The Power of a Good Illustration
This chapter reminds us that the way we illustrate the truths that we are teaching can have a powerful impact on our students. Nicole and the Kindergarten boy were both confronted with the reality of the gospel in ways that engaged their minds and emotions. As we teach, we must be aware that simply reciting and explaining a truthful proposition to our class will not always connect them to the truth the same way a well told illustration or object lesson can. Because our students have diverse learning styles it is helpful to think through ways to involve them and their senses throughout the lesson in order to help the truth of the gospel be firmly planted and rooted in their hearts and minds. What illustration or object lesson have you seen make an impact on your students?
The Good News
It is easy to take for granted that our students understand the gospel message. However, just because they can answer our questions and show the cognitive ability to connect dots theologically does not mean they have fully grasped the meaning of the gospel for their own lives. In this chapter we see how the message that “Christ died for our sins” helps us reject man-centered approaches to our relationship with God (moralism, a begrudging God, cheap grace, therapeutic religion, and “Jesus-as-example”). Knowing and trusting that Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our salvation gives us all the benefits we need for life in this world and the next. It will motivate our worship and obedience.
“Jesus’s death and resurrection is more than a poignant idea that helps us love God. It indeed gives us love, but this is because the cross is the actual loving act that kindles our own love, and Jesus is the real and risen Savior who rescues all who are his.” (p.27)
The Good News Summarized
I was thankful for the ways Jack summarized the good news. As you read these reminders of what Christ has done for us, allow your heart to be comforted and awed at the “love of God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:39).
- Sin means we were doomed to die. But Jesus died to give us eternal life. “[He] died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” (1 Thess. 5:10)
- Sin means we were cursed. But Jesus became cursed to make us blessed. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).
- Sin means we were shamed. But Jesus endured the shame of the cross to give us honor. “He has now reconciled [you] in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Col. 1:22)
- Sin means we were guilty. But Jesus was condemned and punished so we could be declared not guilty, “canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14).
- Sin means we were enemies of God and deserving of his anger. But Jesus deflected that wrath onto himself to give us God’s favor. “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:10).
- Sin means we were shut out from fellowship with God. But Jesus died alone on the cross so we might never be lonely again. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18)
How do these truths fuel your passion for teaching children?
Next week we will read and discuss Chapter 3: The “Gospel Day” Trap. I’m sorry that I have been late in getting this book study moving, but I want to use November to catch up. So we will take one chapter each week in November in order get back on track.
I Want to Hear from You: (Click on “Leave a Reply” at the top in order to comment.)
What were your biggest takeaways from this chapter?
Will you use the “God Report Card” illustration with your class?
Who is it in your class that needs to understand the good news?
How does the obedience of Jesus encourage your own obedience?