From The Pastor's Study

January 2019

A lawyer came to Jesus asking Him what was the greatest of all the commandments.  Instead of giving the lawyer the greatest commandment, Jesus gave him the two greatest commandments.  Jesus said “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the secondislike unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  All the commandments in the Bible rest on these two commandments.  The only way we can faithfully live any of the commands of Jesus is to first live out these two commands.  All commands are not created equal.  These two commands set the stage for all the other commands in the Bible. Or better yet, all the other commands in the Bible are fulfilled in these two commands.  

To take this one step further, we cannot love people the way we ought to until first, we are loving God with all of our heart, soul and mind.  Loving God with everything we have energizes us in loving others in a Christ-like way. Without loving God with our all, anything we do will be in vain towards cultivating our relationship with God.  Jesus wrote a message to each of the seven churches in Revelations 2 and 3.  The first church He wrote to was Ephesus. Even though there seemed to be more wicked and immoral churches within the seven churches Jesus wrote to, the church at Ephesus received the greatest potential judgement, if they did not repent. Jesus would remove their candlestick (Their authority, power and His presence) from the seven. Whatever they needed to repent from must have been excessively egregious and offensive to God.   Our minds would drift from immorality to absolute chaos within the church. Jesus did write to those sorts of churches within the seven churches, but those issues did not plague the church at Ephesus. The church at Ephesus egregious sin and offense towards God was they left their first love. Ephesus became so mechanical towards church life, ministry and worship of God that loving God supremely was missing in action. Church life, ministry and worship is meaningless without loving God supremely. 

Now I will tie this into a conversation I had the other day with a friend. He mentioned his enormous concern over the lack of passion he sees in Christians regarding soul-winning.  He feels there is great apathy within his church and Christianity as a whole, when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission Jesus gave to His church.  The problem is not that we need new programs or classes on soul winning.  Our kind of churches have tried this over the last four decades.  These workshops and classes have resulted in a decreased number of people invested in soul-winning.  We desperately need a revival that meetings have largely been ineffective in producing. Why are meetings ineffective in producing revivals?  Revivals do not come via preplanned meetings or special speakers.  Rather, revivals are results of God’s people broken over their love for God.  Loving God is the catalyst for soul winning or anything that is God-ward.  

Remember the second great command Jesus gave is to love others as we love ourselves.  Soul winning or telling others about the saving grace of Jesus Christ is the ultimate act of loving our neighbor. Anything else we do will fall completely short of filling their greatest need. The biblical reason we fail in this operation is not fear or intimidation but love.  We have supplanted the supremacy of loving God with something or someone else. The only way loving ourselves work is if our love for God is supreme.  If our love for God is not supreme than loving ourselves will be selfish and no matter how hard we try or effort we put into a thing, we could never love others to the same degree we love ourselves.  

So, getting back to my friend’s concern.  Why do not we have passion or an overwhelming burden to tell others about Jesus?  We love ourselves, others, or things more than God.  Not loving God supremely extends far beyond soul winning and into every aspect of our Christian walk.  Why do we struggle with faithfulness to Godly things?  We love ourselves, others, or things more than God. The answer is not more revival meetings or seminars.  Just like the church at Ephesus, we need to repent and get back to loving God supremely.