By Tim Sullivan

(At the dedication of London Victoria Laury)

When parents brought their children to be blessed by the Lord, the disciples tried to send them away. Undoubtedly they thought they were doing the right thing, and that Jesus has more important things to attend to. But Jesus was “much displeased.”

Mark 10:13-16:
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

The disciples (who time and again showed great interest in such things) asked Jesus to name the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. One can imagine the people they would nominate – Abraham, "the father of all them that believe" (Rom. 4:11); Moses, to whom the Lord spoke "face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Ex. 33:11); or King David whom God called, "a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will" (Acts 13:22). Or perhaps Jesus would name himself, for "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Phil. 2:10). Just imagine their surprise when Jesus said that there is no one greater in the kingdom of heaven than the little child who believed on him.

Matthew 18:1-5:
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Because God places such value on children, it is a great offense against God to offend one of the Lord’s little ones.

Matthew 18:6:
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

So how can an adult commit such an offence? An adult can offend one of the Lord’s little ones by having a condescending attitude towards that child's interest in the things of God, deciding it is better to wait until he is older and more able to choose for himself. That is not God's way! That springtime of spiritual awakening is sure to pass, and the opportunity might be lost.

Proverbs 22:6:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Some parents are offended that Christ said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). They want their children to grow up with a "broader" perspective. Because they themselves are offended by the Lord, they will dissuade their children from believing too wholeheartedly in the things of God.

Of course, unbelieving society will do all it can to discourage children from following "their parents’ religion." They want them to believe that real freedom comes when people break the bands of religion.

Psalm 2:2-3:
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

There are other ways to offend the little ones which believe. It is no secret that often the most ill-behaved children at church are "the preacher's kids." How can this be? The preacher's kids know what mom and dad are like when church is not in session. They hear what they say about the people they claim to love and serve. No one is perfect, but Christian parents have a great responsibility to live out their faith. Children get confused when they see their parents breaking their own rules. Parents who teach their children to “do as I say, and not as I do,” teach their children to be liars and hypocrites.

Christian parents are often quick to remind their children that God commands them to honor their parents:

Ephesians 6:1-2:
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

But how much easier will it be for a child to honor his parent when that parent himself honors God? God honors those who honor him.

1 Samuel 2:30b
. . . for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Today we are here to witness the dedication of a young child to the Lord. But why is such a thing done? Parents do not dedicate their children to receive some sort of special favor for their child, some special blessing that other children who were not dedicated do not receive. All young ones are watched over by God.

Matthew 18:10:
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

The service is as much for the parents as it is for the child:
It is a time to acknowledging the blessing that has been given them by the birth of their child.
It is a time to show they understand and accept the responsibility of bringing up that childin a way that will honor God.
It is a time for parents to seek God’s blessing over their child.
It is a time for parents to dedicate themselves to being the kind of parent every child needs.
It is a time to ask God for the guidance they will need to raise their child “in the way he should go.”

Let us all joy and rejoice to be witnesses of this blessed occasion.


Presented October 30, 2016 in Baton Rouge