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Sunday, June 08, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 38



What are Christ’s commandments?

Many of them are found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Some of the commands in that Sermon are to keep our motives pure – don’t even want to commit adultery or murder; be reconciled to others, and forgive them; turn the other cheek; love even your enemies; don’t draw attention to your good deeds; don’t be anxious about worldly possessions; judge yourselves before judging others; beware of false prophets.

The Golden Rule is found in Matthew 7:12 “Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”

Christ also told us to live the summary of the Old Testament Law:

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Note – Here is the first of the two commandments, in context:
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God. Yahweh is one. 5 You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 These words, which I command you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the door posts of your house, and on your gates. 10 It shall be, when Yahweh your God brings you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you, great and goodly cities, which you didn’t build, 11 and houses full of all good things, which you didn’t fill, and cisterns dug out, which you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive trees, which you didn’t plant, and you shall eat and be full; 12 then beware lest you forget Yahweh, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 13 You shall fear Yahweh your God; and you shall serve him, and shall swear by his name. 14 You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are around you; 15 for Yahweh your God among you is a jealous God; lest the anger of Yahweh your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. 16 You shall not tempt Yahweh your God, as you tempted him in Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of Yahweh your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 You shall do that which is right and good in Yahweh’s sight; that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land which Yahweh swore to your fathers, 19 to thrust out all your enemies from before you, as Yahweh has spoken.

The second part of what Jesus said is taken from Leviticus, which is more inclusive than the part quoted in Matthew 22:39:

Leviticus 19:17 “‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.
18 “‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.
33 “‘If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.

In Mark 12:14-19, Jesus commanded His listeners to honor the government, including paying taxes. We should remember that this was an occupying government, and its head was a Roman pagan emperor.

There is an implied command, sometimes called The Great Compassion, to help unfortunate people:

Matthew 25:34 Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. 36 I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’
40 “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

There are other commands, but one more, often called The Great Commission, is found in the last words of Matthew’s gospel:
Matthew 28:19 Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20a teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

The above material is an excerpt from my self-published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series, on the characteristics of a true Christian, is here. God willing, the next post in this series will continue the topic of this post, discussing Christ's commandments. Thanks for reading.

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