The Importance of Keeping
The Commandments of Christ!
By Pastor F. M. Riley
July 14, 2017
"If you love Me, keep My commandments," John 14:15.
"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him," John 14:21.
"If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you," John 15:10-12.
How many sermons have you heard lately on the subject of "the commandments of Christ?" D-u-h-h! That what I thought! I haven't heard a preacher preach about or emphasize the commandments of Christ in years. Maybe this is one reason why the churches and the ranks of Christianity today are in such a state of apostasy [falling away], and there is such a lack of true Christian love among those who "profess" to be God's people. Well...??
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself made it quite clear in these Scriptures that the believers who truly love the Lord, and who frequently experience the Father's love for them, are those who "keep My commandments," John 14:21.
And.....those believers who continue to "abide" in the love of the Lord, and in whom the "joy" of the Lord "remains," and is "full," are those believers who "keep My commandments," John 15:10-11.
Since this is the case, plainly stated by the Lord Himself, then why do we seldom ever hear preachers preaching on and emphasizing the "commandments of Christ?" Is it possible that many preachers today don't even know what the "commandments of Christ" are? Could that be the case? Well...??
Now our readers should know what this study is about.
A Clear Distinction
I want every reader to be aware that in speaking about the "commandments of Christ," I am not referring to the Ten Commandments, or the Law, given to the nation and people of Israel. If one is "rightly dividing the Word of Truth," they will pay attention to the context of Scripture, and see who is being spoken to in any given passage. Christ Jesus was not addressing the nation and people of Israel here in John 14 - 15. He was clearly speaking to His New Testament [Covenant] Church and disciples.
Indeed there were Laws and commandments given to Old Testament Israel and the Jewish people as they lived under the Old Covenant of Law. But there were also commandments given to the Lord's Church and people who live under the New Covenant of God's GRACE in Christ.
These are two completely different dispensations of time, and two different peoples. The two sets of commandments are not the same, are quite distinct from each other, and should never be mixed together by true believers living today.
A Clear Statement
The Apostle Paul is explicitly stated in the inspired Word to be God's chosen Apostle to the Gentiles, Acts 9:1-15. Then in the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:37, we read, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."
In the past, I have been asked by some who wanted to quibble, where we can find the "commandments of the Lord?" They have told me that we know exactly where to go in God's Word to find the Ten Commandments given to Israel, but where are the "commandments of the Lord?" Folks, do you believe in the Divine Inspiration of God's Word? If you really do, then you should have no problem believing Paul's statement.
It is explicitly stated that Paul's writings ".....are the commandments of the Lord" for all New Covenant believers. Now receive this truth!
One Vitally Important Commandment
Now that the foundation for this study has been laid, I want to point out and emphasize in this study, just one of the Lord's "commandments" as set forth in the writings of the Apostle Paul.......
In Paul's writings to the young preacher, Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote.....
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth," 2 Timothy 2:15.
Dear readers, this is not simply the commandment of the Apostle Paul to the young preacher, Timothy. Oh no! According to 1 Corinthians 14:37, this is one of the Lord's commandments to every true believer who claims to be a part of the Lord's New Covenant Church and people. Are you listening? Then why is this commandment being seriously ignored today by many who "profess" to be God's people?
Folks, I have been in the Lord's ministry for now 63 years, and in all of these years I have never previously seen such Biblical illiteracy and outright ignorance of God's Word among those claiming to be "Christians" as I am seeing today. Why...??
The Rabbit's Foot
I am personally convinced that the reason for this ignorance of the Word of God, on the part of "professing" Christian people, is that the Bible has become simply a superstitious relic to many. Nearly everyone who claims to be a "Christian" wants a copy of the Bible in their home, even if it just sits on a shelf gathering dust. Of course many still carry a Bible to church services, even if they seldom open it, and pay little attention to what it says. Like the proverbial, and totally useless, "rabbit's foot," a Bible is just nice to have around. Like the rabbit's foot, the Bible has become a "good luck" charm. Sic!
Those true believers who do seriously study the Bible today, know that we are living in "the last days" prophesied by the Lord Jesus Himself, and the prophetic Scriptures clearly predicted that a great "falling way" would come in this very time, 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Folks, it is here! We have arrived! And the serious lack of Bible study on the part of many today who "profess" to be Christians is clear evidence of the "falling away" which has come upon the churches and God's people.
An Exposition of the Lord's Command
In order to emphasize the seriousness of the Lord's "commandments," as well as the benefits of observing them, let's just carefully examine the "commandment" of the Lord recorded in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth."
 "Study".....The very first word in this Scripture is the word "study." This word is translated from the Greek word, "spoudazo." This Greek word literally means, "to be eager, to make every effort, to do one's best." See Thayer's Greek Lexicon, page 585. Strong's No. 4704. Wow!
In other words, if one wants to obey this command of the Lord, they should eagerly be devoting time and effort to the study of God's Word. How many are doing this today?
I have actually had "Christian" people tell me that they just don't have time to read my Bible Studies, or even to study the Bible. I am made to wonder if such people think they will have time to die, when their "appointed time" comes? Some folks need a real adjustment to their priorities in life. Matthew 6:33 is still in the Bible!
I was born to Christian parents, and brought up in a Christian home. In our home we had regular Bible study and prayer, in addition to what we received when we attended church services. How often do you see this being practiced in "Christian" homes today? Well...??
Dear readers, the inspired Word of God is the most wonderful and valuable book on the face of the earth today, and yet it is likely the most neglected book, even in the homes and lives of many who "profess" to be Christians. And that brings up the next point.....
 "...to shew thyself approved unto God." In the Greek text, this expression literally means "to put one's self on display." The Lord Jesus explicitly told His disciples in Acts 1:8, ".....ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." In other words, every true believer is supposed to display the reality and life of the Lord Jesus Christ in their own life, as they live before others. There is simply no way to do this, seperate and apart from one's life being permeated by the serious STUDY of the Word of God. The Apostle Peter said that even when a believer speaks, they are to speak ".....as the oracles of God," 1 Peter 4:11. We might put it this way.....a true believer should be a walking, talking, "witness" of the Lord Jesus Christ in everything we do and say every day. When a lost person, for whatever the reason, has dealings with us, they should see the Lord Jesus living in us, and be convinced that we are indeed "approved of God."
Caution! We do not study God's Word to boast about how much we know. Rather, we should study God's Word with a grateful and humble heart, thankful for His mercy in revealing Himself to us through His Word. And it is Christ Jesus who needs to shine forth in our contact with others, who are lost and need the saving grace of the Lord Jesus.
STUDY God's Word until it becomes obvious to others that the Spirit of the Lord is in you and upon you. PERIOD!
 ".....a workman that needeth not to be ashamed."
Notice the word, "workman." True, Bible believing, Christianity is not for the lazy. Every true believer should be a worker. Someone, in other words, who takes this business of "witnessing" to lost men and women, boys and girls, seriously. While we believers most certainly are not saved by our works [Ephesians 2:9], yet being a faithful "witness" requires work, sometimes very hard work. It takes time and effort, and sometimes money, to get others to come to Christ for salvation. Is it worth the effort to win one of your own loved ones to Christ? Be careful how you answer. The Lord God is listening! Matthew 12:36-37.
The rest of this statement is, "...that needth not to be ashamed." Keep in mind that this is tied into the opening word in the Scripture, "study." In other words, when some lost person comes to you, seeking information about God and His Word, as a believer, you should have studied God's Word enough to be able to answer their questions. If you cannot, then you have reason "to be ashamed."
One of the saddest things I ever heard was a deacon in a Baptist church admitting that a certain lost person had come to him, literally stopping him in the field where he was plowing, and asking him how to be saved? The deacon's answer to the man? He told the man that he did not rightly know what to tell him, but he would speak to his pastor and get back to the man. When I left that area, that man had never inquired of anyone again about the salvation of his soul. This just broke my heart, and I prayed earnestly for the man and for the deacon. Folks, that deacon had good reason to be "ashamed."
 Today, almost everyone has a theory or opinion about God's Word, but how many "professing Christians" are able to "rightly divide" the Holy Word, preaching or teaching the Word for what it actually and literally says?
This is the last phrase in this Scripture, "rightly dividing the Word of truth." Folks, every statement in the Bible does not apply to you. Every statement in the Bible does not apply to Israel, or to the Church, or to the time in which we are living. Correctly sorting out who the Bible is speaking to, what period of time the Bible is referring to, and what the Bible is speaking about, is known as "rightly dividing the Word of truth." The inspired Word is "divided" into different time periods for different peoples, deals with different peoples in different ways, and sets forth different plans and purposes which the Lord God wants accomplished by the peoples He is dealing with at certain periods in human history. No, this is not difficult to sort out and understand. All it requires is serious diligent STUDY on the part of true believers.
It is also a plainly stated "commandment" of Christ, in His inspired Word. So why are so many "professing" Christians ignoring or neglecting to obey this "commandment" today? Well...??
The Parable of the Talents
In Matthew 25:14-30 the Lord Jesus gave what is commonly referred to as "The Parable of the Talents." In this parable each of the Lord's servants was entrusted with the Lord's "goods," according to their ability to use them, 25:14-15. Two of the Lord's servants faithfully used what the Lord had given them, and were rewarded for their faithfulness.
But one of the servants was afraid [1 John 4:18], and failed to faithfully use what the Lord had entrusted to him. When the time then came to receive his rewards [the Bema judgment, 2 Corinthians 5:10], that servant was not only "ashamed," but had taken from him even that which had been entrusted to him, 25:28-30.
I don't think any true believer wants this to happen to them, yet it easily can. If a believer refuses to get serious about the STUDY of the Word of God, then there is no way they are going to be the "witness" for Christ, that the Lord intended for each of His people to be.
The principle set forth in an Old Testament passage spoken to Israel, contains a great truth for our readers right here, ".....Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams," 1 Samuel 15:22. Selah!
2 Timothy 2:15 sets forth a very clear "commandment" of the Lord God for His people living today. How many of God's people today are faithfully obeying this "commandment?" The choice is up to the reader. Obey the Lord, or suffer the penalty for your disobedience!
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Permission is granted to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written. Please do!
Thank you so much for your prayers for me, and your gifts for this ministry. May the Lord bless, watch over, and protect every reader is my prayer.
Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, 14275 County Road 8120, Rolla, Missouri 65401.
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