HOW TO BRING YOUR
CHILD TO CHRIST
By Amos Cooper Dayton
“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” (Mark 10:14).
I. WE ARE TO BRING THEM BY EARNEST PRAYER FOR GOD’S CONVERTING GRACE.
These parents brought their children desiring His blessing. The Saviour saw the desire in their heart. He did not need to be told of it in words.
He knew they came to ask His blessing on the children, and gladly gave them all they sought for. It does not plainly appear just what they wished, and looked for, as the result of the touch of Jesus but whatever it was, they were doubtless fully gratified.
So, Christian parent, you may bring your child by the prayer of the heart. But, 0! be careful, lest you mock Him by words, in which there is no desire. Take care that the desire of your heart is not for wealth or honor, or long life or comfort, or something else besides that blessing of His life which makes rich, and adds no sorrow.
Look at your children now, and say if you really desire the conversion of their souls above all other objects. Can you say before the Lord, who searches the secrets of the souls of men, God it is my heart’s deepest desire for my little ones; not that they may live long upon the earth; not that they may grow up to manhood or womanhood, and be loved, and honored, and happy, but that they may be made the children of God.”
Remember, my dear friends that the conduct of a man shows what is in his heart. Actions speak louder and more truly than words, and therefore, if this truly is the chief desire of your hearts, you are daily taking more pains to secure to your child a new heart, than to lay up for him the wealth of this world. You take more trouble to teach him the way to Heaven, than the road to wealth or worldly success. How is it with you? If I could ask the child, what would it answer? Which would tell me, seemed most to occupy your thoughts? About which do you most frequently converse with it. About which has it heard you more often and most earnestly express your anxiety?
Let us pray for our children. Thus let us bear them to Christ upon our hearts in earnest desire for His blessing.
II. WE ARE TO BRING THEM BY A SINCERE AND ENTIRE CONSECRATION OF THEM TO CHRIST.
We are to give them up to Him to be disposed of by Him for His own glory.
I once heard a minister of Jesus Christ express very great anxiety lest some should ask his daughter to go away upon a mission to the heathen. He believed that if an opportunity were offered she would go. The child had given herself to Jesus, to be or do whatever He should will, but the father had not given up the child.
Brethren, look at this. You should have no child which the Lord did not create for His own glory and give to you to train for Him; none which, if you will bring it to Him by prayer, and give it to Him to be saved in His own time and way, and for His own purposes, He will not gladly bless. But when you are unwilling that your children should labor for Christ on the earth, with what face can you ask Him to save them in Heaven, while you are unwilling that they should suffer with Him, how can you expect they will be glorified with Him.
Christian people, pray God to raise up laborers for His vineyard, to send forth more reapers into His harvest of souls. We pray that He would open the world reception of the Gospel, and send his ministers into all nations to preach the Gospel. You, my hearers, have said such words as these to God. But have you ever said, “Lord, raise up my child for this work. Lord, here is my dear little boy, here is my precious little girl. I love them as I love my life. They are by far the dearest treasures that I have on earth, yet, Lord, I give them to Thee. Lord, take them to Heaven, if this will best promote Thy glory. Send them to China, to Africa, to Japan, to South America—any where that they may best promote Thy cause. Let my daughter suffer, if need be, as did Annie Hasletine Judson. Let my son die a stranger in Tocat, Persia, with no one to put a cup of water to his fevered lips, like Henry Martyn, if this will best promote Thy glory. I am willing to trust them with Thee, soul and body. Do with both, what in Thine infinite wisdom and boundless love, Thou seest to be best. Only let them be Thine, all Thine, and Thine forever. Let me never feel that they are mine, except as I am to train up for Thee?”
He who thus brings his child to Jesus will never have the gift rejected. He may not make it a missionary or minister, but He will accept the offering. He will bless the child and make it an heir of glory. Who of us have thus brought our children to Jesus by a heartfelt and sincere and unreserved consecration?
III. WE MUST BRING OUR CHILDREN TO JESUS BY A TRUSTING FAITH.
I do not mean by this that we can in any sense so trust Christ for our children that our faith may be a substitute for theirs. Our faith can not be counted for righteousness to any but ourselves.
They must repent and believe for themselves, or they will never be saved. But yet the Christian parent may trust, and must trust in God for the fulfillment of His promises, and doing so, we may have the fullest assurance that His promises will be fulfilled. He who has brought his child by earnest prayer and sincere consecration to God, and then employs the means which God has appointed to train him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, may trust the result which with God in full assurance that God will give the repentance and give the faith which the child must have. Without such trust as this we do not really bring them at all, for “he who cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them who diligently seek him.”
IV. But now, in the last place, I remark, that WE MUST BRING OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST BY CAREFUL INSTRUCTION IN THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL
He who really desires above all other blessings for his child, that it shall be a child of God, and who has with a trusting confidence consecrated that child to God, will not fail to use all means in his power to make it familiar with the Gospel, by which it is, after all, to come itself to the Saviour. This is the natural out-working of the desire that was hidden in the parent’s heart. He who does not train up his child in the way that he should go, or at least try to do so, has little reason to believe that he has ever brought the child to Jesus by prayer and consecration or in any other way.
Let us consider that it is to come to Jesus. “All that the Father giveth unto me shall come unto me.”“Ye will not come unto me that ye may have everlasting life.”“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”“Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” Now what is it to come unto Him? Is it not simply to believe upon Him? But the Apostle says, “How can they believe on him of whom they have not heard?” And again, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Then they must be taught before they can actually come, and hence, the parent or the teacher who is giving the knowledge of the Gospel to any child, is to that extent leading that child to Jesus.
He must be taught how sinful, how helpless, how utterly lost he is without a Saviour. He must be made to feel not merely that mankind is sinful, but that he is himself a lost and ruined sinner, that he, for himself needs a Saviour, and must perish, if he does not find one. Hence, the value of personal conversation in the Sunday School and in the family circle with each one by himself; to urge these things home upon the heart. He must be taught that Jesus is the God- appointed Saviour and hence, the only Saviour. He must be taught He was God manifest in the flesh, and hence, an Almighty Saviour. That He did not spare His own life but gave it up for us all, and hence, He has shown His willingness to save even to the uttermost. The Love, the wonderful love of Him who died for us when we were sinners, must be set before him, that he may be drawn to this Saviour.
The duty of self-consecration and obedience to all His commandments must be made known, that he may understand what it will cost to secure his salvation—and these things must be so taught that they will be comprehended; for it is that truth only which gets into the mind that can act upon the mind. It is not the words we hear, but the ideas that the hearing of them excites in the mind that act upon the heart and move the affections. Hence, if we will bring them by prayer, by consecration by trusting them in His hands, but by such training and instruction as will make them to understand His plan of salvation and feel their need of it.
This article was taken from the Berea Baptist Banner June 1996 edition.