Is It Truly Golden?

Gold-24I know many people who say they follow the “Golden Rule”.  They say they  live by what Jesus has taught in the Bible and they love others as they love themselves.  Or they do to others as they would want done to them.  Many of these same people consider themselves Christians just because they claim to follow this teaching.  Is that all it takes in life?  Is that all it means to follow Jesus Christ and thus this makes a person a Christian?  Perhaps the most important question is, is that what the Lord Jesus means when He laid out this commandment, to just simply do unto others as you would have them do?  Or is there more to this and more to being a Christian?

Let’s take a look at a few places where the Lord Jesus has said this.

27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  Luke 6:27-36

Here we have Dr. Luke recording this account.  In vs. 31 the statement appears.  But in context, what is the Lord Jesus saying?  Is He saying do good so you can have good back?  Is He saying don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you?  Or is there something bigger that the Lord Jesus wants those who hear to grasp?  I believe the answer is in vs. 35-36. Let’s take a look at what Matthew records.

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:7-12

Here in vs. 12 we have this command again.  Matthew records it at the end of the Lord Jesus teaching His disciples about prayer and asking God in faith.  Then vs. 11 leads right to the point of vs. 12 and vs. 12 to the point of this great sermon delivered by the Lord Jesus.  Are you starting to see it yet?  Is it about doing good to get good?  Also in vs. 12 the Lord Jesus mentions the Law and the Prophets.  This referes to the Old Testament writings of which the Lord Jesus has fulfilled.  I pray you are starting to see.  Let’s take a look at a few more places this “Golden Rule” is mentioned.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40

Again, Matthew records here the Lord Jesus answering a lawyer (scribe) when asked about the great commandment.  The Lord Jesus gave him two.  The second is the “Golden Rule” in vs. 39 and again He states the Law and Prophets (Old Testament) depend on this command.  But wait, what is the first?  What is the greatest?  Let’s take a look at one more record of the Lord’s 2 commands.  

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

Here the Lord Jesus gives the same “Golden Rule” answer for the second, but the first He states slightly differently.  “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is one Lord”.  What the Lord Jesus is quoting from is Deuteronomy 6 in the Old Testament.  This is also the Shema that the Jews would pray daily, and still do.  The Lord Jesus knew this and He was stating how important it is to obey this command over every command.  He was stating here, and as recorded in Matthew, that there is no other God and He is to be loved with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  This is the most important.  And this God we are commanded to love is the God of the Bible. He is the same God of the Old and New Testament.  To love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is to obey all that He commands.  That is to obey all of the Bible and not just what we decide to obey.  In deciding for ourselves we create a god in our image and we don’t obey the true God who created us in His image.

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But what does that mean for the “Golden Rule”?  This rule is not “Golden” unless we obey the first.  We can not truly love others until we truly love God.  We can not do to others as we would have them do until we understand the love of God and His grace and mercy.  Notice in Matthew 7:11 the Lord Jesus talks about evil people giving good gifts to their children who show love back.  God goes beyond and gives gifts to those who do not love Him to start.  Those who do not love Him do not ask because their hearts do not love God.  In Luke 6 the Lord Jesus is explaining how the love of God is unconditional.  Giving to those who do not deserve and being merciful to those who deserve wrath.  God wants us to be Holy and imitators of Him.

The point of the “Golden Rule” as truly taught by the Lord Jesus is not for human gain.  It is not a simple guidline to go through life.  It is not what Christianity is as many may believe it to rest only on this command.  It is not the gospel.  It is not any of these becuase it needs the Shema.  It needs the person following the “Golden Rule” to submit to the will of the One true God.  In order to do that a person must have their heart changed. They must turn from their sin of creating their own god and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven and born again to know God.

What does this mean?  The Lord Jesus became a man.  He lived a perfect life of obedience, loving the Father with all His heart, soul, mind and strength, the way we are commanded to but can not.  Through this He also loved neighbor. This we also truly can not do on our own either.  Then He was crucified on the cross.  This is the death you and I deserve for our sins.  This is what all sinners, of which i am the worst, deserve.  The penalty of sin is death.  But God, being merciful, poured His wrath out on His Son.  His Son, showing us how to truly love God and neighbor, laid down His life.  The He defeated death rising from the grave after 3 days and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father ruling as King over heaven and earth.  Now when a sinner believes that this life, death, and resurrection was for them, they are forgiven.  His heart becomes regenrated to be able to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Then inturn, they can begin to truly love their neighbor and do unto them as they would have them do unto themsleves.  Then the repentant sinner will also recieve the grace of eternal life in paradise with the loving God of all.

This is GOOD NEWS.  This is the GOSPEL!

I pray you recieve this message and truly love God so you can love neighbor and be a true Christian and a son or daughter of God.

It can’t truly be “Golden” without the true God.

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Getting to Know Him

“How do you know God?  Does He talk to you directly?  Have you even seen Him?  How do you know who He is?”

These are questions that are often asked of believers.  These are questions that some believers even ask.  These are questions I used to ask myself.

So, how do we know God?  I find it is the same way we know any person.  How do we know people?  We spend time with them.  When you meet someone for the first time you get to know a little about them.  You know as much as they reveal to you at that point in time.  Each time you meet there after you may learn a little more.  You see things they do and habits they may have. You get to know if they are trustworthy and other qualities they have.  You can know someone for years and still learn something new.  For example, I have been married to my wife for almost 10 years and the other day I just found out she doesn’t like cherry flavored things.  She likes cherries but not cherry flavored things like cherry pop-tarts or cherry coke.  This may seem small, but it is an example of no matter how long you have known someone, you can still learn more.

This is an example of how our relationship is with God.  We get to know Him through the Scriptures.  My experience so far in reading the Bible is I always learn more about who God is.  I can read the same passage a few different times and He reveals something new.  It is just like how we get to know other people.

God gave us Holy Scripture so we can know Him.  It is His letter or email to His people.  The Bible is not like any normal book.  It is not a book you read just once and you understand.  It is not “Twilight”, “Harry Potter”, and definitely not “50 Shades of Grey”, (although the book Song of Solomon in the Bible does get pretty steamy.)  He did not design it to be read as such.  It is the living and breathing Word of God.  The more you read and study it, the more you know who He is.  He will reveal more to you the more you pursue Him just as you pursue a person.  It is the only true way to know who He is and how He wants us to live as His sons and daughters.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

Here is a problem some face when trying to know God.  Sometimes we conform to this world.  We listen more to what the world says instead of what God tells us through His Word.  This world distorts His Word and we are deceived by that distortion.  From this distortion, some think either there isn’t a God, or if there is, He either can’t be known or He is bad because the world is bad.If however, they read, study, and begin to understand His Word, they would see these things explained.  They would see the world for what it is and God for Who He is.  His Word reveals God to be Just, Loving, Truthful, and the Giver of hope in what is to come.  God is a healer.  He is the beginning and the end.  He is a creator and father.  He is merciful.  He is so much more and He reveals this in His Word.

Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 9:23-24

If you want to know who God is start with His Word.  The fact that you want to know who He is shows that the Holy Spirit may be at work in your heart.  Let Him keep working.  Pursue Him.  Read His Word.  It is a gift.  It has survived thousands of years.  Throughout history the evil one, through people, has tried to destroy, control, and distort God’s Word, but God made a way for it to come to all to read and know Him.

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.  Isaiah 40:8

If you feel the Holy Spirit moving you to know God and read His Word, keep in mind the big picture.  The entire Bible points to One.  From Genesis to Revelation there is One.

The Savior.  The Sanctifier.  The Healer.  The Coming King.

Jesus Christ

It is very sad and humbling to see the tendency of… those who, if they do not reject the Bible altogether, will compromise its supremacy and question its infallible authority. The Bible is either everything or nothing. Like a chain which depends upon its weakest link, if God’s Word is not absolutely and completely true, it is too weak a cable to fix our anchorage and guarantee our eternal peace. Thank God, we have reason to accept it as the supernatural revelation of a supernatural God, the word not of man, but the Word of God that lives and abides forever.

A. B. Simpson Biography and Bibliography

Salt and Light

salt-light-city

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

It is hard to live a Christian life when you try.  It is very difficult to try to live a life following Jesus.  It is hard to live a life discipling people.  It is hard to be salt and light.  It is hard when you rely on your own power to do it.

I find myself praying to be salt and light. I pray to be His hands and feet.  But I do not allow the Holy Spirit to work in me to bring the Gospel to people.  I rely on my own power and I feel bad at the end of the day because I was not salt.  I was not a city on a hill.

I want so much to share the Gospel, but I feel sometimes I try too hard. When opportunities show up that I miss, I regret not taking them.  Maybe I over think it and I do not give my life to the Holy Spirit to work through me.  Maybe my pride gets in the way of the Holy Spirit.

Maybe this happens to you too.  Let’s give up our control and give it to Him.  Let Him guide us to be salt and light.  After all, we are called out of our slavery to sin and into slavery to Jesus Christ.

Doulos Iesou Christou

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