Yesterday, we looked at the first two parts of a three part Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20. They were: 1) Preach the Gospel to the lost, for only the Gospel has the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16); and 2) Baptize those who turn to Christ (repent), and believe in His payment for their sins (remission) (Lk. 24:47).
3) The third part of the Great Commission, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," is a little more difficult to explain. It involves Christ's teaching on how His followers are to live in relationship:
a) with God. We are to love God with our whole being (Matt.22:37; 1 Jn. 4:19).
b) with others. We are to love other Christians (1 Jn. 3:14). We are to love the lost who are enemies of God, and therefore, our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48; Rom. 5:10; Jn. 15:18-23).
c) with ourselves. For the Christian, this is the most difficult command of the Lord for His disciples to follow. For one thing, in order for a lost person to be saved, he must realize he is unworthy (Rom. 3:23). We are saved totally by the mercy and grace of God (Eph. 2:8-10). Even after we are born again, we constantly struggle with sin (Rom. 7:14-25). In order for a believer to love himself, he must see himself as God sees him. He loves us just as much as He loves Jesus (Jn. 17:23). God, knowing that we will one day be like Jesus (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 1:6; 1 Jn. 3:2), already recognizes us as being seated with Him in the heavenlies (Eph. 1:3-8). We need to see ourselves as God sees us.
Still, it seems impossible to love ourselves. But when we think about it, the fact that we want to be saved, we want to be pleasing to the Lord, we want to be Christ-like, means we want what is best for ourselves. In other words, there is a delicate balance between self love and self loathing. It is called humility. All of these admonitions are summed up in a single verse, written by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians; it says, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself'" (5:14).
But what has all this to do with preaching the whole truth? I pointed out yesterday that the Church has fragmented to such an extent that the last word one would use to describe it is love. Each and every split that has produced a division in the Body of Christ has been the result of a group of believers insisting that one or more doctrines are being distorted or ignored by those with whom they have chosen to break fellowship. As a result, one can almost define the different denominations by their emphasis on one or two areas of disagreement. The Baptists are known for their belief in the eternal security of the believer. The Church of Christ is known for their teaching that one must be baptized in order to be saved. The Pentecostals are known for believing salvation is evidenced by the speaking in tongues.
To be continued. Lord willing.
To be continued.