The Commands of Christ: Coming To God

I’m afraid that God gets quoted for many things that He never said. The story is told of a little boy who was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon. He asked his dad, “how do you know what to say?””Why, Jesus tells me,” replied the dad. “Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?”

We attribute many things to what we think Jesus is saying to us. But we don’t have to question whether or not Jesus actually said something. His commands are clearly recorded for us.

We are going to begin a six week study on the Commands of Christ.

I was prompted toward this when writing my dissertation on Discipleship. I searched the gospels for everything Jesus said about discipleship. That let me to Ted Blackaby’s book, “The Commands of Christ.” Blackaby searched for every command given by Jesus in the NT. He created what in Bible study terms is called “a Biblical Theology” of the commands of Christ.

Some commands are specific to a particular first century situation and do not apply to us:

“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (John 9:7, NIV84)“Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”” (Luke 22:8, NIV84)

What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him,” (John 13:27, NIV84)

The remaining commands provide us with the instructions Jesus gave to us!

(Matthew 28:20, NIV84) “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

(Luke 6:46, NIV84) “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

(John 8:31, ESV)So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

Blackaby writes, “This book is like a plumb line that can be used to assess how well we are following Christ’s commands and how deeply committed we truly are to the lordship of Christ.”1

The FIRST SET of COMMANDS deal with COMING to GOD

Jesus’ relation with his FATHER was the most important thing in his life. He calls us into a RELATIONSHIP with the Father.(John 17:21–23, NIV84) “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.(John 17:26, NIV84) “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

You would be right in saying that having fellowship with God is humanly IMPOSSIBLE. We are sinners, separated from God.

(2 Corinthians 6:14) “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?(1 John 3:1)”How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

So HOW can we Come to God? Jesus wants us to be in fellowship with his Father. He focuses on the relationship that we can have with God in the first set of commands he gave during his earthly ministry.

To have fellowship with God, Jesus commands us to REPENT

(Matthew 4:17) “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

(Mark 1:14–15) “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!

(John 3:5, NIV84) “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

These are among the FIRST commands Jesus gave.

 

The Order of the BEATITUDES show us REPENTANCE comes first

Poor in spiritMourn

Gentle

Humble and Thirst for Righteousness.

We cannot come to God on OUR TERMS.

We must COME as a CHILD Matthew 18:3 “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Our faith must be SIMPLE

There is a reason that Jesus illustrates faith by telling us to have “the faith of a child.”

A child’s faith is innocent. They completely trust that their parents are doing what is right. Their faith is sweet. They express in words those things that are truly on their hearts, without pretense or spin. Our daughter Brittany asked her three year old son, “can you name three things you are thankful for?” In child-like innocence, he replied, God, Jesus dying on the Cross, and my monkey trash can. That’s the innocence of a child!

Once I was working in my back yard and ran into a problem that required immediate assistance. I ran to the back door and asked Kim to get our son to come out and help. Our grandson was sitting at the kitchen table and heard my urgent plea, and saw his dad come out to help. When the task was too big for the two of us, I ran in again and asked Kim to get someone else. After several phone attempts yielded no one home, she came to the back door and shouted out “who should I get to help?” Our 3 year old grandson simply replied, “Ask Jesus!” The innocence of his faith brought us all to an immediate stop, and to prayer. His innocent reply was a rebuke at our lack of prayer!

If we are to have fellowship with God, Jesus commands us to LOVE GOD WITH EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT. Matthew 22:37–40“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

You cannot have a relationship with the FATHER if He is One among other Gods.

God is a JEALOUS God. “for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,(Exodus 20:5, ESV). God demands our EXCLUSIVE worship. Any God, any religion that tolerates other worship is not truly God!

No spouse would tolerate the affections of a husband or wife going to another lover. When it comes to worship, we can have no other love but God. That is why disobedience to God is often compared to adultery.

If we are to have fellowship with God, Jesus commands us to ENTER through the NARROW DOOR. Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Consider Navigation: 1% off doesn’t seem like much, but if you’re flying from one end of the country to the other, it’s the difference between landing in San Diego and San Francisco!

The door of faith is always open

The door of faith is open to everyone

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you can enter through the door of faith

BUT THE DOOR OF FAITH is VERY SPECIFIC.

If we are to have fellowship with God, Jesus commands us to ABIDE in ME. (John 15:4, ESV) “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

(John 15:9, ESV) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Christ wants us to REMAIN in relationship with Him and the Father.

To “abide” means “to live in, function in”

To be “in” something reflects a state of mind or state of being. You can be….

In agony

In danger

In denial

In withdrawl

We are to be “in Christ”

(Romans 6:11, ESV) “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

(1 Corinthians 1:30, ESV) “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

After COMING to GOD, we must remain IN CHRIST

In the book, No Bad Dogs, by British dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse, she says dogs understand love better than we do. She writes, “In a dog’s mind, to love, honor, and obey a master or a mistress is an absolute necessity. The love is dormant in the dog until brought into full bloom by an understanding owner. Thousands of dogs appear to love their owners, they welcome them home with enthusiastic wagging of the tail and jumping up, they follow them about their houses happily and, to the normal person seeing the dog, the affection is true and deep. But to the experienced dog trainer this outward show is

not enough. The true test of love takes place when the dog has got the opportunity to go out on its own as soon as the door is left open by mistake and it goes off and often doesn’t return home for hours. That dog loves only its home comforts and the attention it gets from its family; it doesn’t truly love the master or mistress as they fondly think. True love in dogs is apparent when a door is left open and the dog still stays happily within earshot of its owner. For the owner must be the “be-all and end-all” of a dog’s life.”

The song writer of “Come Thou Fount” put our wandering in this way: Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love!

What would you give if JESUS could speak directly to you today!

He HAS. He gave us his COMMANDS.

REPENT

COME as a CHILD

LOVE the Lord with all your HEART, SOUL, MIND, STRENGTH

ENTER through the NARROW DOOR

ABIDE in ME

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?(Luke 6:46, NIV84)