In the Bible, the apostle Paul states all scripture is inspired by God, yet Jesus makes it clear there is a “first and greatest” commandment. This commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Everything else we say and do flows out of our love for God. This is why the first of the ILI Eight Core Values is Intimacy with God: “God looks for consecrated men and women who live life from an intimate relationship with God.”
The Other Great Commandment
Jesus also says there is a second commandment worthy of mention and as important as the first, namely, to love your neighbor as yourself. John explains the logic of this command:
For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom
they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
— 1 John 4:7-21
All of God’s commandments are worthy, perfect, and true. However, this is the first and greatest commandment, because in this extreme love for God and neighbor, there will be the fulfillment of all other commands. Our obedience to the commandments, teachings, and commission are a result of our love for God and neighbor.
The Great Commission
Some of the most important words Jesus ever said became the marching orders for the Church and every follower of Jesus. These were some of the last words spoken by Jesus after he had been crucified, risen from the dead, and was now ready to ascend back to heaven. In that moment, Jesus gives His followers the commission which is to be the charge for the Church until He returns.
Go and make disciples of all nations…
— Matthew 28:16-20
We call this the Great Commission. There is an unfading link between the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. They are intrinsically connected because obedience to the Great Commandment will always lead to obedience to the Great Commission. Consider these profound statements:
- We cannot love God and fail to do as He says.
- We cannot love our neighbor and fail reach out to them to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
- We cannot live out the Great Commandment without living out the Great Commission.
- We cannot love God and ignore the call to make disciples. In John 14:21, Jesus says, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” We have the command to make disciples.
Do We Love God Enough?
We cannot claim to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength unless we are willing to be obedient to His command to make disciples. We know God so loved the whole world that Jesus came to die for our sins. We know God’s wish is for all to come to repentance.
When we love God with all our heart, then we will give heart, soul, mind, and strength to do what He commanded us — Go and make disciples. The Great Commandment will always lead us to the Great Commission. Do we love God enough to go and make disciples?
by Jimmy Aycock