During our Soccer Bible Camp this week, we have been telling the children about the Kingdom of Heaven through some of Jesus’ Kingdom parables. The title of the study package from Children Desiring God is “Things Hidden: A Study for Children on Kingdom Parables,” because, as Jesus said, for very many, “seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matt 13:13). We need to continue to pray that Holy Spirit will open their hearts to “see” and to “hear” the Gospel, the GOOD NEWS that God has loved them so much that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to die in their place, to accept God’s just wrath for their sin, that in Him, they might be forgiven of their sins, and welcomed into the Kingdom.
We have had the great privilege of planting seeds, watering seeds planted in previous years, cultivating and tending seedlings! It has been really exciting to see Holy Spirit at work in the hearts of children! You would be amazed at the depth of the questions that some have asked. God is really moving in these young hearts! Please continue to pray that the seeds planted would grow and bear much fruit! How important for us to remember that we can’t produce conversions. Only God Holy Spirit can do that. But we have been called to speak, to tell the GOOD NEWS. God uses “means” to take the Gospel to the hearts of men and women, boys and girls. He has chosen to speak through us. That is why Jesus commanded us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Remember also what the Apostle Paul said, in Romans 10:9-15. This is how one is saved, and how it is that they hear that they need to be saved:
… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
And when a sinner is saved, there is great rejoicing in heaven! Have you thought about that lately? That when you came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, when you turned from sin, repented and believed, when you stopped trying to “earn” your way into heaven, but trusted that Jesus had paid it all, that it is only by faith in His accomplished work on the cross that you could enter heaven, when you believed and were saved, there was great rejoicing in heaven. Luke writes in Luke 15, verses 7 and 10:
- “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
- “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
These two parables, “The Parable of the Lost Sheep” (Luke 15 :1-7) and “The Parable of the Lost Coin” (Luke 15:8-10) have been a part of the teaching to the children in Soccer Bible Camp. Together with “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” in verses 11-32, they form a set of Kingdom Parables where one of the primary lessons is about the joy in heaven (and the joy that we should have on earth) over every single sinner who repents and believes.
In the first two parables, the shepherd and then the woman, search diligently for that which was lost. The Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine, and “go[es] after the one that is lost, until He finds it.” The woman “light[s] a lamp and sweep[s] the house and seek[s] diligently until she finds” the lost coin. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father has been watching for his lost son, watching for him, so that “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him,” all before the son was even able to speak the confession and repentance that he had been rehearsing from the moment that he “came to himself,” and began his journey back from the “far country” to his home. There too, there was great rejoicing when the sinner repented and came home.
God has worked mightily in and through us in this past week, for His glory! We may not see the fruit during our own lifetimes. We have seen Holy Spirit at work, but for many of these children, the seed that was planted may take much time to germinate, to sprout, to bear fruit. We trust that for some of them, the seed that was planted this week will bear fruit in due time, according to God’s purposes, in 1 year, in 5 years, in 15 or 20 years. That is in God’s hands. We persevere and continue to pray! All for the glory of God!
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