It is not only possible, but essential to reconnect the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. In fact, we cannot do one without doing the other.
The Great Commandment includes a call to both love God and to love those around us. Ministry and the Great Commandment flow out of a love relationship with God and then a grateful heart that in turn loves others enough to lead them to Christ and help them to obey and follow Him.
It is possible that the Great Commission is actually under the umbrella of the Great Commandment. A follower of Christ cannot completely love God and not love the people God created. We cannot love people around us and not tell them of the Christ who died to bring them both eternal life and a quality of life that includes meaning and purpose.
[boxify cols_use =”2″ cols =”4″ position =”right” box_spacing =”10″ padding =”10″ background_color =”#EBF0F5″ border_width =”3″ border_color =”#336699″ border_style =”solid” ] GOALS/TARGETS:
1 Reconnect the call to make more disciples of Christ to the Great Commandments, to love God and to love people.
2 Mobilize disciples in loving God, serving people, and sharing their faith.
(Great Commandment) Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:27-31
(Great Commission) Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21, 30-31
• Use of love when preaching, talking about, or training in evangelism.
• Use of testimonies around telling someone about Christ as an act of love in the face of opposition or internal hang-ups.
• Use of testimonies around someone’s heart changed by an act of love.
• Communicate the connection of loving God and people during baptism service.
• Use of biblical preaching and quiet times around both Great Commandment and Great Commission.[/boxify]
We received the Great Commandment first and it sets the boundaries and the priorities in terms of our love. A starting point for evangelism is a growing, loving relationship with Christ. We do not tend to share about something we are not currently experiencing. We cannot design enough methods to circumvent having a growing relationship with Christ.
For the last several decades there has been an unwritten, but significant division between loving people and advancing God’s Kingdom by sharing Christ and making disciples. Even our terminology sets us up for division, some are committed to missions as a part of social action and justice and love, and others are committed to evangelism as a part of the Great Commission.
God loves people, so we must too, even the unlovely and those who are currently rejecting Him. We increase our evangelism capacity, as we increase our love for people capacity. We cannot love people completely without helping them come to know and grow in Christ likeness. Evangelism is an act of love, not an act of narrow-mindedness, not an act of aggression, not an act of intrusion into a private area.
The Great Commission is to make more and better followers of Christ, who make more disciples. The Great Commission sets priorities for our lives individually and for the church corporately. We cannot separate evangelism from discipleship. Disciples share Christ and make Him known through who they are, what they do, and what they say/proclaim. One cannot be a follower of the ways of Christ and not be a part of the ministry of reconciliation, reconciling those without Christ to Christ. This is taking up our cross (Luke 9:23).
We run into significant problems both practically and theologically if we separate out the Great Commission from the Great Commandment. Jesus came both to serve and to save. See Luke 19:10 and Mark 10:45 We cannot love without sharing and helping people grow. We cannot carry out disciple making outside of the context of love.