The Greatest Commandment
Matthew 22:36-38 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the foremost and greatest commandment.
The First Commandment
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
After finishing part one of this article, I felt part 2 would be right on it’s heals-within a week or so…I was wrong.
Quite frankly, I wanted to be in the ‘right place’ to write this, so I would not mishandle the most important lesson in my life-something that literally has been decades in the making. Unifying His greatest and first commands is in essence… giving the church the means to bring Jehovah’s heavenly realm down to earth. When His children walk in unison with these two truths, they will finalize the Jehovah’s eternal purpose- ‘Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ Matt. 6:10
When the Lord proclaims in His infinite wisdom-these are My greatest and first teachings, He is making theses scriptures priority for the church over all eternal truths.
After months of hesitation-questioning if these two divine directives could be presented with greater insight…I began to realize my role was simply to present them to the believers-point the way. The true revelation will come through you, His radiant church. His bride will bring this truth into it’s glory.
Ephesians 5:27 That He might present it to Himself a glorious (illuminated) church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Yes, I desire to share what the Lord continually emphasizes when I gather with believers-but the real messenger is the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ carrying out the world’s most important lesson. It is not man that declares these two commandments to be first and foremost, but the Lord Himself.
Matthew 22:36-38 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the foremost and great commandment.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Years ago I was at the mission and was setting up the chairs in preparation for the service. The Lord stopped me and asked me what I was doing (every time He asked me a question I know I am in for a lesson) 🙂 . To be honest I thought, Lord, I don’t know what I am doing, You know that -lol…but I responded, setting up for my-oops- our ministry. He responded very clearly- I never said in My Word you are to build your ministry. Your total focus should be on advancing the Kingdom of God Matt. 6:33.
This spoken Word change my entire view of my Christian life. After service, I went outside and understood all the surrounding ‘divided’ churches (those who are truly humbled) would one day unite in one light-a great city on a hill
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city (singular) that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
My concept of Christian service, discipleship, outreach and purpose all changed that evening. After reading hundreds of scriptures about the kingdom of God later that night, the next morning I went to church. For the first time in my life, the pastor preached and entire sermon on the Kingdom of God-using the same scriptures that I reviewed just hours before-what a confirmation. See The Way.
The ‘Secret’ of the Kingdom Message
After two decades of going out in the community and applying the Lords kingdom principles-and trying to have other local pastors become involved-I became extremely frustrated. I asked the Lord, why are the pastors I have met so reluctant to pursue the Kingdom of God, it is your ‘first’ commandment.
He replied, you have to apply the greatest commandment in order to see the secret to My first commandment.
Mark 4:11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables”
In other words, you have to ‘lay down’ your ministry, -seek the Lord with all your heart mind and soul Matt. 22:37-38, in order to be like a child to see the ‘secret’ to His kingdom message Mk 10:15 . This was the first ‘hint’ of the spiritual union between His greatest and first commandment.
By the Lords grace, He brought a pastor in town that understood the kingdom purpose completely. He showed me other pastors in the country were indeed focused on the Kingdom of God. While many used different terminology, they were still completely devoted to the Kingdom Purpose. Thanks Pastor Steve.
Later, the Lord brought another brother into our circle that had a spiritual focus on sanctification-or- Matt. 22: 37-38 …loving God with all your heart, soul and mind. (keep up the good work Joe 🙂 ). From that time forward, the Holy Spirits focus in our walk is to have these paired ‘nitro-glycerin’ truths become activated by each other (explained below). This marriage of scripture gives Christians their method for living sanctified or holy, which will ignite (Holy Spirit activate) our connection with God Ps. 24:3-4, Prov. 3:32.
Walking in Holiness (Matt. 22:37-39-the greatest commandment) unites us into Gods Kingdom (Matt. 6:33 the first commandment) which in turn brings the Lords heavenly realm to earth. The results-supernatural glory beyond measure!
Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down,
As these verses declare-we believe these two teachings are the foundation for the church. When the body of Christ genuinely applies these dual truths to their lives, we will see a radical change in the world. The ‘earthly things’ will be transformed by the heavenly realm…which will be finalized with the literal return of Jesus to establish His kingdom reign Rev. 20:4, 2 Cor. 4:18, See Day of the Lord Rapture, Revelation 3:10.
Matt. 22:37-38 Loving the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind
While the discovery of the Kingdom Message was put on my heart first, to understand the Gods Kingdom Purpose, as mentioned earlier, we have to have become like a child to understand it’s secrets Mk. 4:11, Mk. 10:15. Simply stated-
Psalm 18:26 With the pure You will show Yourself pure; Ps. 25:14
This ‘purity’ is called sanctification. When we believe in Christ, our sins die on the cross and we become children of God Jn. 1:12. See Link. In the Lords eyes, we become like His Son who knew no sin…having been purified by Christ sacrifice on the cross for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The Father views us ‘through His Son’ and thus our sins are cleansed away, white as snow 🙂 Phil. 3:9, Rm. 6:8
Revelation 19:8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her (the church, bride of Christ) to wear.” Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.
Until we unite with Christ however, we still fight a sin nature-as Paul did in Romans 7. The last part of this chapter summarizes our struggle with sin perfectly.
Romans 7:23-25 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Before we receive our glorified bodies, or pass on to eternity with Christ (2 Cor. 5:8), we will struggle with sin-which takes a real battle to conquer. ‘In Christ’ however we can truly overcome 1 Thes. 5:23, Gal. 5:17-18, 2 Pet. 1:8-9. While we realize that we will always need to work at sanctifying our lives on earth…we still know the Fathers sees His children as blameless-pure through Christ 1 Jn. 1:7, Is. 1:18.
Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after (strive for perfection), if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray,..the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh (soul) is weak.
Paul finishes the discussion on our ‘war with sin’ by saying
Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me (our battle with sin) through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The Lord understood that purifying ourselves-being obedient to Him by shedding our sin, gives us the ability to discover areas of our lives not yet surrendered to Him. This ‘sanctification process’ is the most critical part of our walk with God. Walking in truth allows us to not only walk into the light of His heavenly realm, but it is also the only way we can understand His purpose and will for us Rm. 12:2, Phil. 1:9-11.
John 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
This scripture gives us the correct order of behavior for the sanctification process to occur. First, we have to live truthfully with ourselves and our God (lives by the truth). I have, the church has so underestimated the process of being completely honest with our shortcomings before God. This honest transparency before God is not guilt, for living in guilt only cripples our walk with the Lord 2 Cor. 7:10, Ps. 32.
Getting honest before God is recognizing our sinful behaviors. It is allowing Him to work in ‘all’ areas of our lives, surrendering the earthly things we are hanging on to. If we ‘shut down’ this continual inspection of our souls, our sin (and the devil) will lead us away from walking in truth (above) 1 Peter 5:8. Honesty can be extremely painful, but cultivation our hard ground is the only way a seed (s) can bear fruit in our walk with Him Mk. 4:4-9. As we become truthful with the Lord, ourselves and others-when then are able to be purified and come into His light-the next part of this verse Jn. 14:21, Jn. 15:4-10. The last part of Jn. 3:21 explains only after we accomplish the work of ‘living in truth’ can we come into the light and understand His plans for us -see plainly…the things done in the sight of God.
Another important teaching in the word that parallels this lesson
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life
In America it is easy to post on social media and claim Jesus in ‘the way’. The task of correctly examining our hearts by pursuing ‘the truth’ is where the broad road starts to thin out. Only after we diligently walk in the truth however do we receive the ‘heaven benefits’- and partake in ‘the life’ -the Godly realm from above Jn. 15:1-10. See Living Water.
Jesus Knew Living in ‘Truth’ was the Key for Uniting God with His Saints
Sometimes we need to stop and reminds ourselves-The Lords spoken words are backed by infinite wisdom and absolute fact.
Jesus made Matt. 22:37-39 ‘His Greatest’ commandment. Let’s stop all our church programs, catchy lesson plans, future ministry goals and ask ourselves ‘Am I, is our church really pursuing this greatest and first commandmant over all else’? Do we really have these two supreme scriptures fully understood and fulfilled in our lives? Lk. 9:59-60.
Jesus, in Matt. 22: 37-39 is trying to teach the church-until we get completely honest with each and every aspect of your walk with Me, bringing sanctification to all of our heart, soul and mind…we will never attain His greatest purpose Rm. 12:2. Living in truth is the key to abide in His heavenly light 1 Thes. 5:23, Ps. 51:6 KJV. This scripture is the most detailed verse in His Word that exhorts us to EXAMINE EVERYTHING! EVERY AREA of our walk with God. Every attitude, habit, behavior, theology, relationship…needs to come under the light of His Word and leading. I personally believe since the Lord made this the ‘greatest commandment’ all other sanctification verses in the Bible come under the ‘umbrella’ or authority of this teaching.
Note: Jesus is not asking us to be perfect overnight, but to earnestly strive for this perfection by sincerely examining ‘all’ areas of our life Phil. 3:12 KJV. Only in this way, over time-can we truly overcome the worldly things in life and become holy vessels of ‘gold’ for Him 2 Tim. 2:20-23.
A Startling Discovery
When the Lord first brought these two truths into unity, He spoke to me and asked me to look back and evaluate every church and Christian who had gone astray or ‘off coarse’ in their walk with Him. The Lord wanted me to include the broad spectrum…those who were in some ways ‘stuck’ in their walk-to those who had severely departed from the Lords truths.
He asked me what caused them to be off course in their unity with Him. To put it mildly, I was stunned. In each and every situation, they did not examine their heart as the Lord directs in Matt. 22:37-39.
While the first stage of drifting away usually starts with an attitude of not fearing the Lord (deciding not to serve Him in all situations), the serious issues always seem to result from hanging on to our desires…things of this world that we want to keep ‘our way’. 2 Chron. 19:9, Ps. 25:14, Mk. 4:13-20. See Part 1.
I began to realize just how important this verse truly is. Every unresolved problem, all the errors that eventually led to more serious issues down the road, each division, all ongoing sin-whether by a church or an individual emerged by not surrendering to the Lord areas of our heart, soul and mind. Loving the Lord is keeping His commandments Jn. 14:15. To love Him with our whole being is letting go of ‘all’ the things we keep that are contrary to His will. To accomplish this quest-Jehovah God is making it absolutely clear-every part of our lives need to be subject to His Word and direction.
I was especially surprised at the ‘range’ of this verse. It covered all who were not yielding (not examining their heart) to the Lord in a few to numerous areas of their lives. In other words, the ‘upright Christians’ in church who-by appearance- most thought were doing fantastic … to those ‘out in the world’ all suffered very serious consequences for not following love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind (explained below).
Personal Note: To be honest, I was blown away when I began to see how a majority of Christians have never taken His greatest commandment to heart. It is so sad, many think they are doing wonderful in their spiritual walk-but do not recognize areas of pride… lack of surrender in personal matters or teachings. This scripture is soo important for ‘all’ Christians-new and grown in the Lord 1 Jn. 2:12-17 KJV.
In every instance, the Lord went to those who were drifting away numerous times. His Spirit or another believer would encourage them to ‘Check your heart, hear from Me…don’t love the world or hang on to ‘your ways’ in this area…love Me and I will keep you safe in My light and protection’. I was simply amazed how neglecting the Lords greatest commandment -not taking this teaching seriously in their life was the universal and grand mistake that made ‘all’ the churches and individual Christians that I had known get off the divinely directed path with God Ps. 119:105.
It should be mentioned again, we all are guilty of needing to be redirected by the Lord…it’s not about pointing fingers but have the Word help us understand how we can walk in the Glory of God 🙂 1 Thes. 2:12.
The Universal Symptoms of Neglecting His Greatest Commandment
When the Lord starts to discipline His children…He is patient and wanting them to understand that sin can cause serious consequences in their lives Ep. 3:14-21, Rm. 11:19-26.
Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
In all situations that I have experienced, He sent His Spirit or other believers to guide and correct them-not wanting them to stray into more serous sin 1 Pet. 5:8, Ep. 6:11.
When praying for them, you can actually see when one shuts down. ‘I don’t want to hear from the Lord in this area-this part of my life is too important to surrender or just too difficult to trust in Him through this trial. Many times it’s like a cliff some are trying to avoid. ‘I’m not going to look at that part of my life, I will avoid ‘going there’ at all cost’. Sadly, for most Americans our cliffs are a few feet in height in comparison to those in other countries that are being persecuted for their faith in Christ Heb. 12:4.
The diversity of problems that arise with believers covers the full spectrum. From leadership in the church to new believers-the Lord is constantly challenging us to continue on the road of sanctification -loving Him will all our heart, mind soul.
For pastors and church leaders-their needs to be a consistent searching of the heart for false teachings and traditions that may have replaced the Holy Spirits leading from the Word. It seems to be extremely rare to find a leader in church humble enough to sincerely ask ‘Lord-I will search every area of my heart, soul and mind-surrender false teachings to You-because I desire Your truth over ‘all’ traditions. Even if I were to lose my position-I desire truth over everything-your children are too important to teach any falsehood!’ Phil. 2:20-21, 2 Cor. 2:17. Praise God when the leaders of His saints earnestly pursues His truth!
The attachments we hang on to vary dramatically. Not wanting to leave a dead church because of social ties-or enjoying the recognition we receive because of our position.
Note: The only way to engage with a lukewarm church is to preach against the sin. Trying to cooperate with them under their covering is futile, the Lord is not pleased Rev. 3:14-16.
Other examples include unforgiveness -allowing a coldness to enter our hearts. Wanting to enjoy the pleasures of this world. Even if these distractions are not directly sin, they can still keep us from pursuing ‘seek ye first’ the things of His kingdom Mk. 4:18-19, Matt. 6:33. Allowing a ‘sleeping’ attitude toward the things of God-becoming distant to His call 1 Thes. 5:6, Matt. 25:1-13. . Anything we latch on to (many call soul ties) that replace the Word and the Spirits leading become sin when we refuse to love the Lord with every area of our heart, soul and mind.
Like a physical sickness in our body-the part affected in our life is usually attached to the area in which we have sin. The numbness (blindness) in ones spirit will generally be directly linked to the same area of disobedience Gal. 6:7. Hearing from the Lord becomes more difficult because purity in heart gives us the ability to -see and hear- from Him 1 Pet. 4:2, Eph. 5:14-18. You can actually see the Lords discipline in the realm of ones error, applying consequences in hopes to bring them back on the narrow road Deut. 8:1-5, 1 Pet. 1:6-7, Prov. 3:11-12.
It needs to be stated that the effects of sin can spread, similar to the symptoms of gangrene. We are never to treat ongoing sin or disobedience lightly. Tragically, the consequences can be eternal Heb. 6:4-6, Heb. 10:26-31. We need to continually pray-Father, guide me in every area of my life-help me correct my sin before it darkens my walk with you-Your Greatest Commandment. Prov. 2:3-5. See Hebrews 4:12.
The Fruit of the Greatest Commandment
When Jesus says His greatest commandment, there can be no other interpretation!
Preachers will enter a church and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit-they will present this truth as Moses pointed to Gods glory on Mt. Sinai Jn. 1:1, 14. Those congregations entering in will be completely transformed by becoming genuinely obedient to this life changing command. Christians in cities and nations will devote themselves totally to this truth (see below). The congregations will become heavenly sanctified and Gods kingdom glory will literally abide within our mist Matt. 18:19-20. In every meeting this verse will be more and more embedded within us-and the divine sparks are going to fly 2 Cor. 3:18 . See Fellowship or Friendship.
I personally believe when this teaching is taught as a foundation to our walk- we will encounter His Spirits love continually abiding with us. Man and his junk gets out of the way-and God moves in. This my friends, is where life truly becomes exciting-The Kingdom of God Arrives on Earth!
The Kingdom of God
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
The Kingdom of God is not only a lesson in itself-but a life long pursuit. Please take the time to read the first 4 articles in the following link, it will give scripture on His great purpose for the church Kingdom of God.
The Lord summarizes His intentions for the Kingdom of God beautifully
Matthew 6:9-10 “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
The Lord summarizes the saints responsibility to the Kingdom of God beautifully
Matthew 11:12 From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it.
After we praise His Name in the Lords prayer-the Fathers sole intent is to unite His heavenly world with ours. Truth in most instances is sooo simple-we just need to open our eyes and see. The Father wants to wrap His arms around His children and be one with them. Infinite love, healing-glory, all His divine qualities abiding with His family on earth!
As Matt. 11:12 (above) teaches however, Jesus is waiting for His body to do their part-to bring down the Kingdom of God Heb. 10:12-13, Matt. 24:14. The church is going to go to war with satan-a kingdom (mustard seed) church will become the city on a mountain and the Lords kingdom will begin to reign on earth Matt. 5:14, Matt. 13:31-32, Rev. 12:7-11. We can’t go to battle however if the church is still asleep to the fact that we need to -Declare war-enlist-get trained and march out! See links at bottom.
Ok, this is where things get exciting and personal -talk ‘off the cuff’ as they say.
When the church gets a hold of ‘His greatest commandment’ they get sanctified…it’s that simple. As the scripture in the above chart shows- when we get serious about getting rid of sin-the Holy Spirit becomes increasingly stronger and brighter in our lives.
To put in frankly, The more rubbish we work out of our heart, soul and mind, the more glory of God is manifested in our lives 1 Thes. 5:23.
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me… and I will love him, and will manifest myself (divinely appear) to him.
As Rm. 8:5 teaches, the less we crave the things of this world…the more we crave after the things from heaven.
When we apply these duo of scriptures to our lives, we will walk on our narrow road with God on ‘both feet’ Matt. 7:13-14. As we persistently expel sin, (His greatest commandment) the Lord is bound in His Word to implant His glory from heaven among His saints-above verses- thus bringing His divine Kingdom realm down to His church on earth (His first commandment). These two supreme truths-His greatest and first-were meant to be infused in our lives – a continuous combustion activated by each other.
Gods will burst into our churches when we mobilize these two truths into our spirit and souls. Think ‘snowball effect’ across the world with the holy fire from heaven! His final great call to the church-uniting heaven and earth will become reality when we finally activate the eternal wisdom of the Lord, making these our greatest and first commandments. Praise God!
The destiny for the world finalized by simply believing the Lord-
Thy Kingdom come They Will Be Done…On Earth as it is In Heaven Matt. 6:10.
Note: Please see the following links that give other scriptures for the Lords divine purpose for the church. While this article is intended to unite these priority scriptures, His greatest and first commandment, we also realize-His entire Word has everlasting and important teachings that the church needs to wholeheartedly follow 2 Chron. 19:9.
God bless you as you pursue His truth 🙂 .
Please see other related links
Our Road with God Part 1
Kingdom of God -Main Articles (Start with first 4 articles 🙂 )