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The Sermon on the Mount # 17 - Living By the Golden Rule

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The Sermon on the Mount #17:

Living By the “Golden Rule”

Text: Matthew 7:12

Thesis: To learn what this rule entails so that we may love our neighbor as ourselves.


(1)   James Cash Penney –

In 1889, he opened up a butchershop and failed quickly because he refused to bribe an important local hotel chef with a weekly bottle of bourbon. “I lost everything I had,” said Penney, “but I learned never to compromise.” At his death in 1971, Penney, 95, left a 1,660-store empire that he built without compromising. He neither smoked nor drank, and for years demanded the same conduct from his employees. “I believe in adherence to the Golden Rule, faith in God and the country,” he often said. “I would rather be known as a Christian than a merchant.”

(2)   Let us look at what this rule truly entails:


I.                   What this rule does not teach:

A.    “Treat others as they treat you”

1.      OT teaching – “eye for an eye and a toot for a tooth” (cf. Exod. 21.24; Lev. 24.20)

2.      We are not to return evil for evil (cf. Rom. 12.17; 1 Thess. 5.15; 1 Pet. 3.9).

B.     “Do not treat others the way you would not want to be treated”

1.      Rabbis taught it this way

2.      Basically one “refuses to say or do anything that would harm himself or others” (Wiersbe 30).

3.      Mounce observed that “in its negative form, the Golden Rule could be satisfied by doing nothing” (qtd. in Blomberg 131).

4.      But … Jesus enunciated the rule in a positive (Morris 172).

II.                What this rule does teach:

A.    Context –

1.      Matthew 7:12

a.       Vv. 1-5 – Instead of hypocritical judging, treat others as you want to be treated.

b.      Vv. 7-11 – Since God is good to us, then we should be good to others (Stott)

c.       Or else, this is the summation of his whole sermon on the mount (Carson 188)


2.      Luke 6:31

a.       V. 27 – Love enemies, do good to those who hate you

b.      V. 28 – Pray for those who abuse you

c.       V. 29 – Turn the other cheek

d.      Hence, summation of loving your enemy

B.     Parallel Texts:

1.      Matthew 22:37 form Lev. 19:18 – Love neighbor as self

2.      John 13:34 – love others as Jesus has loved us

C.     Its teaching –

1.      Jesus states that it sums up the law and prophets.

a.       In other words, it “sums up the Old Testament teaching as a whole” (Morris 172).

b.      It is the “heart of the law” (Keener 249).

c.       “Love became the dominant and summarizing theme of the Christian ethic” (Hagner 177).

2.      To observe it:

a.       “I must go out of my way to help other people and to be kind to them, as I would wish them to help and to be kind to me” (Barclay 280).

b.      “It makes a very far-reaching demand for unselfish love in action” (France 146).

c.       It is costly and involves releasing “the love of God in our lives and enable us to help others, even those who want to hurt us.”

d.      We must come to see others as God sees them (i.e., made in His image –

Gen. 1.26).

3.      Illustrated:

a.       Parents of a child who was killed converting the killer to Christianity.

b.      Our day to day affairs –

(1)    Someone talks bad about us, we talk good about him/her

(2)    Someone refuses to help us, we help him/her

(3)    Someone hits us, we hug him/her


(1)    David Lipscomb stated that “the Gospel Rule, properly understood, is a rule for settling all difficulties and matters in the church or out of it” (qtd. in Boles 178).

(2)    Are you loving others?  Loving God?

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