Commands of Christ December 31, 2015Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.
I’ve been studying Matthew 5-7. This was a teaching context where Jesus was telling His disciples certain specific things they were to do, or not do, because they were His disciples.
As we know, modern American-style Christianity is a lot more focused on doctrine – what you know and what you believe. It seems that, for many, simply knowing what Jesus said is thought to be sufficient; or as I’ve noted, “being able to pass a written test” is all that’s required. For some, going beyond that is “legalism.” In that world, we are saved by grace through faith and that’s all that is REQUIRED. Obedience is “nice” but it’s optional.
Jesus anticipates this at the end by contrasting those who “know and do” with those who “know and don’t do.” The “don’t know’s” are not mentioned.
This isn’t a doctrinal statement; it is, rather, the simple commands of Christ:
1. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad when you are reviled and persecuted – when people say all kinds of evil against you falsely – for His sake.
2. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works. (“Light” and “works” are two different things. Our “light” illuminates our works; if God’s Word is light, then similarly our words are our light.)
3. Do not be angry with your brother without cause. (Some think “without cause” is not in the original and this is a blanket prohibition against anger directed at people.)
4. Do not call your brother ‘Raca’ (literally “empty head” or “airhead” – an insult to his intelligence).
5. Do not call your brother “fool” (“moros” – an insult to his character).
6. If your brother has something against you, be proactive in effecting reconciliation.
7. Agree with your adversary quickly.
8. Do not look at a woman with lust.
9. Discard ANYTHING that causes you to sin.
10. Do not divorce.
11. Do not marry a divorced woman.
12. Do not take oaths – it’s just “yes” or “no.”
13. Do not resist an evil person.
14. Turn the other cheek when insulted; don’t retaliate.
15. Give more than what is demanded of you.
16. Give more than what is required of you.
17. Give to him who asks; loan to him who wants to borrow.
18. Love your enemies: bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who use and persecute you.
19. Be covert concerning charitable deeds.
20. Be covert in your prayer life; pray with the right motive.
22. Be covert when you fast.
23. Do not lay up earthly treasure; lay up heavenly treasure.
24. Have a “good eye.”
25. Choose God over mammon. You must serve one; you cannot serve both.
26. Do not worry. (specifically, life, food, clothing)
27. Do not be judgmental. (Don’t criticize.)
28. Don’t give what is holy to dogs.
29. Don’t cast your pearls before swine.
30. Ask! Seek! Knock! (Presented as a command, not as an option or as a resource)
31. Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.
32. Enter by the narrow gate.
33. Beware of false prophets – discern them by their fruits.
34. Do the will of the Father in heaven.
35. Hear and do what Jesus has said; to hear and not obey is foolishness.
Changed perspective, changed priorities, changed behavior. Some seem a bit obscure, but I’d suggest that if we obey the ones that we clearly understand, we’ll get clarity on the ones where we’re unsure.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them …. and teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.”
Discipleship 101. These are real-world activities. Nothing here about “going to church” and nothing about “here’s how you act with other disciples, but in the world you can follow the world’s rules.”