Matthew 28:19 “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.”
This verse in the Gospel of Matthew is referred to as The Great Commission. It seems that usually when I hear it, the emphasis is on going out to all nations. However, God brought to my attention that Jesus not only commands us to go and make disciples, but He also teaches us that in order to make disciples of all nations, we have to teach believers to obey everything He has commanded. He has not left us the option for partial obedience. We cannot be disciples if we are not taught to obey all of God’s Word.
Obedience to Jesus’ teaching is a matter of the heart. The connection between love and obedience is made throughout the Bible. Deuteronomy 30:2, “…obey Him with all your heart…”;1John 5:3, “This is love for God: to obey His commands.”; John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”; John 14:24, “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” Certainly none of us follows God’s Word perfectly for Romans 3:23 tells us that we all fall short of the glory of God. Even the Apostle Paul tells of his struggles to be obedient in Romans 7:15-25. But if we love God and Jesus, then the desire of our hearts should be to obey all of His Word. 1Corinthians 13:6 tells us that love is not self-seeking. But if we choose what we want to believe in God’s Word, then aren’t we self-seeking? Instead, look to the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Obedience is also a matter of truth. Disbelief in God’s truth is convenient because then there is nothing to obey. But in John 8:31, Jesus says that obeying His teaching and being his disciples brings truth and freedom. “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” So it’s believing God’s truth, not making our own personal truth, that makes us His disciples and sets us free. Personal truths are usually attempts to justify our own ways. They rarely require anything of us, and actually keep us in slavery to whatever it is we are justifying. But God’s truth causes us to respond and change, breaking those chains of bondage. We cannot know what or how to obey if we don’t believe, read and study all of God’s Word, and only then will we be able to participate in The Great Commission.
Where are you self-seeking in or leaning on your own understanding of God’s Word?
Where do you fall short of obeying all of God’s Word?