I loved show and tell in early elementary school. People brought family treasures, personal toys, a family pet and would tell their story. It wasn’t enough that we heard the story; we loved to see their treasure.
The Gospel is a message that requires a ‘show and tell’ time. As we live out the implications of Jesus dying for sinners like you and me by our humility, confession, and submission, family life presents us with opportunities to tell of the good news of Jesus. Our homes are daily “show and tell” gospel times.
Because no one is born into Christianity but is born again into the living hope of Christ, parents must learn to show the realities their trust in God and tell that Christ is to be trusted and adored. How do we help evangelize our children/grandchildren?
First, start with imitation (1 Cor. 11:1). Children are sponges that absorb everything around them. Parents can forget that children will be converted – either by the culture around them or by parents’ intentional teaching. We do not have the luxury of letting children decide for themselves; faithful parenting is proactive parenting and begins with a life of walking with God. Are we reading the Bible together as a family for 2-3 minutes after supper? Do we pray with our children before bed? Do we make Sunday worship a priority? Do we reflect upon God and his work throughout the week? Do we answer their questions when they are confused about spiritual matters? Do we make time for them?
Second, instruct, correct, and disciple our children in the faith. Repeatedly God told his people to instruct their children – when walking together to lying down to sleep (Deut. 6:7) and to explain why they trusted in his saving Word and commands (Deut. 6:20-21; see also Ps. 78:5-7).
Even correction is a gospel opportunity. We discipline because we know that sin is bound up in the heart (Prov. 22:15), and God’s discipline is a kindness that is to lead us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Christ died for sinners – even little children – and there is hope of being changed by confessing and trusting in Jesus. So correction teaches us that a little discipline now is better than facing the wrath of God. With gentle, loving correction that is Spirit-controlled, we offer gospel hope.
Third, we depend upon the Spirit of God to work. We model, instruct, correct, pray, and give a reason for the hope we have. We never coerce our children into belief through manipulation or cajoling. For Melanie and me, we never asked our children if they wanted to pray a prayer or if they want to believe in Jesus. Rather, we pray and tell them how they can become children of God. When they ask us to receive Christ, we gladly help them. Children are born again by hearing the gospel, seeing that the good news makes a compelling difference, and by the miracle of the Holy Spirit bringing new life (John 3:5-8).
As Christians we recognize that faith is something to be caught AND taught. It’s answering our child at the end of the day when they ask why God doesn’t have a beginning or end. It’s praying with them through their struggles, not merely fixing the problem. It’s loving them enough to bring them to Jesus (Matt. 19:13).
So let’s have some gospel “show and tell” time in our homes!
Missional Action Plan – Work through New City Catechism with your family. Take time to answer your children’s questions with a spiritual direction. Consider how you might bring the good news of Jesus to your children every day.
Missional Action Prayer – Lord, help me to grow in seeing evangelistic opportunities with my children and grandchildren. Let me take the time to hear, answer, and love them so that they might believe in Jesus Christ. Amen.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.
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