Home > Devotionals, Social Commentary > Living out the Great Commission in Parenthood

Living out the Great Commission in Parenthood

  • Recognize that parents have the primary responsibility of educating their children and helping them to cultivate a Christian worldview way of thinking and living.
    • Enter, if possible, the world of private Christian schooling and Christian homeschooling to provide a Christian alternative to the education of children. (Note that this is a complement—not a replacement—of those many faithful Christians who serve in public school systems as salt and light.)
    • Build gospel saturated homes that see children as a gift from God and the parents’ initial mission field. Consider how the ministries of adoption and orphan care are incredible witnesses to the Gospel of Christ.
    • Pray for the evangelism and discipleship of children first by their parents (and that local churches would assist these parents to do that).

Jesus’ Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 applies Christian parents, even as it applies to all Christians. Parents should “make disciples” of their children. Parents should also teach their children “to observe all that [Christ has] commanded.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7 is a great complementary passage to this one concerning the parents’ roles to live out the Great Commission in the home toward their children.

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.

Verse 7 is the key verse: “teach them diligently to your children.” Diligent teaching—diligent discipleship of children—involves talking of God’s words “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” In other words, parents should constantly discipling their children both through structured teaching and lifestyle living. The GCTF summed this biblical principle up well by writing: “Recognize that parents have the primary responsibility of educating their children and helping them to cultivate a Christian worldview way of thinking and living.” The GCTF then gave three other recommendations that clarify and explain this recommendation. Parents should educate their children and help them “to cultivate a Christian worldview way of thinking and living” by entering, “if possible, the world of private Christian schooling and Christian homeschooling,” by building “gospel saturated homes that see children as a gift from God,” and by the parents first discipling their children with the assistance of their local church.


Christian Education Alternatives

  • Enter, if possible, the world of private Christian schooling and Christian homeschooling to provide a Christian alternative to the education of children. (Note that this is a complement—not a replacement—of those many faithful Christians who serve in public school systems as salt and light.)

The public education system is in shambles. And not all of its problems are solvable. Some problems are intrinsic to the public education system. Nevertheless, many faithful Christians “serve in public school systems as salt and light.” A Christian public school teacher can have an incalculable impact on his or her students. As such, “the world of private Christian schooling and Christian homeschooling” only complements—and does not wholly replace—public education. The Bible establishes parents as their children’s teachers. Whether Christian parents decide to add professional teachers to their children’s education is up to them. In any case, the parents must make the educational decision that they feel is best for their children’s spiritual well-being, whatever that decision may be.

Children as Gifts from God

  • Build gospel saturated homes that see children as a gift from God and the parents’ initial mission field. Consider how the ministries of adoption and orphan care are incredible witnesses to the Gospel of Christ.

James writes in 1:27 of his epistle: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” The first thing James mentions in this verse as an aspect of “pure and undefiled” religion is “to visit orphans … in their affliction.” The verb “to visit” actually means “to shepherd.” And what better way to shepherd an orphan than to parent him or her? Tony Merida preached on this (adoption) one night this past week at StudentLife camp, and it was a rather convicting message. As he said, “Adoption shouldn’t be Plan B,” as it has been for me and many others.

And one reason adoption has been so neglected is because Americans for the most part no longer see children as a gift from God. But that is in direct contrast to God’s word. Solomon writes in Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
     the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
     are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
     who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
     when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Children are “a reward” from the Lord; “blessed is the man who fills his quiver” with children! This is a radical departure from the contemporary norm of 2.3 (or whatever) children per household. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” not “be fruitful to only replace yourselves.” Is this notion that children are a reward radical? Yes. Is it biblical? Yes. Let us then, “build gospel saturated homes that see children as a gift of God.”

As you begin to see children as a gift of God, see them as your “initial mission field,” parents. Share the gospel with your children—your faith doesn’t make them automatically Christian!

And as we begin to recapture this biblical belief in the blessing of children, we will begin to “consider how the ministries of adoption and orphan care are incredible witnesses to the Gospel of Christ.” God’s adoption of us should motivate us to adopt others—or at least to contribute financially toward the adoption of others.

Pray

  • Pray for the evangelism and discipleship of children first by their parents (and that local churches would assist these parents to do that).

Ok, here’s the application for everyone: we should all pray that parents evangelize and disciple their children. Parents should pray this for themselves, and all of us who may one day be parents should pray this in anticipation of that event, should the Lord delay his Coming. Further, we should pray that local churches would assist parents in evangelizing and discipling children. This is the importance of Bible-based and Christ-centered churches. Parents, you must be careful to put yourselves and your children in Bible-based and Christ-centered churches so not only your children but also you will be faithfully evangelized and discipled. Ultimately parents (and possible future parents), you must place yourself in Bible-based and Christ-centered churches so you will be faithfully discipled, which leads to your faithful discipleship of your children.

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