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Summary: The introduction to a series on the Commands of Christ. In the great Commission Jesus told his disciples, to teach "them to observe all things that I have commanded you." This series examines "What is it that Christ has commanded us to do."

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The Commands of Christ

Sermon # 1

The Great Commission and the Commands of Christ

This new series was actually suggested to me my Dr. Clifford Clarke some weeks ago, he and I were talking and he said he had read of a study by Bill Gothard based on Christ words found in the Great Commission which stated “and teach them to observe all the things that I have commanded you.”

[Bill Gothard. The Commands of Christ : The Curriculum of the Great Commission. Oak Brook, Illonois: Institute in Basic Life Principles, 2002)]

He encouraged me to work on a series based on this text. I done some reading and I think this is a worthy goal and tonight we begin the journey together.

So first of all let’s turn to the Great Commission and read again what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

The central core of the purpose of the church is outlined in these verses. First let’s dispel the erroneous thought that the command in this verse is that we “go.” Certainly “going” is an essential part of carrying out the Great Commission. If we don’t go, then we can’t tell. But the fact is that this is not command associated with the Great Commission. Going is assumed for all genuine dedicated followers of Christ. The text literally says, “even as you go.” The three components of the Great Commission are; Evangelize, Incorporate and Disciple.

First, Jesus says “go, therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The KJV says, “teach all nations” in fact it uses the word “teach or teaching” twice in this passage. But the word translated “teach” (v. 19) (mathetheusate) literally means “make disciples.” We have to reach them with the gospel, we have to evangelize.

The second thing Jesus says that we must do is “… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” In the command to “baptize” we see the importance of not only reaching the lost with the message of the Gospel but the need of incorporating these new believers into the body of Christ. If we are to establish fruit that will remain we must see new believers led to an involvement in the life of a local church.

The final part of the Great Commission could be called discipleship, “… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” The word “teaching” (didaskontes) means “instruction.” Instruction in “observing” or “keeping” the commands of Christ. But just what is it that we are to teach these new believers in Christ? Some believe that we are to teach them a list of rules, the do’s and don’t, if you will. Tell them, “If you keep this list, then you will please Christ.”

Others believe that we should teach these believers social responsibilities. Or as one little girl said, “Jesus wants us to be nice.” But that is hardly words to live by.

Some Christians want to focus on social programs and social problems. There was church out west that I heard of that put on a program about rain forests and how we should save them…..as a part of a worship service. All of those issue oriented things may be good but they are not the purpose of the church.

I heard of another woman who was giving part of her tithe money to “Save the Wildlife” organization. That is probably a noble project, perhaps even worthy of support but if you want to give don’t give out of money that belongs to God.

Is there a sense that discipleship is being conscious of the “all those things commanded by Christ?” Tonight I want to embark on a study of just exactly what did Jesus command us to teach? Bill Gothard in his study has identified 49 general commands of Christ found in the Gospels.

Repent, For The Kingdom Of God Is At Hand. (Matthew 4:17)

Early in Jesus ministry when he hears of the imprisonment of John the Baptist, in Matthew 4:17, he says “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Repentance is not a one-time act. It is a continual attitude of a humble and contrite heart toward God and others. It begins by changing our minds about what is right and what is wrong. There are two aspects of repentance in the lives of believers. The first aspect is the repentance that leads us to salvation. But there is still an ongoing need for repentance in our lives. Repentance in the believer’s life is characterized by a daily confession and forsaking of sin. 1 John 1:8-10 directs the believer, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

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