THE INTER-RELATIONSHIPS OF THE
GREAT COMMANDMENT, GREAT INVITATION AND GREAT COMMISSION
BY: HARRY ROBERT FOX, JR. –
JUNE 8, 2002 –
I. THE GREAT COMMANDMENT
In both the Old and New Testaments the Great Commandment is the same: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Luke 10:27; Matthew l9:16 and Mark 10:17.) Since this commandment is a condensation of all of God’s commandments it is indeed the Great Commandment. But since, when it is honestly considered, it is so heavy we instinctively realize that we continually fail to obey it. This causes us to either deceive ourselves into believing we have obeyed it (by “watering it down” to “manageable proportions”) or to fall into despair by taking
seriously our failure to measure up to its requirements. Such despair prepares us to hear with deep gratitude “The Great Invitation” of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30.
II. THE GREAT INVITATION
The Great Invitation is addressed to all who “labor and are heavy laden” under the burden of guilt in trying unsuccessfully to obey God’s commandments. This inability to obey is the result of “the fall” of Adam and Eve’s “original sin” in the Garden of Eden. (Romans 5:15-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Romans 7:15-24.) Thus, it is wonderful beyond all our fondest dreams to hear God say to us through His son Jesus Christ to come to Him and let Him do for us what we could not do for ourselves, namely, to give us REST for our deep anxieties, frustrations and discouragements over our failures to obey. This is offered to us as a FREE gift (Romans 6:23). Such a gift inspires in us the courage and willingness to receive it and leads to our faith-acceptance of baptism, the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). This, in turn, gives us the desire and the energy to share this “good news” with as many others as possible.
III. THE GREAT COMMISSION
All of us who have experienced despair over our failures to be what God has (1) commanded us to be and have responded to His (2) invitation to accept His free forgiveness are mightily inspired to obey His (3) commission to share this gospel with the whole world. It will also inspire in us a hunger and thirst to know ever more fully the incredible riches of said gospel and its glorious implications so well articulated in the Bible. This will, in turn, increase the zeal and joy
INTER-RELATIONSHIP of GREAT COMMANDMENT, INVITATION and COMMISSION [Harry R. Fox, Jr.] 1