Fix our eyes upon Jesus...
Things Jesus taught which are important to a spiritual life; we should emphasize these. (In doing so we express our relationship with Jesus.)
- Loving God and neighbor
- Being holy in heart and mind
- Living without sin
- Having very high standards of holiness
- Desiring heaven
- Desiring communion with God moment by moment
- Living a devotional, prayerful life
- Living sacrificially
- Studying and meditating on scripture (Old Testament — by application for us today, also New Testament)
- Performing rites and rituals with proper attitude and disposition
- No divorce
- Live virtuously, avoid vice
- Trust God
- Suffer for God if called to this
- Be Spirit-filled
- Follow Jesus with fullness of purpose and determination as if we were carrying a cross to be crucified for him
- Correct knowledge about God, Jesus, heaven, hell, salvation
- Fellowship, corporate worship — but he doesn't specify the form this is to take
- Dedicate our lives to God
- Follow existing religious traditions (man with leprosy to show his cure to the priest)
Things Jesus taught about but (1) which don't define the spiritual life, or (2) which we should not do...
- Obedience to government — we should obey our government (when it is not immoral to do so) because this is proper. In Old Testament Israel, governance was mixed with the spiritual institution and it certainly also got tangled up during times of church history. However, Jesus never intended the church to be Christendom or to be like John Calvin's Geneva. (The Catholic Church expects Catholics to accept the Catholic Church as if it is true government, but I don't believe it is.)
- Rites and rituals
- We should not keep laws which harm people (David ate shewbread; we are to pull our oxen from the pit on the sabbath)
- The thinking that following rules, laws, rites, rituals are necessary for salvation (against the Pharisees, hand washing, cup washing, tithes of the smallest things)
- Traditions which violate the 10 commandments, and which hurt people (Corban)
- Showing-off in religious rites and rituals — to be seen by men
- Killing prophets
- Fighting with swords to defend the truth
- Dead — tradition-bound
Things Jesus didn't teach at all...
- Joining a church (he never asked anyone to join anything).
- Bureaucratic, administrative, red-tape — he created none of this. Institutions run by bureaucrats, administrators and clerks; rules for getting married (but the existing society already had this, presumably he thought the rules and procedures were OK as they were).
- Churchiness — emphasis on feast days, priests and seminaries, clergy rather than devotional life. Jesus celebrated Old Testament feast days but there is no indication he ever brought animals to the temple for sacrifice.
- The rules of rites (Latin, Byzantine, etc.)
- Membership in the synagogue — membership in anything at all.
- Jesus didn't talk about the topics that Catholics talk about — feast days; the meaning of rites and rituals; how to bow / genuflect / etc. (but the people already knew how to do the Jewish version of these kinds of things); how to become a priest (vocation); why priests should be celibate; Eucharist (he only spoke about it when pressed to the extreme); sacraments and sacramental actions.