by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Lamentations 3:19-38
I. Have you noticed how the world sets up different standards for children and adults?
A. You can’t smoke until you’re a certain age
B. You can’t drink until you have reached 21
C. In some ways it makes sense, we want to protect our children while they are young and innocent from bad decisions
D. But why do we say it is alright for adults to harm themselves? (and others, because none of us are isolated and the harm we do to ourselves affects those around us).
II. As Christians, we are children that need protection from the world around us
A. Matthew 18:3-4 - We must become like children to be a part of the church
B. Like children, we need to isolate ourselves from the bad influences in the world
C. I Peter 2:11 - We need to be strangers to the world’s ways
D. Romans 8:12-13 - If we live after the flesh, we will die like the flesh
E. II Corinthians 7:1 - We need to cleanse ourselves of the defilement of sin
III. Sometimes we let our children do things that we won’t want an adult to do
A. Little kids would just love to run around the house naked after a bath
1. We think it is cute, because they are totally innocent of any concerns
2. But you would be upset if an adult did that
3. So, we get after the kids, while they are young to wear proper clothing
B. Just another application of Proverbs 22:6
1. Train a child in the way he should go.
2. We have to set our children on the right path now, so it is a natural habit when they are older
C. But what about other ways
1. I have seen little girls in short dresses that their mothers won’t wear because they are too short or too tight for an adult, such as short shorts or tight sweaters.
2. I’ve seen parents talk about how cute little boys are with sagging pants but complain about young men with sagging pants.
3. I’ve seen little boys use “polite” swear words, but their fathers won’t dream of cursing someone out or taking the Lord’s name in vain.
4. Children are sent to dance classes, but we think it is wrong for adults to slow dance with the neighbors.
5. Children allowed to skip services because they slept late, or have too much homework, or have a ball game.
6. Are we raising up our children in ways they should not go?
7. Should we be letting our children do things while they are young that we will have to ask them not to do when they mature?
D. “But there is no harm! They don’t understand these things. Why burden them with adult problems?”
1. Lamentations 3:25-30 - Children need to become accustom to yoke of Christianity
2. Oh, there is a burden there. Not much of one, but it does exist - Matthew 11:29-30
3. Youth is the time to begin serving God - Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1
E. Some people believe that young people need time to sow their wild oats before settling down
1. Proverbs 22:8 - Sow sin, reap vanity (or sorrows, or trouble)
2. Hosea 10:12-13 - It goes both ways
3. Galatians 6:7-8 - You get what you plant. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
a. The same thing you put in comes back out. A corn seed only yields corn
b. In truth, you get more than you plant - Hosea 8:7
4. The idea that “boys will be boys, they’ll grow out of it” is a lie. If they are not trained to do what is right, they will continue in doing what is wrong.
5. I Timothy 4:12 - Timothy was told to be an example of righteousness in his youth.
IV. Fathers, bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord - Ephesians 6:4
A. Don’t bring them up in worldliness.
B. Don’t teach them things they shouldn’t do when they are older
C. Make righteous living a natural habit, and when they are old they will not depart from it.
Mary Had a Little Boy
Mary had a little boy, his soul was white as snow;
He never when to Sunday school, “cause Mary wouldn’t go.”
He never heard the truth of Christ that thrilled the childish mind;
While other children went to class, this child was left behind.
And as he grew from babe to youth, she saw to her dismay,
A soul that once was snowy white became a dingy gray.
Realizing he was lost she tried to win him back,
But now the soul that once was white had turned an ugly black.
She even started back to church and Bible study too.
She begged the preacher, “Isn’t there a thing that you can do?”
The preacher tried - failed and said, “We’re just too far behind.
I tried to tell you years ago, but you would pay no mind.”
And so another soul is lost, that once was white as snow.
Sunday school could have helped, but Mary wouldn’t go.