk to the person calling. Do not have someone tell the caller that you are not home. The child sees your actions, and he knows you just told a lie. This shows children that it is okay to lie.
Children are entitled to good examples (2 Timothy 1:5). If we want them to do right, then we must do right. We must be imitators of God as His children (Ephesians 5:1-2). Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1 that we are to be followers of him as he was following Christ.
If we want our children to grow up following the Word of God, we must do our best to do what God’s Word commands us. Of course, this is not a guarantee that they will stay faithful. According to Psalm 22:6, they will always know what they have been taught. With the right example and a lot of prayers, the likelihood is that our children will obey (Romans 8:16-17) the faith and remain faithful (Revelation 2:10). Remember, though, they have freewill to make their own choices – right or wrong.
Woe Is Unto Me
Woe is unto me if I proclaim not His name,
If, of Him, I am ashamed.
Woe is unto me if I share not His Word,
If the Gospel, from me, is unheard.
Woe is unto me if I don’t value souls,
If His truth I don’t sow.
Woe is unto me if Him, I don’t obey,
If any sin, to me, is ever okay.
Woe is unto me if my cross I don’t bear,
If I’m caught in Satan’s snare.
Woe is unto me if I’m ever lukewarm,
If of spiritual danger, I don’t warn.
Woe is unto me if from Him I turn away,
How then will I be ready for that great day?
Woe is unto me if I ever fall from grace,
Don’t endure this faith race.
Woe is unto me if Him I don’t serve,
Don’t give Him the love He deserves.
Don’t let it be woe is unto me.
So, share the Gospel as often as I can,
And through faithfulness reach that Promised Land.