Conversations about making disciples would never be complete without looking at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
How Does the Great Commission Impact Parenting?
Jesus’ command to “make disciples” is far more critical for parents when it comes to the issue of raising children than most imagine or understand. We know that Jesus spoke this mandate just before His ascension to heaven. The life and example of our Lord and Savior points to this directive; our world has been forever changed by Christians who have obeyed Jesus in carrying out the Great Commission. But, how many of us truly understand the issue of making disciples and how many of us apply this command rightly when it comes to our children?
Immediately following three years of making disciples and presenting them to God, Jesus commanded us to do the same. When Jesus gave us the Great Commission what did He have in mind for us to do? He wants us to do what He did; it’s really very simple. Jesus showed us how to make disciples; why don’t we follow His example?
“As You Go Into the World…”
The Great Commission does not merely refer to going to foreign lands to preach Christ. In fact, the command is not even “Go” as most people suppose. The word that we translate “Go” in English is a participle in Greek (the original language in which the New Testament was written). A better translation would be “as you go.” So as you are going about your business, your daily routine, and the life that God has given you in the context He has placed you, He has commanded you to do something: make disciples!
Now, each of us certainly has a responsibility to evangelize others as we go and we certainly have a responsibility to be involved some way in taking the gospel to the nations. But, parents, as you go throughout life, you are to make disciples. That life includes your home and the primary disciple-making responsibility you have been given by God is your children. To put it simply, you are to develop a lifestyle of discipleship when it comes to your children.
“Baptizing and Teaching”
Let’s break it down further. Jesus commands us as we are going to make disciples, which includes two dynamics: baptizing and teaching. A clear picture should form in your mind. Here go the parents. They have their disciples (children) with them. The parents are making disciples of their children as they go into their world. They baptize the children at the appropriate time. But not only are the children immersed in water at a baptism event, they are immersed daily by their parents in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are immersed daily in the Word. The parents are teaching their children to practice all the things that Christ commanded. And, if they are teaching their children to obey every command of Jesus, they are teaching and preparing their children to make disciples.
Again, many Christians misinterpret the Great Commission and the purpose of Christ. They read into it evangelism of others or missions only. They miss the point of discipleship completely. But even when Christians recognize and acknowledge the command to make disciples and apply it to their children, so often they cheapen the practice of discipleship and reduce it to an activity that happens for an hour or two per week.
“Observe All Things that I have Commanded You”
The challenge of making disciples who will then be disciple-makers themselves lies in teaching the converted to obey the commands of Christ. When it comes to your children, the only difference is that you are to train them to obey Jesus whether they are converted or not.
Teaching your children to obey the commands of Christ is more than teaching doctrine. It is more than the transfer of information. This teaching involves applying doctrine to their hearts that they might obey. Obedience in the biblical sense never involves mere outward conformity to the law. Rather, obedience issues forth from a heart that has been changed. In the case of unsaved children, we are praying that God will change their hearts along the way through the discipling process.
In the church today so much of what is called evangelism and discipleship falls short of the biblical definition. In-depth discipleship is both formative (on-going) and corrective. The formative nature of discipleship is simply dealing with sin at the heart level through an ongoing lifestyle of self-examination, putting off sin, and putting on righteousness through the renewing of the mind. Obedience comes from a heart that is being sanctified. The corrective nature of discipleship is the practice of dealing with personal and interpersonal sin in a biblical fashion.
The bottom line is that your family must be transformed into a discipling community; a community that adheres to the biblical mandate of mutual edification for the building up of your children, the training of your children for the work of the ministry, and the encouragement of your children for the task of evangelism and missions. You are to make disciples of Jesus out of your children.
Article from Disciple Like Jesus