Below is a list of the seven commands of Jesus taught to the people of Honduras. They follow a Spanish acronym that isn’t present in the English translation.
1. Repent and believe
2. Be baptized
3. Love the people
4. Receive communion
Notice how the list alternates between internal and external practices. Repenting and believing is internal. Being baptized is the outward symbol of that conversion. Right after baptism, they turn people’s focus outward: Love the people. Loving the people, in this context, means not other Christians (that is just assumed) but loving your neighbors– those outside the church.
Communion– the “holy supper” as they call it– is a ritual internal to the church that is held in high esteem. It’s an integral part of worship: they sing, they read scripture, they act out the play of 1 Corinthians 14. As they carry in the elements, everyone stands– because that is what one does in the presence of a king. It’s a sacred and transforming ritual, even if there is no wine or grape juice available.
After the inner renewal of communion, the people are turned outward again to give generously, then inward to pray, then outward again to teach and make disciples.
The list of the seven commands of Jesus is a beautiful picture of the relationship between the inward and outward elements of the Christian life and how they are woven together. It reminds me of Philemon 6: I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
Our spiritual maturity is directly linked to our engagement outward… and impossible to get apart from that.