Last week I participated in a Mission Increase webinar through my role as a grant writer for Mission to Amish People. The webinar was entitled “Disciple Making With Church Partners”. The gist of the webinar was how nonprofits, like Mission to Amish People, can partner with churches to become effective together to make disciples.
One of the leaders of the webinar. was Caleb Crider, the Director of Program Innovation. He said something that struck me. He said that The Great Commandments, which are two, and The Great Commission are tied together, and one cannot exist without the other.
In my forty-six years of being a Christian, one thing has always bothered me. The churches I attended never, or rarely included a regular plea to or reasoning for reaching unsaved people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They preached and taught many, many scriptures about the love, blessing, and power of God in each life if the listeners closely followed God and His Son Jesus Christ. People in the congregation often lifted their hands in praise to God. But I think, however, in almost all cases they forgot the punchline.
I think that what Mr. Crider asserted in the webinar is the key to what churches are missing. I call it, “An Inextricable Connection” between The Great Commandments, which are two, and The Great Commission. (Note: Inextricable simply means “impossible to separate.”)
Below are the two Great Commandments told by Jesus found in Matthew 22:35-40:
“And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: ‘Teacher, which command of the law is the greatest?’ He (Jesus) said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.’ "In simple words, we are first to love God with all the power within us. And secondly, we are to love others. These are the two Great Commandments.
Secondly, is The Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20:
“Then Jesus came to them (the disciples) and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ "I want to ask you a question. Do you think The Great Commission ended with the disciples, or does it continue with us? A natural extension of loving God and loving others is to tell others about the great love He has for them, right? Jesus told the disciples to make other disciples “of all nations”.
Later in Acts 1:8 Jesus told the disciples,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The disciples, as we all know, weren’t going to live long enough to be witnesses to “the end of the earth”, and to "make disciples of all nations".
The implication is clear in the following four points:
- We greatly love God with everything within us, as Jesus commanded us in the First Great Commandment.
- The great love of God then flows through us with His powerful Holy Spirit. We become an extension of Jesus.
- Because of this great love we also greatly love others, the Second Greatest Commandment.
- And because of our great love for others, we are compelled to lovingly fulfill The Great Commission by becoming extensions of the disciples, telling others about God’s great love for them.