Studies have shown that the happiest people in the world are those who invest their time in helping others. How happy are you?
In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
These words from our Jesus Christ’s glorious Sermon on the Mount are frequently referred to as “The Golden Rule.” This teaching of Jesus is rooted in the Old Testament, which makes perfect sense seeing that the Bible is . . .
More than 1,500 years earlier, the Sovereign Lord had instructed the people of Israel:
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. . . . The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
(Leviticus 19:18, 34)
So, what exactly is this Golden Rule all about? As an authoritative standard, the Golden Rule is above all other rules in both prominence and purity. It is designed to govern our conduct and to grow our capacity to bring ultimate glory to God and incredible good to others . . . all others.
I have heard it said that Jesus was not really teaching anything new here; that all religions teach basically the same principle, since at the core (it is said) all religions are fundamentally the same.
Is that notion true? Let’s take a look:
Hindu Religion – This is the sum of duty: do nothing to others which if it were done to you, would cause you pain.
Buddhist Religion – Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
Muslim Religion – No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
Jewish Traditions (Talmud) – What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
Confucianism – What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
To be sure, these are all good rules to follow, but you can see a major difference: all these other religious rules are primarily negative—Do not do—while Christ’s Golden Rule is positive and proactive—Do! Jesus is calling us to live a life of joyful, intentional, acts of voluntary service.
Living out the Golden Rule tells the world Whose we are. By nature, as children of Adam, we all live self-centered lives. But when we are raised from death to life by the power and grace of the Spirit of God, we are to lay our lives down for others with hearts that beat for nothing smaller than Jesus . . . who, while we were still sinners, laid down His life for us.
So . . . does the Golden Rule rule in your life?
I must add one final point before we close today’s message. I said earlier that “It is said” that all religions are fundamentally the same. No statement could be more fundamentally false! All the other major religions and all the cults require man to strive to ascend to God by living a life of good works that will make him acceptable to God. Only Christianity teaches that God descended to man in gracious love, because we are completely incapable of ascending to a perfectly holy God. Only Christianity teaches that God alone has done all the work required for our salvation, all the work that makes us acceptable to Him—“It is finished!”—and therefore we do our good works because God so loves us, not to try to make God love us.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!