The Christian faith is founded on God’s Word in its final form—the Scriptures. It is imperative then that we study the written Word. Only through the written Word can we grow in our faith in God. At GGCF, we nourish your soul by expository preaching. In expository preaching, the point of the text is the point of the sermon. At GGCF, we feed the very Word of God.
Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). Our text today is known as the “Golden Rule.” The title comes from a story about the Roman emperor, Alexander Serverus (AD 222-235). He was not a Christian. But he liked this rule so much. He thought it was comprehensive. So he had it inscribed in gold on the wall of his room. (France)
The Golden Rule is the climax of the Sermon on the Mount for two reasons. One, Matthew uses the conjunction, “so” (oun), which means, “therefore, consequently, accordingly” (Gingrich). The word, “therefore,” indicates a conclusion, a climax in this context. Two, Matthew begins with the Law and the Prophets in Matt. 5:17. He ends the Sermon with the Law and the Prophets in Matt. 7:12. Hence, the Golden Rule is the high point of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus then closes His Sermon with four exhortations in vv. 13-27.
The word, “therefore,” also connects this section with the previous one. In v. 11, Jesus speaks of the Father’s gifts to those who ask Him. “Therefore,” as we want God to give us, we are to give to others. In v. 1, Jesus teaches about judging ourselves first, before judging others. “Therefore,” as we want to be treated fairly, we should treat others fairly. In Matt. 6:14-15, Jesus talks of God forgiving us our sins. “Therefore,” as we expect to be forgiven, we are to forgive others.
Let’s go further back in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. In Matt. 5:21, Jesus teaches that anger brings divine judgment. “Therefore,” as we want peace from others, we are to give peace to them. In Matt. 5:32, Jesus says that a husband causes his wife to commit adultery if he divorces her. “Therefore,” as you want your wife to avoid adultery, stick with your wife. In Matt. 5:39, Jesus talks about turning the other cheek. “Therefore,” turn the other cheek as you would have others do to you. In Matt. 5:44, Jesus speaks of loving our enemies. “Therefore,” love your enemies as you want your enemies to love you.
Thus, I have taken pains in showing you one thing. The Golden Rule is the summary rule of Jesus’ Sermon and of the whole OT.
Jesus taught this rule in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is the sermon on kingdom righteousness. Many have used the Golden Rule as a tool for harmonious social relationships. But the intent of the Golden Rule is not social harmony. Rather, it is the rule of kingdom relations. It is the lifestyle of the kingdom in its refined form. It is the sign of kingdom righteousness. It is the mark of Christian discipleship.