Since it was released in 2009, the booklet Helping Children Understand the Gospel has been used in a number of creative ways. Although it was written to help parents explain the Gospel to their children in an accurate and child-friendly manner, God has multiplied its usefulness to bless the church. Understanding and meditating on the truths of the Gospel is is not just for children, but for families, teachers, youth, young adults and grandparents, too!
In January 2010, Riverpark Bible Church in Fresno, California, used Helping Children Understand the Gospel to begin a church-wide, 10-week, “Ten Truths” study. After encouraging parents to read parts one and two of the booklet on their own, they kicked off the study with a sermon outlining the ten truths. In this video Pastor Dave and Sandy Parker share what they did and what happened:
The love of God has no meaning apart from Calvary. And Calvary has no meaning apart from the holy and just wrath of God. Jesus did not die just to give us peace and a purpose in life; He died to save us from the wrath of God. He died to reconcile us to a holy God who was alienated from us because of our sin. He died to ransom us from the penalty of sin—the punishment of everlasting destruction, shut out from the presence of the Lord. He died that we, the just objects of God's wrath, should become, by His grace, heirs of God and co-heirs with
This is a big topic! Thankfully Dr. Ware distills the essence of the issue using the following quote from A. W. Tozer as a jumping off point:
—A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
Dr. Ware continues by saying,
That is true for us and for the next generation that we minister to and train – that we get God rightly. ... We have to continually point the next generation to the revelation of God Himself, to see from Scripture just who He is.
This is Holy Week and, as a Sunday school teacher, I have always found it somewhat frustrating that in our teaching cycle Good Friday is situated between two joyous celebrations. If we are not careful and intentional, Jesus' death on the cross can become a "flyover" between Palm Sunday and Easter.
He himself bore our sins in his body
In this video, Dr. Bruce A. Ware helps us distinguish the difference between holiness and legalism as we teach and train our children.
The video includes this nugget, which gets to the heart of the matter:
The difference is this: Holiness is a life lived out of a sense of joy and authenticity, that living faithfully and obediently is the good life - is the life of joy and blessing. Whereas legalism is a kind of dutiful adherence to laws that my heart is not engaged in.
What a teenager needs, if he is going to live a God-honoring life, is a thorough knowledge of Scripture that allows him to apply its commands, principles, and perspectives to the many different situations that arise in everyday life. He needs to be more than a person who has acquired biblical knowledge; he needs to be a person who is able to approach life with biblical wisdom.
I am convinced that many teenagers are unprepared for the spiritual struggle because they have never been taught to think biblically. They have been in Sunday school, so they know all the familiar Bible stories and they have memorized all of the favorite Bible passages, but these are not much more than isolated, unconnected biblical factoids to them. They haven't been woven into a consistent, distinctively biblical