Teach Your Children The Gospel

Sep 8

Baby Dedication Sunday – 2019

Teach Your Children the Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Preached at Main Street Church on September 8th, 2019

Our Problem: We forget to teach the gospel to our children

Proposition: Since the gospel saves us, we must teach it to our children

  1. We must teach our children to repent of their sins
  2. We must teach our children to trust God’s word
  3. We must teach our children to put their hope in the resurrected Christ

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 contains the most succinct summary of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The word gospel literally means “good news,” and it is the good news about Jesus that is our salvation.  Since the gospel saves us, we must teach it to our children.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

A few months ago our family took a trip to the grocery store.  Brittany and I worked together to make sure we didn’t forget the diaper bag, the sippy cups, our wallets, or anything else.  We got both boys into their car seats, got the doors closed, and we were off.  When we got to the store I opened the van door and saw JJ sitting there in his car seat with the seat belt harness loose and drooping off of him.  I had buckled it but I had not tightened it.  It wouldn’t have done him any good if he had needed it. 

I had gotten so distracted by so many minor things that I forgot about the most important thing when it came to putting my kids in the car.  I had neglected the one thing that could potentially save my child’s life.

I’m sure that anyone who has kids can think of a time they forgot something important.  There are so many things to think about, so many things to remember—diaper cream, formula, extra clothes, bandaids, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, wipes—the list goes on! There are so many things to remember that we can easily forget things, even things as important as the life-saving potential of a seat belt. 

Since that is the case, I want to remind parents today to remember the most important life-saving thing that we should teach our children, and that is the gospel.

Paul says that the gospel that he wants to remind us of is, “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” And there are three things from this reminder that we must teach our children:

  1. We must teach our children to repent of their sins
  2. We must teach our children to trust God’s word
  3. We must teach our children to put their hope in the resurrected Christ
  1. We must teach our children to repent of their sins

The first element of the gospel that Paul wants to remind us of, is that Christ died for our sins.  If we want to faithfully teach our children the gospel, we must teach our children to repent of their sins.  That means teaching our children what is right and what is wrong according to God, because Jesus died for our wrongdoing.  Someone said, “Repentance is being so sorry for sin you quit sinning.”  We must teach our children to repent of their sins.

A little girl was very mean to her younger brother; she treated him so badly, he went crying to his mother.  When the mother learned what had happened, she said to the little girl, “Mary, why have you let Satan put it into your heart to pull your brother’s hair and kick his shins?” The little girl thought it over for a moment, and then answered, “Well, Mother, maybe Satan did put it in my heart to pull brother’s hair, but kicking his shins was my own idea.”

We must take advantage of the numerous opportunities we have when our children are young to teach them to repent of their sins.  Teaching our children to repent should go hand in hand with the discipline of our children.  We need to teach them that when they do something wrong, it isn’t just disobedience to mommy or daddy, but it is disobedience against God.  Our children aren’t just interacting with us with their words and actions, but they are interacting with the living God. 

If your child disobeys you, they have not only sinned against you, but they have sinned against God.  If you love your children, you will discipline them, and you will also use discipline as an opportunity to teach your child to repent of their sins.  Sit them on your lap and have a conversation with them.  Let them, with their own words, admit to the wrong that they have done.  Tell them that the thing they did was sin, and then teach them to repent of their sin.  Pull out your Bible and read 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Then teach them how to repent of their sins by modeling it for them.  This is the beginning of teaching your children the gospel, because it teaches them the seriousness of sin.  Your child’s sin is so serious that Jesus had to die for it.  Teach them that Jesus died on the cross for their sin. Teach them the seriousness of it, and in so doing, you will be teaching your children to repent of their sins.

Let them see you repent to your husband or wife if you said something in anger.  Let them see you repent to them.  Ask your children to forgive you when you do wrong, and then have them pray with you as you pray to God for forgiveness of your sins.  Let them see your tears, and your contrition.  We must teach our children to repent of their sins.

  1. We must teach our children to trust God’s word

Secondly, in order to teach our children the gospel we must teach them to trust God’s word.  Two times, in just two verses, Paul inserts the phrase, “in accordance with the Scriptures.”  Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,” and “was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

We could not know the gospel if we did not have the word of God which contains it.  Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  To teach our children the gospel, we must teach our children to trust God’s word.

Trust is worthless in itself.  If our trust is not properly founded, it can lead to nothing other than disaster.  One night cars sped along the main highway between Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi.  The drivers trusted their cars and the bridges that went over the streams.  They passed over some bridges at fifty or sixty miles per hour.  Everything was lovely, the concrete spans stood firm over the rivers and bayous, and the cars went on their way.  Suddenly, the twin taillights in front of a truck melted into the road and disappeared.  The driver of the truck caught only a glimpse of a black gap in the concrete before he too plunged into the stream below.  Breaking his window he was able to free himself.  He swam ashore, but before he could reach the highway, other cars zoomed smoothly up to the gap and vanished.  Frantically, he tried to flag the others.  Their drivers ignored the dripping, scarecrow figure and sped on into the void.  Each time there was a single booming splash, sometimes followed by a few hoarse shouts and screams.

Those drivers put their trust in a bridge that had crumbled.  There is only one bridge that leads to life, and it’s foundation will stand through eternity, and it is the Word of God.  Teach your children to trust God’s word, and to know that it will support and uphold them when the wisdom of the world crumbles.  1 Peter 1:24 says, “‘The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”  In teaching our children the gospel, we must teach them to trust God’s word.

The best way to teach our children to trust God’s word is to show them that we trust it.  One preacher said, “We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than they listen to preaching” (-Roy L. Smith).  When a loved one is sick or your family is going through a tough situation, gather your family together to pray, tell your children, “God’s word tells us in 1 Peter 1:7 to cast all our anxieties on him because he cares for us.” This will show your children that you trust God’s word when it tells you to cast your cares on the Lord.  When it’s time to take up the offering on a Sunday morning, let your children see that you trust God’s word about his ability to provide by letting them put your tithe check in the offering basket when it goes around. Your children will know what you trust by what you do.

Give place for the reading of Scripture at your house.  Perhaps have a verse of the week that you repeat at meal times.  Make it simple, and reward your child if they can memorize it.  Let your children see you reading your Bible.  We shouldn’t just tell our children that they should trust God’s word, but they should see that we trust it.  Post Scripture around your house. It could be in artistic forms or simply on sticky notes.  Get your child a Bible of their own, and invite them to read it every day.  One of the best gifts you can give to your children is a love for the word of God and a confidence that they can trust it.  It is in the words of Christ that eternal life is found.  Christ died and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. The great theologian John Stott said, “A man who loves his wife will love her letters and her photographs because they speak to him of her.  So if we love the Lord Jesus we shall love the Bible because it speaks to us of him.” Parents, teach your children to trust God’s word.

  1. We must teach our children to put their hope in the resurrected Christ

The final way we teach our children the gospel is by teaching them to put their hope in the resurrected Christ. The lynchpin of the gospel is in v. 4 of our text today—it’s not simply that Christ died and was buried, but that on the third day he rose from the dead.  We must be diligent to teach our children to put their hope in the resurrected Jesus, because this is the heart of the gospel.  Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Our Savior is not dead and buried, but he lives today and is coming again, and we must teach that truth to our children.

One author said, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow” (O. S. Marden).

I once read in a parenting book that you ought never break a promise you make to a child, because even if you forget it, they won’t.  A trip to Disney land that never happened, that fishing trip Dad promised but work God in the way—even something as small as ice cream after dinner.  If you get your child’s hopes up about something, you had better follow through, otherwise you teach your child not to trust you. 

How much more then should we help our children put their hope in the resurrected Christ, and not just superstitious cliches?  Our children will take our words at face value, so we need to be careful with what we say, and teach them to put their hope in the resurrected Christ.

Inevitably, at some point in life our children are going to come face to face with the reality of death.  The family pet is going to pass away, something tragic is going to be on the news, or perhaps a beloved family member will die.  These occasions present great opportunities to teach our children the truth of God’s word regarding life and death, and we need to be ready because they will definitely come to us with questions. 

We shouldn’t tell our kids things like, “Meemaw is an angel now.” Or, “Uncle John is with us every time we watch a cardinals game.”  We shouldn’t even say things like, “Fido is in the big dog park in the sky now.”  Those kinds of statements only create confusion for children as they grow up and read the Bible because they aren’t in keeping with God’s word, and if what we say differs from Scripture, then we’re teaching our kids either not to trust us, or not to trust the Bible.  When death confronts our children, we must teach them to hope in the resurrected Christ.  We should teach them that Jesus died just like our loved one died—and our children aren’t too young to learn about death; they see it and feel the emotions of it in Disney movies, tv shows, and in their own real life experience.  It is a parent’s responsibility to guide them through it.

Teach them that the Jesus you love and worship died, and he died for our sins.  And then teach them that even though he died he rose from the dead three days later.  And teach them that by rising from the dead, Jesus defeated death forever, and will return someday to completely defeat death.  Teach them that death has no ultimate power for everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. And if your loved one who passed away was a believer, teach them that one day when Jesus returns Meemaw will be resurrected, and she will be perfectly healthy with her body and mind healed.  Open up your Bible and show your child where the resurrected Christ says, “Behold, I am making all things new.  Read to them 1 Corinthians 15:49 that says, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”  Teach your children that just as Christ was raised from the dead, so shall everyone who believes in him be raised from the dead.  Teach your children to put their hope in the resurrected Christ.  Teach your children to trust God’s word.  Teach your children to repent of their sins. 

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, and was raised on the third day.”  Let us teach our children the gospel.

Today seven sets of parents have dedicated their children to the Lord, which means they have dedicated themselves to teaching the gospel to their children.  If we are going to teach the gospel to our kids, we must teach them to repent of their sins, to trust God’s word, and to hope in the resurrected Christ.  Fortunately we are not alone, but we have each other to encourage and to hold accountable, and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us.  Someone once wrote a prayer seeking God’s help in this matter that goes like this:

Dear Lord, I do not ask

That Thou shouldest give me some high work of Thine,

Some noble calling, or some wondrous task

Give me a little hand to hold in mine;

Give me a little child to point the way

Over the strange, sweet path that leads to Thee;

Give me a little voice to teach to pray;

Give me two shining eyes Thy face to see.

The only crown I ask, dear Lord to wear

Is this: that I may teach a little child.

I do not ask that I may ever stand

Among the wise, the worthy, or the great;

I only ask that softly, hand in hand,

A child and I may enter at the gate.

-Author Unknown

Friends, family, and parents, let us not get so distracted by remembering so many little little things that we forget the most important thing.  Since the gospel can save our children, let us teach it to them.