Jesus famously calls his first disciples early in Mark using this command, "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men!" - Mark 1:17-20. No doubt most of us have heard many sermons on this topic, and you may know that this is one of the foundations of modern Christian Living. Most Pastors, Ministers, Clergy, Deacons, Elders, or Christian Leader will quote this verse in reference to surrendering our life to God's purposes. It is well said! But let us be clear, Following Jesus, cost these men everything! Here in Mark, Jesus specifically calls Andrew and Simon (Peter), and James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Each of these men suffered tremendously later in their life for this decision recorded in Mark 1. Only John survived to die of natural causes.
When many Modern Christian Leaders quote this verse they rarely capture the weight of what this actually meant, and they also do not seem to consider that Mark wrote this according to Peter's testimony around 30 years after this event. The disciples did not know the cost that day, they did not understand what Jesus meant by "fishers of men." But by the time Mark wrote this down, they understood very well what it meant.
Later Jesus gave them a command as a part of the great commission that said, "teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you." - Matt 28:19. These disciples had spent 3 years learning from Jesus. He asked them to teach all that he had taught them, to others next generation disciples. These others, according to 2 Tim 2:2, would in turn teach others and so on. So my topic today is simple. What are the simple first commands that Jesus taught his Disciples? What are the simple first acts of obedience that those commands required?
So let's take a quick look at a tool that some missionaries have developed to help make this simple for new believers around the world. As we go, we will list the command and the response. I may take the time in the future to walk through each of these in a little more depth but today lets see if this makes sense.
Command 1: Repent and Believe (Mark 1:15).
Response: Surrender and Trust Jesus to Save Me/You/Us!
Command 2: Be Baptized (Matt 28:18-20) .
Response: Identify with Christ's death by baptism.
Command 3: Love God, and Love Your Neighbor (Matt 22:37-40)
Response: Grow in Faith by trusting God in every area of your live, and by sacrificially sharing yourself with the world around you.
Command 4: Celebrate the Lord's Supper (Luke 22:17-20)
Response: Remember the sacrifice of Jesus as the ongoing atoning work for our salvation and identify with His mission to make salvation available to all.
Command 5: Pray (Matt 6:5-15)
Response: Seek constant communion and connection with God (John 15) Abide in Him.
Command 6: Give (Matt 6:19-20, Luke 6:38)
Response: All that we have is His. Our most precious resources Time, Money, Energy... they are His.
Command 7: Disciple Others (Matt 28:18-20)
Response: To go to the lost, share the hope of the gospel, to teach them to obey Jesus' commands, gather with other believers so as to both teach and to grow.
(that concludes Patterson's original 7 Commands) but recent lists add a few more worth noting:
Command 8: Love One Another (John 15:17)
Response: Believers are to live at peace with one another and to commune together sharing the ups and downs of life.
Command 9: Abide (John 15:5)
Response: Longevity for believers is entirely dependent on the believers discipline of abiding. "apart from me you can do nothing."
Command 10: Persevere (Matt 24:12-13)
Response: Believers are to remain in Christ, expanding His kingdom on this earth.
I encourage anyone reading this to take a very close look at this. There are other commands of Jesus that could be added, but these summarize maybe the, "level 1" new disciple commands. There are tougher teachings, but lets stay with these "basic" ones for the sake of a new or young believer.
Again, lets be very clear. I do not think that today's "normal" Christians follow many of these commands. I am afraid that many do not think that obeying Jesus is important at all. So I would like to ask you? Are you living by these basic commands of Jesus?
I would love to get your thoughts and comments. Feel free to reach out below!