"EXCEPT YE BE CONVERTED AND BECOME AS

LITTLE CHILDREN, YE SHALL NOT ENTER

INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"

Reading: Matthew 18:1-7, Luke 18:15-17

Text: Matthew 18:3 (as above)

INTRODUCTION

(a) How many of us have wished we could be young again and sort of start off afresh with a clean slate!

(b)Well, the Bible NOT ONLY SAYS WE CAN, but also says very clearly that WE MUST!

(c) Our text from Matthew's Gospel chapter 18 and verse 3 says, "Except ye be converted and BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."

(d) Now we might feel like Nicodemus in John chapter 3 when Jesus told this very religious man, "You've got to be BORN

AGAIN!."

i. Nicodemus put his confusion into words, and said, "How can I a full grown adult, be born once more - born again as a

little baby???" The whole idea just blew his mind!!

ii. Well, I mean, was it to be another case of the 'incredible shrinking man'???

 

POINT 1

(a) The Bible teaches that each one of us must be BORN AGAIN internally! In our heart, in our mind, in the depths of our

being!!

i. Our text speaks about it as becoming "little children."

ii. The Apostle Paul speaks about it as "Becoming a new creature in Christ."

(b) Paul knew what he was talking about, from very real personal experience.

i. After all this was the man (then called Saul of Tarsus) who went about persecuting Christians, being responsible for

getting them arrested, thrown into prison, and even put to death!

ii. This was the man who held the coats of those who stoned the first Christian Martyr, Stephen, to death!!

(c) What happened to change this hardened anti-Christian???

HE MET WITH THE RESURRECTED LORD JESUS CHRIST!!!

This resulted in the fact that he was quite literally BORN AGAIN!!

(d) Could anyone doubt that this man, who had become the greatest of the Apostles, had not become, "A NEW CREATURE IN

CHRIST"???

(e) Over and over again, the Bible teaches, that the one who is, again, in the words of our text, "converted", becomes,

in many ways as a "little child."

It even speaks of us as "new born babes" desiring "the sincere milk of the Word" speaking of the Scripture, which

gives food and sustenance for spiritual growth!

(f) If as Christians, we become as "new-born babes, then let us look at children, for they have much to teach us!

(a)   The Bible is not telling us to be CHILDISH but rather to be CHILDLIKE! There is a huge difference!!

 

POINT 2

(a) So often, my children have come to me with a toy smashed almost beyond recognition, and have said, eyes sparkling with

faith, "DADDY FIX!"

(b) Sometimes, thanks to Evostick, Sellotape or a soldering iron, the faith was rewarded, and sometimes not!

(c) But even when my feeble efforts were a failure, it never seemed to shake their faith for the next time!

(d) How simple and un-complicated is our faith in God?

i. Do we firstly, trust Him to repair those parts of our lives that we have smashed to pieces??

ii. Secondly, what is our trust in God like, when things don't go exactly as we please? Whenever He doesn't do as we

want and expect!

iii. In Luke 18:17, Jesus says, "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter

in!"

 

POINT 3

(a) The Salvation which God offers to this world is not a complex, complicated thing that can only be understood by

great theologians, and then explained in simple terms to you and me!!

On the contrary, it is something framed in the simplicities of childhood!!

(b) The CREATOR, GOVERNOR AND PRESERVER OF THIS UNIVERSE, comes right down to our level! WAIT, I TELL A LIE!! He comes down to the INTELLECTUAL LEVEL OF A CHILD!!!

(c) I find that some of the most profound statements of faith can come from the lips of a child!! Adults are inclined

neglect the simple things as unimportant!

(d) Lets face it! What could be more simple than the plan of Salvation?

God gives His Son Jesus, to come to earth, and die in our place on the cross, bearing the penalty of our sin in His Own Body. Then God raises Him from the dead, giving power and credence to the message, and also bringing to us the fact that we have a LIVING SAVIOUR, with the ability to save and forgive all who come to Him, making them NEW PEOPLE INSIDE, with new natures and desires - in fact with a NEW DIMENSION IN LIVING!

(e) So often people say to me, "I COULD NEVER BE A CHRISTIAN, I COULD NEVER KEEP IT!"

How right they are - that's why we need Christ to RE-MAKE US WITHIN! His inward presence will give us the ability to, bit

by bit, become more like Him in every aspect of our living.

THERE IS NOT ONE OF US WHO COULD 'KEEP IT', but by the same token, THERE IS NOT ONE OF US WHO

CANNOT BE KEPT BY GOD - if we are willing!

 

POINT 4

(a) It goes without saying that a little child is innocent and pure!

(b) The born again Christian, is made PURE AND HOLY by the precious shed Blood of Christ!

"The Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from ALL sin." (1 John 1:7)

God says, "Be ye holy for I am holy" (Leviticus 20:7)

(c) The Apostle Paul used himself as an example of God's Grace.

He said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief." (1 Timothy 1:15)

(d) He was making the point, that if God can save someone who was "The chief of sinners", then there's hope for the rest of

us!!

  

CONCLUSION

(a) So what all have we learnt from the simplicity of a child?

(b) We must, to begin with, BECOME AS A LITTLE CHILD, if we are to have any real and meaningful relationship with God!! -

NOT JUST THE TURNING OVER OF A NEW LEAF, BUT RATHER, A NEW LIFE!! LITERALLY BEING BORN AGAIN!! A COMPLETE NEW BEGINNING

(c) A child's simple trust is a model to us all, in our relationship with God!

(d) We don't have to try and raise ourselves to some exalted mental state in order to understand God, but He gives His

message in such simplicity that even a child can understand!

(e) God can take the shattered lives of mankind, and rebuild them again, if He is permitted to do so.

(f) May we, each one commit our lives to God as completely, as trustingly, as willingly, and as simply, as would a child

to it's parent. WE WILL FIND HIM COMPLETELY TRUSTWORTHY.

 

Salvation Army Song Book

SONG and TUNE numbers

754 Simply Trusting every day 299

843 Jesus Loves Me 304

Chorus - Running Over

797 When Mothers of Salem 737

22 To God Be the Glory 576