Is There More to Jesus' Commands than Commandments? What About The Gospel?

Jesus was an evangelist.  He brought a message from the Father.  He informed the people beforehand that he would do so.

Behold, I send My messenger [John the Baptist], and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

When we Make Disciples, we’re supposed to accomplish that via means.  The means by which we make disciples are; “Going & As You Go,” “Baptizing,” and “Teaching them to observe/obey all things Jesus commanded.”  Great!  Easy enough, right?  But, even if we comb the scriptures with all diligence and search for ALL that Jesus commanded, and for argument sake were able to reduce them to 50 or so, then where does the gospel come in?  You know, not the do’s and don’ts of Christianity, but the Good News itself?  Some here may argue that Jesus Himself is the Gospel, and in part, I’d agree.  But Jesus didn’t come only speaking of Himself.  Let’s look at the following:

 

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35)

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

[Jesus] said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:43)

Now it came to pass, afterward, that [Jesus] went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings [gospel] of the kingdom of God. (Luke 8:1)

The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:16-17)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

So, in addition to “all that He commanded,” the data by which disciples are to be made, there’s all that other stuff.  Can we make disciples with just Jesus’ commands?  We get into trouble when we insist that the Gospel in ONLY about Jesus.  The Gospel that Jesus preached was more than just about himself.  Jesus did not speak His own words, but the words that the Father gave Him (John 8:38-42; 12:49-50; 14:24). His message was not primarily about Himself, but rather the good news that the Father ordained to be announced on earth. 

I think we might be missing something in understanding what Jesus meant when He said to “teach them to observe/obey all that He commanded.”  We quite naturally look for all the commands so we can teach them, but forget all of the other stuff that He co-mmanded, enjoined, entrusted, charged, and yes “ordered” us to carry forward.  The Gospel belongs to God. Because HE is the Author, Preacher, Sum, and Substance of it.  A few questions:

 

1.  Is the Message of the Gospel to be found within the commands of Jesus?  Where?

2.  Does the Gospel ONLY point to Christ?  Or is there more involved?

3.  Can disciples be made simply with a list of do’s & don’ts?  Why or Why not?

 

*Check out my new E-booklet on Amazon – “14 Shifts in Disciple Making & A Framework.” 

 

0 thoughts on “Is There More to Jesus' Commands than Commandments? What About The Gospel?

  1. Peter says:

    Brother, the message of the gospel is found throughout the Scriptures. From Genesis 1 – Revelation 22, the gospel is there. The gospel is indeed Christ. In your argument that the gospel is not just about Jesus, you have separated the Triune God. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus Christ(Colossians 1:19, Colossians 2:9). Not only was this the Son of God in humanity, but the Father was with and in Him(Isaiah 9:6, John 14:10-13), and the Spirit was with and in Him(John 1:32, John 20:22). The 3 Persons of the Godhead are distinct, but never separate.

    All of the verses that you listed to show that the gospel is not just Jesus, because He spoke of other things, support that Jesus Christ is the gospel. You are missing what He was doing in His preaching and healing. He was just going around feeding the children of God(Matthew 15:22-28). What was He feeding them? He was feeding them Himself(John 6:35,52-58).

    The gospel is summed up with the Triune God dispensing Himself into humanity to be our Life and Life-supply, while taking humanity into God. This is just Christ, who became the Life-giving Spirit to enter into us(1 Corinthians 15:45) and in whom, we are now seated in the heavenlies at the right hand of God(Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 1:20).

    To give disciples a list of dos and don’ts is just to try to follow another law outwardly; or to try to do something in our flesh. God’s way is to put Himself into us and for us to learn to live by Him in our Spirit(Roman 8:1-8). If we would disown ourselves and put on the New Self, which is just Christ Himself, we would obey all of His commandments.

  2. Miguel says:

    Peter,

    Thanks for your in depth comment. My intention nor my words above separate the triune nature of God. All of the logical conclusions about the trinity remain in tact.

    I agree with you completely that “The 3 Persons of the Godhead are distinct, but never separate.” As long as we can come to a consensus on what being “separate” is.

    That said, The Father is NOT the Son nor the Spirit. Jesus is NOT the Father nor the Spirit, The Spirit is NOT the Father or the Son… you know how this goes.

    I’m not sure we can use Jesus (Colossians 1:19, Colossians 2:9) to say that the Father and Spirit are all packed into the physical body of the second person of the trinity. If that’s what you meant.

    More to one of the main points of this article: When folks say the Jesus is the Gospel and that He ONLY is the Gospel, they are the one’s who make an unbiblical separation. The logos is the messenger and the message. In this case, the message needed to make disciple was “all that He commanded.” This separation occurs to the extreme on both sides.

    One side says that Jesus is the Gospel and fail to include his words.

    The other side ignores the person of Christ at the expense of His words.

    I say, “The Gospel belongs to the God. Because HE is the Author, Preacher, Sum, and Substance of it.” In this way, I affirm the trinity and it’s message are the gospel. Much much more than a set of commands.

    Also, I’m not sure if some of the more linguistically gifted among us can get to the heart of the words “commanded” in the gospel commission (the great commission), but it surely is more than a list of rules.

  3. Dennis Hesselbarth says:

    Miguel, I agree. Jesus didn’t come preaching about himself, he came proclaiming the Kingdom, the gospel, the good news of the Kingdom. First words out of his mouth, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (ESV)

    He is, of course, the Lord, Master, the one we submit to, the one we follow. And, as you correctly noted, he pointed us to the Father. The triune God is the King, we are servants, slaves, of His Kingdom.

    So I am not comfortable saying the gospel is all about Jesus. It’s not. It’s about the King of the Universe entering into our world and inaugurating His Kingdom, inviting those who hear to join that kingdom. The joyful surprise is that the King is also Father and Friend, that we are not only slaves but the King’s children and friend. And so it is love, not duty, that lies at the heart of our obedience. It is not about keeping lists of commands. It is a relationship where our hearts are turned to God, and the Spirit of God changes our heart of stone to a heart of flesh. It’s out of our heart that we speak and act, Jesus said.

    So discipleship is not primarily about teaching His commands. We do teach them. But it’s about surrender and forgiveness and entering into a joyful relationship with the King in His Kingdom.

  4. David Woods says:

    I always thought that the gospel, or “good news” was that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that all who came to Him could be saved. Or, more specifically, that God the Father had provided the final sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world (as announced by John the Baptist).

    I understand that Jesus Himself spreading this message BEFORE His death SEEMS to cause a problem, at first glance, but I think verses like Mark 1:14-15 Luke 4:43 (that you mentioned) show us that this is precisely what He was doing. This is why He needed John the Baptist to go before and witness of Him, and why He needed the Father to perform miracles through Him in witness of Him so He wasn’t just going around witnessing of Himself like Warren Jeffs or David Koresh or Muhammad for that matter. Second and third witnesses meant something in that time.

    John 5:31-37 (among others) testifies of this. He made arguments like these many times because it was extremely controversial for Him to say that He (seemingly just a human) was the savior of the World. But the message was necessary to spread by a human because people had so lost touch with God Himself that they’d never hear it from Him.

    Jesus WAS spreading the good news that God the Father had sent Him (Jesus) to be the savior of the world, but He had to be very careful about how He said it, or it wouldn’t be recieved. He ended up, after all, being crucified by people who were accusing Him of being a blasphemer…..which is what one would expect of someone who was calling Himself savior and the Son of God Himself. People cheered when Koresh’s compound was firebombed and again when Warren Jeffs was arrested because they were doing the same thing Jesus was doing; Propping themselves up as the only way to God. The difference is, Jesus was telling the truth.

  5. I am with Dennis’s comment. The gospel is proclaimed with the words that began Jesus’ public ministry, Mark 1:15. Namely: The material world is not all there is, and we can begin to live right now within the larger kingdom that is even more real than what we think of as the real world. From there, Jesus’ commands are all about what it looks like to make the transition of heart and mind into belonging to this larger kingdom. His commands are variations and elaborations upon his first command, Repent.

  6. Galen Currah says:

    Great queries! On target!

    1. Is the Message of the Gospel to be found within the commands of Jesus? Where?

    Try Acts 2:36-40. Know! Repent! Baptize!. Receive the Holy Spirit! Save yourselves!

    Acts 2:36-47 describes no fewer than 21 of Jesus’ commandments put into practice.

    Compare Luke 24:44-49, where Jesus himself preached his gospel, which includes
    Understand the scriptures! Proclaim repentance and forgiveness! To all nations!
    You are witnesses! be clothed with power from on high!

    2. Does the Gospel ONLY point to Christ? Or is there more involved?

    The gospel MUST point to Christ. Otherwise, one would only teach abstractions.

    3. Can disciples be made simply with a list of do’s & don’ts? Why or Why not?

    Nobody whom I know “simply” supplies a list of do’s and do not’s. What they do is this:
    Teach the gospel (Hear!) and invite folk to start obeying Jesus. Obedience consists of
    repentant faith that submits to baptism to get forgiven and to receive the Holy Spirit.
    Then to continue in the apostles’ teaching (not your abstract theology), in sharing to
    meet needs, in the breaking of bread (from house to house), and in an exciting prayer life.

    That remains neither easy (like preaching) nor theoretical (like your theology).
    This requires complete dependence on the Power of God through the Gospel accompanied by
    the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit manifesting continually (different from your dead liturgy).

    Nor is this “legalism.” You see, saving faith remains an obedient faith, motivated by love,
    not by fear.

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