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Did you make a commitment to share Jesus with your children when they were infants? If so, how are you doing with that commitment? Or are you confused about why sharing Jesus with your children might be crucial or what the Bible says about this topic?
I made a similar commitment when our boys were babies. As adults now, I can say that thankfully, they are both walking with the Lord. But the road wasn’t easy, and I still pray for their spiritual growth.
Our oldest child made a profession of faith in Christ at the age of four. I have heard many testimonies of people being saved that young. We never reminded him he made that profession of faith, but throughout all his growing-up years, he remembered and referred to that moment as his moment of salvation. Even as a teen and college student, even at times when he wasn’t walking close to the Lord, he knew he was saved, and pointed back to that time as the moment of his salvation. It was not that easy with our second son.
Our second son also ‘prayed a prayer’ early in life. We, as with the first, never reminded him of his profession of faith. He had some ups and downs as a teen and gradually came to the realization he was lost. His true salvation experience came in his late teens.
Now, as grown men with wives and children they are both leading their families is church attendance and serving locally. They are dependable, humble, and kind. I believe the fruit of their lives bears witness to an ongoing and authentic relationship with Jesus.
I share that not to brag, but to say it is possible. I prayed a lot! Our marriage was rocky (understatement) and their father wasn’t spiritually strong or a leader in the home. We messed up a lot. But God’s grace is always available. And a mother’s prayers are powerful!
It’s Your Job to Share Jesus with Your Children
Sharing Jesus with your children is one of your primary duties as a Christian parent. But how do you do that? How do you share the gospel message of saving faith in such a way that their commitment to Christ as both Savior and Lord is real and genuine and lasting?
But before asking how, you must ask why? Why is this so important? Why must Christian parents be intentional about sharing the Gospel with their children? Perhaps most important, we must ask what does the Bible say about bringing children to Jesus?
The Where, When, and How of Sharing Jesus
There are a few key passages I want to look at as we consider what Scriptures say about this topic. The first is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
This passage is given to the Israelites by Moses shortly before he died. The Israelites would soon begin the conquest of the Promised Land. However, there would be many temptations to other gods during that conquest and afterward. This command was to remember God and put Him first always. Secondly, to diligently – that is, persistently, thoroughly, and systematically – teach their children about the Lord and His Word.
To teach these things to your children, Moses says they must first be “on your heart.” Meaning that the first step in sharing Jesus with your children is to be sure you are right with the Lord yourself. Paul says we are to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Second, you are to teach the Word of God in four specific circumstances:
- When you are at home (“sit in your house”)
- When you are away from home (“walk by the way”)
- When it is evening (“lie down”)
- When it is morning (“rise up”)
Those four circumstances cover the where – everywhere – and the when – anytime – of teaching the Word to your children.
Finally, this passage covers the how: by binding the Word to your hand and head, and by writing them on the doorposts of your house and gates. In other words, you are to have the Word inside you, beside you, and all around you. The better you know the Word, the better you can share that Word with your children.
Jesus Welcomes Your Children
The second passage of bringing your children to Jesus is in Mark 10:13-16:
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
This passage shows us Jesus interacting with children and His heart for them. Jesus wasn’t merely upset that the disciples were trying to keep the children away. He was indignant.
Indignant is a strong feeling characterized by a sense of something being unjust, offensive, or insulting. A good synonym would be incensed or outraged. Putting it mildly, He was very troubled about their attempts to stop the children from coming to Him.
He goes on to say that children – with their trusting hearts and forthright honesty – embody the essence of the kingdom. We are all to be like children in the kingdom, and to do all we can to bring more children to the King.
The third passage is from Matthew 18:1-6:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
We are again looking at how Jesus interacts with children. The first thing to notice is that children were close enough to Him for one to be called to stand in front of Jesus. Taken together with the passage from Mark that we just looked at, we can conclude that children were likely around Jesus quite a bit. And why not? He loved them as much as He loves us.
Second, we notice the caution against causing a child to stumble – it would be better to be drowned in the sea than to be called to account for being a stumbling block to a child. Even parents can become obstacles to faith for children without realizing it. Parents must be diligently teaching them of the Lord and His Word.
Share Jesus with Your Children Cautiously and Thoroughly
The final passage we will look at today is just one verse, Ephesians 6:4:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Although the passage is addressed to ‘fathers,’ it applies to mothers as well. Parents are to rear children in the ‘discipline and instruction of the Lord.’ The word translated ‘discipline’ refers to training the whole child, including mind, heart, and body. Such training includes commands, admonitions, reproof, and punishment as well as simple teaching and instruction.
Parents are to teach their children the entire Word – which includes teaching about sin and salvation. We need to be cautious that we are teaching the Word, but not be leading them to think that salvation is easy-peasy. Of course, it is simple, but it requires something from us as well – our whole life. If we are thorough in teaching the Word throughout their lives, not just the need for salvation but the whole counsel of God, then they will learn that Jesus doesn’t just want a prayer – He wants their entire life.
What are you doing to share Jesus with your children?