Pulpit message: The Promise of a Saviour
Probably the first book I ever owned, even before I could read, was the Child’s Catechism. Many of you will have a copy. It’s presentation isn’t very attractive, not at all child-friendly by today’s standards.
It’s language might not pass the approval test of modern educationalists. No doubt too there are those who would disapprove of it’s contents, especially for the very young. But I love it. I believe it to be a much under-rated document.
I have asked around but nobody can tell me who wrote it or where it was first published. If you still have a copy, have another look at it. You will be amazed at how much is covered in a few short pages. You may also find it to be a blessing to your soul.
Question 7 deals with Adam and Eve. Q. What promise did God give them before driving them from the garden? A. The promise of a Saviour. This is a reference to Genesis chapter 3. In verse 15 we read that God spoke to the serpent. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Does that sound a bit vague? No doubt Adam and Eve and others following them often wondered what exactly God meant, but today, we who live in the New Testament era have no difficulty in understanding that He was referring to the Lord Jesus, the offspring of the woman, and his battle with, and ultimate triumph over the devil. But in His promise of a Saviour, God not only said something, He did something. In verse 21 we read “And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” No doubt again Adam and Eve must have puzzled over the significance of this, but again we today we can see that God was showing them a dramatic picture of how, by the sacrifice of His Son, He would cover over their sin. In this way God gave to our first parents the promise of a Saviour.
Does this seem a bit too complicated for very young children with their limited understanding? Do remember that Adam and Eve and their families for many years, even centuries, had limited understanding. It was over the years that God gradually revealed more and more of the coming Saviour. We see this as we read through the Old Testament. For example, have you ever read through the book of Leviticus? What do you make of it? Would it surprise you to know that this was the first book of the bible that was taught to the young Hebrew children? It’s not so surprising though when you think about it, for all those sacrifices were part of their everyday lives. When they woke up every morning till they went to bed at night they could smell and see what they were taught in Leviticus. And so it was that throughout the period of the Old Testament God was, as it were, colouring in the painting of which he had given Adam and Eve a mere sketch, and doing it in a way that was suitable for their understanding at the time. It is all looking forward to the Lord Jesus; it is all about the promise of a Saviour.
Of course the Old Testament believers could never see the Saviour as clearly as we can, who live on this side of Calvary. Even little children today, properly taught, can see far more than they could. Let’s go back to that little gem, the Child’s Catechism, section 2. Again it refers to Adam’s first sin. Q 11. What evil has that brought on us? A. It has brought us into a state of sin and misery. Q 12. How? A. We are the children of Adam, and fallen with him. Q 13. Is there any way of being saved from this state? A. Yes. Q 14. How? A. Through Jesus Christ.
Q 15. Who is Jesus Christ? A. The Son of God and the Son of Man. Q 16. What did He do to save us? A. He lived and died for us. Q 17. What did He do for us in His life? A. He obeyed the law of God. Q. 18. What did He do for us in His death? A. He gave Himself for us, a sacrifice for sin. Q 19. What have we to do to be saved by Him? A. To trust in Him, love and follow Him.
Whoever it was who compiled the Child’s Catechism was clearly concerned that our children should, at an early age and in a simple way, come to know and love the promised Saviour. Don’t we all want that for our children? Is He your Saviour?
Isaiah 11:6 “...and a little child shall lead them.”
Mark 10:15 “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”