Matthew 28.18-20: The Great Instruction

This week, we focus on the fifth portion of our six-part series from some of Jesus’ final words before leaving the earth. His words were meant to teach, motivate, and encourage His disciples as He turned the work of saving the world over to them. As His followers today, we are responsible to these words of our Savior.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Now we’ll notice Jesus’ clause, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” After bringing people to Christ and baptizing them for the remission of their sins, we have the responsibility (and opportunity) to teach them more about the love of God and how to please Him. The disciples had been trained and taught about the new covenant God was issuing through Christ; it’s those things Christ had relayed to them that they were to relay to new disciples. Today, we are to teach what Christ taught; we are also to teach what those apostles and disciples relayed to first century Christians.

When we view this command to continually teach about Jesus and His commands, we must ask ourselves “how are we doing in our teaching?” As we pose that question together this morning, let’s ask and answer that question in two specific areas:

How is the teaching in our homes? The context of our passage shows that whoever “makes a disciple” is generally responsible for “teaching them.” This makes pretty common sense from the church perspective. However, do we ever read this portion of the passage and think about our homes? If parents have been responsible for bringing their children to Christ (or are preparing for and praying for that decision), wouldn’t it be in keeping with Christ’s command that they should be teaching them as well? That’s the idea that is emphasized continually in scripture. Back in Deuteronomy, Moses said, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house…” (6:6-9). Paul echoes those words in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers…bring [your children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The main source for teaching children the ways of the Lord is the home. If we were to compare the amount of time spent in the home on schoolwork and studying the Bible, which would have greater emphasis? Are grades important? Absolutely. But so is learning the Bible throughout one’s childhood. May our homes not skirt that responsibility.

How is the teaching in our Bible classes? Many elders throughout the church have set aside periods of time for their congregations to meet for the specific purpose of studying the Bible. We should take this seriously as it is a response to our elders’ authority and because we are studying the holy words of God. Paul told Titus in Titus 2 that the older men and older women of the church were responsible for teaching and encouraging the younger men and younger women of the church. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the purpose of our Bible classes today? How seriously do we take our Bible classes, though?

We show how much we value Bible class by our simple attendance. We show how much we value Bible class by our timeliness. What does it say about our devotion if we’re consistently late? Adults, we show how much we value Bible class by our examples. It’s no wonder that some young people don’t respect their Bible class teachers and classmates (and God) when their parents either (1) don’t come to Bible class at all, or (2) are at the building but don’t actually attend a class. As adults, we are helping to form the current generation of young people’s perceptions of the Bible and Bible class. How are we doing?

Nothing is more important to the lives of those who come to know Christ than to continue to know and learn more about Him. May we never wilt under the pressure to teach them the Truth.

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