How to explain the Gospel to children

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The most important thing you can do for a child is to teach him or her the good news about how to be right with God, how to be forgiven of sin through the person and work of Christ.

Over the years, many have asked me, “How can I explain the gospel to children in terms they understand without toning down the hard demands of Christ? Must a child understand Jesus’s lordship to be saved?”

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 boss in their lives.

When sharing the gospel with a child, here are a few points to keep 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. The great British preacher of the last century, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, correctly observed:

“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.”

By John MacArthur

And here is a great video of Jesus Loves Me, This I Know your kids will want to watch again and again.

Share it with them today and let them know how important Jesus is in their lives.

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Categories: Christianity

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10 replies

  1. If it isn’t deeply imprinted in how your family lives your words are a waste of time.

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    • Very true dp, we do have to walk the walk as well.

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      • Also, the more I think of it, we tend to overemphasize words, in the sense that if you are worrying about how to make a formula kids will understand, you probably not going to communicate very much.
        For most of Christian history most people were illiterate and not big on abstract thinking. They learned by hearing bible stories, looking at stained-glass windows, memorizing prayers, participating in rituals, and celebrating holidays. They learned a Christian lifestyle by learning about the commandments and the beatitudes, and hopefully seeing examples of how they were lived.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a lot of good information here, I’m glad I stopped by.

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  3. Thank you for posting this. I’m glad that we are not expected to teach, nor to learn on our own. I would still be lost without the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart through God’s Word. In teaching my grandchildren it was always with intercession and the Holy Spirit to give a new heart and spirit so as to understand. Hearing them verbalize what they learned came from the heart, not just by rote. Hearing them pray was proof that my prayers were heard. I and they are still learning; and what a joy it is throughout this lifetime to learn and share with other Christian brothers and sisters.:)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good to reread this old post again. Helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

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