The Golden Rule-part 2
Greetings this Thursday evening in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I trust everyone has had a good week so far, and now we will get to part 2 of our study of “The Golden Rule”.
2. GOD’S CHARACTER NEVER CHANGES A. Much of the Sermon on the Mount Contrasts the New Covenant with the Old
There were radical differences between the highly legalistic views of the Jewish religionists and the teachings of Jesus Christ. The scribes and Pharisees had used the Law, along with their added rules and regulations, to beat the Jewish people into submission. These religious leaders followed Jesus from place to place not because they approved of His message, but because they wanted to entrap Him in His words. While they themselves claimed to uphold the Law, they frequently looked for loopholes to break it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned against this type of hypocrisy. “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
There were glaring contrasts between what was traditionally taught regarding the old covenant and Christ’s revelation of the New Covenant. In the Sermon on the Mount, not only did Jesus correct the misinterpretations and abuses that had arisen, but He also taught a higher set of values. The Lord would say, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. . . . But I say unto you . . .” (Mathew 5:21–22; 27–28). The old covenant condemned murder; Christ went on to condemn unjustified anger. The Law prohibited adultery; in addition, the Lord prohibited lust. There had been a liberal attitude regarding divorce, but Jesus said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery” (Matthew 5:32). What Christ taught did not abrogate the old covenant; it surpassed it and gave it richer meaning (Matthew 5:17).
B.The Principle of How We Are to Treat Others Has Been Consistent
While discussing Kingdom principles in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus covered a range of topics and quickly moved from one important issue to another. But He was consistent in His teaching about how we are to treat others. Always the Lord instructed that we are to treat fellow humans as friends and not as enemies. Always we are to love them, forgive them, bless them, pray for them, and do them good.
There are no higher standards of ethics than what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. While many people live selfishly in the miserable depths of sin and shame, Christ’s sermon presented a series of ideals that, if followed, can lift men and women to new heights. To conclude Matthew 7:1–11, Jesus presented what is often referred to as 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” (Matthew 7:12)
What does this statement mean? Obviously we are to conduct ourselves toward others in the same way we would want individuals to treat us. This requires a deep sensitivity to those around us. The Golden Rule goes far beyond simply feeling empathy for our neighbors; it demands that we put our feelings into action to make life easier for them.
It is important to remember that although the Sermon on the Mount presents a higher ethical life, its teachings do not bring salvation. We must be born again. We need the sacrificial atonement provided for by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
3.OUR REFLECTION OF GOD’S NATURE
We who are believers are to reflect the nature of God. While on earth Jesus perfectly exhibited his Father’s character and ideals. The Son of God emphatically told Philip, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9). Further, immediately after showing mercy to an adulterous woman, Christ taught the people, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Now, however, in His physical absence, we who are Christians are to be the lights that shine in this darkened world (Matthew 5:14). Our lives are to be vivid reflections of Christ’s love and grace to all mankind. “Let your light so shine before men,” Jesus encouraged His disciples, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
A.Our Motive Should Not Be to Receive Earthly Rewards
Those whose lives we touch are often filled with gratitude. They frequently respond to the kindnesses shown to them by opening up their hearts as well as their homes. Because a single mother, a senior widower, or an insecure teenager feels he or she has finally found someone who genuinely cares, that individual may want to reciprocate with money or gifts.
Still it is not a matter of what we receive from others that should motivate our actions. If we are Spirit-filled, we will long to share God’s love regardless of any earthly reward.
To illustrate how we should act toward those who are less fortunate, Jesus told the story of the Samaritan who ministered to a wounded traveler on the road to Jericho. (See Luke 10:30–35.) Nothing in the story suggested the injured man ever saw his benefactor again, and there is no mention of any kind of reward.
B.Our Motive Should Be to Follow Jesus’ Example
Perhaps the greatest test of a believer’s walk with God is being mistreated by others. We generally get along well with those who respect us and are friendly toward us. But what about those who are intentionally rude and those who are cruel? The fact is that being maligned and mistreated can be an opportunity to let our light shine brightly before men. Jesus set the standard, and there can be no higher. He was a prince among men who treated Him like a villain. He was the Savior of the world treated like a despot.
On the darkest of days, on a Roman cross surrounded by a jeering mob, Jesus’ love for mankind was displayed for all who would see. He had been falsely accused, spat upon, beaten severely, and nailed to a cross. His friends had forsaken Him; His enemies had mocked Him, saying, “He saved others; himself he cannot save” (Mark 15:31). The physical pain must have been horrific; the distress of soul must have been overwhelming. But what were His words for those who despised Him and delighted in His anguish? Were they words of condemnation or vindictiveness? No. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This was an astounding statement coming from the Lord of glory—an unselfish call for forgiveness for His tormentors rather than a call for twelve legions of angels to destroy them.
His love for others motivated Christ while on earth. Despite His own weariness, He always had time to care for the downtrodden. Jesus would minister to the multitudes until He was exhausted. No one who came to the Lord was turned away. A blind beggar’s cry would stop Him in His tracks; a woman taken in adultery would receive forgiveness. He took time to go to dinner with a hated publican and on another occasion with a haughty Pharisee. He answered His critics, not just to prove His points, but to show them a better way. Heartfelt compassion caused Him to go to the home of Jairus, and despite the ridicule of the mourners, to raise the ruler’s daughter from the dead. Compassion caused Him go through Samaria and minister to a woman who had lived a life of shame. This was the way Jesus lived day by day.
Internalizing the Message
An individual who has been visited and encouraged by someone while hospitalized will remember that experience and would be an excellent candidate to do the same for someone else. Someone who has received a compliment while going through a personal battle would be well qualified to do the same for someone else who is struggling. A person who has received a note of appreciation for a job well done would be able to do the same for another.
Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Our Lord set the precedent for us to follow. A thankful heart, a heart grateful for God’s goodness, will always find ways to bless others. At times our acts of kindness may seem to go unnoticed or even be unappreciated, but the Lord never forgets them.
Jesus promised that at the judgment, when He comes with His holy angels, there will be a glorious kingdom provided for those who had fed Him when He was hungry, provided drink for Him when He was thirsty, clothed Him when He was naked, and visited Him when He was sick and in prison. Though believers may question when they did these things for the Lord, He will give them this explanation: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). We will reap eternal benefits for showing even the smallest kindness to a servant of Christ. “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41).
We can be bearers of hope. We have the privilege of relieving the pain and the suffering of others. We can help to carry the burden of another who is traveling on life’s weary road. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
So That will conclude our study of “The Golden Rule” and for this week, and we pray you have a wonderful weekend, and a great Worship service at church this Sunday, when we get together on Monday for our next study, it will be “Right Choices” Looking forward to being with you then.