Christmas and REAL Gold (Matthew 7:12)

Today is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow we celebrate Jesus’ birth as God’s grand eternal plan to glorify Himself by having a people He chose as His own[1]… to save from His wrath[2]… to live lives that glorify Him.[3]

Now… let’s contemplate salvation from the book of Exodus. When God delivered His people from Egyptian oppression He gave them The Ten Commandments. Turn to Exodus 19:2

Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, & tell the people of Israel: 4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, & how I bore you on eagles’ wings & brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice & keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 & you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests & a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

If this is read too quickly, something important is missed! Remember, everything in the Old Testament is a type… shadow… an illustration of New Testament salvation. This includes Exodus 2:4-5a

Q: When did God give Israel the Ten Commandments… before or after He delivered (Saved) them? AFTER. Q: Why is that important? Because God’s deliverance (salvation) was NOT based on keeping His Law BUT RATHER because they were delivered (Saved) they were to keep His Law!

Deliverance (SALVATION) preceded keeping the Law! That was true then & is true today. If a person did not keep God’s Law AFTER God delivered them… they were not His true children.

No one becomes a child of God by keeping His Law… living a good life… or doing good things. That short-circuits God’s timing of salvation. Thus Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this (Salvation) is not your own doing; IT (Everything about salvation {Repentance, faith, believing}) is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

No one contributes anything to being saved! As with Israel’s deliverance (Salvation) from Egypt, God initiates… effects… carries out… & completes salvation. We are “passive participants.” GOD calls… GOD chooses… GOD makes alive (Regeneration)… GOD gives the desire & ability to repent… GOD gives faith to believe. EVERY aspect of salvation is a GIFT from GOD!

EVERYTHING related to salvation is from God! As GOD… & God ALONE… delivered (Saved) Israel from Egypt, so GOD… & GOD alone… delivers from sin & wrath so as to be saved.

For Israel… Because GOD DELIVERED (Saved) them, they were to keep His commands. Because Israel was freed by God, they were free to live for Him!

The same is true today! Those who have been delivered from of sin are free to… WILL (!)… live for God’s glory by keeping His commands. As Jesus said in John 14:15-17

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be w/ you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, b/c it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you & will be in you.

Jesus is DESCRIBING His own… not PRESCRIBING what it takes to be His. Think of it this way, “Because you love Me you WILL keep My commandments…” (!PAUSE!) We agree?? Now…

Those who ARE saved… HAVE BEEN delivered… ARE genuine believers WILL keep Jesus’ commands. No ifsbuts… or maybes. From inside The HOLY SPIRIT will make them willingly & lovingly KEEP Jesus’ commands. They will become more & more like Jesus. No exceptions. ((P-A-U-S-E)) What that looks like is our “It’s Next” passage of Matthew 7:12…

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.ESV

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” NIV

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law & the prophets.” KJV

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…” (Most learned it this way)

WHEN a person is saved they WILL live the Golden Rule. Perfectly? No. But when they don’t, the Holy Spirit WILL convict them… they WILL repent… & make things right (2 Cor 7:9-11). Not maybe… not might… they WILL! The Spirit in us won’t allow anything else!!

It will be a constant struggle… which is why the genuine believer WILL prayerfully ask and plead for God’s help! Paul wrote in Romans 7:15

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 18 I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells w/in me. 22 I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind & making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God thru Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God w/ my mind, but w/ my flesh I serve the law of sin. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin & death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.

God help us! We wrestle NOT against flesh & blood but evil spiritual forces at war against us in heavenly places (Eph 6:12). (PAUSE) Anyone else fight this? J. C. Ryle wrote in his book “Holiness”[4]

Sanctification (Holiness, Salvation) is a thing which does not prevent a man having a great deal of inward spiritual conflict. By conflict I mean a struggle within the heart between the old nature & the new, the flesh & the spirit which are to be found together in every believer. A deep sense of struggle, & a vast amount of mental discomfort from it, are no proof that a man is not sanctified. Nay, rather, I believe, they are healthy symptoms of our condition, & prove that we are not dead but alive. A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscious but war within. HE MAY BE KNOWN BY HIS WARFARE AS WELL AS BY HIS PEACE.” ((Pause))

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Because a person IS saved, HAS BEEN delivered from sin, IS a Child of God… The Golden Rule WILL be high in their heart. The Holy Spirit WILL work it in us. He WILL convict us when we fail. We WILL repent AND make things right!

Today’s message isn’t for someone else, it’s for you… it’s for me! It isn’t for someone who isn’t here, it’s for us. It isn’t to be ignored, it is to be heard by our heart as from God Himself…

Everyone who is genuinely saved is crying out to God for help regarding The Golden Rule’s application in us. Every believer will work to glorify God by treating others the way they want to be treated REGARDLESS OF HOW OTHERS HAVE OR DO TREAT THEM! Remember Philippians 1:27… “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of Christ.” WHATEVER HAPPENS!!

Jesus said The Golden Rule sums up the Law & Prophets. Our desire to keep the Golden Rule, & repenting when we don’t, is evidence of salvation. Not caring how what we say and/or do affects others is evidence of a lost condition. So, what is God’s Spirit revealing to us when it comes to The Golden Rule?

CCL: Oh God help us to understand our heart as YOU see it! Help us Lord or we perish!!

Picture Credit

Additional Texts:

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, & all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, & he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those ON HIS RIGHT, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry & you gave me food, I was thirsty & you gave me drink, I was a stranger & you welcomed me, 36 I was naked & you clothed me, I was sick & you visited me, I was in prison & you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me. 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Levitus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

[1] John 15:16; Ephesians 1:3-10

[2] 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

[3] 1 Peter 2:12; 4:16

[4] J.C. Ryle, “Holiness,” Pages 25-26