There are two commandments given by Christ that should define each of us as Christians.
1. We have first of all the great commandment found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5
“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
This commandment is repeated by our LORD in Mark 12:29-30.
“The first of all the commandments is; “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Then Jesus adds this — “This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.”
2. The second commandment is also called ‘The Great Commission’. Jesus gave it in Matthew 28:18-2, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying: ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen’.”
Here is an obvious truth:
If we truly love our LORD and Savior with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, we will love others and seek to win them to Christ.
There is a vertical relationship that should be developing between us and God.
1. He first loved us. 1 John 4:7-11
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
· Then, in verse 19 of that same chapter, John wrote “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
2. There is also a horizontal relationship to God’s love.
He loved us and He wants us to love others.
Love is reciprocal. He first loved us. We in turn should love Him.
Love is relational. As we experience His love for us, we are to express that love to others and for others. His love for us and our responding love for Him is literally the foundation of the Great Commission — loving others.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to what our LORD said —
· Matthew 22:39, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
· In John 13:3-5, we read, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”
· In that same chapter, we have Jesus saying — John 13:12-15,
“ …. Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and LORD, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your LORD and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done for you.”
Folks — Please don’t miss this TRUTH.
· LOVE SERVES OTHERS FOR THE GLORY OF God!
3. Can you believe this —
Near the end of our LORD’s ministry, His disciples were arguing about who would occupy the best positions in His kingdom.
In Mark 10:35-37, “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him saying, ‘Teacher we want You to do for us whatever we ask. And He said to them, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Grant us that we may sit on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory’.”
· Talk about being self-serving!
Weeks later, the LORD is celebrating Passover with His disciples. It is the very night when He will be betrayed and the argument for personal greatness surfaced again. Luke 22:24-27 —
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors. But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.’”
Here is the test: Jesus is the One who gives it… “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15
The goal for each of us should be to KNOW Him and to make Him KNOWN.
Precious souls for whom Christ died are perishing — will we step up and make Him known?