Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Living By The Golden Rule

Principle #9:  Living a life that counts means living by the "Golden Rule".   Of course, like many tags given to biblical things (i.e. The Five Acts of Worship, The Great Commission, The Seven Deadly Sins, etc.) Jesus' call to "do unto others as you would have them do to you" wasn't called The Golden Rule until centuries later.  In fact, forms of the exact principle are seen thoughout antiquity in nearly every culture, religion, and philosophy before the first century.  I especially love Matthew's account because there Jesus said, "So in everything" prior to making the statement, and then he ended it with "for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."  Wow - talk about a preeminant principle of pleasing God?  This is it!  Of course, it is simply an extention of God's foundational call to "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Lev.19:18)  This is one of the few things that Paul adamently declares transcends the removal and death of the Old Law.  It's still the foundation of what God wants for all his people - even in the new covenant. (Gal.5:13-15)
There is probably no principle from God's Word that is better known than this one, so it was a little bit of a challenge to figure out how to talk about it in a new way.  As usual, for me, simplicity won out.  Here is the outline of the body of the lesson:
1. To live by the Golden Rule is choosing to live controlled!
   A. Jesus called us to live a radically different life of non-retaliation (Mt.5:38-48)
   B. "Eye for an eye" living is letting others define us and our character.
   C. In Christ, we choose the "new life" = Christ-like  (Col.3:5-14)
2. To live by the Golden Rule is to live considerately!
   A. Unselfish thinking is what we do!  (Phil.2:1-4)
   B. Are you a considerate person?  In your car?  With your cell & texting? Etc.
   C. Being thoughtful is:   How do they think & feel?  What do they need? How can I help?
3. To live by the Golden Rule is to live like Christ!
   A. Remember Jesus & the Lawyer w/ questions?  Luke 10:25-37  (Go & do likewise)
   B. The epistles are primarily relational not doctrinal!  How brethren should treat each other.
   C. The Spirit of Christ is found in how we treat others not just in what we DON'T do! (Phil.2:5)
Conclusion:  Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities takes the place of Charles Darnay, who is to be executed.  "It is a far, far better thing that I do than I've ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I shall go to than I've ever known."  Jesus called that the "greater love" and he knows.  He is THE GOLDEN RULE personified!

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