July 3, 2011

The Golden Rule

The golden rule is in fact unique to Christianity, given the theological and moral framework of the Bible which defines its parameters.

Scripture: Matthew 7:12-14; Psalm 1; Hebrews 10:19-25

Sermon Notes:

  1. In giving the golden rule, Jesus is calling us to imagine ourselves in another person's shoes.
  2. The golden rule is in fact unique to Christianity, given the theological and moral framework of the Bible which defines its parameters.
  3. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus cites another summary of the law, which is to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves.
  4. Parallel teaching in Romans 13:8-10 and 1 John chapters 3 and 4 further define the biblical meaning of the golden rule.
  5. The law and the prophets define love, telling us what it actually means.
  6. Jesus' own exposition of the law and prophets in the Sermon on the Mount defines the golden rule.
  7. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount the golden rule is the narrow gate, the difficult path of loving one's enemy, etc.
  8. Jesus is calling us to daily discipleship by entering the narrow gate.
  9. There is no middle way; you're either in the wide gate or the narrow gate. Consider how the church in Laocidea was rebuked for being luke-warm (Revelation 3:15-16).
  10. Moses called the people to choose life and blessing by obedience to God's commands (Deuteronomy 30:15-16).
  11. In the golden rule, Jesus is exhorting His people to obedience to His commandments and allegiance to His rule.
  12. 'Cheap grace' is the wide gate and the easy way of worldly living.
  13. 'Costly grace' will take your life but it is true grace because it will give you life through Christ.
  14. Jesus has been re-orienting our priorities; He's been setting our desires on heavenly treasure; now He calls us to seek life.
  15. We hope, fixing our eyes on eternal glory (2 Corinthians 4:15-18).
  16. Jesus is our pioneer and we're to follow Him (Heb. 12:1-3).
  17. At the cross we let go of our sin and ourselves, clinging to Christ, who takes our unrighteousness and clothes us with His righteousness.
  18. The Christian life is a long obedience in the same direction, a patient perseverance.
  19. The man in Psalm 1 is rooted in the Word of God, living in its streams of water.
  20. Our delight must be in God's Word. If we meditate on God's Word day and night, we will come to delight in it.
  21. Our leaves won't wither if we're feeding on Christ (John 6:48-58).

Application Questions

  1. How is the Golden Rule unique to Christianity?
  2. What are some specific biblical texts which define the golden rule?
  3. In your own words, how would you explain the uniqueness of the Jesus' golden rule to a pluralist?
  4. If the other person also wants you to commit some sin, are you then following the golden rule?
  5. What is the narrow gate?
  6. What is the costly grace and what is its result in us?
  7. How can we cultivate a passion and delight in God's Word?
  8. Have I been living by a concept of cheap grace?
  9. How is God challenging me to embrace blessing and life?
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