Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Preliminaries

There are a couple things we must realize before we get started on this study in the commands of Christ.

First off, this is a bigger task than I anticipated. I figured that I would have enough verses to cover a couple of months at best. I'm nearly through reading Matthew and finding the commands of Christ and I've counted roughly 80 commands. It would take a lifetime to teach through all of these commands. Perhaps that is why no Christian every really 'arrives' until heaven. Christ has given us plenty to attain for, that's for certain!

Secondly, right now before we begin, each one of us must make a commitment to obeying whatever we find. If you wait to evaluate what we find before you commit to obeying it, you will never choose to obey it. Some of the commands that we find will seem too extreme to our American minds. And some of the commands that we find will go completely against our logic. Some of them just won’t make sense. But Christ has given us these commands to follow.

Third, we must understand that there are different kinds of commands given by Christ. Let me explain:

  1. Direct commands – These are commands from Jesus to a specific person for a specific time. For example, “Rise up and walk.” Or “You give them something to eat.” We won’t be looking too deeply at many of these commands. There are a few, however, that teach us valuable principles about Christian living, such as: "go and sell all you have and give it to the poor. Then come and follow Me."
  2. General commands – These are commands perhaps repeated from the Old Testament Law, and they are given as commands for all people for all time. For example, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength” and “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We will take time to look at some of these commands.
  3. Disciple commands – These are commands given specifically to Christ’s disciples. These are the commands that we are most interested in, for they are the commands that the disciples were to pass down and be faithful to teach their own disciples to observe. For example, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees" and "if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother."
So in the days, weeks, and months to come, we'll dive into the commands of Christ. Be prepared to be confronted by these commands, and to evaluate whether or not your life matches up with them. 

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