The purpose of the Project is to go back to Jesus, the source of Christianity, and study everything He said in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Why? Because only by knowing all of Jesus’ teachings can we follow Him as He commands.
This post summarizes the Project and what I learned from it.
Purpose – To study out everything Jesus said because Jesus and His words must be the focus of a disciple’s life.
Guiding Scriptures – Jesus’ words contain everything we need to know to follow Him and live life to the full. His words are:
Truth: ”Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37)
Life: ”The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63)
All We Need: ”Everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
Guiding Principle – In John 15:15, Jesus assured us that He told us everything we need to know. Therefore, for the purpose of the Project, if Jesus did not speak about it, we don’t worry about it. What are some things Jesus did not speak about? Read on.
Top 10 Insights of the Project
Following are the Top 10 Insights from The Jesus Said Project:
#1 – Interesting Things Jesus Said
Some of the things Jesus said would not be considered enlightened in today’s age:
- Jesus said there are angels and guardian angels (Luke 15:10, Matthew 18:10)
- Jesus said the devil exists (Luke 10:18)
- Jesus said hell exists (Luke 16:19-31)
- Jesus said heaven exists, and that’s where He came from (John 6:38)
- Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven (Luke 20:34-36)
- Jesus confirmed creationism, not evolution (Matthew 19:4-6, quoting Genesis 1:27)
Everything Jesus said came from the Father, so it is relevant and important, even seemingly trivial points. A disciple must not pick and choose when it comes to Jesus’ words. We must accept all of what Jesus said.
Interesting Fact: There are several teachings that were recorded in not just one, two, or three Gospels, but in all four Gospels. See the list below:
Jesus Said Do: Live On God’s Word, Repent, The Will of the Father, Make Disciples, Forgive Others, Follow Jesus, Have Faith, Preach the Gospel, Take Up Your Cross, Lose Your Life for Jesus, Receive Disciples in His Name, Believe in Jesus as God’s Son
Note: This does not mean these teachings are more important than the others. It is just an interesting bit of trivia that all four Gospel writers included them.
#2 – Interesting Things Jesus Did Not Say
Jesus did not speak about:
- The sacrificial law (If He had wanted to uphold it, there was no better time then when He cleared the temple of the merchants and money changers in John 2:13-16.)
- Clean and unclean foods
- Homosexuality (though Jesus spoke about the sin of sexual immorality in Mark 7:20-23, and Paul lists homosexuality with sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
- Money as the root of all evil (The actual quote is, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” and Paul, not Jesus, wrote it in 1 Timothy 6:10. Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and Money” in Matthew 6:24.)
The key point is that Jesus taught everything we need to know to follow Him. If there is something that comes up that Jesus did not speak about, we should consult other parts of the Bible for God’s guidance (as shown above for homosexuality). Either way, if Jesus did not talk about it, we must not worry or give the issue undue time, attention, and energy. We must keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25) and not get distracted by the ways of the world or by “disputable matters” as Paul alluded to in Romans 14. Confusion is never from God (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV).
Instead, disciples should follow Jesus’ example and focus on the Gospel and the Kingdom of God, not on controversial issues which may or may not be socially acceptable at any given point in time. As Jesus said, the Kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36).
#3 – Reading the Bible is not the same as Studying the Bible
I have read the bible from end-to-end once or twice and the New Testament a few times more, but what I learned from reading the whole Bible does not come close to what I learned from studying just the four Gospels in The Jesus Said Project. Reading the Bible is not the same as studying the Bible with deep intention and seeking.
By sincerely studying the Bible (rather than just reading it), new insights were given to me, and the words to express them flowed thru my typing fingers. God blessed me with insights, inspirations, and hidden truths—levels I had never before recognized. These were revealed to me in answer to my prayer and sincere seeking. I asked, God answered. God blesses the diligent, unbiased seeker. I experienced this first hand (Jeremiah 29:13).
#4 – The Foundation: Humility
Humility is the foundation for all the other teachings. A prideful person will continually struggle against God and specific teachings in the Bible. A humble person will go along with what God reveals, will repent, and obey as God’s Spirit reveals more and more light or truth (1 John 1:7).
We cannot make ourselves humble. We must seek and ask God to give us this kind of heart, this nature. Psalm 51:10-12 and Psalm 139:23-24 are good prayers for this. This is the type of prayer we need more of, not lists of “Please do this” and “Please do that.”
We must humble ourselves and beg God to change us, fill us, and make us like Jesus (and Jesus was, first and foremost, humble and obedient). Psalm 37:4 indicates, “He will give you the desires of your heart.” We must pray and ask God to give us new desires of the heart, new “want to’s”. When we read Scripture and are convicted we are not walking in obedience in some area of our life, we must ask God to plant new desires for whatever is lacking (rather than simply praying, “Help me do better”).
Our prayers must be bold, asking for what we know God desires, things like the desire to study the Word, share the Good News with the lost, make disciples, be filled with His Spirit, and a desire to spend more time in God’s presence. As He answers our prayers, we must step out in obedience and make any changes He leads us to make (Psalm 119:133, Proverbs 3:6).
#5 –What Sin Really Is
Sin is not just the do’s and don’ts that we read in the Bible. What we do and don’t do is driven by something deeper: rebellion against God. It started in the Garden of Eden, and has been around ever since. Man is inherently sinful and corrupted, and this inner nature stubbornly clings to its right or claim to itself. A rebellious heart does not (1) accept God’s sovereign right to all life (including its individual life); (2) continues to rebel against its Creator; and (3) remains unforgiven. This is why all need Jesus.
#6 – What God Really Wants From Me
What does God really want from me? My will. By giving God my will, I give up my right to myself. I do this in faith because I know and love Him, and know I can trust Him enough to give myself to Him. In love and faith, I yield, submit, and surrender myself to Him. This loving surrender is demonstrated by obedience (John 14:15) and leads to the death of self (Mark 8:34). Only by giving God my will can Christ have complete control to live out in me the full life He died to give me (Philippians 2:13, John 10:10).
#7 – What It Means to Abide in Jesus
The essence of John 15 is that disciples of Jesus remain or abide in Jesus. The words used may vary in different Bible versions, but remain and abide are synonyms for words we are more familiar with. To remain or abide in Jesus is just another way of saying:
- Obey Jesus (Jesus Said Obey What He Commanded)
- Follow Jesus
- Comply with Jesus’ teachings
- Hold to Jesus and His teachings (Jesus Said Hold to His Teaching & Be Set Free!)
As Mary said, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Obedience is part of discipleship, and discipleship can be summed up in these few words:
Absolute Devotion to and Dependence on Jesus
Obedience, devotion and dependence are what it means to abide in Jesus.
#8 – Individual Study of the Word
The importance of studying and knowing the Word for oneself is not stressed enough or followed in the Church today. We read a lot, and have our five minute devotionals, but most people never really dig into the Word. This is one of the reasons the Church as a whole is so weak in the power of Christ. The strength of the Church as a whole will never increase until the individual parts of the Body of Christ grow in wisdom, and wisdom begins with the Word of God.
#9 – Individual Quiet Time with God
Another weakness in the Church today is that individuals do not spend enough time resting in God’s presence (this includes prayer, worship, thanksgiving, petitions, studying the Word, etc.). Mark 1:35 and Luke 5:16 tell us how Jesus spent regular, one-on-one time with the Father. If Jesus needed this, how much more do we? The strength of the Church as a whole will never increase until the individual parts of the Body of Christ seek God for His presence and the privilege of resting in it.
#10 – My Level of Freedom is Related to My Level of Surrender to Christ
As Jesus’ disciple, all the promises in the Bible are mine spiritually, but I must humbly yield to God in order to step into them and live them out. Any area of bondage or incompleteness is an area that I have not yielded to the Christ in me (Colossians 1:27). Jesus came to set us all free from sin and free to live life to the full. How free do I want to be? I want it all.
This same question applies to you, too: How free do you want to be? Do you want it so badly you are willing to study the Word, earnestly pray, surrender, allow God to reprogram your mind, change your life, change your habits, and yield to Jesus in all matters so that you can have all He died to give you? Or are you still clinging to parts of yourself, spiritually handicapped by choice, and not yet stepping into the freedom that Jesus died to give you?
Ask yourself, “How free do I want to be?” and then ask yourself, “What am I waiting for?” Jesus said:
”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Jesus’ words are Life! Use The Jesus Said Project to guide your individual study of everything Jesus said. May God bless and guide your sincere seeking.
In Christ (the best place to be),