After Proclaim yesterday, I was asked a very good question that went something like this:
Though I sought to answer that question in the sermon, perhaps I was a bit too vague. I'm sorry... sort of.
A couple of times before I've been asked why I don't provide more specific points of application. Though most of my sermons conclude with three points on "How Now Shall We Live," some would prefer a simple list of How To's. But, rather than giving you a check list, I prefer to leave specific points of application to you & the Lord. The last thing I want to do is reduce our relationship with the Lord to a couple of things to accomplish. I'd rather encourage the family to revisit the deeper, more important aspects of what we learned from the Scripture throughout the week. Christianity is not primarily about what we do, but who God is & who we are in Him.
Now, back to yesterday's question: "How do I receive a child in His name?" Rather than provide a few practical "How-To's to holiness," consider the following questions & comments in my effort to further explain what I believe it means for us to receive children (or anyone for that matter) in Jesus' name.
If dying for our sins was the only thing the Father sent the Son to do, then why spend three years bobbing & weaving persecuting punches for His pedagogy? Why rebuke the leading teachers of His time, calling them "a brood of vipers" who seek to make their followers "twice the sons of hell?"
Still too vague? Let me try to be more specific:
There was a lot of messed up theology floating around during Jesus' earthly ministry (as there is today). So, He spent much of His time correcting misconceptions about His Father. Every healing, every sermon, every miracle, every morsel in the feeding of four & five thousand... in fact, every drop of blood at Calvary was the Son's effort to point out the supremacy of His Father's character, power, love, majesty, mercy, grace, glory, greatness...
The Son constantly pointed to the true treasure: His Father! That's how He received us! And that's how we are to "receive children in His name:" to lovingly correct, guide & point them toward their greatest pleasure: God Almighty!
So, when you meet with a child, do so in His name: introduce them to & help them see that God is their everlasting hope & joy!
In doing so--as Jesus promised--your reward will be great! You will not only be receiving a child, but you will "receive Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." Delight yourself in the Lord & you will receive Him!
Finally, if you're needing an example or two of how these truths may be applied, consider one of my favorite parts of the baby dedication: fathers praying for their children. I could listen to Tommy & Logan's prayers again & again; faithful examples of men who love God supremely and are seeking Him in hope that their children will follow suit. Our Lord is being faithful to His promise: