Summary: We are to love. We are to love our neighbor. We are to love our neighbor as we love OURSELVES.
1. Matthew 7.12
a. Why "Golden Rule"?
In AD 222-235 Roman Emperor Alexander Severus adopted the golden rule as his motto, and displayed it on public buildings, and promotes peace among religions. Some say the golden rule is called golden because Severus wrote it on his wall in gold.
b. It is NOT -- "He who has the gold rules."
2. A Restatement of Leviticus 19.18
a. This principle has been stated and restated in a variety of forms
b. Jesus combines this with Deuteronomy 6.4ff to give the greatest command completion
c. It is the fulfillment of loving God
3. A Key -- Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF
I. Distorted Love of Self
A. Selfish Esteem (Arrogance)
1. Manipulation -- say or do what is necessary to get what we want -- Politicians; some sales people; abusive
2. Falls into the category of "Works of the Flesh" (Galatians 5.19-21)
3. Cain's Actions -- 1 John 3.11-12
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous.
B. Low Self-Esteem
1. Self-loathing -- Job and Jonah (I wish I was never born)
A young man named Timothy writes: "I'm 23, I hate the way I look and I just hate myself as a person.
I honestly believe that no woman on the planet is attracted to me and I feel that a woman will never love me ever in my life."
2. Lack of self-worth -- unworthy of good (guilt for our wrongs)
3. How would a normal parent feel, hearing those kinds of things? God?
4. Peter and Jesus in John 21
a. Words of Love and affirmation
b. Action prescribed -- help/feed others
II. Directed Love of Self -- Love Others as You Love Yourself
Do to others as you would have done to you
A. Love For Our Neighbors
1. In Times of Need -- James 2.15-16
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
2. Out of Love for God -- 1 John 4.8
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
B. Love For Ourselves
1. We want the best for others as we want for ourselves
2. Based on God's actions, not arrogance
3. Example of Husbands and Wives -- Ephesians 5.28-30
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.
III. Displayed Love of Self -- As Jesus -- John 13.34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
A. NEW = As I have loved you.
1. Agape -- undeserved love
1. Jesus knew we needed a savior
2. He put himself in our place (literally and metaphorically) and loved us as he would have wanted to be loved if he was us
3. The depth of his love -- John 15.12-14
12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
1. See the need to love God and neighbor, may not see the need to love self
2. How do we love ourselves?
a. Regain proper self-image -- made in image of God, not the world
b. Remember God's Love -- If HE loves me, flaws and all, I can love me
3. Principle of Sowing and reaping
a. In the old Soviet Union there were very few laws about factories polluting the water. That was with good reason because one of the few laws they did have was that any factory which dumped chemicals back into the river must do so upstream from its own intake pipes. In other words, whatever the factory dumped in the water was going to come right back into it before it went any further downstream. It was amazing how much this simple rule did to cause factories to clean up their own pollutants.