Don’t Be Childish

SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:29-35

29 When they heard this, all the people—even the tax collectors—agreed that God’s way was right, for they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused John’s baptism.

31 “To what can I compare the people of this generation?” Jesus asked. “How can I describe them? 32 They are like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends,

‘We played wedding songs,
    and you didn’t dance,
so we played funeral songs,
    and you didn’t weep.’

33 For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ 35 But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.”


There is a huge difference in being childish and being child like. Jesus wants us to be child like, especially in our faith. Children have extraordinary faith, a vivid imagination, and they are very trusting. Christ does not want us to be ‘childish’ and this is exactly what He labels the Jewish religious leaders, they were acting like spoiled rich kids that play at the market. All the poor kids had to work.


So Jesus compared the Jewish religious leaders to spoiled children in the market place. In other words, He accused them of being CHILDISH.



Our granddaughter Chloe is three and she is a pistol with a capital P. Recently she was performing for me in the living room. She was singing a song out of a recent Disney movie “Frozen” and she was singing and twirling at the same time. I decided to help her sing. That was a mistake: she stopped instantly and turned to me and said, “Hush, Granddaddy, this is my show.” Now I had to sit on the couch and watch with interest but I was not allowed to sing.

Fifteen years ago we had twin girls that were three and we were driving all over the country to see Christmas lights. Lara was our active one, much like Chloe and she didn’t like Grandmother and Grandmother was not fond of her because they both want everyone’s undivided attention. Lara was riding in the middle seat and Mother was sitting directly in front, in the shotgun seat. They were both trying to get the floor and Mother kept interrupting Lara so Lara reached up and pulled Mother’s hair. She wheeled around and grabbed Lara by the hair of the head and was about to yank it out when I caught her out of the side of my eye, “Mother, what on earth are you doing?” “I’m pulling her hair.” I said, “I can see that but why are you pulling her hair?” Mother said, “Because she pulled mine.” I said, “Mother, she is three years old.” She said, “I don’t care, she pulled mine and I’m pulling hers.” Both were acting like a child but one was three and other was 85.

Growing old is not an option but growing up is: some times adults act childish instead of child like. It is all about us. We want our way and we pout and pitch a fit if we don’t get our way.

I am reminded of the words of Isaiah–All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way. Really, this is the essence of sin, it is our rebellious self-will. We are find as long as we get our way. If we don’t get our way there is heck to pay.


A spoiled child cannot be satisfied. You can please them. They have to name the game and you have to play by their rules and still they will not be happy. Jesus said, “Its like kids at the market place. We played happy music and they did not like it; so we played sad music and they didn’t like that either. No matter what we played they were unhappy and complaining.

John and Jesus were related [Luke 1:36] and some even say they favored but in personality and temperament, they were polar opposites. John was introverted. He was a recluse. We believe his father died when he was a child and his mother fled to the wilderness with John when Herod started killing babies. Eventually, John is raised by the Essenes. The Essenes lived in the wilderness in small communes. They lived a simple life and kept their distance from the general public. John was like the Essenes, he lived outdoors, ate honey and locust. He was a rugged survivalist much like Elijah. John was very austere and ascetic.

Jesus was just the opposite. He was an extravert who loved people and parties. Jesus was a socialite, He attended banquets, parties, festivals and He had a sense of humor. Actually He said a lot of funny things but much of it was tongue and check and you would have to have seen His gestures and His face to get the humor. Jesus even used sarcasm and satire. The Jews accused Jesus of being a drunk.

John was deadly serious, very solemn, all business. He fasted, prayed, lived a very disciplined life. Did tell jokes, didn’t laugh at Jokes and the Jewish religious leaders said he had a demon which may have been idiomatic for crazy. They rejected John and his baptism and they also rejected Jesus. They were beyond pleasing.


The word foolish means a person or action lacking good sense or judgment; something unwise.

Did you do anything foolish when you were a child. If you are like me, your answer is ‘yes’ I did a lot of foolish things. I made a parachute around the age of 10, used burlaps for my fabric and baling twine for my ropes. Let me tell you, you can make a parachute our of burlaps. I jumped from the top of the barn and fell like a rock, hit my chin on my knee, loosened my teeth, could have bit my tongue off. The only thing that saved was about 16 inches of wet cow manure.

We raised a small patch of sugar cane one year and daddy put it in a shock, a huge one that looked like and Indian Tepee to me. I knew there was some space in the middle of the shock at the bottom so I weasel my way in and sure enough there was enough room to sit up. One problem, it was dark at pitch so I went to the house and got me some matches and carried just a little bit of kindling into my Tepee. I bet you already know what happened. I crawled in, started my fire but there was one huge problem, there was no vent at the top of my tepee and I had to evacuate in a hurry before I chocked to death. I crawled out to safety and was laying on the ground trying to get my breath. It was probably a couple of minutes before I looked at the shock of cane and by the time I looked, it was too late. Smoke was boiling out and it wasn’t long till I saw flames. The watering trough was 100 feet away. I didn’t have a prayer. You would be surprised at how dark cane smoke is and it was ascending almost straight up. It drew a crowd. I wasn’t worried about the crowd, I was worried about Daddy.

Paul said in I Corinthians 13, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. I still do some foolish things. I cut a vine and fixed it where the kids could swing across a little branch. Someone dared me and here I go. I was wearing a back brace. Not smart, I admit.


The Jewish religious leaders were my age and older but although they were grown physically, they had not put away their childish ways. They rejected Jesus without analyzing the substance of His word and work. They just didn’t like Him. We all do foolish things from time to time but the ultimate foolishness is to reject Jesus.


Dealing With Doubt

Scripture: Luke 7:18-23

18 The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, 19 and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”

20 John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’”

21 At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. 22 Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. 23 And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.’”



It is not unusual for great spiritual leaders like John the Baptist to have days of doubt.

~Warren W. Wiersbe

  • Moses [Numbers 11:11-15]And Moses said to the Lord, [1] Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! [2] What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?  [3] Did I give birth to them?  [4] Did I bring them into the world? [5]  Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? [6]  How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? [7]Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”
  • Elijah [I Kings 19:3-4]Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said.Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
  • Jeremiah [20:7-9]–O Lord, you misled me, and I allowed myself to be misled. You are stronger than I am, and you overpowered me. Now I am mocked every day; everyone laughs at me. When I speak, the words burst out. “Violence and destruction!” I shout. So these messages from the Lord have made me a household joke. But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!


Doubt is not always a sign that you are wrong but it is always a sign that your are thinking.

~Oswald Chambers

Doubt and insecurity are a result of the fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, it infected us with the virus of sin. To have doubt is no sin but to give in to doubt, to live in constant doubt is the surest way to defeat. Think about it, why would the devil tempt a lost person with doubt? I have never worried about the doubters, I worry more about those who have no doubts. As you know, this story about John languishing in prison is not my favorite story but there are some valuable lessons we can learn from this unpleasant event…


Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to evil people. The Jews misinterpreted and misunderstood the O.T. teaching. They interpreted it to mean that prosperity was a sign of God’s special favor. Therefore all rich people were favored and poor people were sinners. There is a huge problem with this theology: neither Jesus nor Paul were rich and both were severely mistreated. As in the case of Job, God’s favored suffer. God thought more of Job than any man on the planet. Paul said, “All who live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”


John, like most Jews was expecting one advent. He thought Jesus was going to establish His kingdom on earth but Jesus wasn’t moving in that direction and John knew it. John wanted Jesus to change and fulfill his expectations but Jesus refused to change. Jesus will not change, He doesn’t need to change: we are the ones who need to change. We need to change or expectations to meet His.

The Jews had all these preconceived notions about what and how God would do things in order to fulfill His promises. They wanted a Messiah who would destroy their enemies and end their national humiliation. They could support their expectations with scripture. But even with scripture, men can not predict what God is going to do, otherwise, man with scripture would be God.

Isaiah 42:1-7…Isa. 42-1-7–“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me.  I  have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public.  He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.”

The reason so many Jews took offense with Jesus is because He was a surprise; He was new wine, He did not fit the mold of their assumptions. He was all together different from what they expected. But our God is the God of wondrous surprises.  Don’t try to paint God in a box: you will be disappointed.


There is a huge difference between Doubt and Unbelief. Doubt is a matter of the mind, we cannot understand what God is doing or why. Unbelief is a matter of the will, it is when we refuse to take God at His word like the Israelites at Kadesh. They did not go in because of their unbelief. John had honest doubt but by no means was he filled with unbelief. Perpetual doubt could lead to unbelief but initially, they are two different things.


You can throw out a fleece, pray for a sign, long for a feeling but the only thing He is committed to give you is His word. Jesus said to John’s disciples… “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 29:18-19 and 35:4-5…

Isa 29…In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness. The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

Isa 35:4-5…And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!

Jesus does not quote one of the more popular Messianic promises, 61:1, The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the Brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.


     John had a vague idea of what God was doing: Jesus knew exactly. I like Dr. Adrian Rogers paraphrase of Jesus message to John…”You go back to being John and let me be God.” The key to peace is to change our expectations so they mesh with God’s.


 7Dear brothers and sisters, be patient {makrothymeō} as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

You, too, must be patient {makrothymeō} . Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

10 For examples of patience {makrothymeō} in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

11 We give great honor to those who endure {hypomonē} under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance {hypomonē}. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.


A huge part of life is waiting and learning to wait patiently. When I was a child, it was waiting for Christmas, then as a teenager, waiting to get my driving license. After that it was waiting to graduate college and seminary and get my first church. Today, I waited in a doctor’s office and then at the lab where I was to get blood work. Usually I carry reading material which I did today but I was so tired that I took a nap. I did wait patiently which is not my nature. I have a witness, my wife was with me.

Waiting has been a source of frustration in my life. I have been know to wait a specific amount of time and then get up and leave the doctor’s office. They value their time but they don’t value mine. I don’t like to be kept waiting when people are lazy or incompetent.

As Christians, we need to learn the discipline of waiting upon the LORD and for His return. The people James was writing to were poor Jews who were suffering at the hand of the unbelieving and wealthy Jews. When you are suffering affliction the way these poor Jewish Christians were suffering, you long for the day of the LORD’s return because you know He is going to set the record straight.

Life is not fair but being impatient about Justice will not help. People who get angry over the unfairness of life become bitter, they are like Scar on the Lion King. The unfairness of life made Scar vindictive and cruel.

James wanted to encourage his readers not to grow impatient with God. It does not pay to get impatient with God and run ahead of him. Eve did and you see what it cost her, her children and the entire human race. Moses grew impatient and it cost him a trip to the Holy Land. Abraham grew impatient and Ishmael was born, do I need say more. The world is in anguish today because of the sons of Ishmael.

James gives three illustrations to encourage believers to hang in there and not give up on their faith.


  1. A harvest takes time. No crop produces overnight. The ancient Jews planted wheat and barley which are sowed in late fall and reaped in early Summer. There was a four month waiting time between sowing and reaping. Every farmer knows that it takes time to grow a crop and there has to be some patient waiting.
  2. A good harvest is well worth the wait. I love harvest time. When I retire, I plan to help my friends in Limestone county with the harvest. I am pretty sure they will allow me to bushhog the cotton stalks. I just want to be around the harvest. Next to Christmas, it is the most exciting time of the year. Good things are worth the wait.
  3. Farmers are dependent on rain. In ancient Israel, they had to have the fall rain to get the seed up and then the spring rains to help the grain mature. Farming has always been an act of faith and there will always be good years and bad years, depending on the weather. A farmer who doesn’t get the rain on a certain year does not quit farming, he waits for the next year.
  4. The growth and maturity of a crop is a process and it is a God thing. Paul said, “I planted, Apollos waters but it is God who gives the increase. Not all farmers believe in God but they should.


  1. What do farmers and prophets have in common? They both wait for a harvest, just of a different nature. The farmer is waiting on a harvest of grain: the prophet is waiting on a harvest of souls. One is a natural harvest and the other is spiritual but both require patience.
  2. Randolph Tasker believes that James is referring primarily to Jeremiah who was the “Old Testament Man of Sorrows.” Jeremiah was neither appreciated or popular. He had the unpleasant task of announcing Judgment and he was right on the money.  Even after time vindicated his message, he was still persecuted and finally stoned by a mob of angry Jews. The Jews have always been the number one persecutor of Jews. Through out the O.T. the rich Jews persecuted the poor which they continue to do until the present. Jesus was persecuted by Jews. Paul was persecuted by Jews. Jeremiah was persecuted by Jews, by his own religious community. He was arrested, beaten, tried as a traitor, imprisoned, humiliated in stocks, put in a muddy cistern and left to die and then forced to go to Egypt. The only people who tried to help Jeremiah were Gentiles.
  3. What keeps a man like Jeremiah going? Patience. He endure the present by looking to the future. He never gave up on God. He never quit.


  1. Give it some thought: Satan wants to get us to be impatient with God, to curse Him and abandon our faith. This was exactly what he was attempting with Job.
  2. One bible scholar says that hypomonē cannot be translated into English, there is no word strong enough. Both words in James 5 that are translated by the KJV or AV as patience or two different words. Makrothymeō  [Ma-kro-thu-me-0] is a compound word which means “to be slow to get hot.” It is basically referring to temper and usually relates to other people. Hypomonē  [hu-po-me-no] is a compound word that means to “bear up under” or “to stay under.” It usually deals with circumstances. Some people get caught in a less than happy marriage: the devil tempts them to jump ship in pursuit of happiness. In most cases, I encourage them to stay under their present burden or hardship.
  3. Job was constant: day in and day out, he was the same. His integrity was off the charts–this is what made him unique. Job grew impatient with his friends and family but he never bailed out on God, he never cursed God and denied his faith. Satan predicted that Job would fall and deny his faith once his riches and healthh were taken but the whole thing back fired on Satan–Job became stronger in the faith. We cannot learn endurance if we have nothing to endure. Job refused to give into evil: he would not curse God nor deny his faith. He said in Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
  4. Satan attacked our integrity and tries to undermine our faith. He wants to deceive us the same way he did Eve. We must follow Job’s example, not Eve’s.


What on earth does verse 12 have to do with this passage?

12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.

Actually it is simple: if the devil can destroy our integrity, he has completely destroyed our witness and influence.

  • Randolph Tasker: men should say what they mean and mean what they say.
  • Irasmus: Insincere speech leads to hypocrisy.
  • John Calvin: any avoidance of simplicity and directness in speech leads to dissimulation.

Men of integrity do not resort to subtlety; they do not try to out smart you with keenly crafted words. A person who is known for truth has a powerful witness. The honest man does not have to say much, just yes and no. The dishonest man covers his dishonest with many word and even oaths. This is what Peter did in the court yard of the high priest. His answer should have been a simple “yes” but he swore with an oath that He did not know Jesus.

Warren Wiersbe says: “What we do on earth is recorded in heaven and God keeps the books and He pays the interest.”

No form of insincere speech will pay dividends. In the end our words will judge us.


The Perfect Father

Luke 15

  1. He is immutable–“I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.” {Malachi 3:6}

  2. He is impartial–“Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. {Mark 12:14} {Rom 2:11} No partiality with God.

  3. He is benevolent–“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! {Matthew 7:11}

  4. He is patient–does a lot of waiting {2 Peter 3:9}

  5. He is gentle and kind–Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt. 11:28-30}

  6. He is merciful and forgiving–Daniel said, “God is forgiving.” Moses said, “God is merciful.” David said, “God is gracious and merciful.”

  7. He is compassionate–When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. {Matt. 9:36}

 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. {Matt. 9:36}

The Misuse Of Riches

1 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people {the righteous man}, who do not resist you.


First of all, let me say there is nothing sinful about wealth but it does bring with it many temptations.

  1. PRIDE –The temptation that you have it because of your own efforts–And you say in your heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth. Pride tempts us to take ownership of that which God has blessed us with. [Deut. 8:17-18]
  2. WORSHIP–The temptation to trust your wealth to meet all your needs–They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. [Psalms 49:6-7]…If your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.
  3. HOARDING–The temptation that you can keep your wealth–For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.[Psalm 49:17]
  4. LAZINESS— The temptation to sit down and take it easy, avoiding hard work–Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase. [Proverbs 13:11] [Luxury will destroy the soul and easy money will destroy character.]
  5. GREED— The temptation to get a little more– Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! [Eccl.5:10]

These are just a few of the temptations that accompany wealth. If you envy the wealthy, don’t because it involves much more accountability. I must also raise a caution. All rich people are not greedy, most but not all. Some of the Labor Unions incite hatred toward the rich but this is not our goal. You always have your R.G. LeTourneau’s. He made a fortune in earth moving equipment but was a fantastic Christian. I heard him speak when I was a boy. He came to our little country church because he knew our pastor. He gave 90% to the church and lived on 10%. Maxie Jarman is another example and there are many more but typically wealth corrupts because by nature, wealth is seductive. Understand, we tell the truth about riches but we are not against the rich and neither was James.

I. UNDERSTAND THE AVERAGE RICH PERSON HAS NO FUTURE, AT LEAST NOT A BRIGHT ONE. James said, Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. The misuse of funds carries a stiff penalty. The only way to make wealth endure is to invest. You keep nothing that you have no given away. It is in losing that you gain. Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you.” You cannot borrow your way out of debt but you can give your way out of debt. Anything you cling to or hoard, you will lose.
II. SECONDLY YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT MATERIAL WEATH HAS NO LASTING VALUE UNLESS IT IS USED TO HELP OTHERS. Riches, wealth in and of itself has no value. It has become a stumbling block to many. Gold is a metal and it will rust: all material wealth is subject to rust or rot. I know a good man who has one weakness: he is a hoarder. He keeps things that he will never use. He has untold wealth that could be converted into mission money. He could build several houses in Guatemala and not be one dime poorer. He is allowing things of value to literally rot and rust. Gold and silver will eventually be worthless.
I know you have heard the story about the man who loved gold and so he had his briefcase packed with gold bullion. When he got to the pearly gates, St. Peter asked to look in the briefcase, when he opened it, he exclaimed in shock and surprise, “You brought pavement.” Gold and silver have value now but you better get it converted into heavenly wealth because he will be worthless to you someday.
Everything belongs to God. This is the first rule of stewardship. Psalms 50 reads…O my people, listen as I speak. Here are my charges against you, O Israel: I am God, your God! I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer. But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens.  For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. We call this the PRINCIPLE OF DIVINE OWNERSHIP. If you don’t understand this first principle, you will never be a faithful steward.