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Christ and Your Relationships #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 2, 2024 12:00 am

Christ and Your Relationships #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 2, 2024 12:00 am

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Hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of The Truth Pulpit.

We're so glad that you joined us. And I know that many of you have recently signed up for the podcast looking for the series that I told you about called Building a Christian Mind, and that series is going to start on February the 5th. February the 5th for Building a Christian Mind. Until then, here's the next episode of our teaching as we look to God's Word and as we continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word on The Truth Pulpit. If you want to be treated according to your desires, then you have a responsibility to treat others according to their desires.

Any other approach to life and relationships makes you a hypocrite. The Bible reveals that if you want to have friends, you yourself have got to be friendly. God's Word never fails to provide practical wisdom, does it? And today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green will again take us there. Don is concluding the message titled Christ and Your Relationships, and we'll see the many benefits and blessings of living by the golden rule, especially when it comes to getting along with the people in our lives.

Have your Bible open and ready as we join our teacher right now in The Truth Pulpit. Four points that I want to show you. First, it's broad application.

It's broad application. Point number two, I want you to see it's deep examination. It's deep examination. Jesus here probes our hearts as He sets the standard for us. He's probing our hearts.

This is not something that is judged by external matters. He goes to your inner man. He speaks to who you are inside and addresses you at that level. He's asserted dominion over all of your external relationships, and now He comes and asserts dominion over your heart. Look at what He says here in verse 12. He says, in everything, therefore, treat people the same way. Here's the word.

Simple little four-letter word. Treat them the same way you want them to treat you. You want. He's addressing your desires. He's commanding you to treat other people as you yourself want to be treated. And so, you can't respond to this verse until you say, well, you know, what am I like? What is it that I want? What are my expectations, my priorities that I bring into relationships?

And realize that those heart desires are going to the core of your character. He's gone as broad as he possibly can on the horizontal level as we deal with men, and now he goes as deep as he possibly can, saying, let's talk about the desires of your heart. He has taken a surgeon's scalpel and with precision opened us in every direction and laid before us what he asserts over our souls. And so we're left with questions. We were saying, okay, well, what is it that pleases you? What do you like?

What do you dislike? And what Jesus is saying is, is that, you know, if you like to be treated with grace, with respect, with kindness, understand that that sets the course for your own conduct toward others and the way that you interact with them. I want you to know, I want you to think about, beloved, how contrary that is to the spirit of our age and to the spirit of the unsaved man. This is not the spirit of the world of which he speaks.

This is something alien to the world that comes from a kingdom outside of this fallen world. Because the spirit of this world can be expressed colloquially in a casual way. The spirit of this world is, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

You hit me, I'll hit you back. And Jesus says that's not, that's not the standard at all. Jesus says if you like to be treated according to your desires, then you treat others according to their desires, even if they do not reciprocate. Some of you do this more naturally than others. I include myself in the others category here to my shame. You find joy in making other people happy. That's great.

Excel still more. Some of you are like me, more self-centered, more processing life in terms of what you want, what I want. This is how you will treat me. And you set those expectations and punish people when they don't meet them. To us, Jesus's words here are a call to repent and to change your ways as an implication of what it means to be a true believer. And beloved, understand, I'm going to use a homely example here, understand that this idea of saying, you know, of giving people what they want, treating them as you would want to be treated, it's not like the the little boy who gives his mother a baseball glove for her Christmas present and says, well, that's what I would want.

And so here you go, Mom, with the expectation that he's going to get the glove back in return. That's not the idea. You want to be treated according to your desires. What Jesus is saying here, you process what it is that this other person in front of you, what is it that they respond to, what is it that that ministers to them, and you shape your interaction with them according to what would please them and shape them and be a blessing to them. And the penetrating deep examination of this in our hearts is this, beloved, it's unbelievable.

Well, it's believable, but it's hard to comprehend the depth of what Jesus is saying. If you and I are not willing to deal with people on that basis, we want a certain way to be treated, we react against it if we don't. If you want to be treated according to your desires, then you have a responsibility to treat others according to their desires. Your own heart becomes the standard by which you are judged. And here's the thing that I find so staggering in this, to realize this, any other approach to life and relationships makes you a hypocrite.

Here's what I want, but I'm not going to give that to you. You will deal with me as I wish, and I will deal with you as I wish. That's twisted, perverted, wrong, sinful. And so we're left with ourselves exposed here and realizing that what Christ is calling us to is to an elevated noble character, an elevated noble approach in human relationships that is utterly foreign to the world around us that is utterly foreign to the world around us and foreign to our own heart desires. That's why the way we started things at the beginning is so important to realize that somehow there must be grace involved in becoming like this and being like this.

There must be grace, there must be power, there must be strength given from outside us that God gives as we ask, because this don't come naturally. This is not human in a sense. This is not native to the sinful, selfish heart.

But it's right, and it's when you realize that it's right and you're not like that that you're left with a conviction of sin. And beloved, this is not something just superficial, oh I should have given that guy my piece of candy. This is addressing the totality of who we are and how we think about ourselves in the context of grace and in the context of relationships. This is fundamental to everything else. This is the portal, this is the port of entry, this is the turnstile through which we go that determines the entire realm in which we deal with relationships.

Everything else is a subset of it. And I would dare to say, let me give you a little quickie quiz here that you can use to see if you understand it or not, if you understand what's being said or not. If you understand what Christ is saying here, there has to be a measure of conviction in your soul about it. Oh, oh, I fall short, I'm not like that. That's not how I think.

I am one selfish man and the word of Christ has utterly exposed me. That's the deep examination it should provoke, some level of conviction. Now thirdly, we've seen its broad application, its deep examination. Thirdly, I want you to see what we could call its long implementation. Its long implementation.

What can I say? I got caught up in multi-syllabic rhymes here for this message. Its long implementation. Look at what he says here. He says in everything therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you. There's the command in it, treat people this way.

You could say, do also to them. And here's what you need to know about that command to help you see what its importance is. In the original language, this is a present tense imperative, meaning that it's calling for continuous action, for repeated action, that this is to be what you are like over the course of life.

The continual outworking of this command is what you are to see. One writer, Martin Lloyd-Jones, puts it this way. He says, we must be careful to do and not to do all the things which we have found to be pleasing or displeasing to ourselves. You do not like unkind things said about you? Well, do not say them about others. You do not like difficult people?

Well, do not let your behavior be such that you become like that to them. Jesus is calling us at a very profound level and yet it's in one sense it's very simple, it's very plain, it's very direct. What this is telling us is that you cannot follow this command simply with those people who treat you well. Jesus made it plain that even sinners can show love to those who show love back to them. Sinners do that. Surely, you must think in your mind, you must think in your mind, surely Christ is calling us to something that goes beyond what the natural man could embrace, and that's precisely the point.

This is something supernatural, this is beyond fallen humanity. Look over at chapter 5 verse 43 where Jesus makes the point that I just said I got the idea from Jesus, not vice versa. Jesus said in Matthew 5 verse 43, you've heard that it was said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven for he causes his son to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? See, he's pointing you to that eternal reward. Think about the reward that's going to come to you in the future.

What reward is it to love someone who loves you back? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?

Do not even the gentiles do the same? This is a call to character. This is a call to the way that you live life. This is a call to the way that you fundamentally think about your place in the whole matrix and complex of relationships that the Lord has placed you in. Jesus is calling us to think, to respond at a level that many of you don't don't go to.

As you live in kind of a superficial way, what we need to see is that this is deep, it's broad, it's long in what Christ is calling us to. And for those of us who live in a way where we demand more than we give, spouses let me just go right there. These are things that play themselves out, especially in our most intimate relationships, beloved. What kind of spouse are you? What kind of parent are you?

What kind of child are you? Would you like to be treated in a sullen, disobedient, defiant way in a defiant way? Would you like for every word that you say to be pushed back against to manifest anger in these close relationships? Is that the way that you like to be treated? Is that the way you want the people closest to you to treat you? The answer is obvious, isn't it? Well then, beloved, I say this in love but I've got to say it clear, I got to get this straight.

Then how is it? On what basis do you justify yourself in interacting that way? If that's not what you want to receive, why is it that that's so often what you give? There's a word for it. It's called sin.

It's called s-i-n. It's sinful. It's wrong. It's rebellion against God for you to live that way, for you to be that way, especially if you name the name of Christ. If you're someone that claims Christ and you've gone through the waters of baptism and, you know, I'm a Christian and you're waving your hand to call attention to that, well understand that that comes with implications in the deepest, most intimate human relationships that you have. If God has dealt graciously with you and you want to be dealt with graciously, then it is your spiritual duty to give that freely, generously, regardless of the response that you get in return. This affects parent-child, it affects husband-wife, it reflects and deals with the entire way that children respond to their parents.

Some of you young people would never want your parents to treat you like you treat them, and yet you go on your own blissful way, living as you want. On what basis do you think that that is going to bring the blessing of God in your life? Are you even a Christian?

Are you even a Christian? Needs to be asked. Now, final point, point number four. We'll see it's high authorization.

It's high authorization. The amazing thing about all of this is that it's all consistent with what was previously revealed in the Old Testament. Look at chapter 7 verse 12 with me again. Jesus says, in everything therefore treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law and the prophets. This is the law and the prophets. This is what the Old Testament calls us to.

Now, let me state by way of just a preliminary clarification here. Jesus is not reducing all of the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi in our English Bibles, orders different in the Hebrew Bible. He's not reducing all 39 books of the Old Testament to this one single verse.

That's not what he's saying. The Old Testament commands a lot of things that don't have to do directly with human relationships. It commands the worship of the one true God.

It interprets the history of Israel. It promises the coming of Christ, just to name a few. Matthew chapter 7 verse 12 speaks to none of that. What Jesus is saying here when he says this is the law and the prophets, he says Old Testament teaching on human relationships has a unifying thread that is found right here in what he's just said. Matthew 7 verse 12. And to see that, I want to invite you to turn quickly to Exodus chapter 20. Exodus chapter 20, the 10 commandments.

He says, honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house. All of these individual commands addressing different areas of sin and obedience in life. Beloved, here's the point that Jesus is making. Here is something that simplifies our perspective on biblical ethics greatly. Having seen those six of the 10 commandments ever so quickly, go back now with your fingers still in Exodus 20, go back to Matthew chapter 7 verse 12, and hear what Jesus says. He's the most brilliant teacher, the most brilliant preacher that ever lived. And in Matthew chapter 7 verse 12, he says, in everything therefore treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law and the prophets.

Now think about the genius of what he just said, and think about what we just saw. Honor your father and mother. Honor your father and mother. Shall not murder. Shall not commit adultery. Shall not steal. Shall not bear false witness. Shall not covet your neighbor. Do you realize that the principle which Jesus expounds in Matthew 7 verse 12 would automatically fulfill all of those?

If you like to be honored in your relationship, respected, and treated well, and you understand what Jesus is saying, you'll extend that to your father and mother. If you don't want to be betrayed in your marital vows, if you don't want to be lied to, if you don't want to have your things stolen, do you realize that if you would just live as what Jesus says, obedience to the golden rule would fulfill all of those commands? That's what Jesus is saying. There is a unifying thread of love in everything that is expressed in the Ten Commandments and elsewhere in the Old Testament about human relationships. If you want justice, you'll deal justly because you'll treat others the way that you want to be treated. I'll close with this quote from Sinclair Ferguson. For Jesus, the Word of God is not an impossible complex of rules and regulations placed on men's shoulders as a heavy burden. Rather, it is the outworking of this principle of love.

Grasp this and everything falls into place. He's exactly right. He goes on to say, and I close with this, he says, the Christian life is indeed demanding, but in essence its principle is simple. It is knowing the grace of God working so powerfully in your heart that you are freed from the mastery of sin and self over your life. You can now serve others and bring blessing to them as the Lord the Lord has brought blessing to you. This is the kind of clear-sightedness that arises from living in the light of the judgment of God your Father."

End quote. And I would only dare to add to the esteemed pastor and theologian that also arises from living in the light of grace. Judgment is coming. Treat others the way you'd want them to treat you. Grace has been given to you, my Christian friend. Treat others in everything the way that you would want to be treated as well. That is the principle that guides all of our human relationships as we walk with Christ as his disciple.

Let's pray. Father, what a wonderful day we've enjoyed together. Thank you for these dear friends who have been with us, who have borne so patiently under lengthy teaching. Thank you for Eliana's baptism, the sweetness of her testimony, the heartfelt way that she delivered it. Father, giving us a window of insight into what true faith looks like, what true faith loves, what true faith wants. Father, we thank you for the remembrance and communion, the body and blood of Christ given over for our salvation.

He loved me and gave himself up for me with tangible reminders that real human precious blood was spilt that I might be saved. Thank you for that. And in response to these windows of grace that you have flung open and the fresh air has blown through our souls, oh God, help us gladly to embrace that principle of grace that would now animate our relationships going forward. Bless each one. Forgive us of all of our many, many sins against you and give us grace so we might live in light of the things that we have heard. In Christ's name we pray.

Amen. That's Don Green with a powerful reminder of the importance of treating others like we ourselves want to be treated. Friend, if you've missed any part of today's teaching, you can go to thetruthpulpit.com to listen again and also to get more great study materials by Pastor Don Green.

That's thetruthpulpit.com. Now just before we bring our time to a close today, here again is Don with a special word of encouragement. You know, my friends, I recently did a little Google search and found that there are more than 7.5 billion people living on our planet.

That's a lot of people. You'd think there'd be no room for anyone to be lonely, but you and I both know that it's not like that. All of those people are no comfort at all if you are personally discouraged or finding yourself in despair.

You know, sometimes the weight of isolation can make you wonder whether it's worth the effort to keep living. Well, my friend, I want you to know this, is that Jesus Christ speaks kindly to you if you are in that condition of heart today. He said, come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. My friend, even in the midst of your discouragement, know this, Jesus Christ graciously receives guilty sinners and offers mercy and love to them who have nowhere else to turn. So do this, find a Bible, read the Gospel of John, and as you do that, ask the Lord Jesus Christ to make himself known to you. He has promised that he who seeks will find. My friend, there is hope for you in Christ today, and I pray that the Spirit of God would lead you to that one who loves your soul and freely offers his kindness, mercy, and care to you even today. Thanks, Don. And friend, we hope today's broadcast has blessed you and that you'll join us again next time here on The Truth Palpit. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you then.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-09 09:28:20 / 2024-02-09 09:38:08 / 10

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