The Commandments of Christ
The commandments of Christ are the basic principles by which we should live each day. Christ told us that we are only his friends if we follow his commandments. John 15:14 reads">
The Commandments of ChristThe commandments of Christ are the basic principles by which we should live each day. Christ told us that we are only his friends if we follow his commandments. John 15:14 reads, "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you." Only those who obey his commandments will have a chance to be part of the kingdom. Mathew 7:21 reads, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven." We must do Christ's commandments as well as just know them. 1 John 2:4 reads, "But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." The teachings of the apostles are also Christ's commandments. 1 Cor. 14:37 reads, "If any man think himself a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." Therefore, we must conclude that it is important to know what the commandments of Christ are and we must follow them. We should also ask whether we should be friends of those who do not follow Christ's commandments. If he will not be our friend if do not obey his commandments should we be friends of others who do not obey his commandments. We can probably conclude that our friends must at least respect our beliefs and not openly disregard Christ's commandments. In Mathew 22:36-40 Jesus tells us what the two greatest commandments are. "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."Love Your NeighborJesus wanted us to realize that our love of God and our love of our neighbor must be the motivation behind all that we do. If we do not have that love, all of the other commandments lose their significance. The phrase "love your neighbor" originated in the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:18, "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as theyself. I am the Lord." The NIV has some interesting comments about this verse. "Love your neighbor as yourself". The stricter Pharisees (school of Shammai) added to this command what they thought it implied. "Hate your enemy". Jesus' reaction "Love you enemies" was in line with true OT teaching and was more in agreement with the middle of the road Pharisees. Jesus emphasized to those stricter pharisees that we must love our enemies as well. "Neighbor" does not merely mean one who lives nearby, but anyone with whom one comes in contact. Romans 13:9-10 reads in the NIV, "The commandments, do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, and whatsoever other commandment there may be are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fullfillment of the law." All of the commandments in the law have no significance without loving our neighbor first.Sermon on the MountIn the Old Testament, the 10 commandments were the foundation of the law. Jesus added to what was taught in the ten commandments and the law. Obeying his commandments was more that just actions such as thou shalt not kill or thou shalt not steal. We see this in the Sermon on the Mount. When discussing the commandments of Christ, we must refer to the Sermon on the Mount at some time. The Sermon on the Mount is for the most part a series of commandments. The book "A Life of Christ" says the following about the Sermon on the mount. "The teaching and precepts of Jesus expressed in the clear symmetry of the Sermon on the Mount are not abstract ideal, as beautiful as mountain peaks and as remote, to be preserved and worshipped in devotional hours and ignored in the hurly-burly of daily living. They form a working philosophy of life which is the only road a disciple can tread." Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount shows the difference between his commandments and the law of Moses. With Jesus it is not the act only that is a sin such as the act of committing a murder, it is what is in the heart. It is wrong to hate your brother long before it festers into murder. Jesus says, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall say to his brother Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the alter, and go thy way. First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him, lest at any time thy adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.Mathew 19:16-24It is what is in the heart that is important not just our actions. No one can just command us to love our neighbor. Our heart must be in the right place first or it would be impossible to obey this commandment. The rich man found this out. In Mathew 19:16-24 we read, "And behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have ethernal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is not good but one, that is, God: But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, which? Jesus said, thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness. Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. And the young man saith unto him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet: Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." Maybe this man didn't have the love of others that he should have had. Jesus was making a point. I don't think he would want us all to sell everything we have and give it to the poor. Maybe he was just trying to emphasize to the rich man that his heart had to be in the right place. The rich man thought he was righteous, and Jesus wanted to emphasize that he had to have love in his heart for others as well. Biblically wealth is not a bad thing to have, but it is very dangerous. It can take our heart away from God very quickly as Jesus indicated in the parable of the sower and the seed. Our love of God and his word can be choked very quickly.The SowerMathew 13:3-9 reads, "Behold, a sower went forth to sow: and when he sowed some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth; and because they had not root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns: and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell upon good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear; let him hear. Concerning the seed that was thrown among thorns we read the following. He also that received seed among thorns is he that heareth the word: and the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word,and he becometh unfruitful. We read that riches are deceitful. They make us feel that we are satisfied and happy, but they deceive us.Labor not to be richRobert Roberts said, "This is plainly expressed in another part of the word of wisdom thus "Labor not to be rich" (Proverbs 23:4). Nothing in the whole range of language could be plainer than this. Christ who surely knew better than all, states a fact which constitutes a powerful reason for the commandment not to aim at riches. "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God." (Luke 28:24). Riches he calls, "the mammon of unrighteousness." He does not say their possession is absolutely inconsistent with divine favor and inheritance of eternal life. But he gives us to understand that the danger of their "choking the word" is extreme (Mathew 8:22, and that the only safety of those who have them lies in turning them into friends and safeguards. His advice is "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." (Luke 16:9). How this is to be done, he indicates, "Give alms: provide yourselves bags that wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not (Luke 12:33). The advice is repeated by the apostles, "Charge them that are rich in the world, that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come." (1 Tim 6:17). Therefore, the 10 commandments were not enough. The rich man had to love his neighbor first. The good actions would naturally come when his heart was in the right place. That is why the love of neighbor was the fulfillment of the law.In conclusion, I will quote a parable of Jesus concerning his commandments. This parable was given at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. "Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." David Thomas Jr.
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