Jesus said the second greatest commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31

What an interesting concept! I belive the principle goes a lot farther than we think.

It starts with the great commission, “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Mark 28:18-20. But it seems that verse 20 — ”... and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” — is often left out when we hear a sermon about the great commission.

We have to teach people to love their neighbors so that the principle becomes a way of life. The Bible is full of things that refer to this. Jesus said: “If you love me, obey me.” In John 14:23, Jesus replied, “If anyone who loves me will obey my teaching, my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Continuing in verse 24, it states, “... and anyone who doesn’t love him will not obey.”

Pretty plain and simple, but some people like to call this principle legalism.

John Chapter 15 often command obedience. “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:10-11

If you want the Lord’s joy, keep his commands! By doing so, we can taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalms 34:8.

John 15:14 states: “You are my friends if you do what I command.” What a great promise!

If you search the scripture, you’ll find it full of do’s and do nots. Choose to do what he asks and your relationship with the Lord will get more and more intimate, as well as spread and influence you relationships with your neighbors.

Dale Bakkela is senior pastor of the Open Door Fellowship.

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Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.