By David Evans
TBMB Evangelism Specialist
The Great Commission sets the cadence for our lives as Christ followers. How do you apply the orders to “make disciples” and “teach them to observe?” How did His original audience interpret the command? The audience did not have the writings of the New Testament readily available to them as we do today. As a Jewish culture, the Scriptures that they were most familiar with were writings of the Old Testament.
The Shema could have been a parameter for which they interpreted “make disciples” and “teach them to observe.” Deuteronomy 6 afforded the Jewish people a context for people to teach, train and disciple others when it came to God’s instructions. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 stated, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 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, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The command in Deuteronomy teaches us that there are two places to develop God’s instruction: (1) personal and (2) public. Personally, we are to inscribe God’s instruction on our hearts (passion), tongues (speech), obsession (thoughts), hand (action) and between your eyes (focus). Publically we are to inscribe God’s instructions inside our homes (v. 7), communities (v. 7), doorposts of our house (v. 9) and on the gates of our cities (v. 9).
The command in Deuteronomy also tells us that there is a particular group of people to carry out the instructions of God. The family is responsible to carry out God’s instructions (biological and spiritual). Biological family includes parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. What if we do not have biological family nearby? The Bible sets the example of adoption of a spiritual family (I Timothy I:2; II Timothy 1: 2; Titus 1:4).
Teaching God’s instructions and accomplishing the Great Commission is the parent’s responsibility (vv. 6, 7, 21, and 22). What happens when we as the local church do ministry through the family instead of to the family? A church’s ministry is only as strong as the ministry of the family. The best way to accomplish the Great Commission is by the family, through the family and as the family. In a recent study (StayTN research), when a parent serves the church then the child is 67 percent more likely to attend church as a young adult. A parent that only attends church has the same level of spiritual significance in a child’s life as if the parent never attended.