Practically, our children need to hear the gospel. Counter to what we may think, they are never too young to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. They need to hear that there is a God who loves them and knows their name. They need to hear the glorious truth that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The first time my husband held each one of our children, he shared the gospel with them. He spoke the truth of our sinful condition and our desperate need for Jesus before our children saw the outside of the hospital. The gospel was preached from day one and by God’s grace, will continue to be as they grow. Sharing the gospel can be intimidating for a Christian, but just like anything, the more you say something the easier it is to articulate. A baby is an easy audience; they don’t care if you say something perfectly or not. It takes the intimidation out of it when you realize that. Practice. With older kids, the same thing applies. We must recognize that this is the most valuable thing we can ever share with our children. Take comfort in the fact that God is sovereign and it is his Holy Spirit that does the work, not a perfect gospel presentation. We are just to be faithful and preach and God is the one who will do the work despite us.
How Do You Give Your Kids the Gospel?
In summary, here are five quick points on what it means to give your kids the gospel:
1. Recognize Your Need for the Gospel
First, you can’t give away what you don’t have. The only way to share the gospel is to be transformed by the gospel. Daily, we need to be reminded of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. We have a God who loves us, cares for us, hears us, and delights in us. And not because of anything that we have done. We need Jesus and our kids need Jesus. Our condition is the same, and so is the cure.
2. Realize That Little Eyes are Watching
I’ve heard this often from my pastor, “It’s not what’s taught, it what’s caught.” Our kids are always watching and observing us, and our actions often leave a greater impact than our words. Our kids know what we treasure. If it’s not Jesus, they will see our hypocrisy. Parents, are we reading our Bibles and applying it? Is church a priority for us? When we sin, do we repent, confess and ask for forgiveness? Are we living under the Lordship of Christ? We must not only speak the gospel, but also show our children our need for Jesus in our lives.
3. Take the Daily Opportunities to Share Jesus
There are opportunities every day to share the gospel. When a friend hurts your child’s feelings, or when your child is selfish and doesn’t want to share, these are moments to speak the gospel. Remind your child of what Christ has done, and his great love for them and the reason we can love others is because God has loved us. Although discipline can be trying, the truth is, these are precious moments to bring our children to the foot of the cross. When we are motivated by the gospel, disciplining our children is an honor. God has entrusted us with our children and given us the responsibility of instructing, correcting and training them up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Tell them their sin. Remind them of the pain that comes along with it and how they don’t have to follow that path because Christ has made another way, a better way! Tell them the glorious truth of the gospel.
4. Pray for Your Children
Remember that salvation belongs to the Lord (Jonah 2:9). We cannot save our children; only God can. Pray for their salvation. Pray for good soil. Pray for their hearts to receive the good news of Christ and that they will worship him.
5. Finally, let us make much of God.
Let our children see the delight we have in Jesus. Let us emphasize that it’s not about what they do, but it’s about what has already been done. Let us care about the things God cares about, the hearts of our children, and not just their outward performance. Let the weight of the law, and how obedience itself will not suffice, crush us and remind us (and our children) of our desperate need for a Savior.