Today I have more questions than answers. I want to include you in my thinking. God sent Jesus because He loved us too much to leave us the way we were (John 3:16; Roman 5:8). Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to bring us abundant life (John 10:10). Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). In that same Great Commission, He told us how to do so: baptizing and teaching them to obey what He commanded.
Let's examine that last phrase in the NIV (v. 20a): "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." There is so much there which has significance for disciples and for Sunday School. Here are a few of my thoughts and questions:
- Have we really been impacted by the sacrifice of our Lord?
- How have our lives been changed by what He taught in word, example, life, and death?
- How can we teach them, unless we learn ourselves first?
- Have we really learned if we are not applying what He commanded?
- How can we teach them, unless we are in relationship with them?
- Our example is important; it can undermine our words.
- Are we attempting to teach/live in our own power rather than in the Holy Spirit power Jesus promised?
- Example means we need to be in relationship for that example to be seen and have any impact.
- Everything is a BIG word; it means we can cause our brother to stumble if we fail even in one part.
- What did Jesus command? Are we doing it?
- At what point in our teaching efforts, are we successfully fulfilling this command? Not when we have obeyed everything, but when they have done so. Wow!
- What is the difference between application and obedience?
- If we only partially obeyed, have we obeyed?
- How can a teacher lead attenders to obey? What are the steps that need to be taken beyond simple communication of content? How many of these steps can be accomplished in class? How many steps extend beyond the Sunday morning Bible study session?
- What part do encouragement and accountability play in "teaching them to obey?"
- Jesus' command here remind me of Paul's instructions to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV): "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
- Start where you are with what you know. Don't wait until you are perfectly obedient and knowledgeable. You'll never get started if you wait until then (Romans 5:8). He didn't wait!
Do you have answers to some of these questions? I am especially interested in hearing your responses to the "how" question. How do we do it? How do we teach them to obey? What steps can we lead them to take to move beyond hearing and knowledge to application and obedience? Leave your thoughts by pressing Comments below. Let's continue the conversation. Let's honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by obeying Him and teaching others to do so! Be revolutionary!
For more thoughts about teaching for life change, check out these posts: