Studying the Commands of Jesus
by Wayne Childress 10/15/2013 / Bible Studies
You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you.
As much as I dread doing so, I must make a very clear statement right at the start - to properly study the Commands of Jesus you need to flush the words of Paul from your mind. Paul was either a purposeful deceiver or greatly deceived himself (See Note1). Christ said to be as a child. Try, as best you can, to study His commands without any preconceived notions regarding the validity of the Law.
Once you have a clear mind, I recommend that you next sort through His commands according to who Jesus is speaking to. People sometimes get confused because they forget to do this important step. The following gives an easily understood example. Jesus said in one place that the world cannot hate you:
The world cannot hate you; but, me it hates because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
In another place He said the world hates you:
If you were of the world, the world would love his own; but, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Both statements are true because He is addressing two different groups of people. The first group is a group of unbelievers: John 7:5 - For neither did his brothers believe in him. The second is a group of believers that Jesus says, within the same verse, that He has chosen.
In addition to identifying the group being spoken to, you will need to identify if the words are directed toward specific believers - if it is meant for that group only or for all believers. For example:
But as they were going to report to His disciples, Jesus also met them, saying, Hail! And coming near they seized His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, do not fear. Go tell your brothers that they may go into Galilee, and there they will see Me.
It is clear that this verse does not apply to us today - we cannot go to Galilee and expect to see Jesus.
Now that we know to search for those commandments meant even for believers today we need to learn how to recognize what His commandments are. Some are very obvious. For example:
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Other commands may not be so direct; yet, that they are commands are obvious. For example:
Take heed to yourselves. And if your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and, if he repents, forgive him. And if seven times a day he sins against you and seven times a day turns to you saying, I repent, forgive him.
Jesus often prefaced such commands with phrases such as "take heed" or included the term "lest". These types of phrases make it clear He is conveying something that we need to pay attention to and remember to do (He used these phrases over 4 dozen times). Jesus said very clearly what the most important commandments are:
And Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments all the Law and the Prophets hang.
(Matthew 22:37-40) (See Note2)
Practically every command Jesus gave us is a refinement of the Ten Commandments or a command, which if followed, leads to a person's actions being in compliance with the spirit of the Law. We see Jesus saying very clearly that doing the will of God is paramount.
Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but, he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
For whoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Note that only those who do the will of God are part of God's family. Jesus goes on to say:
If you keep my commandments you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
I and my Father are one.
This is not the place to delve into the concept of the trinity; but, it is very clear that at a minimum, Jesus considered Him and God to be of the same mind and opinion. Disobeying either amounts to disobeying both. This means that, taking all that Jesus said to us, the inclusion of the Ten Commandments is an obvious part of Jesus' commands to us. Jesus was concerned with both the letter and the spirit of the Law; but, he abhorred the traditions the Pharisees had added to God's Law.
An important thing to remember is that Jesus considered keeping the commandments so basic that we should consider it routine. We are to do so without reward - it is our duty (Luke 17:9/10). As basic as this is, Jesus also said that few will do it (Matthew 7:13/14). Will you?
In Brotherly Love,
Note1: I have covered some of this subject already in previous articles; but, here is even more food for thought concerning Paul's false doctrine. The first segment is Law specific, the second regards Paul personally.
1) Paul, in his usual manner in proclaiming "faith/grace" over the Law, said (in Romans 1:17): For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. As it is written, The just shall live by faith. This is a misquote of Habakkuk 2:4: Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Notice that Paul, as he often does, misquotes Scripture yet again. Here is the vital omission - Paul says "by faith" instead of "by his faith". He not only misquotes the verse he disguises and misuses the verses true meaning. To get more detailed, the Old Testament word translated as faith is 'ĕmûnâh, which Strong defines as: literally firmness; figuratively security; moral fidelity: - faith (-ful, -ly, -ness,). The BDB defines it as: firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness. This word "'ĕmûnâh", in the KJV, is only translated once as "faith", it is usually translated as faithfulness. The YLT translates the portion in Habakkuk we are covering as: "and the righteous by his stedfastness liveth".
Are you getting the picture yet? The Scripture Paul misquoted is saying that the just man, by his faithfulness, shall live. Faithfulness to the Law brings life. Consider further that the Old Testament word translated, in the KJV, as "just" is "tsaddı̂yq", which both Strong and the BDB define as: just, lawful, righteous. So, the just/lawful man shall live, by his faithfulness. He is steadfast in the Law.
2) Paul's "ministry" predates the Book of Revelation; yet, only one of the "churches" Paul dealt with are recognized by John (Revelation 1:4) or Jesus (Revelation 1:11). Jesus had John address only the Seven Churches of Asia - ". . . to the seven churches which are in Asia - to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea". Notice that only one of the "churches" that Paul was involved with is even mentioned by Jesus - Ephesus; and, note what Jesus said to them, "how you cannot bear them which are evil and you have tried them which say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars". Now, note also, that Paul himself said he was rejected by all the churches of Asia (2 Timothy 1:15). Could it be clearer? Jesus Himself does not recognize, as His, the work of Paul. Note that Jesus had no words for any church outside of Asia or for the other Asian "churches" Paul dealt with - i.e. for the Galatians or Colossians. The ONLY church Jesus recognized that Paul was involved with was the one that rejected Paul - Ephesus; and, Jesus complimented them for it!
Note2: This is another example of Jesus referencing the Old Testament. Here He references Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.
Additional Study Aids: (available on the Free Downloads page of my website)
Commands of Jesus in Matthew Chapters 1 - 5
Commands of Jesus in John Chapters 1 - 6