The Great Commandment
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question,
tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment
in the law? 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. This is the first and great commandment.
We do not understand very well today what Jesus meant when He said "with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
To the Jews it was a commandment that they learned at their mother's knees:
- Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments,
which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them
in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD
thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command
thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and
that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to
do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily,
as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth
with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all
thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee
this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently
unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou
risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they
shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon
the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the LORD
thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers,
to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities,
which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which
thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards
and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and
be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee
forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear
the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
learned by rote because it was not followed by the faith in their hearts
which God was wanting them to seek.
This becomes apparent when Jesus tested them:
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What
think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son
of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David
in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on
my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call
him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a
word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more
To confirm this, none of them commented on the second commandment that
Jesus inserted into the answer to the first question, which purpose was
to distinguish the commandment from why it was given. To show a God-centred
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law
and the prophets.
We must try and understand what that old Jewish phrase meant and its pertinency
in today's society of different cultures. It has to be a way of life common
to all believers throughout the world - Africa, Asia, Europe. So, it must
surpass man's culture whatever that is, wherever that is.
To illustrate: I know a man and his family who recently moved house. It
was discovered that on one side of them live an unmarried couple who have
a dog or two, who do not clean up the dog mess on the premises with the
result that the stink and the flies migrate over the fence. On the other
side live a family who are continually arguing, using offensive swear words
back and forth at the top of their voices for the whole neighbourhood to
Now, if one of these neighbours came to you to ask to borrow R1000 would
you expect to be reimbursed?
If one came for a cup of sugar, would you "lend" that?
You see, the same man who taught about the Great Commandment also said:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither
cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet,
and turn again and rend you.
We know that the Bible does not contradict itself in essence, perhaps
in translation, so let's see some more from Matthew's gospel:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment
ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be
measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's
eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt
thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and,
behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out
the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast
out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto
the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them
under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Ask, and it shall be given
you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For
every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him
that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if
his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will
he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven
give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever
ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is
the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is
the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and
many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and
narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that
find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good
tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil
fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a
corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits
ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall
enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we
not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in
thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever
heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a
wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and
the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell
not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which
built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came,
and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was
the fall of it.
So, what is Jesus getting at? What is He teaching about?
The evidence of a converted soul.
Jesus explained this phenomenon elsewhere and called it being born again:
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that
thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that
thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born
when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and
be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said
unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and
thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
And we know that we cannot just drift into becoming born again, it is a
definite occurrence and we, our bodies and souls, become changed, in that
instead of being worldly [self-centred] , we willingly work to become God-centred
because we have God, who is Spirit and truth, living in us, and we want
to please Him.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not
after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh
do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the
things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to
be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind
is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please
God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the
Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a
man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not,
then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit
also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as
we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings
which cannot be uttered. And
he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of
the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to
the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
Paul, Peter and John expressly repeated this commandment which is so seldom
obeyed by professing Christians; one of the most potent weapons which the
indwelling Holy Spirit of God can use because of our obedient witness and
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another,
and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end
he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our
Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
(1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently:
(1 Peter 1:22)
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him,
and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to
us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God
in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the
day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no
fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first
loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:
for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God
whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who
loveth God love his brother also.
(1 John 4:15-21)
Now these are not just some high sounding phrases, but show a definite
change of heart.
This starts off when we first believe that God is who He says He is and
we experience (perceive) spiritual happenings that we were not previously
aware of. As we acknowledge God for what He is doing in our life, He "turns
the volume up" and when we realise how rotten and sinful we are compared
to Him and throw ourselves upon His perfect mercy, then, and only then
does the Holy Spirit of God enter our physical bodies and joins to our
own, sleeping spirit.
God, who created us, spirit soul and body, for this purpose (Romans 8:11;
Ephesians 1:11; 1 John 5:14) can now legally and righteously use us in
the kingdom of this world to overthrow the prince of the power of the air
so that His Will is done on earth and His Kingdom can come (Matthew 6:10),
the Kingdom that Adam gave to the serpent (Satan) that time (Romans 6:16).
Now, if you were prompted by the indwelling Spirit to give R1000 to a certain
person for use in the Kingdom, what would you do? Be honest with yourself,
your life may depend on it.
Here are some relevant readings put together at this time by the Holy Spirit
for those who are interested in learning more.
From the book Names of Christ (Moody Press):
HOPE OF GLORY
To whom God would make known*
what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles;
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Here is a revelation not made known in other ages to the sons of men
but now revealed by the Holy Spirit to the church.
Paul is continually impressing the wonderful truth of God's will
as the cause and work of salvation and the wonderful privilege bestowed
upon him of preaching it. This glory which is so wonderful is the garment
with which all believers will be clothed when Christ comes for us. How
we should prize the possession of "Christ in us." Do we, and do we long
that others might possess it also?
Lord, give us a hunger for others that they might also be the rich possessors
of the Hope of Glory. Thank you for the riches we possess through You.
* Ephesians 2:8-10
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From the book Every Day with Jesus (Crusade for World Revival [CWR])(Struik)
And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD,
who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi
said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.
For reading and meditation -- Ruth 2:18-22
It is not difficult to imagine the kind of thoughts that may have been
going through Naomi's mind as she dwells on Ruth's first day in the harvest
field. How will she fare? What will the men say about her - a foreigner?
Will she be successful in bringing home enough grain to help keep body
and soul together?
If Naomi had such fears then they are quickly laid to rest when Ruth
returns with a whole ephah of barley, An ephah is no small measure. In
today's terms it is nearly ten kilogrammes. I can picture Ruth recounting
the events of the day with great excitement - her whole being tingling
with delight as she reflects on the way God has provided for her. Naomi's
questions come fast and furious: "tell me everything! Whose field were
you in? Where did you glean?" As soon as Ruth mentions the name of Boaz,
Naomi's heart leaps within her, and she begins to focus on the Lord in
a way she has not quite done before. " The Lord bless him!" she says, referring
of course to Boaz, "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living
and the dead" (v.20). She senses that Ruth's meeting with Boaz has a providential
feel about it. Boaz was a close relative who had the right to redeem Ruth
and take her to be his wife.
Together, Ruth and Naomi look back over the day and give thanks to God
for the evidence of His guiding hand. They find, as you and I have found,
that the evidences of divine design are certainly there as we look back.
Father, I confess I am better at looking back and thanking you than
I am at looking ahead and praising You. Forgive me for that. Help me learn
from what I have experienced of Your guiding hand to trust You more in
the future. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen
So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley
harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
For reading and meditation -- Ruth 2:22-23
Ruth continues to glean in the field of Boaz, secure in the knowledge
that when the barley harvest is over she will be able to stay on and participate
in the wheat harvest as well. Naomi is equally elated as she senses that
Ruth's meeting with Boaz is no accident but part of God's wonderful, provision
and care. One can imagine Naomi musing to herself: "How strange that Ruth
should alight on the field owned by Boaz and that she should become the
object of his personal interest and concern. And to discover too that Boaz
has the right to redeem her and may well take her to be his wife." Deep
down in her heart Naomi knows that God is at work.
Each one of us must recognise that in the ebb and flo of life's circumstances,
an eternal God is quietly pursuing His purposes. Little, if anything, happens
by chance in the God-ordained life. The Almighty is seeking to work out
His purposes in the life of each one of us, and He is there in every emergency
of situation that arises. He is there in the ups and downs, the ins and
outs, the comings and goings.
When you become aware that in the life of every one of His children
God is bent on bringing to pass His perfect purposes, then that thought
most certainly reduces anxiety and fear. If only we could grasp the truth
of Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Hardly a fear would then arise in our hearts. Our trouble is not that we
do not believe God's Word; our
trouble is we do not believe it enough.
My Father and my God, grant that Your Word might move from my intellect
right into my heart. I don't want just to hold Your Word; I want it to
hold me. "I believe, help Thou mine unbelief." In Jesus' Name I ask it.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
From What the Bible Teaches by R..A. Torrey. (Whittaker House Publishers)
The Work of the Spirit in Man
I I The Work of the Spirit in Man in general.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send
unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth
from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear
witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour,
for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his
witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God
hath given to them that obey him.
FIRST PROPOSITION: The Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth regarding
Note 1 - At first sight this testimony would seem to be confined
to the believer, For Jno. 15 :26 ( "But when the Comforter is come,
whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which
proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:") says "whom
I will send unto you" (i. e., of course believers) but in the next chapter,
verses 7, 8 ("Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you
that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto
you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he
will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:")
where the Holy Spirit's work in the
world is distinctly described, it says, "I will send him unto you,"
The truth seems clearly to be that the Spirit works on the world through
the believers to whom He is sent. If we as believers realised the utter
dependence of the world upon us for the Spirit's gracious work, would we
not be more careful to see that the Spirit found in us an unobstructed
channel? How slowly the world comes to know Jesus because of the unfaithfulness
of the church.
Note 2 - Jno. 14:17 - " Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world
cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know
him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." All truth is from
the Spirit - He is "the Spirit of truth" but it is His especial work to
bear witness to Him who is the truth - Jesus Christ. (Jno. 14:6.)
Note 3 - It is only through the testimony of the Holy Spirit
that men ever come to a true knowledge of Christ. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3)
If you wish men to get a true view of Jesus Christ - such a view of Him
that they may believe and be saved - you must seek for them the testimony
of the Holy Spirit. Neither your testimony, nor even that of the Word alone,
will effect this - though it is your testimony or that of the word which
the Holy Spirit uses. But unless your testimony and that of the word is
taken up by the Holy Spirit and He Himself testifies, they will not believe.
This explains why it is that one who has been long in darkness concerning
Jesus Christ so quickly comes to see the truth when he surrenders his will
to God and seeks light from Him. (Compare Jno. 7:17 and Acts 5:32.) It
also explains why it is when you have shown a man the truth about Christ
over and over again and he has seen nothing, suddenly it all bursts upon
him, and he sees and believes. The Spirit has borne His witness to Christ.
It was not merely Peter's words about Christ that convicted the Jews of
the truth concerning Christ on the day of Pentecost. It was the Spirit
Himself bearing witness. If you wish men to see the truth about Christ,
do not depend upon your own powers of expression and persuasion, but cast
yourself upon the Holy Spirit and seek for them His testimony and see to
it that they put themselves in a place where the Spirit can testify. This
is the cure for both ignorance and scepticism concerning Christ. (Cf. Jno.
Note 4 - The testimony of the Holy Spirit to Christ is different
from His testimony to our sonship. That we will consider later.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe
not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no
more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
SECOND PROPOSITION : The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin
and of righteousness and of judgement.
And, and, and ~ ~ ~
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armour, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.