1. DEFINING THE GOLDEN RULE
a. What is the “golden rule”? Matthew 7:12.
“The Jews had been concerned about what they should receive; the burden of their anxiety was to secure what they thought their due of power and respect and service. But Christ teaches that our anxiety should not be, How much are we to receive? but, How much can we give? The standard of our obligation to others is found in what we ourselves would regard as their obligation to us.
“In your association with others, put yourself in their place. Enter into their feelings, their difficulties, their disappointments, their joys, and their sorrows. Identify yourself with them, and then do to them as, were you to exchange places with them, you would wish them to deal with you. This is the true rule of honesty.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 134.
b. What is the basis for the golden rule? Matthew 22:37–39.
“You are to show forth in your life what it means to love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself. Connected with the God of wisdom and love, you will demonstrate to the world the fact that you are not living for this world, but for that which is not temporal but eternal.”—That I May Know Him, p. 90.
2. CARING FOR THE LESS FAVORED
a. To whom do we owe the privilege of giving the gospel message both by precept and by example? Romans 1:14, 15.
“Everyone who has been made a steward of the manifold grace of God is called upon to impart to souls in ignorance and darkness, even as, were he in their place, he would desire them to impart to him. . . . By all that you have known of the love of God, by all that you have received of the rich gifts of His grace above the most benighted and degraded soul upon the earth are you in debt to that soul to impart these gifts unto him.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 135.
b. Who else are we to have special care for in this life? James 1:27; Job 29:15, 16.
“Whatever you may possess above your fellows places you in debt, to that degree, to all who are less favored. Have we wealth, or even the comforts of life, then we are under the most solemn obligation to care for the suffering sick, the widow, and the fatherless exactly as we would desire them to care for us were our condition and theirs to be reversed.”—Ibid., p. 136.
“By our love and service for [Christ’s] needy children we prove the genuineness of our love for Him.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 205.
c. Why was Jesus not accepted by many people when He lived on earth? Isaiah 53:2. What can we learn from this Bible record when trying to help others?
“Instead of seeking to become a favorite yourself, or to flatter one who may be highly regarded, see if there is not a poor child who is not a favorite, to whom no special kindnesses are shown, and make this one the object of your unselfish attention. Those who are especially attractive will be at no loss for friends; while those who are less pleasing in appearance, who are timid and hard to become acquainted with, may have choice traits of character, and they are the purchase of the blood of Christ.”—Our High Calling, p. 259.
3. FULFILLING THE PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW
a. How did Jesus live the principles of the law? Acts 10:38.
“Oh, what rays of softness and beauty shone forth in the daily life of our Saviour! What sweetness flowed from His very presence! The same spirit will be revealed in His children. Those with whom Christ dwells will be surrounded with a divine atmosphere. Their white robes of purity will be fragrant with perfume from the garden of the Lord. Their faces will reflect light from His, brightening the path for stumbling and weary feet.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 135.
b. What is necessary in order for us to follow Christ in loving God and our fellow man? Luke 9:23; Galatians 2:20.
“Man is required to love God supremely, with his might, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself. This he cannot possibly do unless he denies himself. To deny self means to rule the spirit when passion is striving for the mastery; to resist the temptation to censure and to speak words of faultfinding; to have patience with the child that is dull, and whose conduct is grievous and trying; to stand at the post of duty even though others may fail; to lift responsibilities wherever and whenever duty requires, not to gain applause, not for policy, but for the sake of the Master, who has given each of His followers a work that is to be done with unwavering fidelity. To deny self means to do good when inclination would lead us to serve and please ourselves. It means to work patiently and cheerfully for the good of others, even though our efforts may not seem to be appreciated.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 223.
c. How does Jesus enable us to follow His example? Titus 2:14.
“Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God’s free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ’s sake alone.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1122.
4. LOVING THE UNLOVELY
a. How can we go beyond the world’s standard of goodness? Matthew 5:44–47.
“He [Christ] would have us love those who oppress us and do us harm. We must not express in words and acts the spirit they manifest, but improve every opportunity to do them good.”—The Upward Look, p. 220.
“He who on the mount gave the precept, ‘Love your enemies,’ Himself exemplified the principle, not rendering ‘evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing’ (Matthew 5:44; 1 Peter 3:9).”—The Desire of Ages, p. 265.
b. How can we live Christ’s standard of love in a practical way? Proverbs 20:22; 24:29, 17; 25:21, 22.
“It was to bring the bread of life to His enemies that our Saviour left His home in heaven. Though calumny and persecution were heaped upon Him from the cradle to the grave, they called forth from Him only the expression of forgiving love. Through the prophet Isaiah He says, ‘I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting.’ ‘He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.’ Isaiah 50:6; 53:7. And from the cross of Calvary there come down through the ages His prayer for His murderers and the message of hope to the dying thief.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 71.
c. What happens to those who give to others? Matthew 7:2 (second part); Luke 6:38.
“Whatever we give, we shall receive again. The earthly blessings which we impart to others may be, and often are, repaid in kind. What we give does, in time of need, often come back to us in fourfold measure in the coin of the realm. But, besides this, all gifts are repaid, even in this life, in the fuller inflowing of His love, which is the sum of all heaven’s glory and its treasure.”—Ibid., p. 136.
5. UNSELFISH MINISTRY
a. What attitude is necessary in order to follow the example of Jesus in unselfish ministry? Philippians 2:4.
“The heart in which the love of Christ is cherished, will possess that charity which seeketh not her own.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 133.
“Paul was deeply anxious that the humiliation of Christ should be seen and realized. He was convinced that if men could be led to consider the amazing sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven, selfishness would be banished from their hearts.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 501.
“Everyone who accepts Christ as his personal Saviour will long for the privilege of serving God. Contemplating what heaven has done for him, his heart is moved with boundless love and adoring gratitude. He is eager to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God’s service. He longs to show his love for Christ and for his purchased possession. He covets toil, hardship, sacrifice.”—Ibid., p. 502.
b. What else should we remember as we work together as a church? Romans 12:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 1:10.
“The strength of God’s people lies in their union with Him through His only-begotten Son, and their union with one another. There are no two leaves of a tree precisely alike; neither do all minds run in the same direction. But while this is so, there may be unity in diversity.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1083.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does it mean to follow the golden rule?
2. How does the golden rule apply to giving the gospel message?
3. What are some practical ways in which I can deny myself?
4. How did Jesus reveal His love toward those who mistreated Him?
5. As I consider the great sacrifice Jesus has made for me, how can I show my love for Him?