This article is actually part of an assignment that I was given by the Holy Spirit while writing the last article on “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus.” In order to be a disciple of Jesus, we must also have a deep understanding of the teachings and life of Jesus so that we can mirror it in our lives.
Since it would be impossible to outdo the Bible, which already offers a deeper understanding of who Jesus is, what he taught, and how he lived in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, this article is intended to be an overview of this subject for those interested in learning more from a high-level approach.
As always, I recommend that you take whatever this article says, and study it for yourselves. There is only one source of Truth. Ultimately, the way to be led to the Truth is through a personal relationship with God, submission to the Holy Spirit, and continual study and application of the Word of God (the Bible) to your daily life.
The approach that I started to take was to review Matthew 5 – 7 which holds the Sermon on the Mount. Without a doubt, this is a wonderful tool for understanding Jesus’ teachings. Ultimately the Holy Spirit decided to give me a download while I was on the road driving in quiet time because (like anything we do of our own fruition) my first attempt was simply lacking.
Overview: The Teachings of Jesus As Revealed to me by the Holy Spirit
1. Jesus taught that we are to love God above everything else.
When questioned by the Pharisees and the Sadducees about which commandment is the greatest, Jesus had this to say in Matthew 22: 36-40:
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
2. Jesus taught us that to love God is to be obedient to the commands of God.
What does this mean to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind? According to John 14:15, Jesus says that it means that we keep the commands of God.
If you love me, you will keep my commands.
In 1 John 5: 1 – 4 John explains this further (especially in 1 John 5:3):
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. ‘
1 John 5:1-4
3. Jesus taught us that we would have access to God the Father through the Holy Spirit, who would guide us into all truth.
In speaking to his disciples, Jesus had this to say to them about what would take place after he left in John 14: 18-26:
I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it you’re going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me. “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
4. Jesus taught us to know the Word of God and to use it in spiritual warfare.
5. Jesus taught us to Repent of our Own Way, to be completely obedient to the will of the father as accessed through the Holy Spirit, by way of prayer and knowing the word of God.
I put these two points together because they are related and also illustrated really well in Matthew 3. In Matthew chapter 3, immediately following his baptism, and seeing the Spirit of God descend of Jesus in front of everyone who was there, the Spirit of God leads Jesus to the wilderness where he fasts for 40 days and 40 nights.
Following his decision to be baptized for repentance (the baptism that John the Baptist issued), receiving the Holy Spirit (when the dove descended this confirms Jesus’ receipt of the Holy Spirit), and following the Spirit’s guidance into the wilderness without question – Jesus is then tempted by the devil at the end of his 40 days and 40 night fasting.
The devil tempts Jesus with three things:
- To use the powers that he has via the Holy Spirit to turn a stone into bread.
- To test the promises of God from the Word of God by jumping off a high rock.
- To accept the promises of the world and worship the devil.
In each of these occurrences, Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God), to fight off these spiritual attacks of the enemy. The enemy also knew the word of God (as shown in Matthew 4: 5-6) and so Jesus needed to know the word (and the commands of God) even to the point of being able to thwart the improper application of God’s promises.
This is extremely important. Notice that all three of Jesus’ rebuttals to the Devil’s temptations were consistent with the greatest commandment of all which is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
Also, take notice that in this example, Jesus was fully obedient to the Spirit of God. Both in receiving baptism, being led to fast for 40 days and 40 nights and in overcoming the temptation that followed. We’re even told that the whole purpose of this being led into the wilderness by the Spirit was to be tempted so that Jesus could overcome.
Take note of how there was a preparation period that was significant, before this temptation (the 40 days and 40 nights of fasting & prayer). Also, take note of how Jesus was able to overcome as a result of this preparation for his first assignment. Finally, take note of how the devil fled from him, and angels immediately started to minister to him after he had passed the test.
It was through full submission to the will of God, as delivered to Jesus via the Holy Spirit, and Jesus’ own obedience to the Spirit, as well as knowing the Word of God extremely well that Jesus was able to overcome.
And what was the first command uttered by Jesus following his confirmation by God, obedience, and then walking into his ministry?
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
6. Jesus’ own life and ministry were a prophetic testimony to what would be possible and available to all of God’s children who choose the narrow path of full submission to the will of God, as led by the Holy Spirit.
In all honesty, this point alone deserves an entire article of itself, and I will likely take the time to do this at some point. This was a revelation that the Holy Spirit gave to me through years of intensive study, prayer and learning.
There are many quotes from Jesus that help to point to this truth, but this final revelation is one that I believe you must go directly to God in order to understand the fullness of it.
Here are a few:
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
“Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’
Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill me because my word has no place among you. I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; so then, you do what you have heard from your father.”
“Our father is Abraham,” they replied. “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You’re doing what your father does.” “We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father — God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on my own, but he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to my word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Who among you can convict me of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.”
The Jews responded to him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you’re a Samaritan and have a demon?” “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and judges. Truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
I pray that God would reveal to all who read this the fullness of the truth of Jesus’ life and their own lives. That everyone who reads this article would come to the fullness of the knowledge of God, that they may understand the gift that God has given them by the example set by Jesus. I pray this in the name of the one who conquered the law by full submission to the Spirit in Jesus’ name.
Honestly, this article was a tough one for me to publish because I’m presenting an overview of concepts that the Holy Spirit revealed to me over the course of a lifetime of study, and much more intense study over the past couple of years.
To me, this article seems unfinished. Points 4-6 deserve articles of their own and they will get them over time. The good news is for those who are thirsting for more, that this article is not intended to be your source of truth. God already provided a way for you to personally come to the fullness of the truth of God, through reading the Word of God in the Bible, through a personal relationship with God through prayer and through your own personal revelation from the Holy Spirit.
This article, as it says in the title, is merely an overview. I implore you to please consider Jesus’ own teaching and example in his personal relationship with God the Father through submission to the Holy Spirit and knowing the word of God and apply it to your own life if you have additional questions.
I know that God has many more articles planned for this blog to publish, and honestly, it’s killing me that I can’t tie this one neatly with a bow right now, because there are other concepts that I need to tackle. I just ask and pray that if you do have more questions, that you take them directly to God in prayer, you study the word of God for yourself, and you listen to the Holy Spirit for guidance.
If you do that in your own personal life, I promise you that you will be led to the fullness of the truth. This isn’t a sprint, it is a lifetime journey of understanding, but it’s the greatest journey you will ever take and the only thing that has brought me true peace and fulfillment in my life.
If you haven’t started this journey, and this you’d like to do so today, all you need to do is say this prayer to get started:
“God in heaven, I need you.
I repent of doing things my own way and ask that you would forgive me today.
I believe that your son Jesus died, and he rose from the grave, for the forgiveness of my sins and I ask that you would cover me with the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins.
Today, I am committing the rest of my life to following your way, that you revealed through your son Jesus. Father please come into my life, renew my spirit, and teach me your ways so that I may walk with you in relationship.
Holy Spirit, please direct the steps of my path and lead me into all truth.
Not only for the promise of eternal salvation, but to bring your Kingdom glory on earth through my life which you have given me.
Thank you Father for creating a way, thank you for your love.
I ask this of you in Jesus’ name – Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer today, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to rejoice with you, pray for you, and see if there is anything that I can do to help you on your journey.
If you’re already on your journey. Then please take the above encouragement do deepen your understanding personally with God through the word and prayer. I promise you that if you seek God for answers here, and are willing to submit fully to the direction of God, you will be led to the truth and you will be fruitful for the Kingdom.