The part of the chapter that I'd like to focus on is there, at the very end, where the Bible reads in verse 23, "He went up from thence unto Bethel and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city and mocked him and said unto him, "Go up, thou bald head. Go up, thou bald head." He turned back and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the Lord. There came forth two she bears out of the wood and tear forty and two children of them. He went from thence to Mount Carmel and from thence, he returned to Samaria."
The subject this morning is cursed or blessed children. Children who are either cursed or blessed. Here is an example of some children in the Bible who were cursed. Now, obviously, the number 42 is significant here because 42 was the number that was associated with Elijah. Elijah prayed that it might not rain upon the Earth, and it rained not by the space of 3 years and 6 months, which is 42 months, which is an important number also for the end times, when we think of the 42 months that the 2 witnesses will prophesy, et cetera, et cetera.
Elisha carries the mantle of Elijah, continuing the ministry of Elijah. When he's mocked and made fun of by these young rebellious children, he curses them in the name of the Lord and God sends 2 she bears. It's not like Elisha just had some kind of a voodoo power, where he can conjure up bears to come. He cursed them in the name of the Lord. Because they were cursed, God sent these 2 she bears to tear up these children. Many of them escaped, but it says that the bears tear 42 children of them. I don't know if all of those 42 died, but I'm sure that many of them did die if they were torn of these bears. We don't know exactly how old these children were, but the Bible does say that they were little children. These are not fully-grown teenagers or anything like that. These are children.
The reason that I show you the story is just to show you that it's very possible for even children to be cursed. The Bible has many examples of cursed children and blessed children.
First of all, as we get into this, let met just explain to you the fact that a very young child, as in a baby or a little toddler or something like that, is innocent according to the Bible. Go through with the Romans, chapter 7. Let's study this concept in the Bible starting Romans, chapter 7. There are many verses. I'm not going to turn to them for the sake of time.
You've probably heard some of them that talk about the fact that if a baby dies in its mother's womb or if a very young child dies, that it automatically goes to heaven. There are a lot of scriptures that we could prove that with, from the Book of Job, the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Book of Psalms, also in the life of David, where his young 7-day-old child died and he said, "The child cannot come to me, but I will go to the child," et cetera. It talks about young babies and toddlers going to heaven, regardless. Why is that? The answer is because they are innocent at that age.
If you would look at Romans, chapter 7, verse 7, the Bible reads, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law. For I had not known lust, except the law had said, "Thou shall not covet," but sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law, sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once." That's what I want to point out to you there. "I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be onto death." Paul here is explaining that at one point, he was alive, but then he says, "The commandment came, sin revived, and I died."
Go to Ephesians, chapter 2. We're going to put all of this together, and then it's all going to make sense once you see all of it together side by side. It says, in Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 1, "You have the quickened," quickened means brought to life, "Who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others, but God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace you're saved." According to the Bible, we were all dead before we got saved, right?
Pastor: When we got saved, that's when we were quickened or brought to life or resurrected. If we compare Romans 7 and Ephesians 2, we see that there was a time once without the law when we were alive. The commandment came, sin revived, and we died. When we believe on Jesus Christ, we're resurrected.
A baby in its mother's womb, a newborn baby, a little, small toddler is alive. They're innocent. Once they get to the age where they determine the difference between right and wrong and they understand the difference, then they become sinful in the sight of God when they do wrong and their sins are imputed onto them and then that's when they die spiritually. They die spiritually. If they believe on Jesus Christ, then they are quickened, brought back to life.
If you would turn back to Genesis 2, this is what some people will refer to as the age of accountability. They'll say, "There's a certain age where you reach accountability in the sight of God. Before that, you get a free pass into heaven." You say, "Why would they get a free pass?" Because they're not guilty in the sight of God at that point. They're innocent. People will ask, "What is that age where they go from being innocent to being guilty?" Where the commandment comes and they understand what lust is. They understand what right and wrong is, and they die spiritually.
I think this is the best way to demonstrate it. Look at Genesis, chapter 2, verse 16. "The Lord God commanded the man saying, "Of every tree of the garden, thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." Is he saying if you eat of the fruit, you'll eventually die? No. He says in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die. Because I've heard so many people say, "Because Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, that's why they eventually died 900 years later or whatever." No, no, no. What it's saying is that in the day that they eat of it, they shall surely die.
Look at verse 25. It says, "They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." Flip over to Genesis 3, verse 4. "The serpent said unto the woman," this is the devil lying to her, "Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
"When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat. The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, "Where art thou?" He said, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself." He said, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me. She gave me of the tree and I did eat.""
Notice that the Bible makes a real big deal about this. It mentions it over. It mentions in chapter 2. Hey, they're both naked, they're not ashamed, but it makes a point that the immediate result, the moment that they eat of the forbidden fruit, the first thing that happens is what? They know that they're naked. They're ashamed. They hide themselves. They make themselves an apron of fig leaves and try to cover up. God, that's how he knows that they've eaten. Obviously, God knows everything, but humanly speaking, he converses with man on his level. He says, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, of then which I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" That's how he knew that they had eaten of it. What was the tree? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Therefore, what we can learn from this is that when a person has the knowledge of good and evil, they will basically realize that they're naked and be ashamed of being naked. Let me ask you this. Does a baby realize they're naked?
Pastor: Are they ashamed being naked? How about a toddler?
Pastor: There are toddlers running around my house naked frequently because of the fact that they don't know any better. You have to say, "Hey, go put some clothes on." They just come out. "Whoa. What are you doing? Get some clothes on." They get to a certain age where all of a sudden, they become aware of that and they start to cover themselves. They start to be ashamed of being naked in front of other people. They don't want to take a bath with their sibling anymore, and they want to cover up at some point.
That age could be different from child to child, but I believe that that's a good indicator, just like God looked at that and said, "Okay, you have the knowledge of good and evil now." That's a pretty good rule of thumb. That's a pretty good indicator for understanding when a child reaches that age, where they're accountable in the sight of God because now, they know good from evil.
How old is that? Let's get some opinions here. How old is that, from people who have lots of kids? When do they start actually worrying about the fact that they're naked?
Congregation: 5, 6.
Pastor: 4, 5, 6 would probably be the answer that you get, depending on the child, right?
Pastor: 4, 5, 6 years old. Look, a 7, 8, 9-year-old, they know they're naked. There's no question, right? There's a range there at probably 4, 5, 6. In my opinion, it's going to be different with every child, depending on their development. Obviously, a child, for example, who's mentally disabled and has, for example, Down syndrome, that's going to obviously prolong their process of development and it's going to be older for them.
I'm saying that it's not just that all children are innocent even when they're 10 years old, even when they're 12 years old, even when they're 14 years old. That is false. In fact, there's this lying false teaching out there that says, "Oh, age 20 is the age of accountability." That's just madness. It's insanity to say that. You don't know right from wrong when you're 19? It's just people misusing and misunderstanding and misapplying the word of God because they're not using it skillfully, because they're a babe, if they're even saved to come up with such a bizarre teaching.
We know that a little, tiny baby is innocent. We know that they're not murdering and committing adultery and stealing and knowingly doing any of these things. We also know that when we look at a 10-year-old, they know what they're doing. They know what's right and what's wrong.
Who here got saved at a very young age? I got saved when I was 6 years old. How old were you when you got saved?
Pastor: 5. Yeah. At a very young age. I had known of those who got saved even at the age of 4. I believe that Pastor Roger Jimenez is like that, where he got saved at a really young age. I got saved when I was 6 years old. Others, 7, 8, 9. Children at that age are able to understand the gospel.
In the story that we read, we don't know how old these children were. If you would flip over to Mark, chapter 9, we know that those children were little children, meaning, that they were not fully grown. They're not teenagers that are 17 years old. The Bible says little children. Also, in order for these 2 bears to be able to chase down and tear 42 of them, that shows you that they were younger kids because of the fact that if they were all big kids, 14, 15 years old, they would've all been running away and some of them would've been torn, but not 42 of them. They were little children. A lot of people are just blown away by that and just say, "I just can't believe that God would allow a little child to be cursed like that." I just think that children just get a pass."
Let me tell you something. There are children today, in 2015, even in elementary school, that are wicked in the sight of God. We hear about things, don't we? In our twisted culture that we're living in, where you'll have little kids, 10, 11, 12 years old that are literally committing murder, that are literally committing abuse on those of the opposite gender. I don't like to use terms that would defile the young minds. Just that will commit filthy acts even at a very young age. Vile affections even at a very young age. Some people will try to even say, "What about this 12-year-old sodomite? How can they be reprobate in the sight of God or how could they have hardened their heart to God? They're just a kid. They must've been born that way." I'm here to tell you that even a 12-year-old child can become hardened and sick and reprobate and evil in the sight of God.
Congregation: Yeah. Right.
Pastor: Remember when you were in school?
Pastor: Remember some of the evil reprobates that you went to school with? Whether in public school or Christian school, there are some kids that are evil and malicious and love violence and perverted even at a young age. The Bible uses the term, in second, Peter, chapter 2, cursed children and talks about how they grow up to be evil people and false prophets and having eyes full of adultery and so forth. It starts as a child.
Look at Mark, chapter 9. I'm going to show you another example in the Bible of a cursed child. The Bible says, in Mark, chapter 9, verse 17, "One of the multitude answered and said, "Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit. Wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him. He foameth and gnasheth with his teeth and pineth away. I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out, and they could not."" Here is a young man, actually, a young man who is possessed with the devil. He's foaming at the mouth and tearing and falling down and throwing himself in the fire and all these things.
Watch what Jesus asks in verse 19. "He answereth him and saith, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me." They brought him unto him. When he saw him, straightway the spirit tear him. He fell on the ground and wallowed foaming. He asked his father, "How long is it ago since this came unto him?"" Watch this. "He said, "Of a child.""
Congregation: My goodness.
Pastor: Even though this is a young man at the time, he said, "This has been going on since he was a child. He was possessed with the devil." "Ofttimes, it casted him into the fire," verse 22, "Into the waters to destroy him, but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." "Jesus said unto him, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Straightway, the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.""
"When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, "Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee. Come out of him and enter no more into him." The spirit cried and rent him sore and came out of him. He was as one dead, in so much that many said, he is dead. Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. When he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could not we cast him out?" He said unto them, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.""
Go back to second, Kings, chapter 21. Obviously, Jesus had been doing that prayer and fasting in order to be able to perform this miracle of casting out the devil out of this young man. We see here examples of cursed children. Children that God sees fit to destroy with she bears out of the wood. Children who are actually possessed with devils even at a young age.
Look at more wickedness found in a child, second, Kings, chapter 21, verse 1. We see Manasseh, who is the son of Josiah, who actually ... I'm sorry, the son of Hezekiah, who was actually a godly man. He was a godly king. Manasseh, the Bible says in verse 1 of chapter 21, "Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign and reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did that, which was evil in the sight of the Lord." Here's a young man of only 12 years old, and he starts right in with doing evil in the sight of the Lord.
It says, in verse 3, "For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he reared up altars for Baal and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, "In Jerusalem will I put my name." He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He made his son pass through the fire and observed times and used enchantments and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards. He wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger."
I wonder how many 12-year-olds today are dealing with wizards and dealing with familiar and unclean spirits. We have children today that are even at a young age messing around with Harry Potter and Ouija boards and casting spells and playing around with witchcraft and the occult. We see that that's how things started with this evil young man.
It says in verse 7, "He set up a graven image in the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon, his son, "In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name forever. Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers, only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them." They hearkened not. Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel."
Some would argue and say, "Yeah, he started reigning when he's 12 and he reigned 55 years. He didn't start doing the evil when he was 12. He did that stuff later. That was after he grew up." That's false because when kings in the Bible started out doing good, the Bible will tell us that. Even if they did good just for 1 year or 2 years or 3 years, the Bible will spell that out and say, "Hey, he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but then in the third year of his reign, then he began to do evil." There are examples of that. This guy, it says, no. He's 12 years old when he started to reign and he did evil. He started right in with doing wickedness and evil. That was the choice that he made.
Let me tell you something. A child of 12 years old has the capability to choose between doing right and doing evil. If you're a young child that's listening to the sound of my voice this morning, I want you to understand that you have the choice to do that, which is right or that which is evil in the sight of the Lord. Just because your dad is Hezekiah and just because your mother is Hephzibah, that doesn't mean that you're going to do right in the sight of the Lord. You need to make that decision for yourself that you will serve the Lord. Don't think that you can play around with sin and mess around with evil spirits and all these things and not have any consequences and think, "Oh, God's just going to give me a free pass because I'm a child." No, he's not going to give you a free pass.
The Bible says, "Even a child is known by his doings, whether its work be pure and whether it be right." God is looking down at every child today and he weighs their actions. He does not give them a free pass to just live however they want when they're 8 and 9, and they just think, "As long as I don't get in trouble with mom and dad, it's fine because you know what, God realizes I'm a little kid." No. God expects you, at whatever age you are, to be accountable for the teaching that you've heard, for the Bible preaching that you've heard, and then make a decision to do right in the sight of the Lord and not to do evil.
The Bible says, "Under whom much is given of him shall much be required." The children that grow up in Faithful Word Baptist Church, God will hold them to a higher standard than a child who's growing up in some atheist home somewhere, to a higher standard than a child who's growing up in some liberal watered-down church somewhere. God expects you, when you hear the word of God, to believe it and do it. God expects you to respect the prophet of God, to respect the word of God, to respect and honor your mother and father. These are things that God demands of children, and they don't get a free pass just for being a child.
Pastor: God looks down at a 12-year-old who's messing around with witchcraft. The first thing he did was probably not to make his son pass through the fire. He probably didn't have a son when he was 12 years old. I wonder if the first thing he did was start messing around with witchcraft. That could've been step 1. It's mentioned early in the passage, messing with familiar spirits, evil spirits, witchcraft.
Look, there are things in this world that are demonic. They're demonic. Ouija boards are demonic. Harry Potter is demonic. Witchcraft, magic, spells are demonic. Let me tell you something. The music of bands like the band that we talked about last Sunday, a band, Eagles of Death Metal. That's a demonic band.
Crowd: Yeah. Amen.
Pastor: I looked up their song that they were singing that night when that shooting happened. The song was called Kiss the Devil, and it said, the first lyrics are, "I love the devil and I will sing his song. I'm going to kiss the devil on his tongue." This is the filth and satanic music that I guarantee you kids are listening to. I guarantee you that everybody who listens to that band isn't 18 years or older. I guarantee you there are children today that are listening to that on their headphones. Probably, after this shooting in Paris, it probably just gave that band more publicity and be like, "Oh, I'm going to look into this band, Queers of the Stone Age. I'm going to look into Eagles of Death Metal. Hey, this song, Kiss the Devil is pretty cool."
There's nothing cool about the devil. There's nothing cool about death. There's nothing cool about Satan. We need to understand that even a child could be demon-possessed, the Bible says. When you bring this demonic stuff into your home and you bring these demonic tunes and demonic songs and demonic games and books and whatever, you know what, you're inviting in the unclean spirits. I'm not trying to sound like a crazy person this morning, but you know what, like, "Oh, unclean spirits," yeah, it's real. There really is spiritual wickedness in high places. There really are angels and demons. It's biblical.
I'm telling you, the Bible says that God inhabits the praises of Israel. I wonder who inhabits the music of the Eagles of Death Metal or whoever the band. You're bringing in a wrong spirit. You could even have a child who is possessed. You could even have a child who's cursed by God when they become wicked in the sight of the Lord.
Let's flip over to the positive side of the coin. You're there in second, Kings. We can just go one page over, in fact, and see an example of a blessed child. We had the cursed children, right? Who were the cursed children in the Bible? Number 1, the children who mock the man of God. They mocked. These are children who come to church. They're not taking the preaching seriously. They're not listening to the word of God. It's all a big game to them. It's a joke to them. God decided to make an example to show children of all generations that he's not a joke and his word's not a joke and preaching's not a joke.
Pastor: Some people don't know when to stop joking around. I'm here to tell you. I like to joke around. I like to have fun and be merry and joyful, but you know what, there's a time to joke and a time to get serious. There's a time to play games and a time to get to work. To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
I'm here to tell you that when you come to church and you've got the Bible in your hand and the word of God's being preached about a serious subject, you kids need to get serious and realize that your life depends on what you do with this preaching, kids. Your life depends on it. Hey, is every kid listening to me? Your life depends on it. You can end your life in failure and cursing or you can end your life in prosperity and good success. As God told Joshua, "If you would hearken unto the word of God and meditate upon his word day and night." Life's not a game.
Pastor: This isn't a joke. You only get 1 life. If you screw it up, it's screwed up. There's no ... You don't just insert another quarter and do it again.
Pastor: This isn't Hinduism, where you're like a kid in an arcade with a big bag of quarters. That's Hinduism. You just keep giving another shot. No, no, no. It's 1 shot. You get ... These kids didn't get another chance at life. They screwed it up and they didn't get another chance.
Some people are so foolish that they would ask the question, "What about all the other kids who mocked the man of God and didn't get torn up by bears? What about that?" Some would ask such a foolish question as, "What about all the other sodomites? Why did God only rain fire on that one city? Why didn't he rain it on whatever the parade?" These questions are the questions of a fool because the Bible teaches that God will make examples.
See, the Bible says of Sodom and Gomorrah that they were set forth for an example to those who after should live ungodly. He said that they're an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. See, I believe that God actually rained a literal hellfire on Sodom as an example. Why? So that we could look at something tangible and understand the penalty of hell.
See, hell is the punishment that awaits the unsaved, the wicked and ungodly of this world. Hell is there for them, and so he doesn't have to physically rain fire and brimstone. He doesn't have to send bears to tear up every wicked child. Why? Because hell awaits.
These are just examples for our benefit, where we can look at them and see, hey, this is how God feels about it. God doesn't kill every person who lies about the money that they gave to church. He just did that to Ananias and Sapphira as a what?
Congregation: An example.
Pastor: As an example. "What about all the people who did the same thing that didn't die?" Here's the thing. They still got punished. God's still going to judge. He sometimes does these really open, public dramatic examples for our benefit. You know what the wise person does when they see that? When the wise person sees what Onan did, for example, and says, "Whoa. God doesn't like that. I'm not going to do that." That's what a wise person says. A fool says, "What about all the people who did that and there was no consequence?"
See, that's a fool, isn't it? Because they don't learn from the example. They don't understand what God's doing that he makes one example and we're supposed to all learn from that one example. He doesn't just always ... Every time someone does wrong, they just drop like flies. There's just bear. Every time a kid gets wicked on a public school, there's a bear that comes. It's just right then and there. Why? Because if that happened, people wouldn't have to have any faith, would they?
Pastor: If everything just received an instant punishment. Every time you did something good, you do something good, you help out a poor person, "Here's a bag of groceries," and it's just like ding, a hundred-dollar bill appears in your hand. "Wow, God's repaying me because who's so giveth unto the poor, lendeth unto the Lord, and will be repaid." Just ding, a hundred-dollar bill. Would we need any faith? No.
God makes examples. The rest of us is supposed to learn from those examples and just understand based on faith in the word of God that this is what God does not want us to do and this is what God does want us to do.
Just like where I brought out the fact of hey, people shouldn't have been at that wicked, satanic concert because they ended up dying. The media lied and said that I said they deserved to die. I never said any such thing. I don't think people deserve to die for going to that concert, but you know what, if you go to that concert, you might die. Why? Because you're not in the will of God and you're under the curse of God. Anybody who's going to a concert and singing "I love the devil" is going to be cursed.
Pastor: It's not that I want them to be cursed. It's just a fact. They're cursed. "What about all the death metal concerts where nobody died?" You're being a fool. You're not taking the warning. You're not taking the example. You just think that you can just do whatever and there's no consequences. You know what, you might just get through your whole life as an unsaved person and never have any consequence for anything that you do, and then you just die and go to hell then because you didn't listen to the warning. That's life.
Let's look at some blessed children in the Bible, second, King, chapter 22, verse 1. "Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign." Let me point out. He had a wicked father. His father, Amon, was a wicked king. This guy didn't even have the luxury of having a godly father role model. His father was wicked in the sight of the Lord, Amon. It says that he was 8 years old when he began to reign. He reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidiah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. He did that, which was right in the sight of the Lord.
Look, even an 8-year-old, God looks down and said, "He did right." He did what was right, even though his dad was not doing what was right. Think about that. How many kids today might just say, "My dad's doing it, so I'm going to do it too." No. Even if your dad's ungodly, you could still do right.
Congregation: Yeah. That's right.
Pastor: You could still do right in the sight of the Lord. This young man, Josiah, became literally the greatest, by some measurements, he was the greatest king of the nation of Judah. He was the greatest. In some ways, he was even better than David in some regard. This guy was a great, great man. He had started when he was 8 years old. He made a decision, as an 8-year-old boy, "I am going to do what's right in the sight of the Lord." That should be a powerful truth onto every young child today.
Who's 8 years old today? Put up your hand if you're 8 years old. Who's 9 years old? All right. You're already ... You should've been starting this a year ago. No, I'm just kidding. Yeah, 8 years old, 9. We have all ... Did you see all the 8-year-old hands that went up? Those children need to make the same decision that Josiah made, to do right in the sight of the Lord.
It said in verse 2, "He did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of David, his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. It came to pass in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying, "Go up to Hilkiah, the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people. Let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work that have the oversight of the house of the Lord. Let them give it to the doers of the work, which are in the house of the Lord, to repair the breaches of the house, unto carpenters and builders and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand because they dealt faithfully.""
Flip over, if you went to second, Timothy, chapter 3. We see that Josiah, when he's 8 years old, he does right in the sight of the Lord. When he's 18, he rebuilds the house of the Lord. He repairs the breaches thereof. He finds a copy of the word of God that's still intact. He causes it be read and he starts making changes and so forth. It all started when he's 8, he made that decision to follow the Lord and to serve him.
Every child here needs to realize that now is the day of salvation if you're not saved. If you're listening to my voice and you have not made a personal decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, if you have not called upon the name of the Lord, if you have not confessed with your mouth to Lord Jesus and believed in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, if you're a child today, you needed today to decide, "You know what, I'm going to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," because if you understand what that means, you better get saved before it's too late.
Crowd: That's right.
Pastor: Now is the day. The Bible says, "Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation." Let's say, you're a young child listening to me, and you're already saved. You already believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior. You've already called upon him and put all of your faith and trust in him as your only way to heaven, but you, today, are not taking the Bible seriously. You're not taking church seriously. You come to church and you want to color and fool around instead of listening, learning. You're not turning to the scriptures when the Bible's being preached. Look, if you're old enough to know how to read, you ought to be turning to the scriptures.
Pastor: I thank God for a mom and a dad that sat next to me in church my whole life. If it was singing time and I didn't get out the hymnbook and start singing, I was in trouble. I can remember my dad sternly rebuking me and telling me that I needed to sing these song. "Hey, you need to turn in the songbook," instead of just ... No. I mean, be a part of the service.
Pastor: Hey, we don't have the kids in here because we like the noise they make. We don't have the kids in here for our health. We have the kids in here, so that they can participate in the service.
Pastor: From the youngest possible age, we want them here participating. Literally, even my 18-month-old sings these songs. He doesn't open the songbook or anything like that. He's not really necessarily hitting the right tune, but he's trying to sing something. Some of them even start song-leading at that age. Even at that age, right? We need to teach our children that when we sing the song, they turn in the songbook and they sing out from the heart and they participate in the singing.
When it's time for the Bible to be read, that they turn to the chapter and follow along and not zone out and look around the room. No. They open their Bible and they follow along with that chapter. When the pastor says, "Hey, let's turn our Bibles to second, Timothy, chapter 3," they need to be finding second, Timothy, chapter 3, and turn it into that scripture in their Bible. "I don't have a Bible." They're on the shelf. There are Bibles back there. Grab a Bible, turn to the scripture.
Look, you got to start now. You think that some magical switch is going to happen when you turn 18? "Yeah. Josiah, when he turned 18, he just started fixing up the house of God." No, no, no. He started when he was 8. What you do when you're 8 determines what you do when you're 18, is what we can learn from Josiah. Do right when you're 8, you'll build the house of God when you're 18. Do wrong when you're 12, and you're going to be doing wicked things for decades to come. Because what you do as a child is setting your habits. You got to learn to read the Bible now.
Look, I believe and I understand. I'm not a perfect Christian. I'm a sinful person just like everybody else. I'm a human being, but I'll tell you what, whatever I've been allowed by God to achieve, by the grace of God, let me tell you something, I believe it's because of the things that I did when I was a kid. I believe that God blessed me for seeking him as a child because I can ... Even though I did a lot of wrong things and so forth, I can honestly say that when I was a child, I love the Lord. I can honestly say that when I was 6 years old, I love the Lord from my heart. I read the Bible on my own. I wanted to see people saved. I love singing the hymns. You got to get that when you're a kid. Have that faith of a little child. Don't think, "Oh, later." No, no, no. Now. Start now.
Look what the Bible says in second, Timothy 3. As we do, let me just point out to you that young man that was demon-possessed, "How long has he been afflicted by this devil?" He said, "Of a child." Look at the similar language here in second, Timothy 3:14. "Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Salvation through faith. Faith in Christ Jesus. It's the holy scriptures that are able to make you wise onto salvation through faith. He said, "Timothy, from a child, you've known the holy scripture." One was demon-possessed from a child. Here's one that knew the scriptures from a child and he was blessed, a blessed child.
Flip over to Mark, chapter 10. Let's see other blessed children. Mark, chapter 10. So far, we had the cursed children of God's word, torn up by she bears of the wood. We saw a cursed child in the person of Manasseh, at 12 years old, who is already wicked in the sight of God. We saw a cursed child in Mark, chapter 9, that was actually possessed of a devil. We saw some blessed children, King Josiah, at age 8, at age 18. He loved God. He served God. We saw Timothy, another blessed child, because he knew the scriptures from a child.
Look at the last example of blessed children, Mark, chapter 10, verse 13. "They brought young children to him." If we were to look at this in a parallel passage, it actually says they brought infants to him. Infants, meaning, a child that's so young that they have not yet the ability to walk. That's what an infant is, the technical definition. They can't walk. "They brought young children to him." We know from the other gospel that they were actually infants. That's how young they were. "That he should touch them, and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 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. Verily, I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."
Just picture the story here. People are bringing their very young children, infants, toddlers, little kids. They're bringing them to Jesus because they want Jesus to touch them. They want Jesus to put his hand on them and bless them. The disciples rebuked them. Why? Because the disciples thought this is a waste of Jesus' time. There are throngs of people that want to hear Jesus, great crowds who want to hear Jesus, all the multitudes to preach to, all the cities to go to. They thought this was a waste of time.
Jesus, it says, was a little bit displeased? No, he's much displeased. It made Jesus very upset that people had this attitude of, "Hey, these kids aren't ready. They're too young." What were some of the objections you'd think? "Oh, these kids are too young to even understand what he's preaching anyway. They don't even know the language. It's a baby. They don't know what he's talking." His doctrine is so deep, we can't even always understand it. Do you think a little kid's, a little toddler's going to understand it? You know what though, they were still blessed just by being there, just by being touched by Jesus. Remember, virtue went out of him. Some people, when they touched him, they were healed of their sicknesses. Jesus touched these children and blessed them. These are blessed children in the Bible.
You see, even if children are not old enough, in our mind, to understand what's being preached, maybe they're just a baby or a toddler, just by having them in church, they're actually being touched by Jesus, because why? They're hearing the word of God. It goes over their head, but they're still being touched. The Bible teaches that where 2 or 3 are gathered together in his name, he's right there in the midst. Stop and think about the fact that little children, little babies that are being brought to church are being blessed by being in church. Whether you think they're getting anything out of it or not, they are.
Pastor: I've known of so many people who they have their first children, maybe they have 1, maybe they have 2, and then when the children get a certain age, they say, "Now that my children are older, I really want to make sure and get them in Sunday school or get them in church, so they could start learning about Jesus. I want them to grow up and learn the Bible," but wait a minute, that should've started during pregnancy.
Pastor: That should've started as a newborn. That just start right away. You don't have to give birth and come to church 2 hours later. Obviously, you have to recover a little bit. I'm saying, after you've recovered from child birth, get those babies in church. Let them be touched by Jesus. "Jesus isn't physically here. He's not going to touch them." Yeah, but you know what, he's with us in spirit. You know what, his word will touch them. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs will touch them. We need to have an attitude that is in line with Christ's attitude when it comes to children. Understanding that it's never too early to start introducing them to Jesus. Never too early to get them in the house of God. It's never too early for them to know the holy scripture.
I'm sure that every parent here today ... We have many parents here in our church. We've got more families with little kids in this church than I've ever seen in any church of this size. I'm sure that every parent here that listens to this sermon is thinking, "I don't want my child to be a cursed child." No one wants their child to be tore up by a she bear. No one wants their child to be demon-possessed. No one wants their child to be wicked in the sight of the Lord, even at age 12, infuriating God. No one wants that, do they? Everyone here says, "I want my child to be a Timothy. I want my child to be a Josiah. I want my child to be blessed by God, blessed by Jesus."
You know what, how do you get them blessed? You bring them to Jesus. You bring them to the house of God. How do you get them blessed? From a child, they know the holy scriptures. You start teaching them the Bible, reading them the Bible, from the youngest age. That's how they get blessed. How do we avoid the curse? Stay away from that, which is demonic.
Congregation: Yeah. Right.
Pastor: Do not bring into your home that, which is demonic. Do not expose them to that, which is devilish and evil and corrupt and occult. Be an example onto them. Teach them the Bible. Get them in church because children can be cursed or blessed. It's not just, "Oh, well, you know what, every child gets a free pass."
I truly believe that Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. I believe that. I don't believe that God wants any child to be cursed either. God's not willing that any should perish, the Bible says, but then all should come onto repentance. It's not that God wants to curse children, but it's just that if they get to a point where they get so wicked, he will curse them. You say, "I don't believe God's like that." Well then, you know what, you're not believing the God in the Bible because we just saw it, the first scripture we looked at.
Pastor: We saw those she bears. That wasn't a coincidence. "That was amazing coincidence. He just cursed these children, and then a few minutes later, 2 she bears come and start ripping them up." That wasn't ... No, it's not a coincidence. Who controlled that? Was that the devil? No, that was God.
We need to understand the seriousness of our actions as parents. Every child who's here needs to understand the seriousness of your childhood. The things that you learn as a child, the habits that you set as a child. They will even ... Even a scientist will tell you. What you eat as a child is going to determine your health for your whole life. Whether you are lazy or whether you're hardworking as a child, that will determine your health for the rest of your life. You'll set certain parameters about your health. Your brain ... Here's the thing. You start learning music as a child, you'll be musical your whole life. You never do music as a child, you're going to be somebody who's 40 years old and can't carry a tune in a bucket. Why? It's just because what you do as a child will set the rest of your life. Take it seriously.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much, Lord, for your word and for the blessings that you've given us, especially the children that you've blessed us with. Help us to be good stewards of those children, Lord, and help us all at this church to have blessed children and none of our children to be cursed. In your name, we pray. Amen.