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What’s the #1 gift you can give your child?

Saturday, December 3, 2016, 6:43 pm | Randy Thomasson

At Christmastime, worship of the Savior and Judge of the world, Jesus Christ, has largely been replaced in our secular culture by presents, decorations, music, food, and frivolities.

But in God’s sight, it was vital that Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be born as a baby. It was so He could die on a Roman cross as an innocent and pure Lamb, substituting for and identifying with anyone who truly repents and identifies with Him.

Jesus was born, and he lived, taught, died, rose, and ascended so that we could have a chance at real Life, real Love, and real Purpose today, and so that we don’t have to go to hell when we die.

But only humble persons who recognize Jesus is indeed God in the flesh, realize they are dirty and doomed in their sin, repent of their known sins, and sincerely receive Jesus Christ in prayer as their Savior and their Master to obey can be truly saved.

Salvation is conditional based on our response. Jesus Christ Himself said so:

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)

This solemn truth is why the best gift you can give your child — at Christmastime or anytime — is to introduce them to the reality of Jesus, their own sin, the coming judgment, and how to repent before, trust in, and obey the Risen Christ.

How to present the Good News of Jesus Christ to your children
“Evangelizing Children” from Grace To You

The heart of evangelism is the gospel, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). If a child is to repent and believe in Christ, then, it will be through the proclamation of the message of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18–25; 2 Tim. 3:15; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23–25). Children will not be saved apart from the gospel.

For this reason, parents need to teach their children the law of God, teach them the gospel of divine grace, show them their need for a Savior, and point them to Jesus Christ as the only One who can save them. It is best to start from the beginning—God, creation, the fall, sin, salvation, and Christ in His life, death, and resurrection.

The wise parent will be faithful,
patient, and persistent, being careful
to look at every moment of the child’s
life as a teaching opportunity.

As they teach their children, parents must resist the temptation to downplay or soften the demands of the gospel and must proclaim the message in its fullness. The need to surrender to the lordship of Christ, for example, is not too difficult for children to understand. Any child who is old enough to understand the basic gospel is also able by God’s grace to trust Him completely and respond with the purest, most sincere kind of repentance.

The key is to be clear and thorough. Parents more than anyone have ample time and opportunity to explain and illustrate gospel truths, to correct misunderstandings, and to clarify and review the most difficult aspects of the message. The wise parent will be faithful, patient, and persistent, being careful to look at every moment of the child’s life as a teaching opportunity (Deut. 6:6–7).

One such teaching opportunity is found in the parents’ responsibility to discipline and correct their children when they are disobedient (Eph. 6:4). Rather than seeking simply to modify behavior, the wise parent will look at discipline as an opportunity to help his children become aware of their failure and inability to obey, and subsequently, their need for forgiveness in Christ. In this way, discipline and correction are used to bring children to a sober assessment of themselves as sinners and to lead to the cross of Christ where sinners can be forgiven.

As parents explain the gospel and exhort their children to respond to the gospel, it is best to avoid an emphasis on external actions, such as praying “the sinner’s prayer.” There is an urgency inherent in the gospel message itself—and it is right for parents to impress that urgency on the child’s heart—but the focus should be kept on the internal response Scripture calls for from sinners: repentance from sin and faith in Christ. As parents diligently teach the gospel and take opportunities each day to instruct their children in the truth of God’s Word, they can begin to look for signs that their children have indeed repented and believed.

Evidence to believe in (for teenagers and young adults)

It’s not about man-made religion, opinions or traditions. It’s about what’s true and God’s amazing love for you.

If we could sit down and talk about what’s most important in life, we would eventually get to matters of your heart and soul. Wherever you are spiritually, or think you are, you’re invited and challenged to take The God Dare.

jesusholdingchildOver the course of His ministry, Jesus often presented children as an example of the type of faith adults are to have. When Jesus blessed the children, He told His disciples, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15) Question: “How did Jesus interact with children?”

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