We’ve often heard verses like “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart” or “do not provoke your children to wrath.” But when you read the Bible intentionally with the eyes of a parent, you’ll find that God is constantly talking about kids.
Here are a few verses that you may be unfamiliar with about children. I started praying these verses when my wife was pregnant with our first son, and we pray them over our kids every day. Hopefully there are a few new ones you can add to your list.
My children are taught by the Lord, and they have great peace (Isaiah 54:13)
The Holy Spirit will be upon my children and my children’s children (Isaiah 59:21)
God’s Word will always be in the mouths of my children and my children’s children (Isaiah 59:21)
My descendants will be mighty upon the earth (Psalm 112:1-2)
God will pour out His Spirit and His blessing upon my descendants (Isaiah 44:2-5)
My descendants will be known upon the Gentiles as the people whom the Lord has blessed (Isaiah 61:9)
My children will not be trouble. (Isiah 65:23-24)
God will answer my descendants’ prayers before they ask, and will hear their prayers as they pray (Isaiah 65:23-24)
My children will have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26)
God will not turn away from doing good to and for my children (Jeremiah 32:39-41)
God will put the fear of the Lord in their hearts, and they will not depart from Him (Jeremiah 32:39-41)
Things will go well for me, my children, and my children’s children (Deuteronomy 4:40)
Me and my descendants will dwell in prosperity, and they will inherit the earth (Psalm 25:12-13)
My descendants will inherit the nations, and rebuild communities (Isaiah 54:2-3)
God teaches my children and infants to tell of His strength (Psalm 8:2)
The Lord will bless and keep my children, and will shine His face upon them and be gracious to them (Numbers 6:27)
The Lord will lift up His countenance upon them and give them peace (Numbers 6:27)
Welcome to the Church Basement. My name is Garrett, and today I want to talk about “The Great Commission.”
The Great Commission. You know, that thing your youth pastor is always going on and on about. To refresh your memory, the Great Commission is the last instruction Jesus gave to His disciples after His resurrection and before ascending into heaven. Recorded in Matthew chapter 28, Jesus said:
“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 ends of the age. Amen.”
Now here’s an easy question: What was the first thing Jesus commanded His disciples to do in the Great Commission?
That’s right, GO… is the wrong answer. I know I know, it says “go” right there at the beginning of the verse. But this wasn’t written in English. It was written in Greek, and if you read it in the original Greek, the word “go” is actually in the passive tense. In fact, if you read this in Young’s Literal Translation (which, as the name suggests, is a literal translation), it actually reads, “Having gone, then, make disciples.” Today we might translate it, “As you go, make disciples.”
You see, Jesus wasn’t telling His disciples to go anywhere… because He already knew they would go to plenty of different places. Jesus probably gave the Great Commission on a mountain (I mean, He did loved preaching on mountains). He didn’t think His disciples were going to live on that mountain forever. No, they would eventually go home.
Same with you. You’re probably watching this video at your house. In your bedroom, in your kitchen, hopefully not in your bathroom. And when this video is over, you’re going to go to school, or go to work, or go to the gym, or go to church. And Jesus tells us that as we go, we are to make disciples.
The problem is that we’ve put so much focus on going that we’ve forgotten to do what Jesus actually told us to do, which is make disciples. We think we have to go somewhere special to fulfill the Great Commission. We need to go to Mexico or Haiti or Africa. We need to go witnessing at the food court or the pier. So we delegate the command to “make disciples” to those special times in those special places, instead of making disciples in our own communities every day.
Jesus wasn’t telling us to go somewhere special and then make disciples. He was telling us to make disciples wherever we go. At school, at work, at home, at church. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are all saving up for mission trips.
Now don’t get me wrong. Going on mission trips and going witnessing is awesome. But if you’re only making disciples one week a year in a foreign country or every other Tuesday at the food court between 6 and 8pm, then you’re not really making disciples. You’re trying to make converts. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the same thing. It’s not the Great Commission.
Look at Jesus. He had twelve disciples. He didn’t spend a week with them in Egypt and call it discipleship. No, these guys lived in His community, and He saw them on a daily basis for over three years. He prayed with them, ate with them, did Bible studies with them, answered all of their stupid questions. He taught them how to live a Christian life. And after three years, He told them to go make disciples of their own.
So Jesus started with just twelve. Well, eleven, because Judas kind of sucked. And then those eleven went and made disciples. And then those disciples went and made disciples. And then those disciples went and made disciples. They followed this simple pattern that Jesus laid out. They started in their own community first, and then eventually started to branch out.
And after a few generations, half the civilized world had become disciples of Jesus. Who woulda thunk?!? They did what Jesus said, and they transformed the entire world.
But somewhere along the road, we lost sight of what Jesus told us to do. Instead of all of us making disciples wherever we go, we decided that a small number of us should make converts every now and then. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it’s not really working.
Now again, there’s nothing wrong with street witnessing or mission trips or anything like that. But when you’re not doing those things, I want to challenge you to give the Great Commission a try.
Make just one disciple this year. Pray for him, pray with him, spend time with him, answer his questions, read the Bible together. Show him what a godly life looks like. Teach him everything you know. Teach him how to make disciples of his own. Make this a daily practice. And after a year, send him out to make a disciple of his own.
That’s the Great Commission. So go. And wherever you go, make disciples.