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Discipleship is what the Christian life is all about. But how do we know when we are true disciples? And how do we know when we have trained someone else to be a disciple?
After searching for many years, I finally discovered the answer. It is right in the Great Commission: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). So what were all the commands of Jesus? A survey of the Gospels will produce about 49 general commands that every believer should follow. This, then, is the curriculum for carrying out the Great Commission and being a disciple.
The Greek word translated keep is tereo, which means “to guard, to watch, to observe closely, to hold fast.” This same word is used to describe the care that the Philippian jailer was to exercise in keeping Paul and Silas from escaping.
During the times of wind-driven ships, navigators would use the phrase keeping the stars. This meant that they would use the stars to chart a course across the ocean. This is precisely how the commands of Christ are to be used: as dependable lights for charting a course throughout life.
The great importance of keeping all of Christ’s commands before our eyes is indicated by the marvelous rewards He promises to those who do it. Notice the foundational areas of the Christian life and of our relationship to the Lord that result from keeping His commandments.
When we realized that there were about 49 commands of Christ, we wondered if there was any correlation between Christ’s commands and the character qualities that we have been emphasizing over the years. First we matched the obvious ones, then the ones that had a direct or indirect relationship. To our amazement, every command of Christ could be correlated with every character quality.
In each case, the character quality enhanced and deepened the message of the command of Christ and revealed the spirit in which the command was to be lived out. This relationship should not have been a surprise, because Jesus Christ is the personification of all true character and His character is the goal and result of being conformed to His image. In the phrase express image of Christ, the Greek word used for image is charakter. (See Hebrews 1:3.)
Throughout Scripture, the commands of Christ and the related character qualities are intertwined. The development of the character of Christ is the objective of all the things that God allows to happen to us and should be our goal as we seek to encourage one another. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…. To be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:28–29).
This little book lists all 49 general commands of Christ along with related verses for each command. It also gives related names of God, the corresponding character quality, and practical application questions for each command.
Each book contains an in-depth commentary on seven commands of Christ along with study questions, related names of God, a character quality and songs that amplify the command, questions and commitments for personal application, and a page for recording your own insights.
The most effective way to keep Christ’s commands is to memorize them so that we can meditate on them day and night. That is the purpose of this journal and set of memory cards. The journal includes precise questions on each command and space to write personal insights.
This beautifully illustrated book explains the Biblical foundations for each character quality and identifies the source of our power in living them out, since in our own efforts we are not able to accomplish this.
Copyright © 2002–2011, William (Bill) Gothard. All Rights Reserved.