Friday, May 27, 2016

A children's lesson: How Everyone Knows About the God of the Bible

Psalm 8:2 “From the mouth of infants and nursing babes, You have established praise….”.
Introduction: How children know about God, how they typically react to Jesus and why that is important
Over the past two days we have considered God’s power and goodness revealed in general revelation and the specific revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ and the scriptures. But how can one communicate such vital truths to children? As we reflect on the above opening verse, a very important point is made about how knowledge about God is an inborn knowledge. When this knowledge gleaned from general revelation is brought into contact with the remarkable life and ministry of Jesus Christ - the connection is made that the God of sacred scripture was revealed in the Person of Son incarnating Himself in human flesh. 

Amazingly, little children oftentimes are fascinated by Jesus - even if they are not yet to the point to where we can say they have actual saving faith operating inside of them. Such little ones (at least among Baptist people) are said to have not yet reached the age of accountability - which is defined as that point where a child connects "right and wrong" as having to do with God. Jesus connects this link by citing Psalm 8:4 in Matthew 21:15-16 during His triumphal entry: "But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant 16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?”

I have marveled over the years when hearing small children express profound truths about God that is undoubtedly operating at a deeper level than their immediate awareness and reason. Children are the most open to such properly basic knowledge due to the fact that they are operating under what Bible teachers call “common grace”. When we talk about properly basic knowledge, we refer to how we know things apart from arguments and evidence. Common grace is God’s goodness extended to all people whereby that know about Him, even though such grace does not lead anyone to trust in Jesus. 

Such grace operates among all people and includes such things as knowledge about God’s existence, awareness of right and wrong, knowledge about the external world and other such information that does not require argument and evidence to show it as true knowledge (see Psalm 19:1-6; Acts 14:17; 17:22-25; Romans 1:18-20; 2:15).

The knowledge about God ought to be discussed with children, since again, they are the most open. When we consider how we would communicate the posts of the last couple of days with children who are elementary age, where would we begin? Below is a sample lesson that would take the 1st sentence of the Baptist Faith and Message and then break down the posts of the last two days into a format that small children could understand.

Children’s Lesson: How everyone knows about the God of the Bible 

Basic idea: God talked to people about Himself through the Bible. (Note: This basic idea breaks down the first sentence of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which reads: “The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man”.)

First main question: So children, what can we say about this God?

Follow-up question#1: How many of you know it is wrong to lie? Is it wrong to pick on your brother or sister? Should you always be thankful? Is it better to be mean or nice to other people? 

Think about this children, the fact that you know that lying is wrong, or that it is better to be nice to people shows that you know deep down right and wrong. This is because the God of the Bible is real, He is what we call a Good God.

If I had all of you children draw the straightest line possible on a piece of paper, could you do it? Now if I hold a ruler next to each of your lines, do you think your lines would match the ruler. God as a good God is how we know what is good and bad. 

Follow-up question #2: Have you ever looked at the stars at night? Does the sky seem really, really big to you? How big is big? Did you know that God is so big and so strong that He made everything we see, including you?

Conclusion about the kind of God we find in creation and in the Bible: God is all-strong and all-good. Every child and adult knows about God being all-strong and all-good. But how can you know this God?

Second major question: So how does Jesus show us this all-strong, all good-God?

Point #1: Jesus was so awesome in how He made people feel better and no longer be sick. Jesus did the things that only God could do and even claimed Himself to be God. Jesus was a man who was also God at the same time.

Point #2: Jesus’ dying on the cross shows how good God is. God in His love gave Jesus.

Point #3: When Jesus became alive three days after dying on the cross, He showed that the God He claimed to be and the God He talked about to others is real!

Closing thoughts: The God of the Bible is shown through and by Jesus. This same God made everything. God’s goodness is why you and I know right and wrong to be true. If you will trust in Jesus, you will know God and love God.

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