Presentation on theme: "Childlike Qualities: Innocence"— Presentation transcript:
1Childlike Qualities: Innocence “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. 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.” Matthew 18:2,3Good evening! Thankful for attendance…….visitors?In Matthew 18:1, Jesus’ disciples came to him and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”Jesus replies in verses 2 & 3 by ……..“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. 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.”Over the past few weeks we have been discussing the need for us to possess childlike qualities. Notice I said childlike and not childish….there’s a big difference!!How can we be more childlike?We learned from Al that we need to have the determination, enthusiasm & faith as a child. We need to have a heart that craves the word of God, is eager to learn and grow, and one that simply trusts in our Heavenly Father.We learned from Matt that we need to be humble as a child. Our heart needs to be one that esteems others higher than ourselves….one that is friendly to others without noticing our differences.Last week, we learned from Jay that we need to be as forgiving as a child. Our heart needs to quick to repent, quick to accept forgiveness, and one that easily gives forgiveness.These are wonderful qualities that we, as children of God, need to possess. So as I prepared for this lesson, I began to think about the manychildlike qualities that I have seen in my own children and the many that I have taught and come in contact with in our schools.Children are inexperienced and at times do things without intentionally harming others. They are blameless and guiltless. They possess an allaround good attitude when confronted with anything.All of these characteristics can be summed up when we discuss INNOCENCE.
2Innocence Defined as 1. One that is innocent. 2. Freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil : blamelessness—Merriam-WebsterTo be innocent means to not be guilty of any crime or offense. It means to be within the law, uncorrupted, and pure in heart. To possess innocence you must be free from guilt—because you are unacquainted—not familiar with evil.This kind of person is blameless—one that is not subject to being blamed…because he lives an upright, clean, honest life.Innocence involves two qualities.1. One is harmlessness.2. The other quality associated with innocence is a willingness to be led by others.Two Qualities of Innocence1. Harmlessness2. Willingness to be led by others
3Harmless as Doves Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without murmuring and disputing: That ye may be blameless and harmless (innocent), the sons of God, without rebuke (fault), in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”Matthew 10:16“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”Paul told the brethren at the church of Philippi in Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without murmuring and disputing: That ye may be blameless and harmless (innocent), the sons of God, without rebuke (fault), in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;Here Paul lets the brethren know that they are to be a light even though you are living the middle of a crooked and perverse nation….Philippians, you live a life that is blameless and harmless…one that would bring glory to God.After Jesus chose the 12, he warned them in Matthew 10:16. He said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”Here Jesus gave them and gives us the visual of something pure and innocent going into a world that is full of corruption and destruction. His advice for the sheep was to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.Being wise requires us to obtain knowledge. By obtaining knowledge we are able to discern between right and wrong.Being harmless requires us to be innocent…..free of guilt.Think of a child….they may say or do something that is hurtful to someone and be completely harmless to us because what they have said or done was said or done in complete innocence.Jesus values this type of childlike innocence and we need to possess it.
4The Example Worth Following Matthew 16:24“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”1 Peter 1:19; I Peter 2:21-23“For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps: WHO DID NO SIN, NEITHER WAS GUILE FOUND IN HIS MOUTH:…”I John 2:6The other quality associated with innocence is a willingness to be led by others rather than insisting on following our own judgment.In our society, we do not place a high value on this aspect of innocence; however, children can be easily led because their dependence is solely on the leader.But as we grow older, our attitude toward following someone changes………Only emotional weaklings and people who don't know better would allow themselves to be led around by others like sheep. Yes, that is okay for little children, but mature adults should run their own lives, and not be at someone else's beck and call!HOWEVER, in Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”Why would we follow Jesus?He is our perfect example of innocence—our perfect example of living blamelessly.1 Peter 1:19…”But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”In 1 Peter 2:21-23 “For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps: WHO DID NO SIN, NEITHER WAS GUILE FOUND IN HIS MOUTH: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”If Jesus is our example, then we need to follow after Him. 1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.”Our life should be one that is led by the one who is worthy of being followed…our life should be led by Jesus Christ.
5The Thief Called Sin Adam and Eve Us Without Shame-Genesis 2:25 Eyes Opened-Genesis 3:7Loss of Innocence-Gen. 3:8UsAs a child-innocentSin-Romans 3:23Wages of Sin-Roman 6:23Can you imagine this world without sin? Neither can I, but Adam and Eve knew what it was like to live on this earth in complete innocence.In Genesis 2:25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” They weren’t ashamed because they lived and moved without guilt, without shame, and without fear of threat.When they sinned, in Gen. 3:7 their eyes were opened and they could not longer look at the world in the same way.Their loss of innocence drove them to hide themselves from God in Gen. 3:8.Sin had stolen their innocence.The same is true of our lives…. God didn’t create us to be His robots. He gave us free will. It’s our choice whether or not we follow him or give into the thief called sin.As a child, we enjoy a life of innocence, but as we grow older and partake of the forbidden fruit of sin, we are no longer innocent…we are no longer blameless.I sin. You sin. We all sin. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I’m guilty of sin and sin has a punishment—death. Rom. 6:23.“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid….” Romans 6:1-2John writes in 1 John 2:1-2 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”Sin may be the thief of our innocence, but Jesus is the Savior!
6Living Blameless Though Not Sinless 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23Preserved blameless1 Corinthians 1:8-9Blameless in the day of our Lord1 Peter 3:132 Peter 3:14Be found blameless1 Thessalonians 3:12-13Hearts unblameableAlthough the wages of sin is death, how wonderful it is that the gift of God is eternal life!Paul wrote to the brethren in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23 and exhorted them to “Abstain from all appearances of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”Paul wrote to the Corinthian brethren in 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 concerning being confirmed by Jesus in the end so that we can be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.Peter addressed the idea of living blameless in 1 Peter 3:13… Peter asks “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?In 2 Peter 3, Peter writes to stir up the minds of the brethren…to remember the words spoken to them…to remember that the Lord is not slack concerning his promise…to remember that the day of the Lord is coming…to remember God’s promise of a new heaven and a new earth…..In vs. 14, Peter writes “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”I hope we understand that blameless doesn’t mean sinless. Being blameless means that we live in such a way that we are not accused of the sins that we have committed.When we sin, we need to confess our sins. In 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”In 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, Paul’s desire and prayer for the church is that “….the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all saints.”
7Preserved Blameless 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 Prove all things Warn the unrulyComfort the feeblemindedSupport the weakBe patient toward all menRejoice evermorePray without ceasingGive thanks for everythingQuench not the Spirit (Don’t put out the fire!)Despise not prophesying (Have a good attitude about preaching)Prove all thingsHold fast to that which is goodAbstain from all appearances of evilAnd the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”“1 Thessalonians 5:23-24We cannot ever live a sinless life, but in this life we can sin less. In 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22, Paul gives us a brief rundown of how we can live a blameless life.Read 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22.Warn the unrulyComfort the feeblemindedSupport the weakBe patient toward all menRejoice evermorePray without ceasingGive thanks for everythingQuench not the Spirit (Don’t put out the fire!)Despise not prophesying (Have a good attitude about preaching) Prove all thingsHold fast to that which is goodAbstain from all appearances of evilAlthough not sinless, we can live a life where our “whole spirit, soul, and body can be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord.”2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”In vs. 14, He died for all that we should live unto Him. Vs. 17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”We are a new creature that has been reconciled by Jesus Christ, so in turn, we need to be reconciled to God. Vs. 21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”Although we have sinned, we are made blameless of that sin when we are in Jesus Christ.
8My Heart’s Desire Matthew 18:3 Romans 10:1 “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.”Romans 10:1“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”Matthew 18:3 “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.”So how can we as adults ever heed Jesus' words and become like a child again? After childhood, our instincts are all in the direction of becoming the master of our own fate, the ruler of our own lives. Unfortunately, if we stick to those instincts, we find ourselves becoming more and more isolated from everyone around us and especially being isolated from the Lord. The price of our isolation is a lack of relationship with our family, friends, and God. We, as humans, by instinct, have a deeper need for a relationship, especially a relationship that isn’t separated from God. It is this need that gradually brings us around, and causes us to move back toward the innocence of children.For many, it takes a lifetime of "supporting ourselves" before we begin to look beneath the surface and realize that all along, we have been supported by more people than we ever realized. We come to realize just how much we depend upon others only when we look back on those times in our lives when we were reaching the end of our rope, and then someone stepped in to keep us from falling; or when we simply weren't strong enough on our own, and the help that we needed was there for us.FOOTPRINTS IN THE SANDOne night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,other times there were one set of footprints.This bothered me because I noticedthat during the low periods of my life,when I was suffering fromanguish, sorrow or defeat,I could see only one set of footprints.So I said to the Lord,"You promised me Lord,that if I followed you,you would walk with me always.But I have noticed that duringthe most trying periods of my lifethere have only been oneset of footprints in the sand.Why, when I needed you most,you have not been there for me?"The Lord replied,"The times when you haveseen only one set of footprints,is when I carried you."Mary StevensonWe often think we have the strength to carry the load instead of trusting in the Lord to carry our burdens.Psalms 40:3-4 “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.4 Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”When we get to this point in our life, when we cast our care upon him, when we allow Him to lead us, it is then when we can begin once again to have the innocence of a child.But now, that innocence has a new quality. Children are innocent because they don't know any better.The innocence we develop later in life is not from inexperience, but from wisdom. It is the wisdom of knowing that on our own, we are incomplete human beings. It is the innocence of being able to relinquish the control of our own lives to God.It is the innocence of knowing the difference between right and wrong, between good and evil, and consciously choosing what is good and right because that is God’s way….which is the best way to follow.Paul encourages the brethren in Romans. Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”We can never go back to the same kind of innocence we had as children. But we can move forward to the true innocence of a complete trust in the goodness and love of God, and a full and joyous desire to spend our lives doing only what is good and right.Paul wrote in Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Brethren, my heart’s desire to God for O’Neal is, that you and I might be saved.In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul told the Corinthians “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”We do what we do for the glory of God. Our blamelessness reflects on the name of the Lord.I know you and I are not sinless, but are you and I attempting to live blamelessly?