The Golden Rule
Praise the Lord, and greetings on this Monday as we head on into a new week, hoping you had a great weekend I know I did, we had a Holy Ghost led service and then a good time of fellowship and a lunch that followed. So now we move on into our new study for this week “The Golden Rule”.
The Golden Rule
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.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 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?
12 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.
God has always insisted we should treat others justly.
It Still Happens
Recently our neighbor across the street donated a kidney to a coworker who, it was hoped, would have at least another year to live.
A stranger paid a parking ticket for a young mother whose nine-week-old baby had spent days in the hospital. The unknown donor left a note on the car: “I saw your car had a parking ticket on it. I’m sure whatever you are going through at the hospital is tough enough so I paid for you.”
In a world that seems increasingly cold and indifferent to the needs of people, it is refreshing to know there are still those who will step up and help. It still happens. There are still those who think beyond themselves. There are still those who will take time from their busy schedules and who will reach into their wallets or purses to lend a hand. There are still individuals today who will reach down for the fallen and help them stand to their feet.
If we are waiting for the perfect moment, if we are waiting to be sure that a person is worthy of our help, what you and I need to do may never happen. We may never act out of compassion and concern. We may never fulfill the Golden Rule.
1. GOD’S PROVISION
A. God Is a Faithful Provider
B. God Does Not Give Us Harmful Things
2. GOD’S CHARACTER NEVER CHANGES
A. Much of the Sermon on the Mount Contrasts the New Covenant with the Old
B. The Principle of How We Are to Treat Others Has Been Consistent
3. OUR REFLECTION OF GOD’S NATURE
A. Our Motive Should Not Be to Receive Earthly Rewards
B. Our Motive Should Be to Follow Jesus’ Example
Contemplating the Topic
Something about the teaching of Jesus Christ captivated His audiences. His listeners were not forced to listen to His discourses. The words Christ spoke, however, were impelling, commanding, and heart-searching. Instead of burdening His followers with the restrictive regulations of the rabbinical law, He spoke to them of their heavenly Father’s love and of His abundant provisions.
Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, our Lord laid no heavy yoke upon the necks of the people (Matthew 11:30). God’s servants were not to live in a state of perpetual anxiety or paralyzing fear. At the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount, the people of Israel were astonished at His doctrine because “he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).
Christ’s words spoke of things the common Israelite could easily understand—the fowls of the air, the lilies and grass of the field, and a house built upon a rock. This man from Galilee penetrated the souls of those who would listen, and no one, neither friend nor foe, seemed quite the same after hearing the words of the Master.
Jesus Christ taught His followers more than what to believe; He taught them how to respond to God’s precepts and how they should live on a daily basis before their neighbors. And Christ taught with compassion.
In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord set out some remarkably high ideals for His disciples to follow. They were to take the humble path, the way of loving service to God and to their fellow human beings. They were to trust God in their most difficult situations, and they were to live to be a blessing to others. Though much of what the Master taught was concise, His words at the same time were powerful and had sweeping implications. In summary of all the Law and the prophets required, Jesus gave what has become known as the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).
Searching the Scriptures
1. GOD’S PROVISION
What invaluable lessons can be learned from the examples of God providing for His people in the Bible! In times of national peril, in times of famine, in times of war, and even in times of apostasy, the Lord proved He was incredibly willing and sufficiently able to care for those who would call upon His name.
Consider the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness. Every day was to become a miracle of provision under the careful guidance of Jehovah. It has been estimated it would take forty-five hundred tons of manna to feed the children of Israel on a daily basis. But remarkably this provision was not to be for a matter of days, weeks, or even months; God’s people were filled to the full for forty years.
A. God Is a Faithful Provider
Wonderful promises are found in Matthew 7:7. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” These statements are powerful enough to uplift those who may be discouraged or destitute. They are open invitations broad enough to meet every need. Everyone can embrace these provisions. The sinner who repents and asks for forgiveness can find assurance in these promises. The seeker who needs the baptism of the Holy Ghost can be filled. There is hope for the suffering and for the sick, for the broken and for the bereaved. The unemployed and the underprivileged can be encouraged. The backslider can be reclaimed. The chemically dependent can be delivered and set free.
By using the present imperative forms for “ask,” “seek,” and “knock,” Jesus was directing His disciples to make their requests to God with unyielding persistence and with unwavering faith. The thought of seeking and knocking, in conjunction with asking, seems to suggest we must act on our faith. We must put legs under our prayers, so to speak.
No one needs to feel excluded or beyond the help of almighty God. “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:8). The Lord has obligated Himself to those who come into His throne room with a humble and obedient attitude. The proper approach means everything, “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
B. God Does Not Give Us Harmful Things
We may not get what we want. A marvelous story, sometimes called the story of the Emmaus Road, is told in Luke 24:13–35. Two of Christ’s disciples had left Jerusalem after the crucifixion. We know the name of only one—Cleopas—but it seems these two were simply among the rank and file of the Lord’s followers. They were like many believers today who are just common people, without any great distinction. Although there is much we do not know about these two travelers, we do know they were terribly disillusioned and disappointed with everything that had happened. The grim reality of Christ’s death had crushed their hearts as well as their hopes. It would take Jesus Himself, traveling with them to Emmaus, to explain to Cleopas and his friend the greater purpose behind all that had taken place.
Sometimes we do not get what we want even though we feel our motives were pure and we prayed in faith. God is still sovereign. He will never mislead His people, never give them things that would hurt or harm them, never allow them to be tempted above what they can bear. In our humanity we “see through a glass, darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12). But our Father “knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8).
We will get what we need. It is simply a matter of trust. Jesus reasoned that even a natural father will not give his son a stone for bread or a serpent for a fish. Surely we can place our confidence in our heavenly Father’s provisions.
God is infinitely wiser and kinder than any earthly parent could possibly be. “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?” (Matthew 7:11).
Our Father is concerned not only with our food, our clothing, and our bodies; He is vitally concerned with our spiritual and eternal welfare. Following His resurrection, Christ’s instructions made it clear the disciples were not to go out from Jerusalem to preach the gospel until they were “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). In Ephesus, Paul questioned the followers of John the Baptist: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2). Each one of us should long to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
God will empower new converts who are struggling spiritually to get their footing. God has promised the more mature Christian, weary and perhaps wounded in the struggle against the enemy, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He will always be the same: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). We can depend on the Lord to meet our needs. We gain strength, encouragement, and direction for our lives through union with Him. With unmatched courage and conviction, Paul wrote to his friends from a Roman prison: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
That will conclude part one of our study “The Golden Rule”, we will pick up with part two on Thursday, looking forward to being with you then, hoping you have a great rest of the week.