One day I shared with a coworker how my Sunday School lessons were going. When I mentioned that I had just taught on Sodom and Gomorrah, this coworker was taken aback and asked what ages I taught. This person was shocked to realize that I had without hesitation taught about the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah to a nine-year old. I paused to think about it, and I realized that the manner in which I taught it was completely appropriate in that I did not address in any way the sexual sins of the Sodomites but instead dealt with the theme of God judging the wicked. People today seem afraid to talk about the blood of Jesus, the condemnation of sin, and even hell. Yet, these are important concepts that must be taught to the next generation, or we may stand guilty before an Almighty God for failing to warn people of the consequences to sin.
God makes this point extremely clear to Ezekiel; anyone who is called by God to proclaim His word has the extra responsibility to warn, rebuke, and exhort.
I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
If that quote was not enough, Jesus Himself warned that “whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels” (Lk. 9:26).
The words of God have to preached, taught, and read in their entirety. Nothing in the Bible is bad, evil, or irrelevant to our lives. It is not to be picked over, watered-down, or changed according to our own desires. Even if what we read makes us uncomfortable, we must still accept what we read as being true. If we fail to acknowledge it as true, then we are in danger of being judged by the very things written therein! When Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Jn. 3:3), then no one can make it into heaven unless they have been born again. Baptism, church attendance, or gifts to ministries will not cut it. Reading your Bible and other religious texts to do “what is right” will not work. Following what feels right will not work. All of these will lead you to hell. Why? Because only those who are born-again can enter into heaven.
That is not a popular truth. Yet it is the truth. And if we fail to teach that truth, then God will hold us teachers, preachers, and all Christians responsible for failing to warn others that Jesus is the only way into heaven. While topics like the blood, hell, and Jesus as the only means of salvation are offensive to many, such topics must be taught because they are true and if we, the born-again believer who has the truth, fail to share the truth, who will?
"Do not worry about offending parents."
Do not worry about offending parents. Do not worry about receiving complaints. If what you teach is straight from the Bible, then you are not out of line. If what you teach can be backed by the doctrine of Scriptures, you are not out of line. As long as you are following the Holy Spirit and not straying from the meaning of the Bible, you will be fine. If parents complain about you teaching on the blood and hell, it is probably because they themselves are uncomfortable about such topics, which makes you wonder if they are all right with the Lord.
But isn't it inappropriate to teach some things? Surely, a four-year old doesn’t need to hear the gruesome details of the passover?
Today’s society is under the impression that you have to shelter a child until he or she reaches a certain age. The problem with this approach is that it fails to equip the young for what they will encounter in society. In the education field, I hear about what is occurring in many schools. Fifth graders are turning up pregnant and hooked on drugs. If we wait until our “old enough” to learn about the whole truth, we are doing them a serious disservice. No, a four-year old is not going to understand why blood is necessary for the forgiveness of sin, but teaching that truth builds a foundation so that as the child ages, he will come to a deeper understanding of what he has learned by rote.
Back to the original reason as to why we must teach the entire truth to the young, if you decided to wait until your students are older, what happens if mommy or daddy pulls him out of church? What if you miss the only opportunity to teach that child that Jesus is the only way into heaven? Do you not think that God will hold you responsible for failing to instruct the child in the way that he should go? You do not want to stand before God and give an account of all the times you watered down the truth and failed to give a child the truths that he needed to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. This is series. We must be teaching the young the complete, unaltered truth of the Bible.
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Melissa Beaty. Writer, Sunday School Teacher, and Born-Again Believer.