Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.

The golden rule means we’re concerned about how we treat others and about our relationship with them.

Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

We don’t just keep the golden rule to go to heaven. We do it because God changed our heart and it matters how we treat others. Being saved isn’t only about us and our vertical relationship relationship with God but there’s a horizontal relationship with our fellow man. As saved saints of God, we’re concerned about the horizontal relationship and how we treat others. How we them is how God treats us. He said don’t avenge, bear any grudge, and love thy neighbor as thyself.

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

If we meet our enemies’ ox that’s gone astray, then we need to bring it back. We treat others like we want to be treated.

Exodus 23:4-5 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.

Vex means to wrong or do injury to. God said don’t vex or oppress a stranger or someone we don’t know because they were strangers in the land of Egypt and God helped them there. God wants us to be concerned about all people regardless of who they are. It’s important that we have an outward focus and not an inward focus so it’s not all about our problems and needs or what’s best for me. Jesus wants us to look at others’ needs and to see if there’s any way we can help.

Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

The golden rule to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the law and the prophets. It’s a guide to treat others with kindness, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, gentleness, respect, and love. We won’t love our neighbor as ourselves if we don’t have the love of God in our heart. There will be too much selfishness in us. We have to die to our will and way so we want God’s way above everything. First we have to repent and ask God to help us forsake all our sins. We need to be fully committed and sold out so we die to ourselves and ask God to fill us with the love of God.

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Every day we need to pray that God will help us to love like Jesus loved us. He gave himself completely to die on the cross so we could have salvation. We need to be willing to sacrifice ourselves. The test of love is whether we’re willing to sacrifice ourselves and to endure to the end by denying ourselves because love worketh no ill.

Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Jesus said to love one another as he loved us. There was no selfishness or wanting his own way in Jesus. He submitted his will to God. We have to get our will submitted so we just want to do God’s will, regardless of our opinions or ideas.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

By forgiving and loving our neighbor as ourselves, all will know we’re Jesus’ disciples. In Matthew 7:12 “Therefore” refers to scripture before that says “whatsoever you would that men should do to you.” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) what to do to be acceptable and how to treat others. Matthew 5:7 says “blessed are merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” If we’re not willing to have mercy for others, mercy will be denied us. Matthew 6:14-15 says God forgiving our trespasses is contingent on us forgiving others. If we aren’t willing to forgive others, God won’t forgive us. How we treat others is how God will treat us. We need a real desire for God to forgive all the sins and be willing to forgive anyone who ever wronged us if we want to be saved. God will help us forgive others when we repent and ask him to forgive us. People think they have a right to judge but it must be righteous judgment according to the word of God.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Righteous judgment won’t criticize, condemn, or fault find against people. The scripture says why do you stare at the very small particle in your brother’s eye but don’t consider the beam of timber in your own eye. Jesus said it’s hypocritical so you first have to get the beam of timber out of your own eye so you see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye. We have to get our life straightened out first and then we won’t be condemning, fault finding, criticizing, or making snide remarks against others. You’ll want them to get help because the love of God is in your heart. Galatians 6:1 says if a man is overtaken in a fault that those who are spiritual should restore them in the spirit of meekness and consider lest you also be tempted. We deal with problems with others in meekness, humbleness, gentleness – not criticizing or finding fault.

Matthew 7:1-4 (Amplified Classic) Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned…with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you. Why do you stare…at the very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber…in your own eye? Or how can you say…Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye, when there is the beam of timber in your own eye?

The golden rule does not teach that we do to others what we would like them to do so they do the same to us. We don’t expect any return from what we do. The golden rule does not teach that we treat others the way they treat us. The golden rule does not teach that we treat others the way they think they should be treated. Some people think they can steal or do bad things but there won’t be any punishment but they’ll be treated like they want to. The golden rule doesn’t mean God won’t discipline us. He disciplines everyone he loves. Jesus said to treat others with the love of God like he treated us.

Other religions have their own golden rule, but it’s different than what Jesus taught. The Hindu religion says do not do to others what would cause the pain. The Buddhists say hurt not others with what pains you. Jewish tradition says what is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man, that is the entire law. The Baha’i faith says to not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself. Confucius said what you do not want others to do to you, do not do to others. Socrates said do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others. All that is required is that you don’t harm others. Jesus said to do something favorable to others and all the others only prohibit you from doing something unfavorable. The golden rule is to be kind, gentle, compassionate, merciful, to forgive, to not condemn, and have a desire to help others.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

How we treat others is how we treat Jesus. If we aren’t concerned, that’s how we’re treating him. Those on the right are going to heaven because they put themselves out to help others. Those on the left are selfish and want to do their own thing.

Matthew 25:31-35 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels…shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them…as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed…inherit the kingdom…For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Matthew 25:41-45 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer…Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer…Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

God has a strait and narrow way that includes a plan that we love our neighbor as ourselves.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many…go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

How Jesus loved is the way he wants us to love. At the pool of Bethesda people could step in the water to be healed when an angel troubled the water. Jesus saw a man who was crippled 38 years. Jesus picked him from the multitude to heal.

John 5:1-3 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is…a pool, which is called …Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered…

John 5:5-9 And a certain man…had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him…he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

The Jews were more concerned with the man carrying his bed on the Sabbath than that the man was healed.

John 5:10-13 The Jews therefore said unto him…It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole…said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked…What man is that which said… Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not…for Jesus had conveyed himself away…

Jesus found the man later and told to him to sin no more. When we repent and ask God to forgive us of our sins, he tells us to go and sin no more. The reason Jesus came was to forgive us of our sins so we don’t have to live in sin anymore.

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him…and said…thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

The Jews were angry Jesus healed on the sabbath and said God was his father so they sought to kill him.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

The Jews were still angry because Jesus healed the man on the sabbath day and allowed him to pick up his bed. Jesus said they circumcised on the sabbath and didn’t keep the law of Moses so he asked why were they trying to kill him.

John 7:19-24 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people…said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision…and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Jesus escaped them strictly because God protected him. Ask God to help us love our neighbor as ourselves. It isn’t about us, but about how God wants us to help others, to supply their needs, and show real love in looking out for their welfare.

John 7:30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.