Helping Children to Understand the Gospel: Preparing Children for the Gospel Part 4

4. How do we sow, tend and harvest?

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

         A.Preach the Gospel at every turn Romans 10:17

1. Tell the bad news!

 

2. Tell the good news!

 

3. Tell the bad news and the good news multiple times daily.

 

4. Pray and speak blessings over your children.

 

 

         B. Be discerning as to the kind of “soil” our children are and train them accordingly

 

First, we have to be discerning. How does that happen? Well, some may be gifted by the Spirit as a discerner to serve the body. Some are just naturally born in the image of Father, Son and Spirit with a discerning nature, such as women. However, all of us can develop a sense of discernment that serves the church, our families and others.

 

An example of discernment at work is that strange sense that you should not let your kid do something and you obey that urging and it turns out there were reasons. That is Holy Spirit discernment leading you to discern good and evil.

 

Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

 

What is the solid food that trains the powers of discernment? Verse 13 gives the answer. It is the “word of righteousness”. What is that? It is the Gospel.

 

The Gospel is the sounding board for good and evil, right and wrong, honor and shame. The gospel is the ground of all things and the foundation of truth. The Gospel is the grand story of the whole bible. When we train ourselves in the Gospel we can easily spot lies and sense when something is not right.

 

Next, while practicing discernment, we must train our children as individuals and not train them all in one way. This will make parenting challenging because we have to know our children well enough and discern the intricacies of their makeup to know how to best train each one of them to hear, understand and respond to the Gospel.

 

Jesus mentioned four kinds of soil in this parable, and it is vital that we understand that only one type of soil in this parable produces the fruit of salvation, and that is the good soil.

 

1. Path – hardened and uninterested in the Gospel

Perhaps this best describes adults or older children / teens who have not been exposed to the Gospel from their conception. These are the people who have zero interest or clue in anything transcendent. These are the ones who are deceived and intentionally remain in spiritual deceit because of the rebellion and their fallen willful repression of the truth.

 

How do we break this kind of soil up?

Jesus did not tell us that, however, there are some tools we can use to help break down hardened hearts due to false teaching, lies and life experience.

a. Apologetics – this is not the silver bullet, but it is a tool to show the validity of

Scripture, evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible etc.

b. Patience – working with this kind of person requires much patience and hit and run

evangelism rarely works. Usually it pushes them farther away.

 

2. Rocky – quick reception of the Gospel but difficulty causes them to turn away

This, in my estimation, may be the majority of my generation. We hear some semblance of the good news, however, with no bad news and expectation that Jesus is rescuing me from his eternal condemnation, difficulty is a far cry from my expectations. So, when difficulty does happen, this person begins to question the partial message they received and they become apathetic or even antagonistic to the Gospel.

 

How do we break this kind of soil up?

Again, Jesus did not tell us that, however, there are some gardening tools we can use.

a. Proper proclamation of the Gospel – make sure we communicate that Jesus does

promise ease or freedom from difficulty, rather, Jesus promises that we will have

difficulty but that this difficulty is not without purpose.

b. Be ready to deal with the challenge of evil and suffering – know, embrace and

be able to articulate the sovereignty of God over evil, his use of evil for our good

and his glory and the promise of the eradication of evil in the coming age (Joseph

in Genesis, Job, Jesus, Revelation)

 

3. Thorns – hearing the Gospel but concern with “greater” and more “important” things choke out the message of the Gospel and there is just nothing there. This person may show some interest in spiritual things but wax and wane in their pursuit of Jesus. This person is always looking for some spiritual fix while trying to have as their most vital pursuit something else.

 

This person will sacrifice the church for the sake of their ambitions or false conceptions of the church and therefore find themselves outside of community and therefore choking out the Gospel.

 

This person shuns repentance and buys into a cheap and easy Gospel with no hell and only a heaven to be gained if they do enough good.

 

This person pursues their ambition to the exclusion of the people, Kingdom and the King.

 

How do we break this kind of soil up?

Once again, Jesus does not say. However, there are some tools in our gardeners belt that we can use.

 

a. Exhortation to repent – Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another every day, as long

as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

 

b. Model a life of setting biblical priorities – show this person how to set spiritual

priorities and help them schedule activities that feed the soul

1. Personal devotional life in reading and meditating on Scripture

2. Church attendance

 

4. Good Soil – regenerated by the Spirit, Gospel message properly communicated, Gospel received and repentance flourishes in a self-less pursuit of the King and his Kingdom.

 

This person was dead, and by the miracle of the Gospel, this person was awakened to their state of condemnation by the Holy and Triune God, in humility, because they cannot save themselves or be good enough, they see and savor the glorious cross where their justice was taken by Jesus on their behalf, and rather than receive justice forever in hell, they receive the love, goodness, grace and kindness of the King in repenting of their self-effort and embrace and run to King Jesus for the purpose of living a life that worships Father, Son and Spirit forever even if it costs them life, career, status, education, money, fame and time because Jesus is better than life.

 

a. Good soil produces at various levels, but does not change the fact that it is good

soil, therefore, each child has various levels of potential for production of Gospel

fruit and should be expected to only produce what the Lord made them to produce.

We may look at this as distinctions among gifts. Not all gifts produce the same

results. Therefore, it is vital to celebrate the fruit that is produced from good soil

not the amount as being superior or inferior.

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