“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
We’re going to be looking at Matthew chapter seven, verse 12 this morning, as we continue in our series, the sermon on the Mount, uh, which we’ve entitled the upside down life. We’ve got a one verse passage today doesn’t necessarily promise the sermon is that much shorter, but we’ll only be looking at one verse.
This statement that we’re going to be reading this morning is recognized as the standard for righteous living throughout the centuries of the church. As a matter of fact, throughout the centuries of the church, since Jesus said this statement, it has been identified as one of the most complete summaries of what is called the natural.
That Paul talks about in Romans chapter two to is written on the hearts of people, Christians non-Christians other religions. Basically this statement is reiterated, uh, in many different religions in one form or another. It is also a statement, which I think most of us when we hear it, just say, well, yeah, I mean, that makes sense.
That, that, that, that fence, the statement is this, which we call the golden rule in Matthew chapter seven, verse 12. So whatever you wish that others would do to you do also to them for this is the law and the profits let’s pray together. And then we’re going to dive into this together.
Lord again, we thank you for truth. We thank you for the practicality. Uh, your word and God, this passage is just so practical for us. I pray you teach us. I pray that, um, as we sort of wrestle with what it’s saying, what it’s not saying, what it means, how it’s lived out that Lord, you would speak into our lives today, your truth in Jesus name, amen.
This passage, this verse of course, uh, king James is do unto others, as you would have them do unto you, um, is the golden rule. And it is perceived as the gold standard of Christian conduct, actually human conduct. Right? It’s interesting that the title gold, um, golden rule, while we would look at it, meaning the gold standard.
And it certainly does mean that it also has a more unique historic context. Actually there is a, a emperor of Rome emperor. Severus Alexander writing in the mid two hundreds, 2 22 to 2 35, actually that’s when he was emperor, this slide shows him the ones to the left are the sculptors. That’s all they had today is the, the contemporary, um, photo rendering.
If, uh, if he looks like his descendant is Ben Simmons have to say to you, I feel the same way. Um, you can tell me later if you think this looks like Ben Simmons, uh, to, to my knowledge, I don’t know if there’s any actual relation, but emperor Saveras Alexander embraced this motto for his reign. He put it in public buildings and.
Uniquely in his palace in the main, main throne room. He put this slogan, this verse, this as his motto, and he inscribed it on the wall in gold and many believe. This is actually where the statement, the golden rule came from. Ben Simmons, great node, Antonio severity, severity Alexander, uh, put it there, but throughout time, since Jesus spoke these words and even predating Jesus to some degree, this statement has stood as a effective.
Perspective of how we are to behave in true human experience, which of course is what Jesus came to do. Jesus came to live and not give us a contrary, um, human experience. He actually came to enable us to live Schuman experience. As it was designed to be lived. He gives a supernatural power to live the true natural human life.
We’re going to look at two things this morning. I’m going to focus on two issues from this verse, why we should live according to the golden rule and what living according to the golden rule looks like why we should live according to the golden rule or a two reasons, because first of all, of what God is to us, you’ll notice the beginning of verse 12 starts with the word.
So, or on the basis. And he’s looking back to the verses that we studied last week in verses seven through 11. And I want to just read those to ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock, and it will be open to you for everyone who we see ask to receive. And the one who seeks finds and to the one who knocks it will be open.
Or which of you, if his son asks him for bread will give him a stone. Or if he asks for a fish will give him a serpent. If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven? Give good gifts to those who ask him. So. On the basis of that, Jesus is challenging us in verses seven through 11 to come to the father.
And he says, you have a good father, a father that is utterly for you. And he encourages you to come to him. Continually, let him meet your needs. Let him be the one that you cast your cares on rather than carrying them in Peter’s words of first Peter five cry out to God for help. And he emphasizes how good the father is.
He says he wants to take care of you. He wants to sustain you. He wants to open doors. He wants to show you his will in chapter six, he’s talked about this father and he says, you don’t need to be anxious. You don’t need to be driven by fears. You can live peacefully as you seek him and do life with him as your center.
There can be an inner quietness, not an agitation, not a negativity, not an anger because of your father. And he says so on the basis of this reality that you can live this way. This is how you pass on this goodness to others. But the foundational reality to this verse is the soul. And we just got a GRA grapple with this for a minute, because he’s not saying just go out there and, and treat other people how you want to be treated.
He says, no, no, no. I’m talking to a specific demographic in culture. And that demographic is those that are living in continual relationship with this good father. Without it, we cannot pull off the printer. Of Matthew seven, 12, few years ago, I was reading an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer back when I was still reading newspapers.
And sorry, if you’re a newspaper person, I, I always try not to do those kinds of things. It, but in the Philadelphia Inquirer, it’s reading this editorial and it was written by a younger editorialist and she was telling of her own story. She had just returned from a month long vacation and she, in her own words said I had to get away.
I just had to get away. She went to a, a beach. She actually went to an island, spent a month there and she said I was becoming a frazzled, edgy, agitated, and angry. And so she went away and she just spent the time, the only conversations she really had were with friends, quiet, enjoyable. She had lighthearted fun that she did, but a lot of times she just chilled and relaxed and sort of settled and tried to get quiet and came back.
And she describes in the article, her experience, she was telling of arriving back early in the weekends, Monday morning, she got up a little bit edgy as she was doing the commute to downtown Philly to her office. And she told the story of how, as she got in the car a little bit nervous, but, but hopeful.
And she started down the highway, the scoop kill, and somebody cut her off. And it just agitated her and she found herself getting up. She said she wanted another couple of miles and all of a sudden she wasn’t going fast enough or something. And somebody came by and was honking her horn. Somebody else shared a finger with her and all this is going on.
And she is just, she says, I could just feel myself losing control. And finally, she’s trying to settle, try. And finally, she just pulls off the road onto the shoulder. Stops, turns off the engine and breaks down in tears, just overwhelmed with her own helplessness to control her own agitation, anger, and frustration.
What Jesus is reminding us here is we’re utterly incapable on our own to really live. Quiet lives and quiet lives. Peaceful lives. Inner turmoil in life is what is required for what he’s going to talk about in living out the golden rule. I mean, your stored up beach reserves just are going to get depleted real quick.
There is the need of continual quietness in the presence of God pestered. Ben talked about this last week as he preached on Matthew chapter seven, he used the example of George Mueller, a guy that was responsible of 10,000 orphans in Bristol, England, and never put out public requests for money. Had no government aid live by faith.
Just an amazing story. I mean, imagine what it would be like in humanness every, every week. You’re wondering wisdom. When you gonna come from, how are we going to provide for this? I mean, the sense of agitation. I mean, why wasn’t the guy continually controlled by anger and frustration and anxiety? Well, it’s been pointed out the every morning, George Mueller, it’s called George Mueller spiritual secret, and he says, this is my secret.
Every morning I spend time reading the scripture and then I go out into the field around. And I talk to God about those very things that he shared with me and have converse conversation with him. And he said, and I stay out there until, and this is his famous quote until my soul is happy in Jesus and Tom saddled.
But Jesus is saying, we’re going to need to continually draw upon that resource. This passage, Matthew seven through 12, the golden rule does not work with our default mode of leaning into what’s called our flesh or our, our sinful orientation. It only comes in the power of God in our lives. So, but he’s saying you can live this way.
You can do this. This is the first reason he says, I want you to do the golden rule because you can continually be drinking at the well of your father’s presence on the basis of that. You can live the golden rule. The second thing he says. We’re to live the golden rule because of what God’s law is all about.
He says for this is the law and the profits. There are two ways of teaching the law of God, the principles of God, the commandments of God. One is to give a million applications of them. This is what the Mishnah. And a lot of the Talmud is the Jewish, you know, all this traditions that came back and there’s value in that, they went way too far.
They, they, they, I idolized it. But the idea is to give lots of, of, of pictures, case studies, if you will, the other way is to just give a summary mission statement. This is what it’s about. This is what it means on the horizontal level to live, loving your neighbor as yourself and all the commandments that talk about that, whatever you wish that others would do to you.
Do also to them, he says, this fulfills the law and the profits, the laws, the first five books of the old Testament. The prophets are all the rest of the teaching material in the old Testament, which explains both God and how people are to do life under God. It’s interesting that this Jesus is not the first person to ever make this statement.
In the first century BC, there was a Jewish. Who was the head of the Sanhedrin? The Sanhedrin was the men 70. It was the 70 rules of Israel, a very famous rabbi. His name was Hillel, and he actually lived for over a hundred years. He died in, in 10 Ady and Hallel actually made told in his teaching ministry, this, this story, that actually was a true thing that actually happened.
And here’s what happened. This guy came to him, the pagan came to Hillel and says, make me a process, a light on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot. And I would just give me a summary of what it is. And Hillel said this, what is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor.
That’s the whole Torah while the rest is commentary there on go and learn it. Sand golden rule. Don’t do to other people, what you don’t want them to do to you. He says, this is a summary. Jesus is picking up on that statement. He changes it a little bit. Well, which we’ll look at it later, but basically he is acknowledging, this is the summary of God’s law for us on the horizontal level, treat other people in the way you would want them to treat you later.
Teachers will follow Jesus in this perception of God’s law. There’s a thing called the DACA or did a K. It was written in the late first century. It, it did. I K actually means teaching. And the whole title of it is the teaching of the 12 apostles. They said, first love the love, the God who made you. And second, your neighbor as yourself and whatever you do not want to happen.
Do not do to another, this golden rule has continually been reaffirmed as the foundation of God’s whole calling upon our lives in relation to two other people. So why are we to live according to the golden rule? Well, first, because we can by God’s presence in our lives and our dependence on him, we can live this out, secondly, because it is the mission statement of the whole Jesus’ life in us, towards others.
Okay. Now we want to put some shoes, toss. What does living, according to the golden rule look like, and I’d like to share five principles. You only have four slots. And so if you’re taking notes, you’re going to get a free one. Alright. And this is really the mindset of Jesus toward others, right? That’s what this is talking about.
Treat others in the way you would want them to treat you whatever you wish others would do to you do to them. So what does it look like? Well, here are some principles. Number one, you invest yourself in what is helpful to others, not just restrain yourself from what is hurtful. If you’ll notice the statement by Hillel, he said, This way, he said it negatively.
He said to not do to others. What you don’t want them to do to you? Well, that’s part of it. If you don’t enjoy being robbed, don’t Rob others. If you don’t like being curse, don’t curse others. If you don’t enjoy being hated, don’t hate others. But Jesus goes beyond the statement. What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor.
He says, whatever you wish that others would do to you also do to them. He says, this is active. This is not permission to draw into a world where my whole goal is to not offend anyone, but I accomplished no positive. Good for anybody else that I just retreat and cloister away and, and keep my distance.
He’s saying no, it’s, it’s active. It’s it’s it’s intentional. What would you like done to you? We’ll do a toughness. How would you like to be treated by? People will treat others. The second thing, and this is the longest one. You base it on what all humans wish for, not your personal preferences or perceptions.
I’m going to play this out again. Here’s what he says, whatever you wish that others would do to you, to also to them, it’s not based on your personal preferences. He’s not talking about your love language. Okay. Like the woman says my love language is acts of service that I love when people do things to help me and look out for me.
And so I love my husband that way, you know, that’s how I’d want him to do to me. So I do to him. And so I cleaned his car and so I keep his Carney. And so I keep the bedroom nice. And so I do other things around, I even put his tools away and clean up his workshop, which some of us. Thanks, but no thanks.
But, but, but you say doulas, but he doesn’t seem to, you know, it doesn’t seem to have any effect. Well, maybe his love language is babe. I just want to listen to, have you listened to me. I just want to tell you about my day. I want, I want, I want time to go. I wish you’d stop working with the, the, you know, the cleaning and we can be together.
And so it isn’t our love language, right? It isn’t, it isn’t the guy that says my sister’s in the hospital and she gets out tomorrow. I remember when I was in the hospital and, uh, man, the first day I got home, all my buddies came over and we watched the ball game together who was so great. So tomorrow my sister gets out of the hospital.
I’ve lined up meals for her. Every day. People are coming in. I’ve got people coming in that are going to clean for her. I’ve got people coming in that are just going to touch base and see how she’s doing. Now. Here’s the deal with his sister. His sister is the kind of person that takes on everybody’s pain.
That immediately senses where everybody is. And it is a listener and takes responsibility for other people. And the thought of people bringing meals in every meal, the thought of people in her house cleaning, make sure say, I will probably stay in my bedroom 24 7 until his string runs out. Maybe she’ll be under the bed.
That’s not what it’s saying. It’s not saying my personal wiring, how I want to be looked after is how all look after. That’s not what he’s saying. All right. Second thing it’s not talking about it is not based.
Sorry, it’s not based on our personal perceptions of others. There’s a person at work that holds a completely different vision of what our nation needs than you do. Or there’s a person who has chosen a completely different lifestyle than you value. And when you think about this person and you think about the golden rule, you can go like this, that woman.
Yeah. I’m trying to live out the golden rule with her, some thinking, what do I want her to do towards me? Therefore, I will do that to her. What do I want from that woman? Nothing. I want enough not to talk to me. I want to not to, to come my way. I don’t want to see her. What do I want from her space distance.
So that’s what I’m giving her now. Quite honestly, if that’s your attitude, that might be the best thing you can do. But I think we all sent somehow that doesn’t seem to be what Jesus is saying here. Exactly. But I’m not sure why what’s wrong. What is he saying when he says whatever you wish others would do for you do for them.
If it’s not love language, if it’s not, I can’t stand that person. And the best thing that she could do for me stay out of my life. So the kindness thing I can do for her is stay at her. What is it? Well, that’s what I want to talk with you for the next couple of minutes. The command is based on love for others.
What is best for others? It is loving other people in the way we would all want to be loved. So how do all of us want to be loved? First Corinthians 13 tells us a few things. Here are some of the characteristics. It says love is patient love is kind. It does not dishonor others. It is not easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. If you look at those and spend some time with those verses, you will find that there are four specific things that Paul is saying are what love looks like towards others. If you want to seek the best of others, which is really what you want to get from others towards you, you want to be loved.
There are four particular things that we give to each other. I’d like to highlight them for you quickly. And just say a little bit about them. I’ll tell you the fourth. Tolerance kindness, respect and trust. He says, first of all, what all of us want is tolerance from other people. He says, this love is patient.
It’s not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs there in first Corinthians 13, of course I screw up. Of course I make mistakes. I’m not perfect. Nobody is you overlook your foibles mess, ups, screw ups, and you want others to do that. You know, not to completely cut your slack if you’ve done something terrible, but, but overall you, you, you long for some toleration that people, my wife, my husband, my parents, my kids, that there’ll be tolerant.
We all want that, right? We all want some forbearance. We give it to ourselves. And one of the ways that we give to others, what we all want is toleration and pulses. Three times, three different ways. He says you’re patient with each other. Love is not easily angered love. Doesn’t keep record of wrongs.
Tolerance is part of the golden rule. Secondly, there’s kindness. Love is in first Corinthians 13 kind. There’s nobody that wants to be around a boss. That’s harsh. That’s overly demanding at times feels. No matter what your wiring, isn’t her personalities. You want to be an environment where, where the individual that is responsible for you and over you.
Even if they’re a tough disciplinarian, everything there’s kindness, there’s compassion. We all long for that. We all long, for some level of kindness to be coming our way. And Paul is saying, you want to be tolerated. You want to be treated kindly say, excuse me. Jesus is saying, those are how we live under the golden rule.
Third living, the golden rule is showing respect. You’ll notice in first Corinthians 13, it says love does not dishonor others. I want to be treated. With honor and respect. I want to be paid what I’m worth. I want a little appreciation. I want encouragement, not criticism all the time. I want my opinion to matter my voice, to be heard.
My oldest daughter, oldest child Laura, is, is out in Michigan. Her husband’s a pilot for United and been off work with all this stuff. And she got a, she got a job, um, with, um, the postal service. And she’s a carrier doing, doing this, this job. And she’s, she’s not permanent yet. Well, she’s permanent, but she’s not yet got a route.
So she’s basically doing all these rural routes. And her job is to basically fill in every day, whoever isn’t going to be there. So it’s a lot of training and it’s a lot of, she told me that. Of her first training day, she went in and Laura’s pretty capable, pretty quick study, but, but it’s a lot to learn.
And, and so they’re in this, this postal truck, there’s no air conditioning, it’s burning hot. It was summer. And she, the guy’s letting her drive and he’s on his phone, the trainer. And as she goes out, she’s messing up making mistakes and the guy is making fun of her and texting his wife, showing pictures of Laura, messing up and mistakes.
She’s making look, Laura said she barely made it through the day. She’s now done real well with it. But she says to this day, and she said, actually, he is the easiest route of any of the. And it’s one of the shortest ones, but she says to this day, when he’s not there and I have to do his route, she says, I actually break out.
It’s a nervous. And I always mess something up. What happened? She, she felt demeaned, disrespected. We all need respect. We all need appreciation and encouragement. And Paul saying part of the golden rule is that I respect others. I honor them. The fourth thing is trust. First Corinthians 13 says love, always protects, always trusts, always hopes.
It gives people the benefit of the doubt and not assume I know the whole story. We always highlight our own motives. Right. I mean, if we’ve messed up first in that goes through our mind when we’ve messed up, but we know it’s trying to do the right thing. I was trying. I just screwed. We immediately think my motives were.
We don’t typically do that as a first response when somebody else has screwed up, we don’t often go trusting is assuming I don’t have the whole story. And my initial reaction is I am going to try to look for the best in others. Just like I tend to look for the best in my self. I received, uh, a very meaningful letter for me, from somebody from our church.
Uh, after I preached a couple of weeks ago on, on judging in John chapter seven, and the individual was telling a story from her own career and with her permission without names and everything. Um, I want to just share what she wrote because it was an illustration that I think is so applicable to this idea.
We’re looking for the best. We’re looking to trust others and not immediately thinking we have the whole story after your sermon. I thought about an incident that occurred several years ago. It was an especially busy day in the emergency department with multiple strokes and heart attacks and very ill people coming through our doors.
Very sick people were w were in the waiting room and desperately needed to be seen. People were receiving blood transfusions in the hallway. We had run out of heart monitors. There were multiple ambulance crews at our back door, and we had started sitting the sick and chairs. I heard one of my colleagues complaining about the 10th floor and that one of the nurses up there had an empty room, but was refusing to take the report, which was so a patient could leave us and free up one of our beds from one of our nurses because she needed 10 minutes, 10 minutes.
I’d like to have 10 minutes, one year, one nurse. This wasn’t my patient or I might’ve been the one sharing her opinion. Moving forward to the next day, I was in a meeting with the chief nursing officer and she shared her concern for the nurses on the 10th floor. She was concerned because all of their patients were isolation patients and they were asked to take more patients than normal.
And several nurses had turned in their resignations. Isolation requires the nurse to gown up with a plastic gown, used gloves mask, head covering, and sometimes shoe coverings. Before going into a patient’s room, then it all has to come off. You scrub your hands and start all over before going into another patient’s room.
You hope no one needs anything while you’re in a patient’s room, because they are going to be very angry that it’s taking you so long to get to them after 12. Hours of this, you are hot, sweaty, you stink, you’re exhausted. And probably half of your patients are going to write negative comments on their surveys and they will be sure to use your name.
I have only ever had one or two patients in isolation at a time, and it’s quite awful. I am forever grateful that I heard our CNO share her concern. I share all the details because like the Jews and Gentiles of Romans 1514, that was in the sermon, both sides had reasons to feel the way they did and neither side knew or cared to understand the plight of the other it’s destructive.
And without hope I’m in a place where I needed to remember this. Thank you. We are all in places that remind us that we need to remember the golden rule do to others. What we would wish others would do for us. And that means extending tolerance. Respect kindness trust. The third principle is you grow in your capacity to live because live it because of God’s appointed life experiences.
Just a couple of things here, just thinking of how this works out. It works out that we are better able to understand the life experiences and, and of others. For instance, I love it when we have pastors, former pastors, especially preaching pastors, and we’ve got some that are a part of our church family.
Because they know what it’s like, and they’re the ones that will be out there nod. And when you’re speaking and you’re really not making a lot of sense, but they’re just encouraging you. They laugh at the joke that nobody else gets or wishes. They didn’t get that. They encourage why they know what it’s like.
They get it leaders that, that have all that had people that have never been in a leadership position. And now they’re responsible for something and in your office and all of a sudden they know what it’s like and realize you got people from both sides that don’t get it. And, and you’ve never been in that place before.
You’d never been in charge of the group. You begin to understand, we have a capacity to live out the golden rule better as we understand and grow in our own things. Wow. Ah, man, I’d love to have people respond to me in this way as the leader of our group. Well, the people that will best be able to do that are going to be people that have experienced it.
A fourth principle is you need to apply this principle in all areas of your life. This principle of the golden rule is not just for the brother or sister that you go to church with. It’s for your work team. It’s for your family. It’s for your extended family. It’s for your spouse’s extended family. It’s for the neighbors that are tough.
It is processing kindness, tolerance, respect, trust. That might my default position is I want to go to those things because those are the things I want people to give me. Those are the things that I long for. In my life. We have a, we have a forum that we put together years ago. It’s called serving as a team together.
It’s just, these are all biblical passages and these are principles. We use this and review this often as a pastoral team, as, as a church staff, um, many of our, our leadership groups go through this. We actually encourage every leadership group to go through it. Basically it’s commitments. I agree to in serving together, what it’s basically talking about is what would all of us want to have?
What are we committing to each other? Because this is what we would want to, I’m just going to discuss real quickly. These kinds of things, encourage I’ll seek to be an encourager. My teammates realizing that encouragement is one of the primary reasons for being. Speaking for others, I will not speak for someone else in the team without their permission handling criticism of teammates.
If someone comes to me with a concern about another team member, either what they did or did not do, or a personal issues, I will encourage that person to go to the team member personally, rather than try to resolve their concerns, myself, supporting each other I’ll support and build up other team members.
In my context with other people extinguish, not inflame. When someone comes with a concern about the overall ministry, I’ll listen sincerely, but we’ll be careful not to inflame a spirit of critical illness, but rather to emphasize the positives, we talk about having a bucket of water, not a bucket of gasoline.
In-person truth telling I’ll try to share things in persons that may feel negative rather than through a letter or an email, make things right. If I have reacted in a way that is hurtful to a team member, I will seek to make it right by asking for you. These are just things all of us would want, right?
They’re just saying, we’re going to try to follow the golden rule, which is we believe these things honor each other. These things share kindness to each other. These things show trust for each other. And so these are practical things that we’re trying to live out. We want to be doing that in all aspects of our life.
And the last thing here, I’m going to wrap up. You will need your heavenly father to live this out. That’s the cell. There is no verse 12 without the earlier verses reminding us that the resort. For living this prince, we are too self-absorbed. We are too much about how this circumstance affects me apart from the freeing power of the spirit of God, to be freed from our own self absorbed sin and self centered orientation to be looking at others.
This is why the vertical is essential for the horizontal, that everything we’re talking about this morning, and you may be here and this may be your first time in our church or any church. It may be, or maybe a return. But, but, but for you, you know, the Christian faith thing is, is something you’re sort of wondering about, oh, I want to be completely candid with you and say, even though you’re probably very familiar with the golden rule, this golden rule is designed.
And dependent on God, himself working his life through people. We don’t have this, we don’t have the capacity to live selflessly except, but the incredible thing is there is a father who loves us, who is for us, who is making himself available to us. He sent his own son that you could enter into a relationship with him that we can live differently because he has come to make that difference in our lives.
It’s what salvation is about. It’s what being born again is about. It’s the new life that is offered to us. And Jesus says, this is true human experience, looking out for what you would want and doing that towards others. But the power for that, the fuel that drives the engine of that in our lives is God himself and a personal relationship.
Let’s pray, Lord, thank you for
just reminders from your word.
There is a life that is not one where we are controlled by anger or factiousness or me first or getting mine, but it’s a life that because of sin is not natural to us. We need supernatural aid, but Lord enable us, prompt us with the potential and the essentialness of drawing near to you that you might live that life in us and through us in Jesus name.
Amen now go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord.