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The Great Commission: Part 3 - Teach them to obey everything

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | October 14, 2023 | Matthew 28:19-20


“And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV)


In the final instalment of our series on the Great Commission, we explore the vital aspect of the command: "Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20). This part of the commission underscores the importance of not only preaching, baptizing and teaching but also nurturing them in the faith and obedience to Christ. Teaching disciples to obey everything Jesus commanded is at the core of discipleship. It goes beyond knowledge; it's about cultivating a life marked by obedience to Christ's teachings. Discipleship involves imparting not only information but also a transformation of the heart and actions. As disciples and disciple-makers, we are called to help others align their lives with the teachings and example of Jesus.

Jesus emphasizes "everything I have commanded you." This encompasses His entire body of teachings, including His ethical, moral, and spiritual instructions. Discipleship is not selective; it involves the comprehensive application of all of Jesus' teachings in our lives. It challenges us to grow in holiness, love, and righteousness, aligning ourselves with His Word in every aspect of life. Jesus concludes the Great Commission by reaffirming His presence: "I am with you always, to the end of the age." The promise of Jesus' presence is not just for evangelism and discipleship but for every aspect of our lives. He walks with us through the journey of teaching and obedience, providing guidance, encouragement, and strength.


This final part of the presentation on the Great Commission highlights the ongoing process of discipleship—teaching and nurturing believers to obey everything Christ has commanded. It challenges us to live out His teachings comprehensively and to rely on His promised presence as we do so. As we engage in this aspect of the commission, may we be diligent in teaching and modelling obedience to Christ's commands, knowing that His presence is our constant source of strength and guidance.


Heavenly Father, I thank You for the call to teach and obey everything Jesus commanded. Help me to be faithful disciple-makers, nurturing others in the faith and obedience to Your Word. May I rely on the presence of Christ in this journey and strive to live out His teachings in every aspect of our lives. In His name, I pray. Amen



The word "obey" is translated from the Greek word: "τηρεῖν" (tērein):** The primary meaning of this word is "to guard" or "to watch over." However, in the context of Matthew 28:20, it carries the sense of observing, keeping, and obeying.

The word "tērein" is used in various contexts in the New Testament:

  • Observing Commandments: It is often used in the context of keeping or observing commandments, emphasizing the active adherence to God's instructions (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3).

  • Guarding the Word: In some instances, it is associated with guarding or keeping the Word of God, highlighting the responsibility of believers to protect and uphold divine teachings (Luke 11:28, John 14:23).

  • Spiritual Watchfulness: The term is also used metaphorically to convey the idea of spiritual watchfulness, suggesting a diligent and attentive posture in the Christian life (1 Corinthians 16:13, 1 Timothy 6:20).

In Matthew 28:20, the call to teach disciples to obey everything Jesus commanded underscores the importance of active adherence to his teachings. It implies not just intellectual assent but practical application in daily life. As we examine the biblical usage of "obey" in Matthew 28:20, we uncover the following layers of meaning within the Greek term "τηρεῖν" (tērein):

  1. Active Adherence: The term "tērein" implies more than passive compliance; it calls for an active, intentional adherence to Jesus' teachings. It involves a lifestyle of obedience rather than mere acknowledgement.

  2. Comprehensive Obedience: The phrase "everything I have commanded you" emphasizes holistic obedience, covering all aspects of Jesus' teachings—ethical, moral, and spiritual.

  3. Discipleship as a Learning Journey: Teaching disciples to obey suggests an ongoing learning process. Discipleship involves growing in the understanding and application of Jesus' commands throughout one's journey of faith.

Contemplating the word "obey" invites us to move beyond a passive understanding of faith to an active, intentional adherence to the teachings of Jesus. It challenges us to apply these teachings comprehensively in our daily lives, fostering a dynamic and continuous process of discipleship.


In what areas of your life can you actively enhance your obedience to his commands, and how does this contribute to your ongoing discipleship?

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