Teaching the Gospel to Young Kids
If you are a Christian and you are a parent, then the most important thing to you in the world is that your kids know the gospel. It is going to be a crucial part of your parenting that you teach your kids the gospel, that you want them to believe the gospel, and that they are able to make this belief and the gospel something that is lived out in their life. You want them to be saved. When we think about that, we also have to remember the fact that there are different ways to talk about the gospel. We can have a very sophisticated conversation about the gospel, and we can talk about the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. We could have a theological conversation about the doctrine of justification or the doctrine of justification by faith alone. We could talk about all sorts of things about the gospel in a very high flown way that is accurate and true, but probably not in ways that are going to be the most accessible to young kids. When we talk about the gospel to young kids, we want to find a way to make it accessible, understandable to little ears. The question is, how do you do that? What I’m going to do is explain three or four things that parents can do to talk about the gospel with their kids to make sure they understand it. These are going to be three or four of the same things that we did with our kids are all of our kids as of today, in the spring of 2023, we still have all three of our kids living in our house as minors. But these are all things that we did with them when they were much, much younger, and we were just starting their Bible, Christian church gospel education.
The first thing we did, the first thing that you can do to teach your kids the gospel, is to sing. This is going to be one of the first things that any parent does with their children, just naturally, almost automatically, you’re going to want to scoop that kid up, and when you’re rocking them to sleep, and you’re bouncing them around the house when you’re riding in the car. It’s just going to be an easy, natural thing to sing songs. We sang all sorts of songs with our kids. Amazing Grace might be the first song we ever sang to our kids, and as a song that they know well. There were all sorts of children’s Christian music that we had playing in the car that we had played in the house. There are all sorts of great Christian albums that you can get online, and your kids can be singing songs about wanting to be like Jesus and wanting to trust Jesus. There are all sorts of things that you can do. I’ll tell you two songs that we sing to our kids a lot. We sang them a lot because they explicitly taught the gospel. One of the songs was Man of Sorrows. So we would sing, “Man of sorrows, what a name. For the Son of God who came, ruined sinners to reclaim Halleluiah, what a savior.” Oh my goodness, we sang that song to our kids so many times. And listen, if you believe those words, you’re a Christian. If you believe that Jesus was the man of sorrows with a glorious name who came to earth to save ruined sinners, you’re a Christian. Another Lambert family classic was “Jesus, what a Friend for Sinners. Jesus, lover of my soul, friends may fail me, foes assail me. He, my Savior, makes me whole. Halleluiah, what a Savior. Halleluiah, what a friend. Saving, helping, keeping, loving. He is with me to the end.” Oh my goodness, one of my favorite songs in the whole world. If you believe it, you will have Jesus as your friend forever. Sing songs to your kids, and they will learn the gospel and the singing.
Another thing we did with our kids was we would talk about the gospel in analogies. So one of the most common analogies that we used in our house that was an abundantly biblical analogy was talking about how, as people, we are sinners. What that means is we have dirty hearts. And our dirty hearts are all messed up. They don’t work the way they should work. But Jesus comes in. His heart is not dirty; his heart is perfectly clean and perfectly pure. And Jesus doesn’t just have a perfectly clean, pure heart. But Jesus works on the cross with his blood, and his blood actually cleans your heart. It actually takes away the dirt of sin and makes you right and clean, and pure before the Lord. We talked about that all the time in our house. And in fact, the very first profession of faith that Carson made was when he was three or four. We were out front. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and we were putting the Christmas lights up, and it was so cold, and his cute little nose was bright red. And he was holding the lights while Dad strung them around the bushes. And he said, Daddy. I said yes. And he said, I know I have a dirty heart, and I want Jesus to make it clean. He was speaking the gospel out of an analogy that he had learned from me and his mother that we learned from the Bible. So you can talk about analogies, you can sing songs.
Another crucial way to teach your kids the gospel is to teach them Bible verses. Your kids can memorize verses of Scripture early. One of the things that we did when our kids were really early, and they were learning early Bible verses, was we would do them to a rhythm. That just helped it get it in their head. So I remember one early verse that our kids learned was Luke 13:5, and so we’d go, “If you don’t repent, you will all likewise perish.” Now listen, I’m not going to get a record deal off that rhythm. But it got in our kid’s heads, and they remembered it. Ephesians 2:8-9 was another one. “By grace, you’ve been saved through faith. And this is you’re not doing. It is the gift of God.” And I laugh when I say that because that’s the way little Carson said it. It’s a little bit of the distortion of the verse by grace; you’ve been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God. But Carson remembered it, and this is you’re not doing, and so we’ve got some videos circulating around the Lambert family of him saying the gospel in his little boy way that was straight out of the Bible. So have your kids memorize the Bible and talk to him. Do you believe that? Do you know what that means? Let’s talk about it.
Another thing you can do is a catechism question is a fancy word for it. But there are all sorts of new catechisms out there. There are all sorts of child catechisms out there, but it’s essentially a catechism. It’s an instruction. It’s teaching your kids the Bible through questions. And so you can help them learn the answer to who is God and who are you and what is a sinner, and who is Jesus? And they can learn the answer to those questions in really age-appropriate ways that will put the truths of the gospel in their heart. Now, here’s the other thing. Here’s the last thing I’ll say. You can teach your kids the gospel through singing through, analogies through, Bible verses and through questions and answers. The thing I want to encourage you is whatever you do, if it’s singing songs, if it’s analogies, if it’s Bible verses, if it’s questions and answers, there’s going to be concepts in that content that they don’t understand. “Ruined centers to reclaim.” What does that mean? Well, we had a talk about that. Daddy, what does it mean that Jesus came to save ruined sinners? Well, son, that’s a great question. Let’s talk about it. What you want to do is not expect that your little kid is going to understand the concepts straight out of the gate, but talk it out. Talk your child into understanding. Let this be the language of your home. Let this be the sound of your conversations, and your kids can learn the concepts of the gospel. We can never make our kids believe. We can’t teach them to have faith, but we can teach them the truths that the Lord will use to open their hearts and grant them faith.