As many continue to teach that the moral law bears no weight on the believer and that Jesus' words were old covenant words (therefore not applicable to us) it seems even more important to stop and consider what it is we have been commanded to do. I firmly believe that orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy, that right belief will powerfully lead us into right living. Along with the Confession of Faith I affirm that "Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love."
With that being said it is important that we recognize Jesus' commands to be in the covenant of grace and for them to bear weight upon us at the present time. "The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached" (Luke 16:16), Jesus was "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14), and "the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). It is clear that Paul and Jesus preach the same gospel of grace and that the apostles were commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the gospel of grace and to teach the nations "to observe all that I have commanded you".
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. - Matthew 28:19-20
This line struck me as I had never gone through and read the imperatives in the gospels. I started in Matthew and this writing is my result. I didn’t want to have too much commentary, but wanted to try and give practical applications for these commands. This isn’t an in depth study, but a list of those imperative commands that have been given in Matthew’s gospel.
I believe that God is faithful with His Word to accomplish whatever purpose He sends it for. We have many guides and teachers, but little resolve to read the scriptures and obey what they say. We want to have our hearts flutter at a new idea or teaching and we take the fundamental things and throw them out as old news. You have access to a Bible for a reason, either for God to demonstrate His mercy towards you or for you to be without an excuse on the day of judgement.
None of these commands are possible without the grace of God in His election. Ephesians 2:10 so perfectly says, “For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” There is a pre-arranged plan; even a pre-arranged appointment with this writing that would stir you to be and do what God has already “prepared ahead of time.”
I’m sure that I left some commands and imperatives out; this isn’t exhaustive, but I hope it gets us on the right track of considering what He has commanded. It is not an issue of getting these all right, but to consider His calling, His commission, and most of all, His mercy. The alternative of His discipleship is His wrath, therefore we rejoice that there are any commands at all. We cannot please Him but by faith. A perfect adherence to these commands will not win favor with God, but a loving trust in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ will pardon you and give you a new life in which you may serve God.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. - 1 John 5:3
1)“Repent” - Matthew 4:17
Turn away from sin, change your mind from imperfect affections, and follow Jesus. There is no true repentance that does not result in following Jesus wholeheartedly. Make Him your only appetite, motivation, and ruler of your life.
2)”Follow Me” - Matthew 4:19
Where is He going? Gethsemane, Golgotha, and on to glory. We must have the same determination as Him. All the commands of Jesus are for our practice of self-denial, death, and resurrection. They will ensure that we die and if we die, we will surely join in with His resurrection.
3)When you suffer persecution and slander ”Be glad and rejoice” - Matthew 5:12
Rejoice that you could suffer in any way for Christ. Our freedom is a freedom to live unto God. This is impossible for the unredeemed, but made possible through the cross. Suffering joyfully is evidence that our treasure is not in the comforts of this world. Joyless suffering is evidence of the opposite; that our treasure is in the earth. Suffering with joy is also evidence that you have stopped laboring for the temporary wealth, “the bread that perishes,” and that your food is “to do the work of the One who sent” you.
4)”Let your light shine before men” - Matthew 5:16
Do not hide your joy in God; your joy being unhinged from your circumstances is evidence that you believe and have tasted of the eternal realm. Let them see and give glory to God. Rejoice that your treasure is found in Christ alone. No man can take Him from you.
5)”Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary” - Matthew 5:25
6)”If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away” - Matthew 5:29
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin - Hebrews 12:4
7)”But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all”, “Let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your word ‘no’ be ‘no.’” - Matthew 5:34, 37
Be known as someone who follows through with what he says. Find yourself speaking God’s irrefutable Word instead of your own.
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God - 1 Peter 4:11
8)”But I tell you, don’t resist an evil doer... If anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also...” - Matthew 5:39
The law says, “eye for an eye” and “tooth for a tooth”, but by turning the other cheek we are taking the immediate human wrath they deserve. May this reveal what divine wrath they may be under and bring them to repentance.
9)”But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” - Matthew 5:44
10)”Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” - Matthew 5:48
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. - 1 John 5:3
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:26
11)“When you give to the poor” - Matthew 6:3
12)“When you pray” - Matthew 6:6
13)“When you fast” - Matthew 6:17-18
Don’t do it for the applause and approval of men, but secretly in such a way that God may be the only one who sees it.
14)“Don’t collect for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasure in heaven” - Matthew 6:19-20
All that you are, do, and say is an investment. You are either investing into heaven or into yourself. Don’t invest in the realm that will be destroyed, but live with eternity in your eyes. Know this--your life is currency and between now and your last day is the only time you have to spend wisely. There is no medium between investing in heaven or in hell. Don’t be deceived by the riches and temporary pleasures of this world. We don’t have time for you to try and get rich.
15)“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you” - Matthew 6:33
The primary and sole focus of the believer is the pleasure of the unseen King. When this becomes our concern then all that concerns the believer will be taken care of. This alone is the only legitimate and proper appetite. Be filled only by that which pleases God.
16)“Do not judge so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgement you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” - Matthew 7:1-2
First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. - Matthew 7:5
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. - John 7:24
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? - 1 Corinthians 6:2
I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. - 1 Corinthians 9:29
17)”Keep asking and it will be given to you. Keep searching and you will find. Keep knocking and the door will be opened to you.” - Matthew 7:7
And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? - Luke 18:7-8
18)“Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them.” - Matthew 7:12
19)”Enter through the narrow gate” - Matthew 7:13
For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the road and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. - Matthew 7:13b-14
Ask about the ancient paths: which is the way to what is good? Then take it and find rest for yourselves - Jeremiah 6:16
20)“Beware of false prophets” - Matthew 7:15
You will recognize them by their fruit - Matthew 7:20
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. - 2 Peter 2:1-3
21)”As you have believed, let it be done for you” - Matthew 8:13, 9:29
“Faith is the substance of things unseen” and it is substantial. Your faith is seen right now by what you are thinking, saying, and doing. The tree cannot bear fruit that is foreign to itself. Living out what we believe should encourage us, not living it out should convict us and bring us to the cross.
22)“Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” - Matthew 9:13
“For I desire loyalty and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” - Hosea 6:6
23)“Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” - Matthew 9:38
It is in Gods heart that laborers be sent out to the nations of the earth to bring in the harvest of those men, women, and children who do not yet know Him. This is a prerequisite to the great commission. Pray for those that God loves yet have not been reached. Be bothered that men and women who profess Christ are not going because of their love of comfort and ease. Examine yourself. why was Paul so restless? Why did he suffer so much tragedy? Was his calling different from yours? Or are you a subjective believer and the command to go and labor doesn’t apply to you? If the great commission doesn’t apply to you then neither does “well done good and faithful servant.”
24)“As you go, announce this, ‘The Kingdom of heaven has come near,’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons, you have received freely, give freely.” - Matthew 10:7-8
The result of being sent is the follow through. When we are sent by God there is Authority from another world being given to the servant of that commission. We are servants of the commission, not masters of it. God provides for those He sends, they will not lack and they will carry out what He has commanded. Desire the sending before the miracles. He sends those that He has invested in, not merely those who volunteer. Volunteers expect no eternal reward, therefore they cannot appropriately live for God. Service to God is merely an appendage to them, but the servant of the Master lives for Him whether in life or in death. This devotion will soon be required to even name the name of Jesus.
The desire for an authentic sending from God must outweigh all our desires for personal success in ministry. Labor to be sent by God, give all of yourself to be a sent one. In this sending alone can you obey God by going. This alone can please Him. Sit on the shelf, sharpen your sword. He has not forgotten you and will even allow this thought to test you and refine you. He will send you if you allow Him to invest in you.
25)”Be wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.” - Matthew 10:16
Do not be unaware of the world’s plans for your life. Be aware and remain as harmless as doves. Surrender to the gentleness of the Holy Spirit on purpose. Loving on purpose is strength. Being unaware and caught off guard is foolishness. You are in war. Surrender to Jesus and you’ll never surrender to another. Know that the world considers you poison, the aroma of death, and yet love them with a passionate love that only God could love them with. Love them on purpose knowing their plans for you.
“No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” - John 10:18
26)”Don’t fear those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” - Matthew 10:28
Do not fear what will happen to your body if you obey, fear what will happen to your soul and body in hell if you disobey. Grace is that God chose you and selected you for good works in a world of disorder and evil. Do not neglect this call because of an inadequate opinion on God that led to not fear Him.
27)“Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth.” - Matthew 10:34
Jesus came to divide the hungry from the satisfied, the needy from the well fed. He came to separate unto Himself a people who want Him and nothing else. If Christ is not most valuable to you then His commands to be divided from sin and death are impossible.
28)”Come to me, all of you who are weary and heavy laden.” - Matthew 11:28
29)”Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad.” - Matthew 12:33
The heart is visible in the life of any person. When people say that we cannot judge the heart, it is not true. It is clear that whatever comes out of our mouths IS the condition of our hearts. We must be aware of our condition in light of God’s Word and no longer our feelings.
30)”Let both(the wheat and the tares) grow together until the harvest.” - Matthew 13:30
31)”Listen and understand: It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles a man.” - Matthew 15:10-11
32)“Watch out and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” - Matthew 16:6
Desire the true, unleavened bread. It is substantial and it will fill you. Many fall short of meeting God as He is because they are content with lesser teachings, lesser teachers, and lesser doctrines than that of God’s Word. They are unaccustomed to going to the Word themselves and hearing God speak to them through it.
Give us today our daily bread. - Matthew 6:11
Send Your light and your truth; let them lead me... to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place. - Psalm 43:3
33)“If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” - Matthew 16:24
“Whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” There is no partial resurrection life for the partial death of a follower of Jesus. The surrender must be absolute and total. If we desire Christ then this is the cost: everything.
“What will a man give in exchange for his life.” - Matthew 16:26
34)“Unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” - Matthew 18:3
35)“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother” - Matthew 18:15
Do this with the mercies and tenderness of God. Please do this.
36)“Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.” - Matthew 19:6
Marriage is the first picture on earth of God’s relationship with His people. It is the image of the theocratic Kingdom. It is to be established and long lasting for the pleasure of God and for all the world to see His great love, devotion, and commitment. When Christian men depart from their wives or begin to become lazy in nourishing the relationship it is because they know not the concern or passions of God for this first institution.
“Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the Word.” - Ephesians 5:25-26
When we miss this we separate from Christ and He cannot be manifest in our lives the way He desires. The redefinition of marriage and divorce practices are at enmity with the gospel. It seeks to undermine the practical way in which we can see and know God.
37)“If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” - Matthew 19:17
If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell all your belonging and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. - Matthew 19:21
When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving... - Matthew 19:22
38)”Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.” - Matthew 20:26-27
39)”Therefore go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.” - Matthew 22:9
40)”Therefore give back to Caesar the things that Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s.” - Matthew 22:21
41)“Do whatever they(the scribes and Pharisees) tell you and observe it, but don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.” - Matthew 23:3
42)“But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ Because you have one teacher. And you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. And do not be called master either, because you have one master, the Messiah.” - Matthew 23:8-9
Take seriously the reality of Christ’s lordship and commission to serve. Do not fight for rank, but surrender to the One Rabbi, Teacher, Father, and Master. No others can get our allegiance. One nation, One kingdom, One on the throne. All for the Lord Jesus. His name is above every other name.
43)”See that you are not alarmed” - Matthew 24:6
Faith in God is the position of absolute immovability. There is nothing to fear when trusting that God is who He says He is. Fear God, not any conditions or circumstances upon the earth. I will be delivered through endurance I will gain my life.
“But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.” - Matthew 24:13
44)”Now learn this parable from the fig tree: As soon as it’s branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things, recognize that He is near–at the door!” - Matthew 24:32
Pay attention to the hour you are living in. Become convinced of the judgement to come and the provision of the cross.
45)”You also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” - Matthew 24:44
Do not be caught with your eyes upon the temporary. Do not be found ignorant of the season in which you life. Be watchful in prayer, and always listening for the bridegroom. Anticipate Him as a bride anticipates the return of her husband from His travel.
46)”Take and eat it; this is my body...”, “Drink from it all of you, for this is my blood that establishes the covenant; it it shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” - Matthew 26:26-28
47)”Stay awake and pray, so that you will not enter into temptation.” - Matthew 26:41
48)“All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” - Matthew 28:18-20
49)“And remember, I am with you always(all the days), to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:20b