Monday, July 30, 2007

Teaching our Children

"and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
-2 Timothy 3:15

In case you haven't noticed, I have been absent for about a week. Last week we had Vacation Bible School at our church. I was asked to give a 15 minute lesson at the end of each day. This brought up a dilemma for me. You see, I've never really preached the gospel message to a child. I wasn't sure how to do it. But that brought up an even bigger question in my mind:

Are we teaching our children that the bible is a book of rules, or are we teaching them that the bible is a book that points us to salvation through the sanctifying work of Jesus Christ?

When Timothy was a child, his mother and Grandmother taught him the holy scriptures. It seems to me that they were probably drilled into his head much like we drilled memory verses into the heads of the children at VBS. But they did not teach Timothy t scriptures so that he would obey them, ("clean your room because that's what God wants you to do.") They taught him that he could never live up to God's standards. They taught him that he was sinner who needed a savior. They taught him to be mindful because the Lamb of God was coming. Timothy knew what he was looking for and because he had known the holy scriptures from infancy, he recognized the lamb when he heard about it. He was made wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

I did decide to deliver the full salvation message to those children on the last night of VBS. I told them about sin. I took them through the law of Moses. I pointed out that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I explained that "the wages of sin is death." And then I told them that this Christ that we had talked about all week had taken that payment. I told them that if they wanted to live with God in heaven, they needed to ask God for forgiveness of their sins and pray that he might grant them a repentant heart. I pleaded with them to trust Jesus as their savior.

15 children told me that the received the gift of eternal life that night. I don't know if they really did. That's for God to know. All I know is that I'm glad I didn't "dumb down" the message. I truly believe that kids understand more than we give them credit for. The curriculum given to us could have gone either way. We could have used it to present a bunch of rules that these children could never really live by, or we could have used it to present a Godly standard to show them that they need a savior just like any boring old adult does. I believe we took the right approach, and I wouldn't change a thing.