The dangerous thing about scoffers and mockers is that they hang out in the church and call themselves pastors and teachers and prophets; some are bloggers and professors and Christian music artists.
Peter warns the church about mockers so that
1. We recognize them
2. We don’t hang out with them
3. We don’t ourselves become scoffers, fools and ultimately deceived.
What group of individuals is an antithesis to scoffers?
Here are some hints:
But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)
“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)
“In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.” (1 Cor. 14:20)
What attributes of children make it easy for them to enter the kingdom of heaven?
Some things that come to mind: children tend to be trusting, they’ve a clear sense of right and wrong (whether they act on it or now, they do know), and they’re not cynical (world-weary). Children by nature have a sense of wonder, they are guileless, and they are full of faith. The ability to believe truth when they hear it makes life much simpler for them.
When my children were little especially, I saw how easy it was for them to move in the flow of Heaven.
I remember my four year-old playing the piano and singing with all her might things that she hadn’t been told, things revealed as mysteries in the book of Job.
Once, without looking up from her coloring, my six year old interpreted a prayer I said in tongues (she told me matter-of-factly that I was praying for Mary [the neighbor lady] to know Jesus).
My children have laid hands on the sick and witnessed them recover with far more dramatic results than I have.
A favorite story I love to recount comes from last summer, when one of our goats got conjunctivitis. Two vet visits and various rounds of medications did not help; my poor Alpine went completely blind. We had to lead her to her water and ensure she didn’t get bullied by her herd mates.
One Sunday afternoon as I went down to the paddock, I glanced over to see this same goat trotting toward me. Her eyes were completely clear!
“Honey, Ra-Ra can see!” I shouted to my husband in disbelief, waving my hand in front of her face and watching her reflexively pull back.
As I called this out, my daughter’s 9 year-old friend who was visiting overheard me.
“Mrs. Tomko, we prayed for your goat in Sunday School this morning!” she cried.
God cares about all His creatures, but what was most amazing is that a man happened to be staying at our place from New York City with his little daughter, and he had to my knowledge no faith. He began to laugh when he heard this exchange. “That’s awesome!” he said, shaking his head. When he departed several days later, he left us a note. The last line read, “I felt God met me in unexpected ways while I was here.”
A grown up would have scoffed at the idea of requesting prayer for a goat, unless perhaps there was financial benefit tied to it. But not children. And so God manifested His power and His goodness through and to the children of our church, and to a man staying with us who needed to encounter Him.
“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Maybe the Lord actually means that.