Teach Them to Obey



Jesus commanded His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV)

As we seek to fulfill the Great Commission and make disciples in our context, it’s important to think through what it looks like to “teach them to obey.”

It’s not about legalism –trying to please God to earn His approval. In John 14:23, Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” He didn’t mean that we need to prove we love Him by obeying. He meant that we will obey because we love Him.

So as a small group leader, how do you help people obey the Lord? One key is recognizing the role obedience plays in a process that begins with revelation and ends with transformation.

Revelation is when God reveals a truth to you. This is not something you can do on your own – it’s a work of God. You can, however, position yourself to receive revelation – that’s why we engage in quiet times, corporate worship and teaching, Bible-reading, prayer, etc.

The process ends with what we are all aiming for as disciples of Christ – transformation into His image. However, transformation, like revelation, is not something we can do, but only God can do.

Our part falls in the middle: obedience. As we act in obedience to what God has revealed to us, we see transformation take place in our lives.

This process – Revelation – Obedience – Transformation – is one to be aware of and to utilize in discipling others. Not only can you help them position themselves to receive revelation and to recognize it when it comes, but you can also come alongside them as they seek to obey it.

If the person you are discipling is not obeying what the Lord is showing them, don’t try to force obedience. Instead, take them back a step in the process and help them to see the revelation. Once they have firmly grasped the revelation, they will have a greater desire to obey, and you can then help them to do so and thereby see the fruit of transformation in their life.

Discussion Questions:

  • What is a disciple? How would you define it?
  • Can you think of a time where God revealed something to you and you initially didn’t obey? What stopped you?
  • Have you encountered a situation where someone you were discipling was acting in knowing disobedience? How did you address it? How should you have addressed it?
  • What transformation have you seen in your life as a result of obeying Christ?