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   Spiritual Children    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee


[Matthew 18: 1- 4]
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."


There are some rides in amusement parks that only children can ride but not the adults. Though we may want ride on them, we can disappointedly accept it.
But what if there is a similar kind of age limit like this when we enter into the heavenly kingdom?
What if we couldn't enter heaven if we are over a certain age! However, there is in fact an age-like requirement for entering into the kingdom of heaven.
Today's reading passage Matthew 18:3-4 says, "'...Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.' Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus showed us a model of the kind of person who will go into the heavenly kingdom and who is truly great there. That model is a child-like person.
To become like a child does not mean we have to act in the simplistic manner of a child.
It means we have to have the gentle goodness and virtue of a young child. In other words, we have to become spiritual children.
Unlike in the past, even little children these days become stained by the world early in life.
But still, they have more attributes of goodness than adults. Usually when we think about the purity and cleanliness of a conscience that is not stained by the world we are reminded of children.
Ladies and gentlemen, how much of the heart of a child do you have?
When I explain to you about the characteristics of spiritual children, I would like you to check your heart. I hope you will become spiritual children and pass through the gate of heavenly kingdom and also become one of the greatest persons there.
Furthermore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become lovely spiritual children so that you will receive special love of God the Father on earth, as well.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, spiritual children, first of all, are simple.
A very young child's thoughts and actions are simple and uncomplicated. So, when they are taught something, they just accept it.
For example, if the mother tells them not to hit their brothers, not to throw trash away on the street and to listen to mom very well, they just input what they are taught.
They also act upon what they learn. They do what they are told to do, and they don't do what they are told not to do.
It's the same with spiritual children. If God's word says something is the truth, they just accept it.
When God says Do it, Don't do it, Keep it, and Throw it away, they just obey the word as heard.
But if a person has the heart of an adult, they first filter the words through their own common sense and stored knowledge before they accept it.
When they hear other people's words or see their actions, they form their own opinions rather than accepting them simply for what they are.
They also do not obey the word of God as it is, but they tend to obey only what they can accept within their own way of thinking.
For example, God's word says, "Rejoice always." Then, do you always rejoice as the Word says?
Spiritual children should rejoice always as the Word says. But those who have the heart of adults will express their joy only when they have something to rejoice about.
Many times they cannot rejoice saying, "I have this sorrowful situation. I lack so much. I cannot rejoice because of this and because of that."
But what about little children?
They may fall down and cry, but if the mother comes and says, "It's OK, don't cry," then they just stand up and keep on playing. That is truly uncomplicated simplicity.
Little children don't agonize over complications or worry like their parents.
It's because they only have to follow what their parents tell them to do.
God the Father wants His children to simply obey His Word like little children obey.
Of course, to become simple does not mean to act in thoughtlessness and recklessness. It means we have to become simple by trusting and relying on the almighty God completely.
When God called Moses as the leader of the Exodus, Moses first worried about all kinds of situations.
So God showed him many amazing signs telling him that He would be with him.
Only then did Moses become like a child obeying the word of God as it was.
That is why he could obey when God told him to part the Red Sea by raising the staff and when God told him to hit the rock.
God showed amazing things through the one who had become this Moses.
But if Moses had been worried thinking, "What if the Red Sea is not parted? What if the water doesn't come out?" then, those works wouldn't have taken place.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will obey the word of God by trusting Him completely like simple children, and give glory to God all the time.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, spiritual children, secondly, are pure.
To be pure is to be not mixed with anything else.
To have a pure heart is to have no evil or any other filthy things in the heart.
If we have a pure heart, we will react to even little things that happen around them.
For example, little children laugh or cry easily over minor things. If somebody dances and sings around them, they also dance and sing.
If their brother is crying because he is scolded for his mistakes, they also cry with their brother.
They also become very sad if they see their mom sick. On the contrary, grown ups do not have much feeling when they see such things.
It's because as they live in this world, their hearts are hardened and numbed by the stains of the world.
Luke 7:32 describes such a heart as follows:
It says, "They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.'
Those with this kind of a heart don't become impressed or touched even when they see something good. They don't have much feeling even when they see something sad or evil.
But spiritual children who have pure hearts are touched when they see even little good things.
Some of you shed your tears whenever you hear stories that talk about goodness. Also, those who are pure in heart will be very amazed by the works of God and believe in them.
They long for the works of God, even if they are little things, and even though they hear the same testimony again and again, they are still touched and they glorify God.
In this church, we see countless works of God. And those who have heart like little children are always happy and full of Spirit.
But with the heart of grown ups, they don't really feel anything even when they see such amazing works of God.
They don't feel it's new thinking, "Oh, I have seen it before." They even begin to doubt thinking whether those works are really true or not.
Those who are spiritually pure will be sensitive to evil and untruthful things, too.
Little children have pure hearts, and they feel pangs of conscience to a great extent when they do something wrong. Suppose they learned it is bad to hit their brother.
But they couldn't control their emotion for a moment and hit him anyway.
Seeing their brother crying, they feel very sorry for what they have done.
If their mother scolds them, they soon ask for forgiveness.
The conscience of grownups does not respond to the extent of children even when they have done something wrong.
For example, suppose you are wearing a one piece white dress. Then, if just a small drop of ink falls on it, you care about it so much.
But if you are wearing work clothes that are already full of stains, you don't care so much about getting more stains on them.
Likewise, the more the heart is stained with untruths, the less sensitive the person becomes even when he is acting in untruth.
How is your heart? I see that some people have more of the heart of grownups as they lead a Christian life for a long time.
When they first accept the Lord and begin their life in faith, they repent of all their sins and wear a clean garment in spiritual sense.
All their past sins are cleansed by the blood of the Lord.
Then, they pray and fast with the determination that they will never commit sins again and to cast off even the sinful natures of the heart.
As they are full of the Spirit, they hate even little sins and are very cautious about them.
But the problem is they change their attitude in the middle.
They come to compromise once and then twice in their struggle against sins.
Then, they become less sensitive and more prone towards committing sins. They pass judgment and condemnation and become envious and jealous, and spread other people's faults and tell lies, but they don't even realize it.
They soon forget the grace they received when things are not really beneficial for them. Even though they feel some pricks of conscience, they just ignore it and do the untruthful thing.
Of course, because they know the truth, they pray to cast away sins. But they don't really have the earnest desire from the depth of their heart to struggle against sins to the point of tearing their hearts and death.
Brothers and sisters, David was loved by God very much. But even after time passed, his pure heart remained pure before God.
When Saul tried to kill him due to his envy, David could have killed Saul, but he didn't.
Once, he just cut off an edge of the garment of Saul, and even for that he had great qualms of conscience. Even after he became the king, he tore his heart and repented before God when he sinned.
When he saw something good, he rejoiced so much before God. When he saw something evil, he felt sorrowful shedding his tears.
Brothers and sisters, only those who have pure, blameless, and spotless hearts like children can go into New Jerusalem.
This fact never changes.
The beginning of 1 Peter 2:2 says, " newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word,"
I hope you will long for the word of truth, God's grace and love, holiness and godliness with the pure heart like newborn babies.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, spiritual children thirdly, are not arrogant.
Little children don't try to set themselves up. If there are things that they cannot do, they ask an adult for help. They don't try to hide their weaknesses because of their pride.
Children understand that they have less knowledge and are physically weaker than the adults.
So, they think it is something normal and natural to obey and ask for help. It's the same with spiritual children.
Not only before God, but also before little ones, they only humble themselves and serve others. They don't even insist that they are right.
They confess from the bottom of their hearts that they cannot do anything if God is not with them.
Thus, spiritual children do not ever judge or go against the word of God. They unconditionally say 'Amen' to the word of God and humbly obey it.
Also, they listen to the words of the little ones. So, they can quickly come to self realizations and change their shortcomings.
They serve others with truthfulness because from the heart they consider others better than themselves.
Furthermore, whatever they do, they rely on the wisdom and power of God, not using their own thoughts or methods.
But what if we have the heart of grown up adults? We will think we have wisdom and power.
For example, the high priests, the scribes, and the Pharisees at the time of Jesus all thought that they knew the word of God very well and God deemed them to be upright and proper in the sight of God.
But it was because of this that they could not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Also, they couldn't accept the situation in which they were humbled.
With this kind of lifted heart, they couldn't realize anything even though they saw the powerful works and heard the word of truth so many times.
Finally they forsook Jesus, the Son of God and they were not saved.
Those who were saved were so-called the neglected people such as the sick, tax-collectors, and prostitutes.
It's because they humbled themselves thinking they were sinners and went before Jesus.
They trusted the word of Jesus because they acknowledged Him and thought that He was a man of God for He could perform such powerful works.
We can experience the grace and power of God when we humble ourselves.
1 Peter 5:5 the latter part says, "...clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
We have to go before God like children laying down all our experiences, wisdom, wealth, fame, authority, and social positions. Zaccheus the chief tax collector went before Jesus in this way.
There were many people surrounding Jesus, and Zaccheus couldn't see Him because he was a very short man. So, he climbed up a sycamore tree nearby.
He had the social position of being the chief tax collector, but he didn't think of his pride.
Jesus was pleased with this Zaccheus. He called him among many people and visited his house. Zaccheus received salvation.
It's the same with all of us. We have to lay down all by faith - our experiences, positions in the church, wealth, fame, and authority, and just go before the Lord.
I have never done anything at my personal discretion as a servant of God.
I only obeyed the will of God even in little things confessing that I am nothing if God is not with me.
Then, God gave me greater power day by day and lifted me up higher and higher.
I hope you will also humble yourself both before God and little ones and serve others, so that you will experience the limitless grace that God is pouring down on you.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus was like a child who was lovelier than anybody else before God.
If God told Him to go, He went. He did whatever God told Him to do.
He even died following the command of God.
Also, Jesus rejoiced like a child and gave thanks to God when He saw something good and works of God.
He always humbled Himself.
Being the Son of God, He always prayed asking for the will and strength of God.
He humbled Himself to the lowest degree, like the most wretched being on earth by taking the cross, receiving the mockeries and the contempt of His creatures.
But what was the result? He became the Savior of all mankind and the King of kings and Lord of lords. He sat on the right hand side of God in the kingdom of heaven.
Even though we are lifted up on earth, it doesn't mean anything unless we become spiritual children.
It's because the kingdom of heaven belongs to children. Also, the great in heaven is he who humbles himself like a child.
Taking after the example of Jesus, I hope you will break down all forms of things that are adult-like in you through the Word and prayer.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will wash the robes of heart that are stained by the world and pass through the pearl gate of New Jerusalem.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, tomorrow is the Lunar New Year.
Some of you have already been to your hometowns before today, and some of you are leaving after attending Sunday services.
I hope you will give out the fragrance of Christ and spread His love wherever you go.
And you should never bow down to idols, not by any chance.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have safe journeys and have a great holiday with your family, relatives, and neighbors.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Happy New Year!