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#939 – Praying for Discipleship (1 Corinthians 4:15)

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“For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.”
(1 Corinthians 4:15)

This is a pretty powerful image here, when you think about it, Paul talking to these Christians in Corinth and basically saying to them he is their spiritual father. They are his spiritual children. He even says right after this, in verse 17, he says, “I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord.”

Don’t you want to lead others to Christ and help others to follow Him? Let’s ask God to help us be spiritual parents in the lives of others.

To think about spiritual children, being a spiritual parent, that’s a pretty powerful image, isn’t it? To think that God would use you or me to lead someone to become a son or daughter of His, does that not blow you away? Let me say that one more time. To think that God would use you to lead someone else to become a son or daughter of His, what an awesome privilege, what an awesome opportunity. Don’t we want to do this? Don’t we want to lead people to be sons or daughters of God?

Then this is the whole picture of disciple making. We don’t just lead someone to Christ and then leave them to figure it out on their own from there. No, we teach them to obey everything Christ has commanded, like a parent with a child. I think about us adopting three of our children. When we brought them home from other countries, we didn’t just set them out on the street and say, “Figure it out. Welcome to America.” No, we brought them into our home, of course, and we showered them with love, and we told them how to live, and providing for them, and all kinds of things.

When we think about spiritually seeing children come to faith in Christ, we help them grow. We see them baptized. We teach them everything Christ has commanded us.

I want you to think, one, who are your spiritual children? Who are your spiritual children? Who are the people? Maybe you planted, somebody else watered, but who are the people who are following Christ as the result of your life, and two, how are you helping them grow in Christ? Are you being a good parent to them? You know, if nobody’s even coming to your mind, at this point, who’s a spiritual child, someone who you have been instrumental in leading to Jesus, then I just want to encourage you to pray for that right now. Pray that God would use you, make you a spiritual parent in somebody else’s life.

God, we praise You for this dynamic, this family dynamic, we see in Scripture, when it comes to the church, and particularly here in First Corinthians chapter 4, Paul calling the church his spiritual children, because they came to Christ through his sharing the Gospel with them. God, we pray that You would give us many spiritual children. God, I pray that over my life. I pray that over all the people who are listening to this right now. Whether there are many children spiritually flowing from their lives right now or not, I pray that in the days to come, that there would be many spiritual children from each of our lives. Please, oh God, may it be so.

Give us boldness to share the Gospel. Help us to step fully into this privilege and opportunity to lead someone to become a son or daughter of You. Then, oh God, we pray that You would help us to help them to grow in Christ, to grow to maturity, to thrive in Christ, so that they are seeing more children come to Christ, so that there’s grandchildren and great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren in this whole picture to keep the analogy going, that there would be more and more and more followers of Christ, because we’re helping our spiritual children grow in Christ.

God, please use us to make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples. Help us to be obedient to what You’ve told us to do in this world, so that we could write verses like this: I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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