You know, for me it was
I had a deep, deep conviction of being a sinner.
I grew up in a Methodist church.
We went to church every Sunday.
I had all the pins, you know, for going a year
without missing a Sunday.
And I came away
with only one understanding, but it was a good one
because it was part of the building blocks
that led me to faith,
and that was "sinners go to hell."
Of course, I thought good people
go to heaven. Sinners go to hell.
And I knew which I was.
There was no question in my mind.
The part I was wrong about was
there aren't any good people who go to heaven.
that deep conviction lasted with me
from the age of five to the age of fifteen.
I was terrified of death.
Whenever I heard of a person dying or a funeral,
I was terrified
because I knew one day I'm going to die.
To give you an idea,
I remember at the age of seven we went camping
and my dad had built a bonfire
and I stood looking at the bonfire at the sticks
that were burning.
And the thought that went through my mind was,
I wish that I could have just been made a stick
instead of a human because that stick is
going to burn up, and it'll be over.
But I'm going to burn forever in hell.
I had very strong conviction of that.
Well, that worked on me for ten years.
In those ten years I just proved it
more and more every year.
No hope for me. I know where I'm going.
And then finally a guy came to me
and we met and shared with me John 3:16.
And to be honest, I didn't understand it at all.
But he said, "Memorize this verse." And I did.
And I met up with him two or three weeks later
and he said, "Did you memorize verse?"
I said, "Yeah, I could quote it. John. John 3:16
"God so loved the world
that He gave his only begotten Son,
so that whoever believes in him
should not perish but have everlasting life."
I went through it didn't mean anything to me.
Well, he thought I had become a believer.
I didn't understand what the verse meant.
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
All little children begin the learning process in life the same way. They learn by faith. Because they know that they don’t know, they are humble. They have never seen an elephant, or a whale, but if you show them a picture book, they learn to identify whatever they are shown. If they are told, “This is an elephant,” they don’t argue and say, “No, I think that is a chicken.” They believe what they are told because it is in their child-like nature to trust.
Only as we grow do we begin to assume a level of knowledge, based on what we have learned by faith. As adults we turn more and more to reason (rationalism) and science (empiricism), where we learn by trial and error. Gradually, we begin to turn away from the faith we had as little children.
Here, Jesus is telling His disciples that they need to “turn around, go back” to being like little children. They need to come to Him in simple, child-like faith if they would enter into His heavenly kingdom. The same point was made on another occasion (Mark 10:13–16). When we return to the simplicity of child-like faith, we come to Jesus through His Word in humility. And Peter, the leader of the disciple band, assures us “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5b). It is time for us to turn back to the simplicity and humility of little children and hear the voice of our heavenly Father!