The Sermon on the Mount Part 17

by Mike Ratliff

14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:14-16 NASB)

Even as we exercise discernment, withstand wolves in sheep’s clothing, false professors, false teachers, apostates, and even those who would slander us for standing firm in our obedience in these things we are not to respond to them the way the world does. I listened to a sound clip from Chris Matthews’ show the other day in which he used his usual ambush tactics in having a Christian leader there who had gone on record saying that his children were not going to be homosexuals because of the way he and his wife were raising them. Matthews had Barney Frank on the show who is a homosexual and “gay rights” advocate as well as a legislator from Massachusetts. Both he and Matthews jumped all over this man for daring to state that children are not born with a certain sexual orientation, but instead, it is something that is a learned behavior that is exacerbated as the sin nature takes over. Of course, this really set them off. They even kept replaying his words trying to get him confused and, of course, to court outrage in the listening audience. What was this man’s response? He remained calm in demeanor. He never lashed out. He never went on the offensive. He simply remained Christlike in telling the truth and never backing down, but also, never allowed these men to cause him to lose his cool. I’m not so sure I could have handled it that well.

12 “In everything, therefore, that you want people to do for you, thus also you do for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)

This is, of course, the ‘Golden Rule.’ It is usually expressed as, “Do unto others as you have them do unto you.” The NASB translates this as, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same you want them to treat you, for this the Law and the Prophets.” The emphasis for us here is that the Law and Prophets is summed up in this statement, that is, this one imperative aptly summarizes the whole gist of the ethical principles contained in the Law and the Prophets. That certainly puts a different spin on the Law doesn’t it? Don’t most people consider the Law to be something that is burdensome and if we emphasize it too much then we become legalistic, et cetera. However, have you ever read Psalm 119? The Psalmist proclaims all through that Psalm how he loves God’s Law and how meditating on it makes him long for the Lord’s salvation. It brings praise to his lips.

The Law and the Gospel are not the same. The Gospel is not a new Law either. The Law is unchanging and even though our Lord kept it perfectly, we are still bound to obey the moral and ethical portions of it. Can we keep it perfectly? I can’t. I am not perfect, but my Lord kept it and at my Justification, his perfect Righteousness and his perfect keeping of the Law were both imputed to my account. If you are in Christ then this is true for you as well. We do not have to work our way to God by being perfect because Christ did that for us, but we are called to be work out our salvation with fear and trembling in our sanctification, which is having our minds transformed so that we take on the mind of Christ in the time between our Justification and our Glorification, the already and the not yet.

In this time of learning to be living sacrifices, we will be placed in fiery trials in which it will be difficult to obey Matthew 7:12, very difficult. That is, it will be impossible for those who are not truly abiding in Christ and learning to walk in the Spirit, taking up their own cross and following Jesus. If we are self-centered, selfish, all about the temporal, me, myself, and I then forget it, we are fleshly, immature, and full of pride.

Humility is the key and it is something we cannot do ourselves. God must humble us and this takes us in the already, but not yet period putting ourselves second and everyone else ahead. It is making Matthew 7:12 living and active and it is something that we cannot do in our own abilities.

Therefore, let us dedicate ourselves to prayer, Bible study, and walking in repentance in the power of the Holy Spirit as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. In this we will not be conformed to this world but will be transformed through the renewing of our minds and through this will discern what is the will of God, that which is good, and acceptable, and perfect.

Soli Deo Gloria!

4 thoughts on “The Sermon on the Mount Part 17

  1. Two words that seem impossible to “redeem” are; “Gay” which used to mean happy and joyful, but now is read as, “a sexual preference,” and another “Church” which used to mean “a called out assembly of saints” and now means a building religious people go to for religious meetings…It’s amazing that in each case the original word’s meaning has been twisted to mean something 180 degrees opposite the original intent!

  2. Humility really is the main reason for learning to trust in the Lord and not ourselves when it comes to truly loving others as ourselves. ~Understanding, foresight and discernment when we learn and have God’s truths in our heart to be able to foresee something.

    God has taught me a LOT when it comes to humility compared to what I used to be….. BUT still have a long ways to go. To let GO and learn to give it over to the LORD even when I don’t understand or am being so mistreated, or something is so unfair. I’m always reminded that God is Sovereign and he knows exactly what’s BEST even when things just don’t make sense to me…

    One time several years ago, I stopped at a gas station to get something to eat like chips and a coke… There was this line of people from the register and I proceeded to get in line when this lady who was clearly still looking for something clearly and rudely jumped in front of me.. Well, needless to say I was about to get fired up with her when there was this prompting of the Holy Spirit in me and to WAIT. Wait and trust in the Lord. So I became calm with this peace from the Lord — i’m trusting in my heavenly Father. Okay Lord I’m trusting in you and I’m calmed now. Well, a minute later this man walked in the door from the far end of the store walked up to the other cash register looked straight at me and said may I help you. So I calmly walked up bought my food walked out and noticed without being conspicuous at all that the lady that was rude and cut in on me was still in line… I wasn’t even upset with her at all anymore. But was amazed and too busy praising the LORD who taught me just a glimpse that day of how to be humble and patient and I was giving Jesus all the glory and honor……

    I’ve noticed that many a Christian gets confused with humility. Many cannot understand and get it confused with thinking that you’re letting people run all over you. No that’s not it at all. Actually it is the other way around. I’m trusting in the Lord. People have actually gotten upset with me thinking you’re a doormat or why don’t you speak out? Why did you let that person run all over you like that? Actually, it is they who don’t get it and are trusting in themselves and not humbling themselves to let the Lord take care of things HIS way. I’ve seen God (in his timing) actually step in and take care of a person and was utterly amazed and saddened for them really. Instead of any desire to get revenge or letting my pride get in the way, I let God handle it and then I found myself praying and asking God to have mercy on that person when swift correction came.

    I say as my motto:: People say that being meek is being weak well try being meek for one week and let’s see how weak it really is to be meek.

  3. Amen Mike. Cutting things that cut to the very soul indeed. Lots of sanctification still needed. Sigh…

    Mrs Linda. Thanks for your testimony! It is refreshing to read that this is what we need to do even though the world and some christians whose counsel may be well intentioned are still sinful advice. I have fallen in the lie that I needed to stand up to my “rights”.

    It is particularly difficult for men to be humble in such circumstances. We are raised with the ideology that every man needs to be an avenger and tear to powder everyone that wronged us personally, or else we are called cowards.

    I have difficulty learning to be humble when I drive at the legal speed limit and I try to merge to the right lane when somebody is tailgating me 4 feet away from my rear bumper and I have a baby on board! It drives me nuts, to the point that I have two options, keep asking the Lord to help me learn humbliness or buy a ex Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor and possibly avoid the temptation and maybe drive more peacefully knowing that everybody will obey the traffic rules when they see a P71 cruiser on the street. Disclaimer. *I am not advocating impersonating a police officer in any way. Driving an ex-police interceptor, unmarked, without lights, is not impersonating a police officer.

    Hope I didn’t get too much out of topic. It’s too easy to do on the internet.

    My point is that little things like having somebody tailgate me should cause me to be humble, like what you did in your case Linda, and receive the offense, let them run over me, and hopefully a police patrol will be right around the corner to give them some tickets! :D

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