“Teacher, what is the great commandment in the Law?”
And He said to him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment.”
“The second is like it, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
There you have it. If you’ve ever wondered which of the commandments you need to follow, there they are nicely documented in Matthew chapter 22 verses 37 through 39.
Love God and love others.
One might think that the final words of Jesus to his closest followers might have been a restatement of those commandments. But they weren’t.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NASB.
Why the difference?
The verses in Matthew 28 are commonly referred to as the Great Commission. If we look closely at those verses we’ll see they say essentially the same thing as the verses in chapter 22.
Would not the natural extension of loving God and loving people be bringing others into a saving relationship with Him?
Do I love God? Yes. Do I love people? Yes. Am I carrying out the Great Commission? No.
While I’m trying to think of a good rationalization of why I’m not bringing others into God’s family, why not ask yourself these same questions?
Do you love God? Do you love people? Are you carrying out the Great Commission?
How did you do?
Think of all the final words Jesus could have said to us. He could have told us to give up our sinful habits, be committed in our marriages, read the scriptures daily, spend time in prayer, be honest, and be nice to others. The list could go on and on.
Shouldn’t we consider the final words of Jesus to be of utmost importance? It was His final shot at giving His followers their marching orders.
Those orders to us are “Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.” We should wake up each morning with those last words of Jesus as our daily mission.
The vast majority of Christians in America are not doing any of these things. We’ve passed it off to a paid staff member or those who are “called” to evangelize. Jesus gave that command to all of His followers.
The Great Commission goes far beyond just inviting a friend to church.
If these last words of Jesus are important then everything going on in local church should be to obey His words. Most churches have programs to fix the problems of their members. They should have those programs. But what happens after a problem is fixed? For most that’s it. The Great Commission should be the objective of all programs in the church.
The next step for a restored marriage should be “Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.” The next step after being freed from an addiction should be “Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.” The next step after any spiritual of physical healing should be the “Go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.”
In my next few posts we’ll look at the different parts of the Great Commission.
The church and each Christian must give Christ’s final words the importance they deserve. A world is dying without Jesus, and in His own words, no one comes to the Father except through Him.