Parental Guidance

Jesus loves the little children,
all the covenant children of the world.

Children cannot obey Christ’s command to come to Him unless their parents first obey Christ’s command to bring them to him. So parents have authority and responsibility to act on behalf of their children.

If Jesus were here with us physically, we could easily take our children to him, put them in his arms, ask him to lay hands on them, and bless them. (And you know what? He would gladly do it.) But since he is not here with us physically, but spiritually, the pressing questions for us are how, why, and when should we bring our children to Jesus?

I know what it’s like to be a Christian parent with little children in the household and not know what to do with them with regard to baptism and worship. I had to wrestle through these issues myself for the sake of my own children when they were little and young. I want to help you do the same for your children. So let me offer you some pastoral counsel that will help you and your children.

I don’t want to offer counsel from 30,000 feet. I want to offer it at eye level—from one Christian parent to another.

Let’s tackle the “how, why, and when” questions one at a time.

+ How should we bring our children to Jesus?

By faith. We must trust Jesus with all things including our children. If Jesus says “let them come” then let them come. If he says “do not stop them” then do not stop them. We must entrust our children to Jesus as he commands. As much as we love our children, Jesus loves them even more. He knows what is right and good for them even better than we do. If we love them as Christ loves them, we will trust him to provide for their physical and material needs. And we will trust him to provide for their spiritual needs. So, we should bring our children to Jesus by faith. That means bringing them to the Lord’s church, which is the body of Christ.

+ Why should we bring our children to Jesus?

First and foremost, we should bring our children to Jesus because he commands us to let them come and not to stop them from coming. If we trust him, we must also obey him.

But there are other specific reasons why we should bring our children to Jesus: That Jesus may touch them. That Jesus may call down blessings on them in prayer. That Jesus may put the Name of the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) on them in baptism. (“The promise is for you and your children.”) That Jesus may mark them with the sign of the covenant as members of God’s family — his brothers and sisters. That Jesus may initiate them into his covenant community.

And we should bring our children and keep on bringing them to Jesus that they may grow up in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. That they may trust Jesus. That they may learn to obey everything Jesus commands. That they may worship Jesus in spirit and in truth. (“Out of the mouths of infants and children God has ordained praise.”) That they may feed on Jesus at his Table. That they may take up their cross and follow Jesus to eternal life. That they may be disciples (students and servants) of Jesus.

+ When should we bring our children to Christ?

According to Jesus, our children need Him from cradle to grave,* so we should start bringing them to Jesus as soon as they are born and we should never stop bringing them as long as they live under our care. We should bring our children to Jesus as soon as he calls for them, and we should never stop bringing them to Jesus. We should bring them early and often — sooner and later — because he calls for them. The longer we wait, the harder it is to bring them and to get them to come. So let your little children come to Jesus early and often, and don’t ever stop them from coming to him, for the kingdom of God belongs to them.

As Jesus commands, let your children come to Christ. Let your children come into His covenant of grace. Let your children come into His community of God’s covenant people. Again, this means bringing them to the Lord’s church, which is the body of Christ.

Jesus loves the little children,
all the covenant children of the world.

Moms and Dads with little children: I feel certain that this message comforts you and challenges you most of all. Questions are bound to flood your hearts and minds. So if you feel overwhelmed by all this, like it is too much to take in at one time, don’t worry or despair.

Remember, we are a community. We are a family. Let’s wrestle through this together. Let’s share our concerns and questions with each other. Let’s encourage one another to take Jesus at his word and trust and obey him.

[ A sermon excerpt from https://newhopec.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/jesus-loves-children/ adapted for use on 2/19/18.]

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* To be more theologically precise, our children always need Jesus from conception to glorification. They never do not need him.