In Matthew 28:16-20a, Matthew the apostle says this:
“16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you . . .”
The Lord Jesus Christ commanded the apostles, and all Christians of all times by extension, to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all that He commanded the apostles, and all Christians by extension. The question is, are we doing those things? Specifically, are we teaching disciples all that Christ commanded us?
I would like to suggest that many churches that follow a mainstream American, conservative, evangelical format of church life are not teaching all that Christ commanded His apostles. Although they and/or their leadership may think that they are, they really are not. Please continue reading and find out if you and your church are teaching all that Christ commanded us.
So, what exactly does it mean to teach all that Christ commanded the apostles?
- First and foremost, it means to teach disciples the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice what Paul says about the gospel with reference to Christian preaching:
“. . . 23 but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness . . .” – 1 Corinthians 1:23
“2 And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
“. . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 whom we proclaim . . .” – Colossians 1:27b-28a
The foundation and theme of all of Paul’s preaching and teaching was the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, His incarnation, His death for our sins, and His resurrection from the dead. This is the model for all Christians today. We are to preach Christ crucified, Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and Christ Himself.
2. Teaching all that Christ commanded the apostles means to teach His commands for us.
So, how is this to be done?
- By teaching the apostles’ teaching:
“If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I [Paul] write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 14:37
2. By preaching the whole Word:
“. . . 2 preach the word . . .” – 2 Timothy 4:2a
“And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I testify unto you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God. – Acts 20:25-27
3. By speaking the truth to one another:
“. . . 13 till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; 15 but speaking truth in love . . .” – Ephesians 4:13-15a
4. By admonishing, or warning, one another:
“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” – Romans 15:14
5. By exhorting, or encouraging, one another:
“. . .13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day . . .” – Hebrews 3:13a
6. By teaching one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts unto God.” – Colossians 3:16
7. By older women teaching younger women:
“. . . that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed . . .” – Titus 2:3-5
8. By being examples for less spiritually mature brethren:
“. . . in all things showing thyself an example of good works . . .” – Titus 2:7a
So, that is how we are to teach all that Christ commanded in a general sense. But, what about official teachers in the church? How are they to teach all that Christ commanded us? Let us examine this specifically.
- They are to rightly handle God’s Word:
“15 Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
Are you or your teachers being diligent to rightly handle God’s Word?
2. They are to use the Word to preach, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with patience and teaching:
“4 I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove [correct], rebuke [chastise], exhort [encourage], with all longsuffering [patience] and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-2
Are you or your teachers preaching the Word whenever the opportunity arises, and using it to correct people, to chastise people, and to encourage people with patience and teaching?
3. They are to publicly read the Word, to exhort with the Word, and to teach the Word, and to be diligent in and give themselves wholly to these things:
“13 Till I come, give heed to [the public (NASB)] reading [of Scripture (NASB)], to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Be diligent in these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy progress may be manifest unto all. 16 Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee.” – 1 Timothy 4:13-16
Are you or your teachers publicly reading Scripture, exhorting with Scripture, teaching Scripture, being diligent in these things, being given to them, and continuing in them?
“. . . if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles [utterances (NASB)] of God . . .” – 1 Peter 4:11
When you or your teachers speak to teach, is God speaking through you or them?
4. They are to do it for the right reasons:
“11 And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: 13 till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ . . .” – Ephesians 4:11-13
Is your teaching or that of your teachers perfecting brethren to minister, to build up the brethren, to become united in the faith, to know the Lord more, and to become spiritually mature?
“. . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ . . .” – Colossians 1:27-29
Is your teaching or that of your teachers perfecting people in Christ?
You may have noticed a theme in how the Lord has commanded us to teach all that He commanded us — it’s all about teaching the Word. But are there any more good reasons why we should be focused on teaching the Word? Here are some:
- The Word is God’s Word to us right now:
“For the word of God is living, and active . . .” – Hebrews 4:12a
2. The Word is our spiritual food:
” . . . as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation . . .” – 1 Peter 2:2
3. The Word is sufficient for all of our spiritual instruction and wisdom:
“16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof [criticism], for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
4. The Word gives us encouragement and hope:
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort [encouragement (NASB)] of the scriptures we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4
5. We ought to be regularly thinking about the Word:
“8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
“Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.” – Colossians 3:2
6. The Word is God’s power in our sanctification:
“For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18
“Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.” – John 17:17
“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
7. The Word ought to be our delight:
“Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” – Psalm 119:97
8. The Word is about the Lord Jesus Christ:
“God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son . . . ” – Hebrews 1:1-2a
“And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” – Luke 24:27
As we’ve seen, the Word is central to teaching people all that Christ has commanded them, so let us believe it, do it, and teach it.
Are you absolutely certain, without any doubt whatsoever, that you know what the good news of Christ is? Please make sure:
Your Creator, God the Father, sent God the Son, His Son, to the earth, to become a man, without ceasing to be God. This man was Jesus of Nazareth, who lived the perfect life, perfectly pleasing the Father. Then, He was arrested by men, who were appointed by the Father to do so, and was nailed and hung on a cross. Although Jesus was perfectly pleasing to the Father, the Father ordained this event to happen to punish Jesus by making Him slowly die on the cross, and by treating Him as if He had committed our sins against His Father, all because of our sins against Him, which make us deserve physical, eternal, and spiritual death from God. For three hours, the Father crushed and forsook Jesus, putting Him to grief, because of our sins against Him. In so doing, Jesus satisfied the Father’s wrath and justice against sins. Then, He died, and was buried shortly after. His body lay in a grave for about 2 days, and then, He physically rose from the dead, and appeared to the apostle Peter, to the 11 apostles, to about 500 people at one time, to James, to all the apostles, and to the apostle Paul, during a period of 40 days, after which He ascended into heaven. The apostles then turned the Mediterranean world upside down with their new lives and preaching, revolutionizing the Mediterranean world, and undergoing incredible persecutions, while at the same time winning more and more converts, who gladly went to their deaths because of their love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s command to all people everywhere is to change the way they think about God, about the Lord Jesus Christ, about His death, about His resurrection, about themselves, and about their sins, and to depend only upon the Lord Jesus Christ, His death because of their sins, and His resurrection as the only grounds for His forgiveness of their sins and His gift of eternal life. If you have changed the way you think, and depend only upon the Lord Jesus Christ, His death for your sins, and His resurrection for God’s forgiveness of your sins, and your peace with God, then you will be saved from His wrath. If not, God has fixed a day on which He will judge you in righteousness through the Man He has appointed, having provided proof for all people by raising Him from the dead. If you fail to obey God’s command to repent and depend on the Lord Jesus Christ, then He will eventually cast you into eternal hell, and punish you for the sins you’ve committed against Him. Right now is the time to make sure that you have changed the way you think about the Lord Jesus Christ, and that you are only depending upon Him, His death for your sins, and His resurrection from the dead for His forgiveness of your sins. Depend upon Him, and you will be saved from His wrath.