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Explaining the Gospel to Children without Watering Down the Word!

Posted by Scott on November 6, 2007

 

New Article from Pulpit Magazine 

Explaining the Gospel to a Child

 

Explaining the Gospel to a ChildHow can parents explain the gospel to their children without toning down the commands of Scripture?

Certainly children are limited in their ability to understand spiritual truth, but so are adults. Very few people intellectually understand all the gospel truth at the moment of salvation. Fortunately, the essential truths are basic enough that even a child can understand. Jesus Himself characterized saving faith as childlikeness (Mark 10:15). True belief is not a function of advanced intellect, sophisticated theological understanding, or complex doctrinal knowledge.

Children old enough to be saved can grasp the concept of coming to Christ with an obedient heart, and letting Him be the Lord of their lives.

When sharing the gospel with a child, keep these points in mind:

1. Remember that repetition and restatement are especially helpful. Give the gospel simply and briefly, but don’t assume the first positive response means they got all the truth they need to know. Continue explaining and expanding your explanations. Too many ministries to children equate every positive response with a real conversion.

2. Use Scripture and explain it clearly. Even with children, God’s Word is the seed that produces life (1 Peter 1:23). Don’t use approaches that give gospel outlines with no Scripture. Only the Bible can speak with authority to the human heart—including a child’s heart.

3. Understand the inherent danger in any outline or prefabricated presentation: they tend to follow a predetermined agenda that may bypass the child’s real needs or fail to answer his or her most important questions.

4. Finally, remember that the issues in salvation are the same for a child as for an adult. The gospel is the same message for every age group. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote,

We must be careful that we do not modify the gospel to suit various age groups. There is no such thing as a special gospel for the young, a special gospel for the middle-aged, and a special gospel for the aged. There is only one gospel, and we must always be careful not to tamper and tinker with the gospel as a result of recognizing these age distinctions. At the same time, there is a difference in applying this one and only gospel to the different age groups; but it is a difference which has reference only to method and procedure. (Knowing the Times [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1989], 2.)

Children must be able to understand that sin is an offense to God’s holiness and that they are personally guilty (though because of their limited experiences, most kids obviously won’t have as deep a sense of personal guilt as adults). There’s nothing wrong with telling children about hell and God’s wrath. Children do not have a difficult time grasping such concepts. They understand punishment for wrongdoing and are capable of understanding that Jesus died to take the punishment for the sins of others. They need to be told that Jesus expects to be obeyed, and they will understand even better than some adults that trusting Jesus means obeying Him. The importance of obedience needs to be emphasized repeatedly, even after the child makes a profession of faith.

by John MacArthur

 From Pulpit Magazine

-Scott Bailey 2007

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3 Responses to “Explaining the Gospel to Children without Watering Down the Word!”

  1. Kim Patrick said

    I believe the best way we could ever explain the gospel to a child is by living it. Parents need to be examples in word and deed as children are like sponges. They do what we do, not what we say.
    Someone once made a famous statement, “preach the gospel in season and out of season, preach it all the time, and if necessary, use words”. That is so true. We need people who are going to preach with their life style instead of words, or should I say as well as words. There is nothing wrong with using words, if necessary..

    I will agree to a point, however, nothing replaces the spoken Word of God…not even our actions. Now, taking that into consideration, we must strive to live what we teach to our children in order that the kids understand it correctly. I have heard and read that saying you used above soooo many times. Although it is a good saying, we still must use God’s Word effectively in season and out of season…our gracious Lord left His written Word here for us to use not to set aside and just act it out. I understand what you mean, but that saying is a bit overused sometimes and people will shelf their bibles and just try to live a good life…however, it will not work in most cases without the Word of God along with it. Thanks for the comment.

    In Christ,
    Scott

  2. KEKELYS SYLVAIN said

    I AM REALLY HAPPY FOR YOUR WEBSITE.I HAVE A GREAT DESIRE TO SERVE THE LORD AMONG CHILDREN.THEY NEED THE WORD OF GOD IN ORDER TO BE HOLY BEFORE GOD.WE HAVE NEGLECTED THEM AND TODAY OUR WORLD IS GOING WORSE AND WORSE.I THINK THAT TIME AS COME TO ARISE AND SAVE CHILDREN SOULS.I HAVE A PROJECT FOR VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL IN MY COUNTRY FOR KIDS,COULD YOU SEND ME SOME TEACHINGS ON THIS TOPIC.AND TELL ME HOW I CAN MANAGE TO START MY PROJECT.
    I AM A FRENCH SPEAKER BUT I STUDY ENGLISH AT SCOOL.SO IF YOU HAVE SOME DOCUMENT EITHER IN FRENCH OR ENGLISH I WILL BE THE HAPPIEST.
    MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND STRENGTHEN YOUR MINISTRY.

  3. Farm Ville said

    Hey, I just found this blog – thanks for the fantastic work. I wanted to inform you that it’s not displaying properly on the BlackBerry Browser (I have a Storm). Anyway, I’m now on your RSS feed on my laptop, so thanks again!

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