Let's start this article with a question: list ten things at the top of your head that Jesus taught his disciples. Without looking any of them up online or using your Bible. Can't do it? if so, you're just like most Christians. In fact, I used to not be able to count more than five. Imagine a car mechanic not being able to list just ten parts of a car without going into a manual? Wouldn't you call that pathetic, or say that such a person isn't a real car mechanic? You would, wouldn't you?
That's why the No True Scotsman fallacy doesn't apply to religion, because if you are religious, what you do would prove it. Just like if you're truly a vegan, what you eat would prove it. So, if you're a Christian, wouldn't you do what Jesus taught? And if you don't, doesn't that make you a fraudulent disciple?
Of course, to say something like this would be to imply that all "Christians" in the world aren't really Christians. But that's just what I'm saying. Have you thought of those ten things yet? Have you thought of one? How about 'love your neighbor as yourself?' But what does that really mean? What kind of love are we talking about? I'll get into that in another article, but today's topic is a list of just ten things that Jesus told us to do.
(1) Trust God will take care of you. (Matthew 6:25-34) God made you to be in his image, whether you like it or not. He loves you, and wants you to not worry about anything. What better way to show your faith in God than by trusting him completely? And by completely, I mean completely. God doesn't just want you to believe; he wants you to submit to his refinement process by fully allowing him to work through you. This involves giving up all you own, preparing to die for Jesus, and being ready for him to come back any day.
(2) Forgive others because God forgives you. (Luke 11:4) No matter what someone might have done to you, you always need to be ready to forgive if they repent, or extend a hand of mercy if they don't. God desires mercy, not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6), and if we aren't willing to be Christ-like and mimic Jesus, how are we going to do it in the world to come?
(3) Always work for his glory, not yours. (Matthew 23:8) Jesus isn't an idiot; he knows flattery when he hears it. Yet millions of people call him 'Lord,Lord' every Sunday. He predicted that such people never truly knew him, and he was right! He also knew that, unlike him, we mortals can become subject to a humoring of our vain side. How many religious authorities in the world go by long and magnificent-sounding titles these days? The Pope, Dalai Lama, Hierophant of Crete, Magister/Magistra of the Church of Satan, Most Holy and Reverend, Archbishop of Canterbury, Patriarch of Constantinople, Rabbi, among others are just vain ways of making ourselves feel superior to others. Jesus made it clear when he spoke that titles (even ones for him) are only distracting us from his teachings (Matthew 23:8-12).
(4) Talk to God like you would your dad. (Matthew 6:5-8) Since God is our Father in heaven, that means that prayer should be a private talk between you and God. When Jesus taught us how to pray, he didn't mean for it to be a vain repitition of the same words in the archaic language; he meant for it to be a list of things we should mention every time we pray. How many times have you said a prayer out loud with the paster (or minister or deacon or whatever) or even worse, had him/her say long and drawn out petitions, while you all said something the likes of 'Lord, hear our prayer' at the end of each?
(5) Spread the gospel of the present kingdom of God to everyone. (Mark 6:15-16) Jesus, before he ascended into heaven, told us that this good news was for everyone, not just us. Two of his parables (Parable of the Prodigal Son, Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard) had themes that can only be described as evangelistic sermons. Both parables insisted that a disciple is a disciple, regardless of when they open their eyes. We all get the same reward in the end, which only further nullifies the usage of titles.
(6) Be prepared for Jesus' return.(Revelation 16:15) While this teaching is only directly referenced once in the Gospels, it is found in their spiritual successor, the Book of Revelation (or Apocalypse to John). Jesus says that he will come back like a thief, and that we need to keep ourselves clothed and ready for action, so his return doesn't take us by surprise. In other words, Jesus said, "I'm coming back, keep your clothes on!"
(7) Love everyone as creations of the living God. (Mark 12:31, Luke 14:26) No religious text is quite complete without some corny quote on love and care for all people, and no religion is without calling its God 'Love' (except for maybe ancient Islam and Judaism). But Jesus also taught us something that seemed to directly contradict this very teaching. It comes from Luke 14: 26, where Jesus says to 'hate father and mother, wife and children, brother and sisters, and even their own life.' But these teachings go hand in hand, as Jesus told us to love each other for what we are: creations of God, and hate each other for who we are: rebellious little brats in need of salvation.
(8) Live in communities, gathering in Jesus' name. (Matthew 18:20) Jesus promised us that if we gather together in his name for the sake of encouraging one another, praying, fasting, meditating, etc., he would be there with us. Most "Christians" today don't quite realize just what this beautiful promise means. This means that we will never stop having fellowship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, with the Father guiding us through careful study of the Gospels and the Book of Revelation, with personal revelations from all three giving advice and commands on what we are to do as disciples and apostles.
(9) We are to be immersed fully in the Holy Spirit, as well as lead others to baptism too. (Matthew 3:11) John, the last prophet before these modern times and immediate forerunner to the Messiah, told us that while he baptized with water, Jesus would immerse us in the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16). Jesus gave this process a different name: rebirth. And this isn't just taking a dunk in a pool or river or getting some water sprinkled from a shell onto your head, either; this process is painful, and its outcome, postive or negative, will affect your social standing and more importantly the welfare of your soul forever.
(10) We are to be born again. (John 3:3, 5-8) Being tied in directly with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the concept of rebirth is common in many schools of thought, secular and religious. However, never is the topic taken so much to the extreme as Jesus' teaching on rebirth. Wile many philosophers held rebirth as an inevitable event in the path to enlightenment, Jesus said that rebirth was a conscious decision made by few, and this select group would already have gained so-called 'enlightenment' (at least by the world's standards). Being born again is the most essential part of his plan for your salvation, and without it, you would never enter heaven.
Well, that wasn't so hard, was it? Feel free to share this article with a friend, print it out, or download it and post it elsewhere (so long as a link to my site is provided, of course ;). Any comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles can be sent to my email.
Please, spread the word about Jesus and read the four accounts of his teachings. They will change your life and perspective, just as they did mine.