“What? Did Jesus teach seven commands? I’ve never seen a list like this in the Bible!” he exclaimed. “I thought Christ came to set us free from the law of sin and death.” This brother thought we were heretical for even using the phrase “the seven commands of Christ” as we trained new believers. I see his point. We certainly don’t want to re-impose an Old Testament system of legalism.
What we do want is to obey the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Teach them to obey all I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:18-20)
The seven commands of Christ are a helpful summary of the Lord’s most basic instructions to His disciples. There are many commands Jesus gave during His time on earth. Go through the gospels and create your own list, if you prefer. It is very helpful to have a summary list to use. The one below works well for me.
Having a list helps us to emphasize the commands Jesus gave, not our own traditions and ideas.
If you love me, keep my commands.John 14:15 NIV.
What Are the 7 Commands?
Below is a list with the reference for the command, and a story that can be used to train disciples on that command.
1. Repent & Follow Jesus
Command: Mark 1:15 | Story: Luke 7:36-50
2. Be Baptized
Command-Matthew 28:19 | Story: Acts 8:26-39
Command: Matthew 6:9-13 | Story: Matthew 6:9-13
4. Make Disciples
Command: Matthew 28:19-20 | Story: John 4:4-42
Command: Matthew 22:37-39 | Story: Luke 10:25-37
6. Lord’s Supper
Command: Luke 22:19-20 | Story: Luke 22:7-20
Command: Luke 6:38 | Story: Mark 12:41-44
How to Include the 7 Commands As You Train Disciple Makers
There are several options for how to emphasize these commands in the disciple making process.
George Patterson includes lessons on the 7 commands in his series called Train & Multiply. If I am not mistaken, it was he who first came up with this summary list. Whether you use a lesson approach, a story approach, or a Discovery Bible Study approach, the commands of Jesus need to be part of a new believer’s discipleship.
Go through the materials you have been using to train disciple makers. Are these seven things included? How are your disciples doing at obeying these commands?
A Helpful Measure of Growth
It is one thing to teach scriptures and stories. It’s another thing to measure growth and obedience!
When we were church planting in India, I made a chart with these seven commands on it. I added the names of the people I was training and put a tick mark next to the command I’d seen them growing in.
Were they growing in prayer? Had they been baptized? Were they giving faithfully?
This chart helped me assess which commands I needed to do more training on with them. Charts don’t work for everyone so no obligation to do that here! But at least take time to think through where the gaps might be in your disciple making as it relates to Jesus’ basic instructions. Maybe we all need to first start by assessing our own lives!
Teach Obedience Not Theology
While there is no list in the Bible called the 7 commands of Christ, be mindful of this summary list as you train. Before training people on theological matters, like the Trinity, or how justification by faith works, simply teach them to obey Jesus. Keep things simple and obedience-oriented.
Make sure friendly accountability is happening with those you are training. Don’t just teach content and increase knowledge. That has little value except for making people religious and self-righteous.
Train them put into practice what they have learned. As they obey Jesus’ simple, clear commands – lives and communities will be transformed.
And when those disciples train others to do the same, transformational Kingdom movements begin.
Assess Your Disciple Making
How are you training the disciples you are working with to obey Christ’s commands? Maybe you want to make a chart and see how they are doing in these seven areas, as I did.
If this hasn’t been an emphasis, what can you begin to do in the next week or month? To be sure you are training people to obey what is most important?
Let us know in the comments or on the DMMs Frontier Missions Facebook group.