IS THERE A SIMPLE WAY TO PRESENT THE GRACE MESSAGE TO CHILDREN AND TEENS?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Yes, there is a simple way to present the Grace Message to anyone, young or older. You want to introduce small children to this information as soon as possible in life, before the evil world system corrupts and confuses them. Remember also that the husband-father is the spiritual leader of the house, so it is his responsibility first and foremost to teach his children the truth (Ephesians 6:4). In the absence of a male spiritual leader, the mother will (unfortunately) have to fulfill that role in educating her kids in spiritual matters.
When sharing the Grace Message with children and teens, what you should tell them depends on their ages—under 10, pre-teen, or early teens or late teens, for example. It also depends on where they are in their learning development. If you know them personally—that is, they are your own children, your own grandchildren, your own nieces or nephews, your own cousins, your own neighbors, et cetera—it will be easier for you to determine what to tell them rather than for me to tell you exactly what to tell them. I can give you verses but you will have to use your own judgment as to how much detail to tell them. You know more about these people than I do.
In this short study, I am honored to give some general advice and then you can adapt the material to fit your situation with them. If you think they can handle it all, and they are old enough, tell them much or all of the following in one sitting. Or, if you prefer to tell them bits and pieces here and there and build it up over the course of a week, then please do that. We do not want to overwhelm them, so try to strike a balance. Again, please use your own judgment here.
THREE TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE YOU BEGIN WITH THEM
- If you are talking about sitting down with your children (or grandchildren, et cetera) with the Bible, be sure to pray with them at the beginning, and tell Father God out-loud and in front of them that you are searching for the truth and that you know He will show it to you in His written Word if you approach it with an open heart and willing mind. That will be an example for them to follow when they become adults, when you are long gone. “These [people at Berea] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
- Final Authority. If you can, get them to have their King James Bibles in hand, and let them read the verses along with you. That will be an example for them to follow when they become adults, too. Remember, you are trying to reinforce in their minds the issue of final authority. They need to learn not to believe what you say about the Bible, but to look at the verses for themselves and believe the verses. In the long-run, that routine will help them in not believing simply what a preacher or priest says. A persistent problem among Christians today is they have not been taught to believe the Bible but to believe what clergymen claim the Bible says (when it usually does not say what they say it says).
- Facial expressions, gestures, verbal sounds. If they seem/sound/appear confused, then pause, and ask them what they do not understand. If they seem bored, just stop for the day. The older people may be argumentative, especially if there was much influence from the world (high school, college, seminary, et cetera). Be sure to remind them that they do not have to understand it all right now, but that you would like to expose them to it now so they will be used to the terminology and concepts as the years pass. If they ask questions you do not understand, just tell them that you will ask someone for help. I would be more than happy to answer any questions they would have. Drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do what I can for you as time permits.
A SIMPLE GRACE MESSAGE (FOR “OLDER” PEOPLE)
(This introduces simple dispensational concepts as it presents a basic Gospel message for people. A simpler message, without those details, written for very young people, will come later.)
You can begin by saying that the Bible is a “progressive revelation.” Everything that God has to say is not found in the book of Genesis. You can show them verses such as Hebrews 1:1-2, or 1 Peter 1:10-11, or John 14:26, or John 16:13—God gradually revealed His will to man over a period of thousands of years. Acts 3:21 says that God spoke various things by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. That would cover the Bible from Genesis to early Acts. It is what the Bible calls “prophecy.”
When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry (Acts chapter 9 and onward), we learn that God was keeping a special set of information secret. This is called the “mystery” (Romans 16:25-26). Jesus Christ from heaven’s glory revealed to the Apostle Paul the doctrine/teaching that is given to us for our current time. We are Gentiles, non-Jews, and Jesus Christ gave the “dispensation of the grace of God” to Paul so that he would give it to us (Ephesians 3:1-2). This is the information that we need to believe in order to know and do what God is doing today. The benefits of Calvary’s crosswork are first declared in the Bible by the Apostle Paul. You can refer to Romans chapters 3 through 5.
The Gospel by which we are saved today, the Gospel by which we have forgiveness for our sins today, is most clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. It is called “the Gospel of the Grace of God” in Acts 20:24. Perhaps have them memorize this: “The Gospel of the Grace of God is ‘how that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day.’” As I have told children in extremely simple language, “We have been bad and Jesus Christ took our whipping for us. He was punished in our place.” You can explain to them that just as their parents discipline them when they do wrong, so Father God punished Jesus Christ because of what we did wrong. Rather than sending us to hell to pay for our sins forever and ever, God gave us a chance to escape that punishment by having Jesus Christ take our place.
Not only is Christ crucified the answer to the penalty of sin (hell and the lake fire), it is also the answer to the power of sin (daily sinning). The power for Christian living today is found in the cross of Christ, and how the cross of Christ affects us today is described in Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon. Romans chapters 6-8 describe how Calvary’s finished crosswork gives us Christians victory over sin on a daily basis.
Try to make it clear to them that just as God used Moses to repeat His words to Israel, so God is using Paul to repeat His words to us. Paul is our apostle, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13): he is God’s spokesperson to us, the person Jesus Christ sent to us to tell us all about what He is doing today. God is forming a group of believers called the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23), who will one day serve Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6-7). This body is made of believing Jews and believing Gentiles. It is not to be confused with the nation Israel, God’s earthly people.
You can also share with them 1 Corinthians 14:37: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” If we want to know how God wants us to live today, we should study, believe, and apply passages such as Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3. We study all of the Bible, for all of the Bible is inspired of God, but only Paul’s epistles Romans through Philemon apply to us. God has other people in His Word such as the nation Israel—we must not take their passages and apply them to ourselves.
God’s grace is everything that He can do for us to the finished crosswork of Christ (Romans 3:24-25; 2 Corinthians 8:9). When we trust Jesus Christ alone as our personal Savior—His dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection for our right standing before God (Romans 4:24-25)—the Holy Spirit places us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). We will always be accepted of God in Christ (Ephesians 1:6), not because of what we do for Him but because of what He did at Calvary for us. We have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:1). God is not mad at us, God is not out to get us; God loves us and cares for us and has provided for all of our need in Jesus Christ. We are forgiven, declared right before God, set apart for what He wants to do with us, and so on. We are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14-15)—God does not save us or bless us on the basis of how we live, but because we cannot do anything for Him, He gives us all spiritual blessings in heavenly places because of what Christ did (Ephesians 1:3). That is what makes Christianity unique as compared to religion (doing works to please God, which we can never do enough of to get His blessings).
“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).
A SIMPLER GRACE MESSAGE (FOR “YOUNGER” PEOPLE)
(This purposely omits the dispensational concepts, and just presents a basic Gospel message for literally anyone and everyone to understand.)
The Bible declares, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). Because of sin, none of us can pay the price to enter heaven. Regardless of how many “good” works we do, we are still sinners by birth, unable to merit God’s favor. We have come short of God’s righteous standards.
Thus, in order to enter heaven, we need God’s righteousness. The good news is that, through the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ on Calvary, we can be made “the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV). We can receive God’s righteousness as a free gift! We can receive eternal salvation from our sins!
- “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9 KJV).
- “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 KJV).
- “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1 KJV).
- “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).
- “In whom [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7 KJV).
- “In whom [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14 KJV).
- “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV).
- “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5 KJV).
- “What must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30,31 KJV).
Salvation = Faith + Nothing. It is free to you because Jesus Christ paid the price. Do you believe that? Have you fully trusted in that alone for salvation?
Jesus Christ (God manifested in human flesh), in His great love, grace, and mercy, paid the penalty for our sins. The Gospel of the Grace of God which saves lost mankind is: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV). The Lord Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to forgive us our sins, but the Bible declares that anyone who rejects the Gospel of Grace will have to pay for his or her sins in the lake of fire for all eternity.
When you trust exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, Jesus Christ’s righteousness will be applied to you. Jesus Christ is perfect, so His righteousness imputed to us is our only means of getting into heaven. Will you trust in Christ Jesus alone as your personal Saviour? I hope you will accept God’s offer today!
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Okay, friend, you have two sets of information to choose from, and please take advantage of using one or both. Be ready to repeat, and repeat, and repeat! You will most assuredly generate questions, especially from young people and denominational people. If you need more information for dealing with people who are advanced further, you can try the five studies linked below.
» Is Acts 16:31 a sufficient Gospel message?
» What part of us is justified at salvation?
» We are saved by faith, but are we blessed by works?
» What is dispensational Bible study?
» Must I say the “sinner’s prayer?”