Christmas Is About A House Call

There was a time when doctors actually visited sick people in their homes. It was known as a house call. Nobody makes house calls anymore. Well, there is a guy named Jason in Grand Junction, Colorado.1 He still makes house calls. But Jason is not a doctor. He is a barber. So if you get sick, there may not be a doctor who will come and heal you, but thanks to Jason at least you can look tidy. . . .

Jesus made house calls.

After one of his house calls in Capernaum, Jesus goes out and sees a man sitting at a tax booth.2 The man’s name is Matthew. Jesus says to him, “Follow me!” Matthew gets up and follows Jesus. By answering Jesus’ invitation Matthew becomes Jesus’ disciple, a learner with Jesus as his teacher, his master.

Then Matthew hosts a banquet and invites Jesus to his house. He wants his friends and associates to meet his new teacher. And many tax collectors and sinners come and share the table with Jesus and his other disciples.

The fact that Jesus goes to Matthew’s house and shares a table with him and his friends is significant. Sharing a table is an act of friendship, an expression of fellowship. Jesus seems to be making a statement through his personal contact with Matthew’s peer group.

Jesus’ attendance at Matthew’s banquet gets the attention of a powerful group: the Pharisees. These men are part of the religious establishment. Tension is building between them and Jesus. They do not see eye to eye with the former carpenter-turned-preacher who makes house calls.

The Pharisees emphasize ritual purity in their religious practice. If you touch the wrong thing, you are rendered ritually impure in the sight of God. And if you touch a person who has touched the wrong thing, you are impure in God’s eyes.

Their ideas about ritual purity are so strict that almost no one can follow the extensive rules and regulations that make up the heart of their religion. So they tend to be separated from the common folks.

These Pharisees are apparently keeping a pretty close eye on Jesus. They are suspicious of him. When they see Jesus at Matthew’s banquet they start asking Jesus’ disciples, “Why is your teacher eating with tax collectors and sinners?”

They are questioning Jesus’ association with these common people. Matthew’s friends are the types of people who do not keep themselves ritually pure according to the long list of rules kept by the Pharisees.

So these Pharisees are accusing Jesus of fraternizing with the enemy, so to speak. Since he claims to be a teacher of what is godly and righteous, they reason, then Jesus should be acting like they do. And they would never have close social contact with these tax collectors and sinners.

This phrase, “tax collectors and sinners,” is a standard way of referring to the very people that the Pharisees carefully avoid. Notice that tax collectors are singled out in this formula. It’s not the sheep herders and sinners, or the soldiers and sinners, but the tax collectors and sinners.

Tax collectors are one group that most everyone can agree to despise, just like people today seldom have warm feelings toward IRS agents. Jewish tax collectors like Matthew not only take away people’s hard-earned money, but they give that money to the hated Roman occupiers. So they are doubly despised.

Why doesn’t Jesus go to Jerusalem and choose his followers from established and recognized leaders, men with a track record for being gifted and influential? Why go to one of the most hated groups in society and choose a follower? Why invite such a despised man?

Jesus does not come to win everyone’s approval. On one occasion he saw that a crowd had gathered around him and so he departed.3 People who want popularity run toward the crowds. Jesus goes the other way.

On at least two occasions men came and promised to follow Jesus, but he questioned their commitment.4 If you want to be popular, then you make compromises in order to gain followers and supporters. Jesus, however, trims the ranks by maintaining unusually high standards.

Today’s church can learn a lot from Jesus. His work was not to win approval, but to win souls. We can gain people’s approval and still not win souls for the Lord. And often winning souls can actually lead to society’s disapproval. After all, saving souls requires one to believe that they are lost in the first place, which can be insulting.

Jesus hears the Pharisees accusing him to his disciples and answers for himself. But why don’t the disciples answer? Why don’t they defend their leader? Are they secretly wondering about Jesus? Are they uncomfortable coming to a banquet with all these tax collectors and sinners? (Matthew and his friends may have collected taxes from some of these fishermen who are now following Jesus, maybe even cheated them!) After hearing the Pharisees’ accusation against Jesus, maybe they are thinking to themselves: “I was wondering that very same thing! Why are we eating with these people?”

Jesus gives a great answer. He says, “The healthy have no need for a doctor, but those who are sick do.” What good is a savior if he doesn’t go where people need to be saved?

Notice that Jesus characterizes sin as sickness. He pictures these tax collectors and sinners as people who have an illness which needs to be cured. People who sin have sick souls. To disobey God’s commands is to be spiritually ill. Jesus is the soul doctor, the Great Physician, who can heal the sick, both physically and spiritually.

So the religious leaders accuse Jesus of sending the wrong message by socializing with these sinners. Not only is he risking ritual impurity, he is affirming the sinful lifestyles of Matthew and his friends. As far as they are concerned, a real teacher of God’s truth would not enable sinners.

Note carefully that Jesus does not defend these tax collectors and sinners. He does not insist that they are perfectly fine just the way they are. Instead Jesus says that he has come to change them. And how can a doctor heal without going where the sick are? How can a savior rescue without going where the lost are? Is Jesus approving sinful lifestyles? No. Jesus is not becoming a sinner. Matthew is becoming a disciple.

Jesus is not finished. Next he tells the Pharisees, “Now go and learn what this means, ‘Mercy is what I desire and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Jesus is sending the teachers back to school! He quotes from the Bible and tells these Pharisees to go and study it. Remember, these men are the religious leaders of Israel. They are the ones who teach God’s word to the people. And Jesus tells them that they flunked their course in God’s mercy.

The Scripture which Jesus sends these Pharisees to re-learn is Hosea 6:6.5 Hosea was a prophet sent by God to Israel at a time when the people were at a low point spiritually. They brought their offerings to the temple from time to time but they did not live their daily lives according to God’s ways.

The sacrifices God prescribes in the Old Testament were not meant to be indulgences, that is, go to church once a week and give to God and then do whatever you please the rest of the week. More than endless sacrifices for constant disobedience, God desires a people who have a heart of mercy.

Of all people, the religious leaders should know that God desires mercy, grace, forgiveness and restoration. But these men are cold-hearted toward the tax collectors and sinners. Their religion is a dead letter, not a living word.

So Jesus is not defending the tax collectors and sinners. He says that he came to call them, to invite them to a new life, a life of repentance and salvation, discipleship, victory over sin. Jesus is reaching out to the sinners so that they can share his power and holiness.

Jesus says that he did not come to call the righteous. But nobody is righteous. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

If these Pharisees were not so blinded by their own self-righteous attitudes then they would be able to marvel at the mercy of God which is capable of saving even the tax collectors and sinners. More than that, as the religious leaders of Israel, they should model the mercy of God. They should be out making house calls with Jesus.

Here is a message so important for the American church today. We find ourselves in a world that is moving away from the morals and ethics of God’s perfect word. Many believers struggle, not wanting to compromise God’s truth or to approve of sinful lifestyles, but also yearning to show the love of God. What are Bible-believing parents to do when invited to a wedding between their son and another man? What should Christians do when a friend is celebrating the birth of her baby born out of wedlock?

There are two very simple responses to these types of dilemmas. On one side, Christians could choose to disown those who do not live up to God’s moral standards. Simple. But those choosing this option become more like the Pharisees than Jesus.

On the other side, Christians could choose to redefine God’s righteousness, becoming so concerned with winning people’s approval that they adopt the world’s standards, being so concerned with winning a person’s friendship that they refuse to challenge or correct them, even in love. But then they have stopped following Jesus, because Jesus offers healing to sin-sick souls, not excuses.

There is a third option. We can refuse to give up on holiness and refuse to give up on the sinner, both at the same time. But will we be seen as approving sin if we socialize with the sinner? How can we balance holiness and mercy? This approach is so difficult, so thorny, so filled with complexities that it seems impossible to get it right. And it is. But the good news is that we serve God who does the impossible.

I’ve seen how this can be done. As a young man I was entangled in drugs, alcohol and other poor lifestyle choices. Through all those years of foolishness I always knew two things about my dad. First, I knew that he disagreed with my sin. Second, I knew that he loved me and his door was always open for me. My dad modeled Jesus. God enables us to be like Jesus, holy and merciful.

What has this to do with Christmas? Everything! We often hear that Christmas is about some fuzzy feel-good notion about giving. God gave his Son so we should give to one another. That’s true in a general sense but it is not enough.

Vague notions about giving leave out the fact that Christmas is about a people in desperate need, sinners in need of a Great Physician. Christmas is about Christ stepping down and leaving behind the privileges and safety of heaven in order to rescue souls bound for hell.

It’s no surprise that this technology-driven generation has turned to videoconferencing for a solution to the house call question. Imagine a service that offers you a virtual house call on your iPad, iPhone or computer.6 A doctor speaks to you on your device, trying to diagnose your illness and prescribe an appropriate therapy. But those who have tried this discovered that it is not nearly as effective as having a live doctor in the same room with you. There is no replacement for personal contact.

God still desires and provides for personal spiritual contact that brings healing, restoration and great joy. Christmas is about the greatest house call ever made. Jesus came so that we can be saved from our sin.

Merry Christmas,
Brother Richard


1 Karaline Ann, “Barber offers house call haircut to disabled friend,” WEAU 13 News [on-line]; accessed 2 December 2016; available from http://www.weau.com/content/news?article=400278221; Internet.

2 This article is based on Matthew 9:9-13.

3 See Matthew 8:18.

4 See Matthew 8:19-22.

5 The entire verse is as follows: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (NIV).

6 “Virtual doctor visits: A new kind of house call,” Harvard Health Publications [on-line]; accessed 2 December 2016; available from http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/virtual-doctor-visits-a-new-kind-of-house-call; Internet.

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Defective Discipleship

Jesus was about to cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. But two men delayed his departure. Each one came and offered to follow Jesus (See Matthew 8:18-22.).

The first man was a scribe, a group usually hostile to Jesus. He referred to Jesus as “Teacher,” and promised to follow him anywhere. Impressive! Surely Jesus will encourage a man who is taking such a big step of faith, right?

Surprisingly, Jesus questions this man’s devotion. He warns the scribe to count the cost. As a preacher on the move, Jesus has no place to lay his head. Is this man really willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to be Jesus’ disciple?

This scribe is a teacher of the law, a religious leader, a man invested in the established way of thinking about God. But Jesus challenges many of the ideas of the religious leaders. He knows that this scribe’s religion is actually a barrier to discipleship.

Do we have established ideas about religion and discipleship that are out of step with Jesus?

Next, a man addresses Jesus as “Lord” and asks if he can go and bury his father before following Jesus. Now this man seems to have a better understanding of Jesus’ real identity, calling him “Lord” instead of “Teacher.” And he seems to be taking the commitment seriously, recognizing that discipleship may mean separation from his family, at least for a time.

Sounds as if the second man is making a perfectly reasonable offer. Surely Jesus will encourage him!

Jesus tells this man to come and follow now and let the dead bury their own dead. Wow! Isn’t that harsh? Does Jesus not care about the man’s family? It’s not that Jesus lacks compassion for the man’s family. But nothing is more important than God’s call.

The second man is using his family obligation as an excuse to delay following Jesus. By using his family as an excuse not to follow Jesus now, the man is making his family an idol.

Do we use good things in our lives, like family, as excuses to avoid following Jesus passionately?

So Jesus sees something lacking in both of these men. The scribe is a religious man but ironically his religion may be keeping him from understanding that Jesus deserves complete devotion. The second man loves his family, but he is trying to use something good (family) to avoid doing what is best (discipleship).

Jesus finally gets into the boat and crosses the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-34). His disciples follow. Little do they know what awaits them! On the water they witness Jesus rebuking a terrifying storm and bringing a great calm. As a result, they ask themselves what sort of man this is, that even the winds and the sea obey him.

Once on the eastern shore, they encounter a couple of frightening demon-possessed men, so dangerous that nobody risked passing by that way. Jesus, however, boldly commands the demons to leave. They do, in a rather dramatic fashion that strikes fear in the hearts of the local folks, prompting them to beg Jesus to leave their region.

And Jesus moves on. But those two men who stay behind miss the greatest opportunity of their lives. They remain on the shore where it is ‘safe.’ The ones who are willing to follow Jesus out onto the waters have some unsettling moments. But they also see the power of God firsthand.

May the Lord give us hearts that will follow Jesus without hesitation,

Brother Richard

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Christians And The American Dream: A Radical Choice

In his book, Radical, David Platt asks if the American dream is compatible with Christian discipleship. Can we be faithful to Jesus and pursue success by this world’s standards?

What is the American dream? Does it mean that we do whatever we must in order to get bigger houses and bank accounts, fancier cars and clothes, richer meals and vacations? If so, then how does Jesus and his agenda fit into such a life?

Jesus challenges his followers to make radical sacrifices, even to the point of risking one’s life in this age. He urges us to do whatever it takes in order to join him in his kingdom agenda.

The Lord’s agenda is clear and concise: “Go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).”

To be a disciple of Jesus we must make disciples for Jesus.

According to Jesus, the first step in making disciples is to go. We reach out to others with the good news about Jesus. We don’t just sit and wait for them to come to us.

Jesus tells us to make disciples of “all the nations.” Our outreach for making disciples is not limited by distance, race, nationality, politics, gender, or any of the other lines drawn by people to define and divide. We should go across the street and around the world to make disciples.

Jesus says that making disciples includes two things: baptizing and teaching.

Our first goal in reaching out is to bring people to a point of faith in Christ so that they will receive Christian baptism. We tell others about Jesus so that they will be saved and then profess their saving faith publicly through believer’s baptism.

Once people become disciples, we also help them be disciples.

Making disciples includes teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands. This is a life-long journey, the same journey that we are experiencing as disciples of Jesus.

So, we want to see lost people saved and saved people stronger.

Making disciples takes time, and so does the American dream. In his book, David Platt questions whether it is possible to succeed at both pursuits. Jesus puts it this way, “Nobody is able to serve two masters, for he will hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).”

Platt also points out the terrible loss that occurs when Jesus’ followers opt for the American dream and do not make disciples. Hundreds of millions of people around the world will be lost, suffering in hell forever.

So the cost of not making disciples is high, too high. On the other hand, the reward for making disciples is beyond measure. All the houses, money, clothes, food and vacations in this life will be forgotten, but those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.

Treasure on earth can be destroyed and stolen. Treasure in heaven will never be destroyed or stolen. And as Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be (Matthew 6:21).”

May the Lord give us hearts that store up treasure in heaven,
Brother Richard

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Will Jesus Vote for Trump or Hillary?

Wow! What a campaign! I cannot remember a run for the White House anything like this one . . . not in my lifetime (50+ years).

I wonder what the Lord thinks. Is Jesus leaning toward Hillary or Trump?

What is Jesus’ voting record? He had several political choices in his day. He lived in a country (Israel) that was oppressed by foreigners (Romans). One response was to use violent force against the enemy (Zealots). Jesus does not endorse violence.

Another response was to collaborate with the foreign rulers: go along to get along (Sadducees). Jesus does not compromise.

Others tried to work for change by using the system (Pharisees). They did not persuade Jesus to do things their way.

At least one group got ‘fed up’ and withdrew from the whole mess (Essenes). They went out and lived in the desert. Jesus did not join them.

Revolution? No. Compromise? No. Reform? No. Dropping out? No.

And Jesus had great prospects. The people are so impressed when he miraculously feeds at least 5,000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish – they are willing to support him for king (see John 6); what an incredible opportunity! Think of all the positive changes that Jesus could make as king.

Unbelievable. Jesus turns them down. He walks away and refuses to accept their support in a bid for power.

Does Jesus even care? Doesn’t he know that the only thing that evil needs in order to win is for good people to do nothing?

Jesus cares. And his rejection of the ‘mainstream’ political movements does not mean that he is inactive. Jesus is crystal clear about his mission. It’s not about revolution, reform, collaboration, withdrawal, or even responsible political leadership. He came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

By sticking to his mission, Jesus was made to look like an abject failure. His political enemies had apparently won the day. The religious and political powers collaborated to have him destroyed . . . publicly . . . shamefully . . . executed as a criminal.

Hopefully anyone foolish enough to believe in Jesus would be intimidated into silence.

But Jesus’ followers were not silent. Despite the fact that they had no political power or opportunity or prospects, they boldly spoke the gospel truth. They were risking personal destruction, why?

They knew something that changed everything. Jesus does not use the tactics of his political enemies because he fights to win a much bigger prize. Jesus fights the “good fight” for eternal victory.

Jesus’ followers risked it all for the Lord because Jesus did more than vanquish his political enemies. Jesus conquered death. Jesus paid the penalty for sin. Jesus opened the doorway to God’s greatest blessings.

Jesus’ enemies are footnotes in history. In fact, in the 2 millennia since Jesus was born in Bethlehem many great nations, powerful leaders, and influential movements have come . . . and gone.

The next president of the U.S.A will have the ability to make things better or worse for a lot of people. So we should prayerfully and carefully consider our vote.

But let’s not despair. The next president of the U.S.A. will come and go. He or she will not be our Savior (or the Anti-Christ!).

Jesus is here to stay. He need not run for office. He is King of kings and Lord of lords permanently. And Jesus still does things his own way and he always has the victory, no matter how things may look at the moment.

We need not change Jesus’ methods or goals. The Lord’s power is unstoppable and his victory is inevitable. Be encouraged! Be faithful!

Richard Foster, Grace Baptist Church
Camden News, October 22, 2016

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The Beginning of Prayer

When did people start to pray?

In Genesis 4:26 we read that people began to call on the name of the LORD (Yahweh) in the days of Adam and Eve’s grandchildren, specifically a grandson named Enosh. People spoke with God before Enosh was born, but conversations with God prior to Enosh were initiated by God: God spoke to Adam in Genesis 3, God spoke to Cain in Genesis 4. In prayer, a man or woman initiates communication with God by calling upon him.

Eve makes a statement in Genesis 4:25 about the blessing of having a son to replace Abel, who was murdered by his brother Cain. But she speaks of God in the third person (“he”). Prayer addresses God directly, in second person (“you”).

It seems natural to think that Adam or Eve or their son Seth (Enosh’s dad) prayed before their grandson Enosh and his generation were born. If they did, the Bible does not tell us. Instead, the Bible emphasizes Enosh and his generation. Enosh’s uncles, Cain and Abel, worshiped God in Genesis 4, but whatever Cain did was unacceptable to God and whatever Abel did died with him when he was murdered by his brother.

So we have no direct Scriptural evidence for prayer before Genesis 4:26. But in Genesis 4:26 we learn that Enosh and his generation began calling on the name of Yahweh at that time. In Genesis 4:26 something new begins.

“Calling on the name” is surely a reference to prayer. Enosh and his generation may have also sacrificed to God, as did Cain and Abel, but that is not mentioned. The emphasis is on prayer.

Many generations after Enosh, Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem. He was outraged by the distractions which the religious leaders had introduced in order to make financial transactions in God’s house. In an unexpected expression of righteous indignation, Jesus overturns the tables of the moneychangers and drives out the animals with a makeshift whip. He accuses them of turning God’s house into a den of thieves.

Then Jesus makes a fascinating assertion. He insists that his Father’s house is to be a house of prayer. Think of all the activities which Jesus could legitimately mention: praise, sacrifice, teaching, preaching, giving, fellowship, healing, but the only thing he mentions is prayer. Why?

Prayer is at the heart of biblical faith. The soul of spirituality in Scripture is the communion of God with the saints, his people. Humanity is created to know God and to enjoy him and his blessings.

After Adam and Eve sinned and broke the close relationship between humanity and God there was something vital missing in every person, something crying out for completion. Prayer is the heart’s cry for the One who is absent until forgiveness and restoration is affected and a new connection is made with the Maker.

In the larger context of Genesis 4-5 this verse at the end of chapter 4 highlights the contrast between the line of Seth (which includes Enosh) and the line of Cain (who killed his brother, Abel).

Cain’s descendants go to work developing the bountiful natural resources provided by God in order to build an impressive civilization. (I am especially fascinated with Jubal, the first to make and play musical instruments, or perhaps the first to develop music significantly enough to be considered the ‘father’ of all musicians.)

The creative use of nature is in no way sinful in itself. God filled this world with resources and he blessed humanity with the curiosity, creativity, intelligence and energy to discover and develop, to fashion and create. But the line of Cain in early Genesis is distinguished in this instance mostly by an omission, and what is lacking in Cain’s descendants is any effort to call upon the name of the Lord.

Seth’s line, on the other hand, has a desire to seek communion with God through prayer. And so, early in human history the division between believer and unbeliever surfaces (a continuation of the break between Cain and Abel). This is a division which will be seen in Noah vs. the antediluvian world, in Abraham vs. the Canaanites, Israel vs. the nations, the remnant of Israel vs. unfaithful Israel, and finally in the Jewish-Gentile church vs. those who reject Christ.

From Enosh to Jesus to now, the great feature that distinguishes the people of God is prayer, not just haphazard flirtations with prayer, but a heart that is hungry for the presence of God and refuses to give up seeking the Lord until he is found.

Unbelievers pray, but they are not known for their prayer.

God’s people should be seen by the world as a people of prayer.

Brother Richard

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Just a Thought (about Treasure)

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he contrasts earthly and heavenly treasures (Matthew 6:19-24). Earthly treasure can be destroyed and stolen but heavenly treasure cannot.

We know what kind of treasure is destroyed and stolen on earth. But what kind of treasure is in heaven?

Jesus may have given us a hint about heavenly treasures early in his Sermon on the Mount. In the beatitudes he says that the meek will inherit the earth.

This creation is passing away. Physicists tell us that the universe is expanding at an increasingly rapid rate. It is literally blowing itself apart.

The Bible tells us that the sky will be rolled up like a scroll (Isaiah 34:4) or taken off and replaced like a worn out set of clothing (Psalm 102:25-26). But God has a new heaven and new earth planned for his people (Revelation 21-22).

The new heaven and new earth will have many of the same features as this present heaven and earth but without the sin, death, decay and sorrow. If there are good things in this creation that you like, then you will love the new creation.

More than that, in the New Jerusalem will be the throne of God. God will dwell with his people and we will see his face (Revelation 22:3-4). In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he says that the pure in heart will see God.

People who imagine that God is unimportant have not seen him yet. What if they realize upon seeing him that they want him more than anything else?

“For where your treasure is,” Jesus says, “there your heart will be.” Just a thought.

May the Lord turn our hearts toward heaven,

Brother Richard

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Jesus and His Golden Rule

Perhaps Jesus’ most famous saying is the Golden Rule: “So in all things, whatever you want others to do to you, you do likewise to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Unfortunately, this may also be the most misunderstood saying of Jesus.

It is unfair to take a person’s words out of context. If we ignore the setting of Jesus’ Golden Rule, we can be misled into thinking that Jesus is telling us how to be saved. But Jesus is talking to those who have already decided to follow him. Their decision to follow him is their salvation, not their efforts at living by the Golden Rule.

When God delivered his people Israel from cruel bondage in Egypt, he did not give them the 10 Commandments and promise to save them if they obeyed. No. To be saved they simply had to trust him enough to follow him.

God brought the children of Israel out of slavery first, then he gave them the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai. The commandments did not save them. The commandments taught them how to live as saved people.

Jesus teaches his followers how to live holy lives, not in order to be saved, but because they are saved. We do not follow the Golden Rule in order to qualify for salvation.

It is unfair to put words in a person’s mouth. Jesus makes no promises with the Golden Rule. He is not giving us the secret to winning friends and influencing people. The Golden Rule is not a tool for making others do the right thing.

Earlier in his Sermon on the Mount Jesus says that his followers are salt and light. We are to do good deeds so that people will see and give glory to God, not give glory to us.

If we expect the Golden Rule to be an effective way of motivating others to act right, we will be disappointed. As followers of Jesus, we live by the Golden Rule not to persuade others to treat us right. We live by the Golden Rule because it pleases our Lord and brings honor to him.

Some people say that Jesus’ Golden Rule shows that he is no different from the other great religious leaders. Every great world religion, they say, has a teaching similar to the Golden Rule, so treating others as we wish to be treated must be the essence of all religion. But they are wrong.

Jesus says that the Golden Rule is the Law and the Prophets. In other words, it is an accurate representation of the Old Testament. The Golden Rule is not meant to be the pinnacle of human religion. It is a summary of God’s revelation to man in the Bible. And there is more.

When asked which command is greatest, Jesus gave not one but two. First, we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Second, we must love our neighbor as ourselves. You cannot have one without the other.

The Golden Rule is not just good advice. It is the word of God. We live by it not because it makes our lives better, but because it pleases our Lord.

May God give us hearts that love him and each another,

Brother Richard

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