I propose that these are the two greatest commands from Joshua, and if you think about it, you will see how they are related to one another. Please note how both teachings say that by doing what Joshua says in those two commands, that "the world might believe" and "all men will know". In other words, what these two commands represent is WHAT IS NECESSARY to actually be witnesses for Joshua. Said another way, if we don't do what these two teachings say, then the people of the earth will not know or believe that we are followers of the real, historical Joshua of Nazareth. I challenge the reader to dispute this critical truth using Joshua's teachings and sound reason...
Christianity is divided into thousands of sects/social clubs, each one claiming they have the 'truth of God' a bit better than the other guys. Remarkably, their "statements of faith" - really their statements of religious doctrine - are not too different. In other words, the vast majority of the thousands of divided Christian sects state that their beliefs about God are pretty much the same. Therefore, we should conclude that agreeing on intellectual things ABOUT God is lacking something very important, since there is such division among Christians. Furthermore, the Christians live just like the people they say 'need to be saved' or whatever.
Given the statements of Joshua above, what is lacking ought to be obvious. Clearly, they are lacking either faith and/or knowledge and/or love. Those are the only possibilities.
One or more of those things are obviously true about Christians in general.
As disciples, we don't believe we can give people faith. We believe that faith is an individual choice that occurs when a person sees their need and decides to place their faith in Joshua and the Father he reveals.
As disciples, we do know Joshua and his teachings, although the degree of how well we know him and his teachings vary. It takes time to understand his Way well, and that comes with effort, time and practice.
As disciples, we sure ought to be loving one another, but sadly, this is our weakest point, and it needs to change.
So, we can't give another person faith, and loving other people is also an individual choice. So, all we can do is two things. First, we can have a clear knowledge of what Joshua teaches are most important aspects of following him. So, in regard to the first thing, here is my suggestion of the aspects of following Joshua that are critical and cannot be compromised...both essential beliefs and practices for those who claim to want to follow him...
1. Joshua of Nazareth is the unique Son of God(Luke 22:69-70; John 3:16,18, 5:25, 10:36, 11:4), the Messenger and Leader sent by God the Creator to human kind to save us from ourselves / our sins (John 3:16). You can best know Joshua of Nazareth and his Good News (or gospel) through his own words and teachings as preserved in the four gospel books [(or on Amazon here The Light of the World: The Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth ; or in pdf here; or in epub here (epub is good for smart phones or tablets).]
2. The bible is not
the word of God to human kind, rather the Person and teachings of
Joshua of Nazareth in the four 'gospel books' is the word of God to
human kind (John 1:1; Luke 1:2; Rev. 19:13). There is only one
best revelation of God our Father and Creator, and that revelation
is the Son of Man, Joshua of Nazareth (John 8:26, 10:8, 12:50,
14:9-11; Matt. 11:27, 24:11). He is the only Source of Eternal
Life (John 3:15-16, 6:40, 10:28, 17:3).
3. In order to begin following Joshua, we must...
Repent of our sins (see ourselves as
guilty, be remorseful and receive our Father's forgiveness for
our wrongs, and stop practicing what is wrong)(Matt. 4:17); Be
Repent of our sins (see ourselves as guilty, be remorseful and receive our Father's forgiveness for our wrongs, and stop practicing what is wrong)(Matt. 4:17);
Turn away from or forsake all we have believed is valuable in this world, especially money, material things, and people who don't want us to follow Joshua (Luke 14:33; John 12:25; Matt. 10:34-39, 12:46-50) and instead of living for money and material things, we instead live for our Father, our Master and other people;
Stop working for money or material things as our primary pursuit in life, and start working for Joshua and his kingdom as our primary passion in Life (Matt. 6:24, 4:19, 9:9).
4. While there are many sin's we can commit, there are three aspects of our nature that we must be aware of and seek to no longer be controlled by - self-pride, fear and selfishness. Self-pride prevents us from learning and having a critical character virtue that we desperately need in order to learn and be better people - humility (Luke 18:9-14). Self-pride blocks reason and logic and thus prevents us from finding truth. Fear also greatly hinders us from using reason well in our seeking what is true and decision making (Matt. 10:26,31; Luke 5:10, 8:25). Fear says, 'just don't go there'. Selfishness works hard against love, and both self-pride and fear contribute to that as well (John 15:13; Matt. 6:19-21; Mark 8:35).
5. Joshua refers to this really important term - truth - over a dozen times in the four gospels. For example, he says, "I am the truth" and "all who are of the truth hear my voice" and "the truth will set you free". Furthermore, he says we are to "love the Lord our God with all our mind". Loving God with all our mind can only be reasonably understood to mean to use reason and logic well to find, know and understand God. Therefore, it is CRITICAL that we as disciples do our best to use reason and logic well and to be willing to 'go' where ever those important tools lead us...even if reason or logic lead us to reject some of our most tightly held religious beliefs or practices that we picked up over the years. If someone uses reason or logic well to reveal that we believe something that is erroneous, IF we are to also be humble (which is something Joshua commends), we ought not to be offended and instead seriously consider if what the person is saying does in fact pass the test of reason as well as line up with all of Joshua's teachings (if he addresses it) in that area/topic/domain.
6. In Joshua's teachings, he does provide us with how we should treat each other as human beings. In fact, he provides the universal 'ethic' in this saying, "Treat others the way you want to be treated" (Matt. 7:12). If we would keep this in heart/mind and act upon it, we would avoid MANY mistakes and wrongs done to other people and we would love one another. For people raised in religion and in light of that universal ethic, it is especially important to keep in mind things like 'do you want to be condemned?'; 'do you want to be judged harshly?'; 'do you want to have others scouring for sin in your life?'; 'do you want people pointing out your faults and weaknesses?'; 'do you want people to be quick to forgive you when you do something wrong?', etc. Simply put, that ethic should drive us to concentrate on OURSELVES first, before we look to others to help in that way (Matt. 7:1-5).
7. To love Joshua means we will want to obey him
(John 14:15). In
order to know what to obey, we must first know HIM and HIS teachings and no
one else's (John 8:12, 31-32, 12:48, 13:13, 14:6 Matt.
23:8-12, 24:35). His teachings are easily available to us in the
four gospel books
in any bible as well as here:
The Light of the world in pdf; or
Light of the world in epub for smart phones or tablets; or in
book form here
The Light of the world.
8. In order to obey Joshua's new command of "love one another as I have loved you", we must join with other disciples and help them in real, daily life as we all serve God together as manifestations of His Family / Kingdom (Love means to value someone highly and to treat them with compassion and with selfless behavior). Our neighbors often choose not to love us back. What is the disciples excuse? (Mark 10:28-30) (See also Acts 2:44-45 as an example of the teachings of Joshua about love lived out);
9. Serving God means we follow Joshua our Leader and Master/Teacher together, and we do the Greater Work of proclaiming Joshua's gospel in all manner of ways, making disciples and forming little flocks and cities on hills (groups/Families of people) (Matt. 5:14, 28:18-20; Mark 8:35; Luke 12:32); and we do the lesser work of helping each other with what is needed to live on this earth (providing food, shelter and clothing)(Matt. 20:8; Luke 3:14). By this Life, we will demonstrate his living Way so that the world may know that we are his followers due to our love for one another and the unity we manifest (John 13:34-35, 17:20-21).
10. Eternal life is a state of being or existence which a person enters into through faith in our Father as revealed by Joshua of Nazareth by his own words in the four gospel books and remains in through faith and faithfulness to God. (John 3:3-4, 5:24, 5:29, 8:12, 12:48, 16:6, 17:3; Luke 7:50; Matt. 10:22, 11:27, 24:13)
I don't claim to be some authority in making the suggestion above for what are essential beliefs and practices for the followers of Joshua. If you have suggestions, I am 'all ears'. The purpose is to suggest a way to avoid division since Joshua asks us to be unified.
If we have been involved in or exposed to bible or Christian religion, we have been taught that what we believe about God and the bible are the most important things God's cares about. Well, like most things Christian, it is only partially true and very misleading. The simple truth is that God does care about how we view Him and He wants us to look to His Son ONLY in order to know him (John 17:3). Furthermore, God cares at least as much about how we behave as what we say we believe, and sadly, Christians and biblians spend much time arguing and dividing over what 'the scripture' says regarding beliefs, and the scripture provides a whole lot of content to divide over! Not so when you make Joshua your Master and Standard for truth about God and human nature and relationships.
I have found that we ought to each, as individuals, seek to obey all of Joshua's commands and teachings out of our love for him. But for Family unity, we need a basic framework to be unified in, as our love for one another takes care of the inter personal dynamics of living with one another each day. I think the above provides a pretty good start at providing the basic framework of what it means to "follow Jesus/Joshua". Really, the above beliefs and practices could be summed up in one sentence...
Place your faith in, and listen to, the historical Person of Joshua of Nazareth as he reveals himself and God by his life and own words in the four gospel books, and out of your love for him, do what he says.
Reading the suggested essential beliefs and practices above will only be useful to us if we actually do what they say, otherwise, we just tend to condemn ourselves or make ourselves hypocrites.
Remember above I said, "First, we can have a clear knowledge of what Joshua teaches..." Well, second, we can follow him well ourselves and encourage and invite others to follow him with us!
Please, enter into his Life and come, join the Peaceful Revolution!