Monday, July 22, 2013


(Because of the wretched state of Red Deer’s pulpit space, it is now, as predicted by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3, the time to ‘pluck up that which is planted…a time to break down…a time to weep…a time to cast away stones’ and even ‘a time to refrain from embracing.’ And it is certainly more ‘a time to speak’ than ‘a time to keep silence.’ Be that as it may, the wrecking ball of negative criticism should be followed by the laying down of truth. To this end, we introduce the sermon sketch as an intermittent blog feature. As the term ‘sketch’ implies, this kind of post, in distinction from the usually lengthy analysis, will be pithy. The source for each sketch will be indicated at the bottom of each post.)

Teaching Children

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34.11.)

Introduction. It is worth noticing that good men often discover their duty by being placed in humiliating circumstances. This happened to David. Once, he pretended to be crazy to fool a king, and the children in the street laughed at him. By the remembrance of that event, maybe, he sets out to do something better than make children laugh. He will teach them the fear of the Lord.

(1) One Doctrine. Here it is: Children are able to understand religious topics, contrary to popular opinion that says they can’t. Children often understand these things better than geniuses do. A child capable of being damned is capable of being saved. If teachers can’t make children understand, it is because the teachers do not understand themselves. Anyway, God can work upon little hearts as he pleases. Be careful not to dismiss one of these tiny buds of grace. If a child declares love to Jesus, treat that little one as a real member of God’s church!

(2) Two Encouragements. First, David’s example. “I will teach you the fear of the Lord,” says David. You are not too proud to follow in the steps of David the giant killer, are you? And follow the Son of David, Jesus, who says, “Suffer little children to come unto me.” Second, David’s success. “I will teach you,” he says—not perhaps. Many volumes could be written on the success of Sabbath-schools in teaching children. It is a noble work. Go on in it! More shall yet be done!

(3) Three Cautions. First, remember who you are teaching. Children have little option of going somewhere else. And they believe and retain error as easily as truth. Second, recall that you are teaching for God. This should make you tremble and make sure you are teaching truth. Third, remember that a child needs teaching. He was born in sin. He has an evil seed in his heart. It is your job to sow a good seed there, or he will be forever lost. Be very anxious when you teach.

(4) Four Instructions. “Come, ye children.” This means go and invite them. Do not bribe them. That is a mean abuse. Just coax them to come along. Then fill the school by teaching interestingly: tell lots of stories. Next, get the children to love you. Otherwise they will not learn. Wear a sour look while you tell a boy about Jesus, and will the boy not think Jesus is as sour as you? Then, keep the children’s attention by the use of many stories and pictures. Finally, stick to the lesson.

(5) Five Sunday-School Lessons. Here they are: morality (what’s right and wrong) to make them know their sins; godliness (one-on-one prayers and love to God) to make them conscious of God’s tender care and all seeing eye; the evil of sin to convince them of needing a Saviour; the need of a broken heart of repentance through God’s mercy; and the blessedness of being a child of God. Oh! Emphasize this last point. Show them how to be happy in spite of all your troubles. And be sure not to leave out the three R’s: Ruin, Regeneration, and Redemption.

Selection from Conclusion. “You are a sword; God may with you slay the child’s sin, but you can not slay it yourself. Be you therefore mindful of this, that you must be first taught of God yourself, and then you must ask God to teach, for unless a higher teacher than you instruct the child, that child must perish. It is not all your instruction can save a soul: it is the blessing of God resting on it. May God bless your labors! He will do it if you are instant in prayer, constant in supplication; for never yet did the earnest preacher or teacher, labor in vain.”

{This sermon by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) is sketched by M. H. Gaboury.}

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