Basic Commands of Christ

Jesus ordered many things but we can group them under seven basic commands. In Acts 2:37-47 we find the 3,000 converts of the first New Testament church obeying all of them in their basic form. The only one that is not named is love but we see it in their fellowship. Jesusí commands are the foundation upon which we build all teaching and ministry:

Repent, believe, and receive the Holy Spirit (conversion, regeneration), Mark 1:15; John 3:16; 20:22

Be baptized and live the new life it initiates, initiating ongoing transformation, Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 6:1-14

Love God, neighbor, fellow disciples, the needy in a practical way and enemies (forgive), Matthew 22:36-40; John 13:34-35, Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 5:43-48

Break bread (Communion, related to all that we do to worship), Matthew 26:26-28; John 4:24

Pray (private and family devotions, intercession and spiritual warfare), John 16:24

Give (stewardship of our time, treasure and talents), Luke 6:38

Make disciples (witness for Christ, shepherd, apply the Word, train leaders, send missionaries), Matthew 28:18-20

The commands and their corresponding duties are like links in a chain. A church is no stronger than its weakest link; we develop obedience to all of the commands. An Asian tribe compares Jesusí commands to an oxcart wheel. Jesus is the hub; His basic commands are seven spokes. If a church neglects one or more commands their spokes shrink, the wheel is no longer round; the oxen strain in vain to pull the loaded cart.

We also obey Jesus when we observe His apostlesí commands. They wrote with His inspired authority. The commands in their letters, however, are not basic in the same way--they are not the foundation or 'basement floor' of the building. They belong to the second story and on up, along with all other biblical doctrine; we will spend all eternity learning more about God. They are for leaders and believers already baptized and under a church's care.

Obeying Jesus is a massive doctrine in Scripture. Nothing is more basic for faith and ministry:
-- They provide the foundation for our faith; to obey His words is to build on the Rock (Matt. 7:24-28).
-- They provide for a relational faith; Jesus said, "If you love me, obey my commands" (John 14:15).
-- They provide the basic curriculum to make disciples. (Matt. 28:18-20).