Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Commands of Jesus 1

I was looking at what it meant to be "missional" and found this list of missional qualities or identifiers. I don't remember where I found it - otherwise I would give you a link for it. but here is the list. (EDIT: It's from the introduction to Dan Kimball's book "They Like Jesus But Not The Church").

1. Being missional means that the church sees itself as being missionaries, rather than having a missions department, and that we see ourselves as missionaries right where we live.
2. Being missional means that we see ourselves as representatives of Jesus “sent” into our communities, and that the church aligns everything it does with the missio dei (mission of God).
3. Being missional means we see the church not as a place we go only on Sunday, but as something we are throughout the week.
4. Being missional means that we understand we don’t merely “bring Jesus” to people but that we realize Jesus is active in culture and we join him in what he is doing.
5. Being missional means we are very much in the world and engaged in culture but are not conforming to the world.
6. Being missional means we serve our communities, and that we build relationships with the people in them, rather than seeing them as evangelistic targets.
7. Being missional means being all the more dependent on Jesus and the Spirit through prayer, the Scriptures, and each other in community.

I went to the Bible to find some Scriptural basis for some of these things and turned to the Great Commission found in Matthew 28.
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

What jumped out at me was that the commission didn't just tell us to go and didn't just tell us to make disciples baptizing them. It also tells us to teach them to obey the commands of Jesus. Obey the commands? What are the commands of Jesus? I suppose I could list a few. Love God, love your neighbour, believe, be born again and go into all the world and help the poor. That just about dried me up. So I went googling for more. I searched for "commands of Jesus" and a whole list of sites popped up. Some link to websites for communities who have committed themselves to living a life where they obey all the commands of Jesus. (In my mind they took a few liberties in interpretation.)

But what I did find was a whole list of commands that Jesus gave in the New Testament. This is Jesus - full of grace and mercy and love - giving commands. So I looked at them and put together my own list of 50. But that's in the next post.

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