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accepting Christ

Accepting Christ at a Young Age

Jul 1, 2024 | Message from Jeremiah

“Can a child be saved?” you ask. The answer is, yes. You may wonder, When can they be saved and how can I lead them to Christ? Let’s look at the spiritual condition of children, the possibility of their salvation, how we can reach them, and our mission.

The Spiritual Needs of Children

If you lost your beloved child on the street, when would you want to find him? As quickly as possible! God’s love is greater than any parent’s love, for He did not spare His Son but gave Him up for the sins of mankind (see Romans 8:32). When does God want to save children lost in sin? As quickly as possible! He wants to seek and save every child on the planet the moment they are aware of their sin and can understand the Gospel.

The Bible says, “for all have sinned” (Romans 3:23); “. . . for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth . . .” (Genesis 8:21); “. . . [you] were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:3). From these verses we see that people don’t learn to become sinners. Rather all people are born sinners because of Adam’s original sin. “For the wages of sin is death . . .” (Romans 6:23). Children are also lost in sin and under God’s judgment. God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for children. All children on earth can be saved by faith alone in Jesus.

The Biblical Basis for a Child’s Salvation

One day the disciples asked Jesus to tell them who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew’s Gospel says, “And calling to him [Jesus] a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:2-3). The word for “child” used here is paidion in Greek. It means a child under the age of seven. In Matthew 18:6 the Lord said not to offend or cause to sin one of these little ones who believes in Him. The Lord is saying that this paidion is a child who already believes in Him. The word for “believe” used here is from the same Greek root word “pisteuo” used in John 3:16, Acts 16:31, and many other verses that speak of believing to be saved. Jesus, our Savior, recognized the faith of a child (paidion) as saving faith.

Jesus also said, “So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14). A few days later when parents brought their children to Jesus, the disciples rebuked them and tried to turn them away. Jesus was indignant and using the strongest tone in the New Testament, said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). The Lord wants to receive and save children.

Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit. As we share the Gospel, the Holy Spirit enlightens children about sin, righteousness, and judgment. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace, not of our works. The Triune God wants children to receive this gift of grace as soon as possible so that they can escape the shadow of sin and death.

The Witnesses

There were saved children in the early church, and child evangelism was emphasized. Paul addresses children in his letters, and one of the requirements for electing church-centered leaders was that they be parents of believing children.

God used the writings of Charles Spurgeon to impact Mr. Overholtzer, founder of Child Evangelism Fellowship®. Spurgeon said, “A child of five, if properly instructed, can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult.” God has prepared no other Gospel for children. There is only one name given for the salvation of mankind—Jesus Christ. Of paramount importance to the salvation of children is the language used in evangelism. When the Gospel is simply explained in words a child can understand, with the help of the Holy Spirit, children believe in Jesus and are born again.

George Barna has said that “the probability of accepting Christ is highest among kids under 14.” The older children get, the less likely they are to respond to the Gospel. It will take more prayer, tears, and labor to bring them to Christ in their mature years. Even if they do come to Christ later in life, they will regret having wasted precious time. We must not make this mistake.

I started working with CEF® when I was single. After Sarah and I were married, God blessed us with four daughters, with whom I shared the Gospel in our home using CEF lessons and evangelistic materials. One day we shared the Gospel using The Wordless Book with our first daughter, Joy, when she was four years old. I explained to Joy who God is and that He loves her. Then I explained the sin in her life and said she would be judged by God for that sin. At that point, Joy began to cry and said, “Daddy, I don’t want to be judged by God.” I assured her, “Joy, you don’t have to face this judgment. Jesus died in your place on the cross and took all the judgment you deserve.” That day Joy accepted Jesus as her Savior. Our other three daughters accepted Jesus as Savior before they were four years old and are living for the Lord.

Our Urgent Mission

If you lost your beloved child on the street, you would want to find him as quickly as possible! God wants to save every child as soon as they can understand the message of salvation. Therefore, we should share the Gospel with our precious children as early as possible and help them accept Jesus Christ as Savior. It is an incredible privilege for parents to lead their own children to Christ.

Teaching Kids About Salvation | CEF

Teaching Kids About Salvation | CEF

Our first priority should be teaching kids about salvation, even in Christian homes. Here’s how to use the Wordless Book for teaching kids about salvation.

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