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Sermon on the Mount Do Unto Others

Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the
Law and the Prophets. (7:12)
The verse has been called the golden rule for if applied, it would serve as a standard to
govern human behavior in constraining evil and enhancing loving and constructive action
But it must be taken in context any statement that begins with so (or in other versions
therefore) connects it with the teaching immediately preceding it which was judgment
Jesus begins teaching on judgment as a warning from a negative perspective: Do not judge, or
you too will be judged; for the same way you judge others, you will be judged (7:1-2)
He concludes from a positive perspective: Do to others what you would have them do to you
This sums up the Law and the Prophets, for selfless behavior is a consistent biblical theme
When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment He said, Love the Lord your
God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (22:36, quoting Dt 6:5)
Jesus continued: And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and
the Prophets hang on these two commandments (22:39-40, quoting Leviticus 19:18)
Keeping in mind that Jesus began the Sermon with the Beatitudes (beautiful attitudes
indicative of one experiencing the Kingdom of God), He goes on to clarify and interpret the
Law: I have not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (5:17)
Once again Jesus interprets and summarizes the Law, for anyone who treats others as he
himself would be treated is acting in love he is loving his neighbor as himself
The problem for us is that the golden rule is praised by nearly all mankind, but not practiced
Good intentions without strength for action results from our sinful nature: The mind governed
by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace; the mind governed
by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to Gods law nor can it do so (Rom 8:6-7)
This solution of loving neighbor as self is to love God first, as Jesus shows that priority in
teaching the two greatest commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind . . . Love your neighbor as yourself (22:36-40,
quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18)
This same priority is taught by James in resisting the evil one; first we must submit to God:
Submit yourselves, therefore to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)
Only when we have a saving and empowering relationship with almighty God in Christ (the
vertical relationship), can we love our neighbors as ourselves (the horizontal relationships)
This loving and selfless behavior not only enriches our lives, but brings glory to God
By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35)