“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7 NIV).
Living in the information age, we are also living in the education age. If you don’t have a high school diploma, you can get your GED. With an internet connection you can take college courses from the comfort of your own home. If you don’t have that, you can still learn on the job, or in the break-room with a book borrowed from the public library.
Learning is very available to us, but, not all learning has the same value. Worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom are often very different things.
God speaks to us today about true wisdom, the wisdom that we gain through our ongoing relationship with Him. This true wisdom from God often conflicts with what sinful mankind considers to be wise.
Sometimes human opinion matches up with God’s opinion. But sometimes following God’s command seems foolish.
Our Old Testament reading is taken from the Proverbs which King Solomon wrote down at the direction of God’s Holy Spirit. As we read through these think about what the characters of your favorite TV show would think. Where would they agree, and where would they laugh at the wisdom of God?
Old Testament.............. Proverbs 16:17-33 (NIV)
17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
he who guards his way guards his life.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud.
20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
and pleasant words promote instruction.
22 Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it,
but folly brings punishment to fools.
23 A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,
and his lips promote instruction.
24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death.
26 The laborer’s appetite works for him;
his hunger drives him on.
27 A scoundrel plots evil,
and his speech is like a scorching fire.
28 A perverse man stirs up dissension,
and a gossip separates close friends.
29 A violent man entices his neighbor
and leads him down a path that is not good.
30 He who winks with his eye is plotting perversity;
he who purses his lips is bent on evil.
31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained by a righteous life.
32 Better a patient man than a warrior,
a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the LORD.
That last proverb is so enlightening and full of power.
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs NIV).
There is no such thing as chance. Jehovah God governs the world He made with more care and control than that. The more we take this to heart, the more we will be able to set our foolish pride down and walk in God’s ways, even when those ways conflicts with what human wisdom dictates. Our God blesses us in ways unexpected when we live our life choices in step with His direction.
Letter Reading Introduction:
Our New Testament letter reading comes from Paul’s letter to the young pastor Timothy.
Here Paul emphasizes that God’s wisdom is different than man’s wisdom. Paul calls living God’s wisdom, “Godliness”. Godliness is very versatile. It is beneficial for this life, and for the life to come.
Letter reading............... 1 Timothy 4:6-11 (NIV)
6If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
11Command and teach these things.
That phrase at the end might seem confusing at first,
“…we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy NIV).
Paul is pointing out that fact that Jesus didn’t just suffer to save people who would believe in Him, Jesus suffered the punishment for the sins of all people. He is the Savior of the world.
But Paul also points out the fact that sinners only receive the blessings of God’s Salvation through faith. It is faith which binds them to their Savior and connects them to the blessings that He won through the cross of
God is the Savior of all, and yes, He is also especially the Savior of those who believe.
Confession of Faith
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a poet who lived in the 18th and 19th Centuries. In high school you might have had to read his poem “Kubla Khan”, or his version of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
I can’t remember much about Coleridge’s poetry, but there is one story about him that can’t forget.
Coleridge had some guests at his home and he had gotten into a conversation with a man who insisted that children should receive no formal religious instruction. Instead, they should be left free to choose their own religious faith upon reaching a suitable age.
Coleridge inwardly disagreed, but didn’t immediately argue the point. Instead, later in the evening he invited the man to see his sadly untended garden. Upon seeing the jumbled mess that Coleridge called his “garden”, the man exclaimed, “You call this a garden? There are nothing but weeds here!”
“Well, you see,” Coleridge replied, “I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way. I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself and to choose its own production.”
Coleridge’s point seems to be that if we do not cultivate the proper “plants” in the garden of our children, weeds will grow there instead. If we allow the children in our care to raise themselves and to choose their own beliefs from all those that the world has to offer, then we fail our children.
Today, Jesus says to us, “Don’t let the world raise the child, bring the child to Me.”
gospel Reading................... Luke 18:15-17 (NIV)
15People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the
Missionary Dave Koenig is our senior missionary serving members of our fellowship in
After a service of worship, the people will line up to have Missionary Koenig pray for them individually. As each person comes forward they tell him what they’d like him to pray for. Dave then puts his hand gently on their head and simply speaks to God for them.
This was what Jesus was doing in our reading. Many people came to hear Jesus teach. Many came to have Him heal them. But others came carrying little ones, babies for Jesus to lay His hands on and pray for.
This same event is recorded in Matthew and again in Mark. In Mark we are told that Jesus took the little children right into his arms to bless them (Mark ). Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed for them (Matthew ).
Jesus was pleased to hold and pray for these little ones. He must have also be pleased with those who brought them to Him. Babies can’t walk you see. If nobody brings them to Jesus, they’ll never get to feel His tender care, never get to hear His voice of blessing.
There are children who have been placed within your realm of influence. I don’t care if you’re a parent or not. There are children who you come into contact with. These children depend on you. Especially if you’re the one who is responsible for their daily activities, but also if you’re one who sees them just for a little while. They depend on you, to put them into contact with Jesus so that they might have all the riches of a relationship with God’s own Son.
When the disciples of Jesus saw that people were lining up to have Him pray for their little ones, they tried to shoo them away. For some reason, the disciples thought that these people were bothering Jesus. Perhaps they thought that praying for babies was a waste of the Great Teacher’s time. Perhaps they thought that more important people should see the Master first, and these little children should come later. Whatever the reason, the disciples tried to send these little children away from Jesus.
In our country the same thing happens. Some parents refuse to let their children learn about Jesus at all. They wouldn’t dream of sending their children to Sunday School or
Others hinder children from meeting with Jesus by less open opposition to Him. They simply don’t share Jesus with children, and don’t support those who do. Sometimes it is Christians who prevent little ones from coming to Christ by their failure to support the ministries that reach out to them.
Others hinder children from knowing Christ by living their so-called Christian lives apart from Christ’s Word. While they might not openly speak against Christ, their actions shout against Him. They don’t seek to hear Jesus speak to them through His Word, or they carelessly dispose of His words and live their lives according the wisdom of the world.
In all of these things, the little ones around us are prevented or discouraged from meeting with their Maker and Redeemer. Yes, you and I have sinned against God in this way. We too have tried to send these little children away from Jesus. Either by what we have said, or by what we have failed to say. By what we have done, or by what we have failed to do.
The correcting voice of our Savior rings out to us today,
“…Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the
Today, Jesus tells us to pay attention to the children around us. Jesus tells us to pay attention to them by giving them our time.
It’s so easy to treat children like they are second class humans, not quite as important as adults. It’s easy to say, “After my big important adult things are done, then I’ll pay attention to the little ones”. But a small person isn’t less of a person. Little people are not less worthy of our time.
When it came to babies, Jesus said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got time. Bring them to Me.” These little humans needed His healing hand just as much as the big ones did. These little sinners needed Jesus’ saving grace just as much as the big ones did.
When it comes to the little ones in your life, follow Jesus’ example and give them your time. Give them your attention. And by your interaction with them, lead them to spend their time with Jesus.
Jesus wants us to pay attention to little children for their sake. But Jesus also directs our attention to little children so that we might learn something about the
Jesus didn’t say the
So, what are babies like? They’re needy. If someone doesn’t feed them, they’ll die. They’re helpless. They can’t protect themselves, someone else has to protect them. In a word, babies are dependent. They depend on those who are much bigger and wiser and stronger than they are. They depend on adults for everything. When babies need something, they are unable to do anything about it except cry. They cry out to those who love them.
As God’s people, this is what we need to recognize: we’re just big babies. We need God to feed us - mouth food and soul food - or we die. We need God to protect us - from body danger and sin danger - because we can’t protect ourselves.
If you want to be a strong Christian than accept that you are a big baby. You can’t do anything to fulfill your needs but cry. Cry out to God because you know that He loves you. Jesus proved God’s love for you when He died to remove your sin forever.
This lesson is hard for adults to really take to heart. We think that we’re so much more important than we really are. We think we have so much more influence on the details of our own lives than we really do. We may throw the dice, but as the proverb says, God decides how they fall (Proverbs ).
All people are completely dependent on God, whether they believe it or not. So, believe it dear Christians! Be babies to Christ. Depend on Him. Cry out to Him. In all things.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the
Nickolaus Ryan Kauno received the gracious rule of God in his heart, on
After Nick was connected to Jesus through the waters of Baptism, his faith in Christ was nourished by the Word of God. Nick’s relationship with Jesus grew as his parents, teachers and pastors brought the nourishing Good News of forgiveness to Nick’s growing soul.
For the past three years I have had the blessing of helping Nick’s walk with Christ to grow through our study of God’s Word in Catechism Class. Today my role as Catechism teacher comes to an end. Today the spoon feeding stops and Nick enters our congregation as a communicant member.
May God enable us all to take Jesus’ words to heart so that we bring all who need Christ to Christ. May the Holy Spirit prevent us from ever hindering people from being brought to Jesus. And may our heavenly Father continually remind us that we are dependant on Him, Him who loves us with an everlasting love which was given to us with the forgiveness of sins that came to us through Jesus Christ.
The Peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.