SEVEN MAJOR COMMANDS OF CHRIST

By one who is working where his name
cannot be made public, for security reasons

These Bible studies on the seven major commands of Christ are an easy way to begin teaching others. They start where Jesus told us to start, as we make disciples--with all that Jesus commanded us. Don't wait for a big crowd! Begin teaching a family member or a friend around a table. Or, invite a small group to join you using these simple studies to discover what Jesus taught us to do.

Jesus commanded many things but they can be summarized in the seven major commands that these studies deal with. They are:

1)     Repent, believe and receive the Holy Spirit (these three essentials for salvation go together; one cannot do any of them without the other two. For example, one cannot have heart-felt repentance without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, being born again of the Spirit.

2)     Be baptized

3)     Love (love God and neighbor in practical ways, forgiving enemies and showing mercy to the needy)

4)     Break bread (Communion)

5)     Pray (this includes all aspects of spiritual warfare)

6)     Give (this includes all aspects of Christian stewardship)

7)     Make disciples (this includes teaching the Word, shepherding and sending workers to neglected peoples)

 

Study I. Repentance (Luke 24:33-53)

(Command # 1)

Jesus commands us to repent, believe, and receive the Holy Spirit, all of which makes up our 'conversion.'

Luke 24:33-53 focuses on the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the foundation of our faith. His resurrection clearly portrays Him as the Christ (Messiah). This Bible passage also clearly teaches that repentance and faith in Him is to be preached throughout the whole world for the forgiveness of sins. Please read it now.

Questions:

  • In the life of Jesus, when did this story take place?
  • Why were the disciples frightened when Jesus entered the room? (v.37) Think about the setting. The disciples had just gone through the three darkest days of their lives... during which their Master had been mercilessly beaten by the Roman soldiers and then suffered the agonizing death through crucifixion. They were filled with sorrow, despair and confusion, because all their hopes they had built up over the last three years were now dead. Then they heard from the women that Jesus had risen from the dead. Others gave the same report. Then Jesus appeared to them! They could hardly believe it, and now so much was spinning in their minds!
  • After He tried to convince them that He was not a ghost, what did Jesus have to explain to His disciples that would clear up much of their confusion of why He had to die? (v.44-46)
  • What title did Jesus call himself (v.46)?
  • What did Jesus say was to be preached to all nations? (v.47) In whose name (authority) was it to be preached?
  • What did Jesus preach at the very beginning of His ministry? (see MK 1:14-15).
  • Do you believe that Jesus also died and rose again for you? Do you believe that your sins are forgiven when you repent of (forsake) your old way of life and trust in Jesus to wash away the past and give you new life in Him?
  • At the end of the chapter (Luke 24), what happened to Jesus?
  • What did the disciples do in response to Jesusí resurrection? (The Jehovah's Witnesses teach that we should not worship Jesus. Does the scripture teach differently here? As you read the New Testament on your own, take mental note of all the times you see Jesus being worshiped and given equal standing with God.)
  • After repentance and faith, what should be our response to the ascended Christ?

 

Study II. Faith (Luke 18:9-17)

(Command # 1, continued)

 

Jesus' first command was to repent and believe. Let us focus on what He meant be Ďbelieve." We will examine a parable and a graphic illustration that Jesus gave, to grasp salvation by faith.

Please read Luke 18:9-17 now.

Questions:

  • To whom did Jesus speak the parable? (v. 9)
  • What was the basis of the Pharisee's confidence?(v.11)
  • Where was the focus of the tax collector's prayer? Did he show any confidence in what he had done to make himself righteous in God's eyes?
  • According to Jesus, who went home justified (made right) before God?
  • Notice the physical posture of each man. (standing? kneeling? sitting?) Was there a difference? Can you describe the "heart posture" of each man? (pride? humility? sorrow?) Was there a difference in the two men? From this observation, what was Jesus' emphasis in this parable: physical posture before God or heart posture? (See Isaiah 29:13: Here there was honor to God physically with lips but the heart was far from God. God alone can see the heart.)
  • In your own life... do you see the importance of continuing in a posture of humility and gratefulness before God throughout your Christian life for His free gift of mercy toward you through His Son, Jesus Christ? Are you committed to continue in the place of faith in Jesus throughout your life?
  • In the illustration of the children (v. 15), who tried to hinder the babies from being brought to Jesus? Why do you suppose they did this?
  • What false concept about God's kingdom did Jesus correct?
  • Jesus said we must receive the kingdom of God like a little child or we will never enter it. Related to this story...what trait, do you suppose, is found in little children that is so desirable to God?
  • Can you think of other scripture passages that illustrate and enhance our understanding of this lesson?
  • Can you think of individuals who need to know this "good news"? The tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners received Jesus gladly and entered the kingdom because he shared this good news with them. With whom can you share these simple stories? Other related Bible passages are Matthew 5:3-6; Psalms 32 & 51; Romans and Galatians.

 

Study III. Let the Seed Grow in our Hearts (Mark 4:1-20)

(Command # 1, continued)

 

To understand further Jesus' first command to repent and believe, let us examine the parable of the sower in Mark 4:1-20. Please read it now.

Jesus said, "Can you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all of the parables?" The word of God, the seed, comes regularly to us, teaching many truths. If we don't tend our garden to receive the truth he gives us, then lack of understanding, or hardness of heart, or weeds of the world will prevent the fruitfulness that the seed is intended for. If we don't understand this elementary truth about the importance of taking God's word seriously, and do something about it, then how can we go on to hear and receive all that God has? Our fields will not be prepared to receive it, each time it comes (because the Word of God comes often to us, in the form of a sermon, a Bible study, the Spirit bringing to mind what has been taught, etc.) This sower and seed teaching is elementary if we're going to go on and benefit each time God's Word that is sown in our hearts. otherwise, it's wasted!

  • What obstacles to faith do the various soils represent?
  • What does it mean to take God's Word into the heart and watch it bear fruit in our lives? There are obstacles along the way that must be dealt with: the enemy who would steal it away, the rocky ground that doesnít allow personal roots to go deeper into Christ, and the weeds that crowd out the life in Christ. The fruitful ones hear the word, understand it, obey it, and hold it fast with patience until it bears fruit in their lives.
  • What does this parable teach us about repenting?
  • What does this parable teach us about persevering faith?
  • Are we ready to hold onto God's word through thick and thin, even as we wrestle with our own flesh and its warring against the Spirit? If we really want to, Godís Holy Spirit will give us the power to do so. As we do, the Word clearly teaches we will reap eternal benefits.

 

Study IV. PERSEVERING FAITH (Hebrews 10:19 through 12:13)

(Command # 1, continued)

 

This study adds more about Jesus' first command, to repent and believe.

The Christian must not see faith as something we do only at the beginning of our walk with Christ. Followers of Jesus learn to "walk by faith," keeping in step with the Spirit, learning to trust God and His Word throughout our lives, in the hard times as well as the good. The Bible is full of examples of people who persevered in their faith and "reaped a harvest" because of it.

Hebrews 11 relates the accounts of saints through the ages who were commended for their persevering faith. They were tested, but their faith came out like pure gold in the end. Please read Hebrews 10:19 through 12:13 now.

Questions:

  • Our faith is based in these questions: (Can you find the answers?)

What has been provided for us? (Hebrews 10:19-21)

What has been promised? (See John 3:16 and related promises)

Who has made the promises?

  • What is the reliability of the One who made the made the promises? (Hebrews 10:23)
  • What should be the result, in our hearts, in response to the above truths? (Hebrews 10:22a, 23a)
  • What should be the result of our faith? (Hebrews 10:24 & 25)
  • How do we please God? (Hebrews 10:38 & 11:6)
  • Was Noah's faith in God dormant or active? What did he do in response to His faith in God's Word? (Hebrews 11:7)
  • Did Moses suffer for His faith? How? (Hebrews 11:24-27)
  • What happened to some who had persevering faith in the Old Testament? (Hebrews 11:32-38) The Old Testament "heroes" were people just like us who struggled with their own sinfulness. The Old and New Testaments do not hide their dirty laundry. However, the Bible emphasizes their persevering faith that helped them to overcome.
  • Why did the writer of Hebrews tell US about the people of old who persevered in their faith? (Hebrews 12:1)
  • When the Lord disciplines us, we often respond wrongly. In what two ways do we wrongly respond to His discipline? (Hebrews 12:5)
  • What should motivate us to respond rightly to His discipline?
  • What is the result of God's loving discipline?

 

Study V. Water Baptism (Luke 3:1-18)

(Command # 2)

 

Jesus commands us to be baptized in water, and to live the new life that baptism initiates.

This story of John the Baptist shows that in Jesus' day baptism confirmed repentance, faith in God's forgiveness, and the BEGINNING OF A NEW WAY OF LIFE. Jesus' three-year public ministry (some biblical scholars say four) began with His baptism. After His resurrection, He instructed His disciples to continue to baptize all who believe in Him throughout the world. Please read Luke 3:1-18 now.

Questions:

  • How did John the Baptist "prepare the way of the Lord?" (vv. 3 & 4)
  • What did John mean when he said "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance"?
  • Was John easy on the people of Israel? What was the source of John's message? (v. 2)
  • To what did John compare those people whose "repentance" did not aim for a changed life? (v.9)
  • What advice did John give to those who asked what they should do to produce good fruit? (vv.11-14) In each case, was it practical?
  • Did these people who came to hear John respond to His message? How quickly? Did they wait for a while after their repentance before they were baptized?
  • Compare this with Acts 2:37-41. How long did these new believers wait before they were baptized?(v.41)
  • John spoke of someone coming after him who had a different kind of baptism. Who was it? What kind of baptism did this next person come with? (Luke 3:16)

Read Matthew 16-20.

Did Jesus mention baptism in His Great Commission? Why do you think Jesus commanded His disciples to continue to baptize as they spread the gospel around the world?

  • Have you obeyed the Lord's command to be baptized in water? Do you see from this study that baptism is the START of a new life where good fruit is produced?
  • What areas of your life do you need to "produce good fruit in keeping with your repentance?" Will you ask the Lord to fill you afresh with the Holy Spirit to help you in this?

 

 

Study VI. Baptism by the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:5-13)

(Command # 2, continued)

 

Jesus also commands us to receive the Holy Spirit, in John 20:21-23. †††††††††††

Read Luke 11:5-13 focuses on the believer's part in receiving and walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

  • What time of day did the person go to His friend to ask for help? (v.5) In biblical times as well as our own times, what did the night represent?
  • What did the man ask of His friend?(v.5) What did he want to do with this gift?(v.6)
  • Though the friend would not get up and give the bread because of friendship, what would be the motivating factor for the giving?(v.8)
  • What was Jesus' point in telling this parable? (v.9) What happens when people do ask/seek/knock?
  • What kind of gifts do earthly fathers give their children? (11, 12) What contrast does Jesus make between the character of earthly fathers and the character of your Father in heaven? Read v. 13 again. Meditate on "how much more" and share your thoughts.
  1. What good gift does the Father give? (v.13) To whom does He give it?

Read John 4: 4-15 and 7:37-39

  • How does Jesus describe the water in John 4:10? What did he say the woman's response to Jesus would have been if she had known who he was?
  • What will the water that Jesus gives become in a person? (John 4:14) What are the characteristics of springs?
  • In John 7:37-38, Jesus uses the same analogy. What does he say is the responsibility of the one who is thirsty?

Read Ephesians 5:15-20

  • Paul was speaking to believers who had already received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Yet he exhorted them to "be filled with the Holy Spirit." From this (and many other passages), can we say that it is possible for believers to walk in less than the fullness of the Spirit on a daily basis? What, then, should be our earnest cry before the Lord?
  • Ephesians 5, verses 19-20, links to v. 18. Meditate on these verses and offer your comments on what they have to do with being continually filled with the Spirit.

 

Study VII. LOVE (Luke 10:25-37)

(Command # 3)

 

Jesusí most important command is to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves.

In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus helps an expert in the Jewish law understand that knowing the law and doing it can be two different things. Please read it now.

Questions:

  • How did the expert in the Jewish law summarize the law's requirements?(v.27)
  • Did Jesus agree with His answer? According to Jesus, what would be the results of doing these things?(v.28)
  • Why did the man ask "who is my neighbor?" (v.29)
  • In the story, what was the occupation of the two men who left the hurting man? Should they have known the law?
  • Do you know who Samaritans were in the days of Jesus? They were social outcasts. Why do you think Jesus used a Samaritan in this story in contrast to the religious leaders?
  • Who was the true neighbor? Did being a "neighbor" cost the Samaritan anything? What?
  • What was Jesus' instructions to the expert in the law when the story was over?(v.37)
  • How can we apply this to our lives today? Think ahead. What type of sacrifices may need to be made to walk in such love? Name them.
  • Have you seen in your own life that merely KNOWING what the scripture teaches and DOING IT can be two very different things? What word did Jesus use (in Luke 12:1) to describe those who talked one way and lived another? Are you committed to "Go and DO LIKEWISE" as Jesus instructed the expert in the law?
  • Can you foresee that sometimes choices of sacrificial love will involve a battle with your own desires? What practical things can be done to help us overcome the enemy?

 

Study VIII. Pray (Luke 18:1-8)

(Command # 4)

 

Jesusí Fourth major command is to pray.

Jesus emphasizes in Luke 18:1-8 that our faith is demonstrated when we persevere in prayer. Also, He shows us that the loving Father hears and answers our prayers speedily. Please read it now.

Questions:

  • Why did Jesus tell this parable? (v.1)
  • How is the judge described in this story? (v.2)
  • Who kept coming to him? Did Jesus use widows in any other stories he told? Why do you think he uses widows in some of His illustrations?
  • What did the widow want from the judge?(v.3)
  • How long did it take the judge to act on her behalf? Why did the judge finally give in to her request?
  • What adjective does Jesus use for the judge in verse 6?
  • In verse 7 Jesus switches from talking about the unjust judge to talking about God. Who does Jesus say bring their requests to God? (v.7-8) How often do they bring their requests? What do these verses say that God will do for them? How quickly will God do it for them?
  • Scripture often uses comparisons and contrasts to illustrate certain truths. Comparisons show how two things are very similar. Contrasts show how two things are very different. Is Jesus comparing or contrasting the unjust judge and God? Is Jesus comparing or contrasting the widow (and her relationship to the judge) to the chosen ones (and their relationship to God)? What about the time it takes for justice to be granted... Is that comparison or contrast between God and the unjust judge?
  • What is Jesus' final statement after he gives this parable? What kind of insight does that give you about the heart of Jesus?
  • Are you committed to trust in a loving Father who promises to hear and answer your prayers... even when you can't see what God is doing? Will you portray that type of God to others?
  • Will the study of this scripture make a difference in your prayer life?

 

Study IX. GIVE (Mark 12:41-44)

(Command # 5)

 

Jesusí fifth major command is to pray. He shows in Mark 12:41-44 that our giving is not measured by the dollar amount we give to His kingdom but rather by our wholeheartedness in our giving. Please read it now.

Questions:

  • Who was watching as the crowds put their offering into the temple treasury?(v.41)
  • Who gave the large amounts of money?
  • Who gave the small amount? What was the monetary worth of her coins?
  • Do you think this amount helped significantly in the upkeep of the temple? Would this small offering be honored and praised in the eyes of men? Which offerings that day were most likely noticed by men?
  • Who did Jesus call to him to show them what he saw?(v.43)
  • Whose offering was most significant to Jesus? According to Jesus, who gave the biggest offering that day? Why?
  • In this passage does Jesus say that we must each give away our last penny? Are we made right with God by the amount we give to Him? What then is the point of this illustration?
  • Are you committed to live wholeheartedly for the Lord, offering all that you have to Him for His kingdom?
  • Have you ever stopped to think about how much you give to the growth of Christ's kingdom? Is it your best? Is it wholehearted? Would the Lord take notice, as He did with the widow?

 

Study X. Communion (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)

(Command # 6)

 

Jesusí 6th major command is to break bread together in remembrance of Him, the Lordís Supper.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 focuses on the Lord Jesus and His wholehearted sacrifice. It also contrasts His servant's heart with church members who are concerned only about themselves. Please read it now.

  • What did Paul say about the Corinthian church gatherings? (v.18)
  • What complaint did he have regarding their partaking of the Lord's Supper? (v.20-22) Was it really the Lord's Supper that they were eating?
  • According to Paul, what happened on the night Jesus inaugurated the Lord's Supper?(v.23)
  • What did Jesus call the bread? What did he call the cup of wine? When they partook of them, what were they proclaiming? (v.26) Who were they remembering?

Knowing the improper conduct of the Corinthian church (verses 17-22) and the humble ways of Jesus on the night he was betrayed (verses 23-26), you now have the context of verses 27-34.

Read verses 27-34 again. What do you think Paul was addressing when he spoke of taking the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner?

  • What does he mean in verse 29 by "without recognizing the body of the Lord"? How did the Corinthian church's attitude during the Lord's Supper not recognize the body of the Lord? Did they exhibit the humble attitude that Jesus showed on the night he was betrayed?
  • According to Paul, is it proper to examine and judge ourselves? In this passage, what happens when we judge ourselves? What happens when the Lord judges us? (v. 32)
  • Read again Paul's summary statements in v. 33 and 34. †††††††††† What attitude was he trying to cultivate in that body of believers? Whose attitude was he trying to display as worthy of imitating?
  • When you partake of the Lord's Supper, what's to be your focus?
  • PERSONAL APPLICATION: Will you now take the Lord's Supper with a new attitude of "recognizing the body of Christ" and all He has done for you? Will you strive for unity in the body of Christ?

 

Study XI. Make Disciples (Mark 1:14-20)

(Command # 7)

 

Jesusí seventh major command is to make disciples of all nations.

Read Mark 1:14-20.

  • Where did Jesus go to call His first disciples? (Mark 1:16) What were their occupations? (Were they trained religious leaders?)
  • After he told them to follow him, what did Jesus say to these men? (Mark 1:17)

These disciples and others followed Jesus for an estimated 3 years. They heard him teach wonderful truths, saw him perform miracles of compassion and power, stood beside him as he stood up to the religious hypocrites who pretended to follow God, and watched His example of true humility and servant's heart. They were LEARNERS, the meaning of DISCIPLES. As they spent more time with Jesus, he sent them out to do what they saw him doing.

  • Why do you think Jesus called disciples? (Wasn't he big enough to do the job on His own?)

Read Matthew 28:16-20.

  • On the mountain, after Jesus' resurrection, he gave a command to His disciples to do something in all nations. What was it? (Matthew 28:19)
  • What did making disciples involve? (Matthew 28:19 & 20) What were the disciples to teach the new disciples? (Matthew 28:20) What did Jesus promise to those who were discipling and those who were discipled? (Matthew 28:20)

Read 2 Timothy 1:13 through 2:7. Paul is writing an encouragement letter to Timothy, whom he calls affectionately "my son."

  • Meditate on verse 2 Timothy 2:2. What is Paul asking Timothy to do?
  • Look at this chain of entrusting the spread of the gospel to others: Paul--->Timothy--->more faithful men--->still others.
  • Do you think the chain continued? Why?
  • Are you a LEARNER (disciple) of Jesus Christ? Are His teachings changing the way you think, speak, and act? "Are you learning to "obey all that [he} has commanded you?"
  • Do you see yourself in the above chain? Do you want to be used by Him to keep the chain continuing? Ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit to help you reach out to others. Then share with confidence.