Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

The Golden Rule

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The Golden Rule

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The Golden Rule

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Most religions have a variation of the Golden Rule. If we are able to capture this biblical principal in our hearts we will live like true Christians.

Transcript

How many of you have shopped at J.C. Pennys? Let me see the hands. Let’s see anybody’s hand who’s never been at a J.C. Pennys. Everybody here’s been at J.C. Pennys. Do you know that J.C. Pennys used to be called the “Golden Rule Store”? And, in fact, the first several stores that Jim Cash, James Cash Penny, started were actually known as the Golden Rule Stores. I want to share with you a story about that.

One of the many successful men who have used the “Golden Rule” principle was James Cash Penny. The fabulous Mr. Penny started with a small general merchandise store in Kemmerer, Wyoming in 1902. He built a multi-billion-dollar business empire on one simple principle—the “Golden Rule.” For years the Penny stores were called the “Golden Rule stores,” and it was Mr. Penny’s faith in that principle—always treating a customer as he himself would want to be treated—that made them grow and prosper. But, perhaps, even more important was Mr. Penny’s attitude toward his employees. In the first place, he did not like the word “employee.” Preferring to treat everyone as a partner, he called them “associates.” He devoted himself to treating them as he would want to be treated if the situation were reversed. Most of all, he knew that by helping them make money, his own success would be assured. When he died in 1971, he had amassed something like $4.2 billion in sales. It was the fifth largest department store retailer in America; and there were over 1,700 stores. The Golden Rule stores.

The “Golden Rule” is the fundamental principle of interpersonal relationships. It’s certainly based upon the second great commandment, which we’ll come to see. Yet, Jesus Christ’s teaching is called “a most sublime precept, highly worthy of the grandeur and beneficence of the just God who gave it.”

I would like to speak to you today about the “Golden Rule”—do to others as you would want them to do to you. We’re going to go through and we’re going to analyze that verse and we’re going to look at it from one side and the other side and from the beginning to the end, so that we can understand more fully, because, I believe, for both students and brethren, if we live up to the “Golden Rule,” we will have peace, we will have prosperity, we will have love among ourselves and among all the peoples that we come to know, because, you see, the “Golden Rule” is not just for our friends. The “Golden Rule” is for everyone, and if we could just practice that—I’ll read you a quote in a moment—you will see all these nasty sides of human nature go, because as young people come here, ABC students, you’ll be living in different circumstances. You’ll be having, when you first get here, there’s all this fun. “Oh, four of us sharing an apartment. It’s so great; it’s wonderful.” And then you say, “Well, clean off the table.” And somebody’s version of cleaning off the table is not your version of cleaning off the table. And then, you say, “Well, they didn’t do unto me as I would have done to them,” because you may have cleaned it thoroughly, and they may have given it a lick and a promise. So your view is, they aren’t doing their job.

There’s lots of room for strain. You come to class after a late night of working, you come to class—working, notice I said, not having fun, but working—you come to class and here you are sitting here, and you’re kind of tired and somebody takes your pencil or breaks it or teases you or something and then you have a hard time responding to them. If we can only keep and capture this one concept and keep it in our minds and in our hearts, we will be Christians. We will act like Christians, and we will generate such an enthusiasm among ourselves and even to those we meet about God’s way of life, because this cardinal teaching found in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7, and verse 12—let’s go there—is the verse that Jesus Christ gave. This awesome principle. I’ll read you some of the commentaries, what they say about it. In fact, many, many groups, many religions, many cultures have a form of the “Golden Rule.” But virtually all of them—I think I found one or two that had a positive spin on it—virtually all of them, it becomes passive. It’s something you don’t do. “Don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you.” Well, that’s easy, just don’t do anything. But Jesus Christ gave a positive one, as we will see.

Others say, “Do to your friends, treat them nicely, as you would like to be treated.” They don’t say, “Do to all…” We’re going to see how all-encompassing this is, because it doesn’t just say, “A few things do for one another.” Do you know what it says? “All things,” all things that you would like others to do to you, you should do for them.

We’ll take a look at this wonderful…and why it’s called the “Golden Rule,” because it’s so precious. Confucius had what was called the “silver rule,” because his was put in the negative way. But let’s look at Matthew 7, verse 12, and I’ll read this out of King James, but I will share it with you in many different translations—eleven of them, to be exact.

Matthew 7:12 Matthew 7:12Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
– Therefore, all things whatsoever you would…notice, ALL things whatsoever you would…that men should do to you, do you even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

How important was this particular scripture? How important was this particular teaching? Jesus Christ said, “This is what the Old Testament is all about,” and the Old Testament was the only written literature that they had, as far as God’s inspired scriptures. They didn’t have the New Testament yet. This is what the Bible is all about, that portion that they had. This is it. This is the summary. And when you look at the other commandment that’s akin to this, because actually, this particular principle works hand-in-glove with the second greatest commandment. They are the only two that actually tie in the law and the prophets, in which that one says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That one says, “On these two,” the first and the second great commandment, “hang all the law and the prophets.” We’ll take a look at that in a moment.

Let me share with you, before we analyze this verse more thoroughly, what eleven different translations say:

New King James, your Bible, says this: Therefore, whatever, whatever, you want men to do to you—that word “men” we’ll come back and analyze—do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

The New Revised Standard Version puts it this way, calls it the “Golden Rule,” In everything do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.

The Today’s English Version puts it this way: Do for others what you want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.

The Amplified Version puts it this way: So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so, do also to and for them, for this is, this sums up, the law and the prophets.

The New International Version puts it this way: So in everything do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.

The New Living Translation has this rendering: Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

The New American Standard Version, Updated, says this: In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law and the prophets.

The Living Bible, the older edition, says this: Do for others what you want them to do for you; this is the teaching of the law of Moses in a nutshell.

The Revised Standard Version puts it this way: So whatever, whatever, you wish that men would do to you, do so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

And then, the American Standard Version gives this rendering: All things, therefore, whatsoever you would that men should do to you, even do you also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

And, finally, the New American Standard Bible says: Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the law and the prophets.

So that gives you a fairly good sense of what He {Christ}is trying to get across from eleven different translations. Now, there is a parallel version to this verse, and that is in Luke, chapter…hold your place…Luke 6, verse 31…we’ll be coming back to more thoroughly go over Matthew 7:12 Matthew 7:12Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
, but go to Luke 6:31 Luke 6:31And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.
American King James Version×
. In this section of the Beatitudes that Jesus Christ gave in Luke’s recording of it, here’s how He puts that particular concept.

Luke 6:31 Luke 6:31And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.
American King James Version×
– And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.

And I’d like to read just a few translations of that to get the flavor and drive home the point and let this stick in your mind. Actually, I almost went on my computer and made up a whole bunch of cards that just quoted the scripture and encouraged all of us to put it over our mirrors in the morning where we shave or do our hair or whatever and have it there where we could read it every day of our lives; but that would be Talmudic, and we don’t need to do that. Hopefully, we can put it in our hearts and our minds and live by it, because, I promise, if we live by this principle, all types of clashes, all types of problems would go by the boards. They would go if we could just live this one teaching of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The New American Standard Version, Updated, puts it this way, Luke 6:31 Luke 6:31And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.
American King James Version×
: Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

The Amplified puts it this way: And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.

The New International Version puts it this way: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Today’s English Version says: Do for others just what you want them to do for you.

The New Revised Standard Version says: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Revised Standard Version says: And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

And, finally, the Living Bible puts it this way: Treat others as you want them to treat you.

So you get the flavor of what Luke 6, verse 31, was bringing across.

Let’s go back to Matthew 7, verse 12. Before I read that, I’d like to share with you some principles of the “Golden Rule” as were known in other religions.

Hinduism said this: Do nothing to others which, if done to you, would cause you pain. This is the sum of duty.

In Buddhism, here’s what they wrote: In five ways should a clansman minister to his friends and familiars, by treating them as he treats himself. But more the emphasis on…that’s positive, but on the friends.

Confucius said this, here’s how he put it: What you do not want done to yourself, do not do unto others. The negative side, just withholds yourself from doing evil.

Daoism said this: To those who were good to me, I am good. To those who are not good to me, I am also good. It carries that same type concept.

In Zoroastrianism, here is the comment: Whatsoever you do not approve for yourself, do not approve for anyone else.

Judaism had two of them—one in Tobit, one of the writings in the Apocrypha: What you, yourself, hate, do to no man. And, then, in the Babylonian Shebat: Whatsoever you would that men should not do to you, do not do to them.

Greek Philosophy had this comment: Do not do to others what you should not wish to suffer yourselves. And treat your friends as you would want them to treat you.

In Christianity, we know what that one is: All things, ALL things, therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do also to them.

It was noted, these various founders all had comments, most of them having to do with negative or with their own friends. And here’s what a quote says about these individuals: “These statements are worlds away from what Jesus said. Their rules are negative and passive.” In other words, just don’t do anything bad to another person. “Jesus’s rule is positive and active. In essence, these wise men said, ‘Avoid doing to others what you do not want done to you.’ Jesus said, ‘Think of something good you wish someone would do for you, and then do it for someone else.’” Think of something good that you could do for others, and then do it to them. What you would like done to yourself, do it to them.

Let’s go back to Matthew 7 and verse 12, and I would like to share with you this verse. I’ll try to give you…I looked up every Greek word in this particular one and I’m not going to bore you with the Greek, but I will try to add some flavor to each one of these words as we go through. He says:

Matthew 7:12 Matthew 7:12Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Therefore…and that could be translated “certainly,” “absolutely,” “for this reason,” and, by the way, if you go back and look at the context of what Jesus Christ was speaking about, the context of this particular part was discussing prayer and discussing not judging others. So He says, “Now, therefore, in light of this, for that reason, certainly,” He adds, after He has talked about prayer, seek, knock, ask, He also talks about don’t judge others, cast the beam out of your own eye, and then He comes down to this. He says, “Therefore, for this reason, certainly…”

all things…notice the word “all.” It means everyone, everything. You can’t say, “Well, now, you know, in some things I’ll be nice to them and in some things I’ll show brotherly love and in some things I’ll try to treat them with fairness and equity and in some ways I’ll try to do this. But God says, not just some ways. He said we need to be treating him in every way. “All things…”

whatsoever…notice the word “whatsoever.” That’s “all,” “great,” “many,” “much.” All, again, everything, anything, whatsoever. But what the “whatsoever” implies is, it leaves that judgment call up to you. It leaves that judgment call up to you. For instance, I may like brussel sprouts. I may really like brussel sprouts. And I say, “You know what, I’m having people for dinner tonight, and if I were going to their place for dinner, I would like them to serve me brussel sprouts. So they’re coming to my place for dinner. I’m serving them brussel sprouts.” And I’m missing the principle because I’m getting too specific. Instead of saying, “If I go to their place, I would like them to serve me my favorite vegetable; and if they come to my house, I want to serve them their favorite vegetable.” That’s the principle we must gather. But it’s all things, and it has to do with anything, whatsoever, whatsoever. And He says…you would…that means “you desire” or “you intend.” Whatever you would desire or intend that men would do, should do to you, or would desire that men should do to you.

that…The word “that” means “to the intent.”

men…is the word for “human being.” It’s not just about the male sex. It’s about anybody. Little kids. It could be anyone. We must treat them as we would like to be treated if we were in their shoes. “…that men…”

should do…And, again, this has to do with “make” or “develop” or “bring to perfection,” that you would do, to perform. And, again, it’s active.

to you, do you…If you would like people to do this to you, then He turns around and says, “You do.” It’s the same Greek word. “You do,” active. “You do…”

even…the word even, then, “You do then…”

so…This is coming from the New King James, “so after this manner,” do after this manner…

to them…which, the word, obviously, is “them,” the individuals. Outgoing for other individuals. Now notice what He says at the end:

for this is…this consists of, because, this consists of or this means, is the word “is,” this consists of or this means…

the law and the prophets…the nomos, the law.

This is what it’s all about. This is what it drives you toward. But we will see that it’s impossible just to say, “I’m going to love my neighbor. Boy, I’m going to love my neighbor out of a pure heart and a pure attitude, with no hidden desires. I’m going to do it,” and not be close to God. You must have No. 1 in there. If No. 1’s not there, where you worship your Lord, your God, you can’t do No. 2. And this, really, the “Golden Rule,” is a spin-off, is an application of No. 2, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How do you love your neighbor as yourself? By doing to them as you would have them do to you, IF you were in their shoes.

I’m going to share with you a couple of comments from commentaries now. This one’s Adam Clark’s Commentary. He puts it this way:

This is a most sublime precept, the quote I gave you to start with, highly worthy of the grandeur and beneficence of the just God who gave it. The general meaning of it is this: guided by justice and mercy…guided by justice and mercy, which we just discussed before that… ”do unto all men as you would have them do to you,” were your circumstances and theirs reversed. Yet, this saying may be misunderstood. If the prisoner should ask the judge whether he would be content to be hanged, were he in his case, he would answer, “No!” “Then,” says the prisoner, “well, do as you would like to be done to.” Neither of them must do as private men, but the judge must do so to him as they have publicly agreed. So he abides by certain things; he’s got to do this publically. He can’t say, “Well, now, you can’t enforce this because you wouldn’t like anybody to hang you for this crime, right? You shouldn’t do it.” It’s not talking publically; it’s talking privately. He said They both had consented to the law that if either of them steals, they shall be hanged. None, it goes on to quote, none but he whose heart is filled with the love to God and all mankind can keep this precept, either in its spirit or in letter. That’s why it takes that closeness to God, the No. 1, love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your might, all your strength, all your soul. Your relationship with God enables the love of God in you to flow out in an outgoing concern to others. Self-love will feel itself sadly cramped when brought within the limits of this precept. If you love yourself, this one’s not for you. If you have that heavy self-love, it won’t be for you. But God has spoken it. It is the spirit and design of the law and prophets, the sum of all that’s laid down in the sacred writings relevant to men’s conduct toward each other. It seems as if God had written it upon the hearts of all men, for sayings of this kind can be found among all nations. However, as we already read, they are heavily negative. They are negative connotations, not positive ones.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary brings this out: The rule of justice having been laid down, “whatsoever you would, then, that men should do to you, do you even so to them,” Christ came to teach us not only what we are to know and believe, but what we are to do. So Matthew Henry’s comment focuses on, you just can’t sit back. It isn’t like, “OK, I’ll just go somewhere and be a recluse, and that way I won’t ever interface with anyone.” You know, even the cloistered nuns who take a vow of silence that they’ll never speak, even they still have to interface with each other a little bit of the day. They have to be able to apply this principle, too. So no matter where you would go unless you just go off and isolate yourself from humanity, and then you would never do anybody any harm, except you wouldn’t be there to do anything positive for them either. He goes on to say, not only are we to know and believe, but we are also to do…What we are to do, not only toward God, but toward men. Not only toward our fellow disciples, those of our own party and persuasion, but toward all men in general, all with whom we have to do. The “Golden Rule of equity” is to do to others as we would that they do to us. Do to others as we would have them do to us. This is grounded upon that great commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We’ll see that in a moment. He summarizes three things. I’ll give you four at the end. But he says:

1. We must do that to our neighbors we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable. You see, it’s got to be reasonable. It’s not always good. If somebody’s doing something wrong and is going to hurt themselves, you don’t just say, “Ah, keep on doing it. Nice going. Way to do it.” If you would say, “You know what, if I’m going down the wrong way on a one-way street, I hope somebody flashes their horn at me and doesn’t just wave at me and let me get into a traffic accident. I hope they will tell me.” If that’s what I want, then that’s what I should do for someone else. I should help them. The appeal is made to our own judgment and the discovery of our judgment is referred to that which our own will and expectation when it is in just that type of a case. So you have to exercise whatever you would…that’s the “whatever”…that’s your judgment. It doesn’t say, “Do this or do that, do the other.” It just says you need “to do,” though, so you have to exercise some judgment.

2. We must put other people upon the level with ourselves. We’ve got to consider others. This is an area where students coming in, brethren have sometimes difficulty understanding. Different personalities, different types of traits, different types of means and ways that we act, different training, different backgrounds. Are we willing to let them be on our level, or are we going to say, “You’re not like me; therefore, I don’t like you”? We must put other people upon the level with ourselves and reckon we are as much obliged to them as they are to us. We are as much bound to the duty of justice as they are, and they are entitled to the benefit of it, just as we are.

3. We must in all of our dealings suppose ourselves in the same particular case and circumstance with those we have to do with and deal accordingly. You’ve got to be able, then, to put yourself in that other person’s shoes. They said there’s an old saying that goes around, “If you don’t treat people this way, God is going to have to treat you.” God’s going to have to treat you, and I don’t think we want that.

I’ll read to you one more quote. This comes from Barnes Notes: This command, Matthew 7:12 Matthew 7:12Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
, has been usually called the “Savior’s Golden Rule,” a name given to it on account of its great value. All that you expect or desire of others in similar circumstances, do to them. Act not from selfishness or injustice, but put yourself in the place of the other and ask what you would expect of him or her. This would make you impartial, candid, and just. It would destroy avarice, or greed, envy, treachery, unkindness, slander, theft, adultery, and murder. It’s been well said that this law is what the balance wheel is to machinery. It would prevent all irregularity of movement in the moral world, as that balance wheel does in a steam engine. It is easily applied. Its justice is seen by all people, and all must acknowledge its force and value. Well, it’s not easily applied. It’s easily applied with the Spirit of God, and it’s not easy to keep at. It’s not easy to keep up, and we may all come across this and say, “Wow! That was good. Let’s do it for a week. Let’s do it for a day. Wow! Let’s do it today.” This is something that needs to be life-changing. Something we do for the rest of our lives, something that impacts us as a teaching of Jesus Christ that has to do with our lives, not only now—and others’ lives, not only now—but our lives in the future as well.

Comments on “this is the law and the prophets.” He says this, That is, this is the sum or substance of the Old Testament. It is nowhere found in so many words, but it is a summary expression of all that the law required. The sentiment was in use among the Jews. Hillel, an ancient rabbi, said to a man who wished to become a proselyte and who asked him to teach him the whole law, he said this, “Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to another.” Something of the same sentiment was found among the Greeks and Romans and found in the writings of Confucius, which we’ve already seen. So there you have the three commentaries giving, weighing in on the importance of this particular verse.

Let’s look at a biblical example to help us understand this verse a little more, and then we’ll bring it to four areas that we need to note and then we’ll bring it to a close today.

Matthew, chapter 18, verses 23-33. Here’s a biblical example of not applying this principle, and the Bible tells us it should have been applied. But notice, Matthew 18:23 Matthew 18:23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
American King James Version×
:

Matthew 18:23-26 Matthew 18:23-26 [23] Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a certain king, which would take account of his servants. [24] And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought to him, which owed him ten thousand talents. [25] But for as much as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. [26] The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.
American King James Version×
– Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon…one was really using his Mastercard, VISA, and every other card he could find to accumulate between 12 and 40 million dollars worth of debt. He brought this one servant which owed him 10,000 talents—depending on what exchange rate was at that time, between 12 and 40 million dollars. But forasmuch as he had nothing to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. Now, it’s a little hard to do that…sell a person, put him in prison. It’s hard to make any money in prison unless you make a few license plates, send out a few tags, and you don’t get a whole lot of money there. How would he ever get out? Basically, he is consigned to life in prison. The servant, therefore, fell down, and worshipped him, bowed down and showed him deep respect, saying, “Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you all. Just give me a chance.” Yeah, right! He would have to go bankrupt. Of course, back then they didn’t. They took it out of your flesh.

Verse 27 – Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Verses 28-32 – But the same servant…mind you, just had 40 million bucks—anywhere from 12 to 40 million—forgiven, that same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence, approximately $15, and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat…he throttled him, pushed him up against the wall, and he said, “Pay me that which you owe.” And notice what his fellow servant did. Same thing. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet beside him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. Again, little chance. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you desired me.”

Verse 33 – “Should not you also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you? Shouldn’t you have done to him what you desired to have done to you? You desired me to give you a chance and give you a break, and I did. This man desired you to give him a break, and you didn’t.”

There is a living biblical principle. There is a biblical example of an individual who would not apply this law; and, of course, you find out what he said. He put him in prison. It said he was given to his tormenters—tormenters aren’t going to get any more money out of him, by the way—and so, likewise, till he pays it all. And, of course, he’s not going to be able to pay it all, so he goes back to prison for life.

Matthew, chapter 7, verse 12. Let’s read it again, and then we will go through and we will ask ourselves what we may take from this.

Matthew 7:12 Matthew 7:12Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
– Therefore all things, reading out of old King James, “all things,” everything, anything, whatsoever, that’s your decision, you would, you would, you desire, that men, men, women, human race, should do to you, whatever you desire them to do to you, “doing” is there, do you even so to them, for this is, this sums up what the teachings of the holy scriptures were all about. This sums up the law and the prophets.

So, then, let’s say, for students, for brethren, how do we apply this broad principle? God only gave us a broad principle. You have to figure it out, how to apply it in different circumstances; but there will be many circumstances as we begin a new ABC year whereby we need to apply this, “Do unto others as you would have others do to you.”

Point No. 1—I’ll leave you four points—No. 1:

1. Do.

Notice what he says. “Do unto others,” do for others. We have to be doers. We have to be active. It says you can’t just sit back. The Bible says do good unto him. You know, do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith. The Bible talks about, don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your hands to do it. We can’t just sit back and do nothing. We can’t just not, not do something. We have to positively do something. Do whatever it takes that is appropriate, that we make that judgment call in the circumstance, to do to that person as we would have that person do to us. We’ll run into many situations where we have to be patient. I know sometimes I have to pull myself back and sometimes a person on the highway, they’re just dottering along, you know, and I’m thinking, “Yeah…” Then I think of my Dad. My Dad can barely see. My Dad’s 95, and he still drives to the store. He puts about 400 miles on his car a year, and he drives to the store. When I start to get upset and say, “Come on, Mister, get going,” then I look and it’s an older person, and I feel bad. Hey, if I were that old, I’d be thankful that I could even be out there on the road driving, let alone having to keep up with the speed limit. So we have to put ourselves in that other person’s shoes and “give them a little bit of slack,” as they say down south.

We don’t want to do to them AS they do to us. Let me read you Mark Twain’s take on this: When Mark Twain asked to borrow a book, his obliging neighbor said, “I never lend books, but you are welcome to read it here.” Sometime later when the neighbor requested the use of Twain’s lawn mower, he was told, “Certainly. But you’ll have to use it here.” That’s doing unto others AS others do to you. Some say, “Do unto others BEFORE they do it to you.” Those are some of the nasty turns, but the first point tells us that we need to be active.

2. All appropriate things.

All things that are fitting or appropriate for the other person is what we need to do. And this is a judgment call. The Bible says, “Do good.” It should be good, good for them, in the circumstance; but this is a judgment call that we have to make. “All things whatsoever,” so that’s your choice. The appropriateness of your response, the appropriateness of your action is what he’s giving you the opportunity to choose; but it should be appropriate.

3. Notice: To others.

This is an outgoing statement. This is thinking about the other person. This is away from self. We have to consider the other person, consider who they are, allowing for differences. Even Jesus Christ said, “Feed your enemy.” Even Jesus Christ said, “If they are hungry, feed them. Love your enemy.” So it doesn’t just include brethren, although brethren are wonderful; and we should do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith. That’s number 3. This principle involves others, ANY others. ANY others.

4. This sums up the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22, verse 40. Hold your place here. Matthew 22, verse 40, and we’ll notice what Jesus Christ taught and how this ties in because, notice in Matthew 7:12 Matthew 7:12Therefore all things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
, he says, “For this is the law and the prophets.” You can check “law and prophets,” and you’ll only find the term “law and prophets” hanging on something or depending on something only with these two principles and these wonderful teachings, laws of Jesus Christ that He gave.

Matthew 22:37-38 Matthew 22:37-38 [37] Jesus 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 first and great commandment.
American King James Version×
– Jesus said unto him, “Thou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

Verse 39 – “And the second is like unto it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” And who is your neighbor? Remember the good Samaritan? Who’s your neighbor? Anybody. Anybody that’s on the planet is your neighbor. Let’s call it your planet neighbor. Not your next-door neighbor, but your planet neighbor, because, remember when Jesus Christ talked about the good Samaritan, who was the one that stopped and helped him? Helped the injured person? It wasn’t a Levite and it wasn’t a priest. Who was it? It was the Samaritan, that they would have had nothing to do with. And Jesus Christ said, “Who is your neighbor? Which one was neighbor to him?” He explained who it was. “On these two commandments,” and the second one is like the one we’re talking about, “hang all the law and the prophets.”

If you check various translations, it talks about they depend on these two commandments. All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. All other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the law and the prophets. So the concept is, on this principle—love your neighbor as yourself AND do to them as you would have them to do to you—the law and the prophets. That’s what they’re about. They depend on that.

You can read the scriptures all you want to. You can study them and you can know everything about the scriptures, which all the students will know in about seven months, everything about everything in the Bible…ha! Dr. Levy already knows all the Old Testament. I only know a part of the New Testament and a part of the Old Testament. Mr. Holladay knows a little bit of the scriptures in the New, and Mr. Fenchel knows some in the Old, but none of us knows it all. But you all will know it all because you’ll get it all from us. But the point being, you can have it all and not live this principle and lose out. I’ll show you that in a moment.

Let me conclude by saying, this is a royal law. It’s called the Royal Law. It’s the second great commandment, and to live these principles is to live up to that second great commandment that God gives. So it is the second great commandment. I John 3, verse 11, 14-18, my last scripture. We need to be practicing it, applying it. We need to let God’s Spirit emblazon it on our hearts and in our minds, and then we need to live it. We need to do something. We can’t just sit back and not do nothing—I said that deliberately, double negative—we should not sit back and not do nothing; but rather, we should be doing something positive. Take a look at I John, chapter 3, and verse 11, and we’ll see it’s a matter of life and death.

I John 3:11 John 3:11Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and you receive not our witness.
American King James Version×
– For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Verses 14-17 – We know that we have passed, or are passing, from death unto life, because we love the brethren. And, then, extend that to all people. He that loves not his brother abides in death. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Here’s how we perceive the love of God. Here’s how you test it…because he laid down his life for us…What did He do? He DID something. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?

Verse 18 – My little children, and this is for all people, not just the brethren. Especially the household of faith, yes; but for all peoples, My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

God wants us to truly apply it. God wants us to DO something. He wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and He wants us to do that by doing whatever it takes, all things that we wish that people would do for us, that we do to them because that is the summation of the law and the prophets. And I’ll read you two final comments.

The heathen had a saying, “Man is a wolf to a man whom he does not know,” but concerning the Christians, they exclaimed, “They love each other without knowing each other,” and, “Behold, how these Christians love one another.” The love that they had because of doing to one another and doing for one another, whatever things they wished to be done to them.

A final comment and I’ll close: The Golden Rule is of no use unless you realize that it’s your move.

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