Why You Must Share the Gospel with Your Children
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Did you make a commitment to share the gospel with your children when they were young? 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 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 in 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! We messed up a lot. But God’s grace is always available. And prayer is a powerful weapon for believers!
It’s Your Job to Share the Gospel with Your Children
Sharing the Gospel with your children is one of your primary duties as a Christian parent. Often, it isn’t the commitment that is lacking – but the confidence about how to share the gospel. In this article, we’ll look at some foundational Bible passages that can guide all parents in this crucial task.
Be sure to check out this follow-up article that covers several suggestions about how to share the gospel with your children. Just remember, the goal isn’t simply to share, but to do all you can to provide evidence and opportunity for faith.
Share the Gospel with Your Children Because it is Commanded
Although there are plenty of passages that address the necessity of sharing God’s Truth with your children, we’ll only look at two of them here. One is found in the Old Testament and one is in the New Testament. And even though the message of the gospel was not clearly understood in the Old Testament, the parenting principles still apply.
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 was 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 had two key parts. First, to remember God and put Him first always. Second, to diligently – that is, persistently, thoroughly, and systematically – teach their children about the Lord and His Word.
Moses says that before you can teach these things to your children, they must first be “on your heart.” In other words, you can’t teach what you don’t know. The first step in sharing the gospel 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, Moses gives specific directions about when you are to teach the Word of God:
- 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.
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 raise 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.
Share the Gospel with Your Children Because of Jesus’ Example
Jesus’ interactions with children can give insight into the importance of sharing the gospel with your children – or with any children in your life. Again, there are other passages that could be studied, but here we’ll look at only two.
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.
What does this passage teach that can impact how you share the gospel with your children? Two things:
As a parent, you need to be just as indignant or outraged at anything that comes between your children and saving faith in Jesus. Keeping an eternal perspective will help you to be a diligent gatekeeper about anything that influences them away from Jesus.
Second, you also need to be as open and inviting toward your children developing a personal relationship with Jesus as He is. Practically speaking, this means doing all you can to provide multiple opportunities for them to be exposed to the message of the gospel.
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. Children were most likely around Jesus quite a bit. And why not? He loved them as much as He loves us.
What does that mean for you and your children? Surround them with people who love Jesus. When they see Jesus’ love in the lives, words, and actions of others, the gospel has more opportunities to take root in their hearts.
Second, the caution against causing a child to stumble is one you need to take seriously. Even parents can become obstacles to faith for children without realizing it. Parents must do more than diligently share the gospel and teach the Word of God. You must also remove all obstacles that could prevent them from believing.
Unfortunately, one of the most common obstacles is our own failures as parents. So, as a loving parent, be certain you are doing all in your power to live out your faith in a manner that honors Jesus daily.
Passages to Study
We’ve only briefly considered four passages of Scripture and the implications they each have to your responsibility as a parent. The following passages will give you more understanding of the critical importance of sharing the gospel with your children.
- Genesis 18:18-19
- Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 5-9
- Deuteronomy 11:1-7, 18-21
- 1 Samuel 1:21-28; 2 Samuel 2:12, 18
- Psalm 127:1-5
- Proverbs 1:1-9
- Proverbs 2:1-22
- Proverbs 3:1-35
- Proverbs 4:1-27
- Proverbs 30:11-14, 17
- Colossians 3:20-21
- 2 Timothy 1:5, 13-14
- Titus 2:3-5
Now that you understand how important sharing the gospel with your children is you have one question to answer: What are you doing to share the gospel with your children?
Great post. Our children all professed salvation at a very early age and yes they still remember and are thankful for it.
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