THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, PART 3
"All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12).
God is the Judge of all the earth; and He said, "My glory will I not give to another" (Isaiah:42:8). We are all the work of His hands, and it is not our place to judge one another, but rather to pray for the one we think is at fault.
If a person who is picking faults in his brother would stop to think about himself a little, many times he would find that he had the same faults, perhaps to an even greater extent. Often our own weaknesses are of the same nature as those we see in others. Jesus knew human nature when He said, "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
You know a mote is a tiny speck, and a beam could be a big timber. Of course it is impossible to get such a big thing into the eye, but it is a good comparison to show men that they are not to pick at little flaws in another's character when their own are tremendously greater.
Love for One Another
Everyone knows the Golden Rule, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." But how many live by it? Is it not much easier for most people to say, "I won't be nice to him because he is mean to me"?
Jesus practiced the Golden Rule, and if we are going to be His children we must do as He did. When He was reviled of men, He reviled not again. In other words, when they accused Him falsely He did not answer back. The Jews had driven Christ from their synagogues, and refused to have the Just One to rule over them. Yet He wept over their city: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! " (Matthew:23:37). He was more than willing to do good to those who persecuted Him.
Little kindnesses that we perform every day show whether we are doing unto others as we would have them do to us. Don't let a day pass without doing a kindness. If someone mistreats you, do a good deed to him, and continue that attitude from day to day, and soon you will win that person by your love. It has been said, "Kindness in us is the honey that blunts the sting of unkindness in another." If someone does you unkindness, show him you are bigger than he is by rewarding him with kindness.
Abraham Lincoln once said that he wanted it said of him after he died, by those who knew him best, that he had always picked a thistle and planted a flower where he thought a flower would grow.
The truly great do not consider that anyone is beneath their notice; and if they see an opportunity to help the poorest and weakest, they will do so. One can tell how great a man is by the way he treats his fellow men. One day while Thomas Jefferson was president, he and his grandson were riding in a carriage when they met a slave who respectfully took off his hat and bowed. The President returned the salutation by raising his hat, but the grandson ignored him. "Thomas," said the grandfather reproachfully, "do you permit a slave to be more of a gentleman than yourself?"
The Two Ways
When Jesus urged the people to enter in at the strait gate, He was again showing their power of choice. When God placed the first man in the Garden of Eden, He permitted him to decide for himself which way to go. From that time on, it has always been man's privilege to be saved or lost, according to his own choosing. God has warned man that the wages of sin is death, and has also promised great rewards, both here and hereafter, to those who will follow Him. The man who chooses the broad way to destruction will stand condemned before God, without excuse.
The Broad Way
Let us consider the broad way for a moment. Satan makes it look very pleasant. It is much easier to follow along with the crowd than to take a stand for the right against wrong. He will point out the prosperity of the wicked, the good times they seem to be having; and he will say, "Follow me to the green spot over the hill." The broad way has religions, too, but not according to the Word of God. Satan will say, "It is not necessary to live without sin; you will get to Heaven if you go to church once in a while, and give the preacher some money."
Through his false prophets he tells the people thousands of things that are not in the Bible. Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." Just because a man pretends to be a preacher (has on sheep's clothing), he is not necessarily sent of God. If he does not preach the whole Bible he is just one of the devil's false prophets who are travelling on the broad way. John the Beloved said, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John:4:1). Thousands, perhaps, even millions, more have gone out since that time. The broad way can accommodate all sin and false religion.
Striving to Enter
When someone asked Jesus how many people were going to be saved, He said, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke:13:24). How many would be saved was not the business of the questioner, but rather what he must do to enter in. Jesus told him to work at it -- "strive to enter in."
Paul spoke of the Christian life as a race for which one must prepare himself very carefully (get saved -- repenting and forsaking all his sins), and then run hard to the very end. Even the start may be hard for you. Your friends may sneer at you for wanting to be a Christian, or threaten you with the thought that you will never again have a good time. If that does not discourage you they may use flattery and tears. But the one who wants the price of eternal life will let none of these things hinder him.
"Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!"
The fact that one has made a good beginning does not always mean that he will win the reward. Again, we quote Paul: "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" (Galatians:5:7). There are many side roads leading from the narrow way, and unless we keep our eyes on Christ we shall be lured off into the byways and lose our soul. But what blessings there are for those who have their eyes fixed on the price!
The Highway of Holiness
"The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs:4:18). As the Christian walks in the middle of the road he finds new beauties in the Gospel, and is protected by the Father's love. But don't be overconfident. The narrow road still leads through enemy country, and we must watch and pray daily that we enter not into temptation.
The Highway of Holiness leads right into Glory where the righteous will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew:25:23). But those who travelled the broad way, thinking they could get into Heaven some easier way, will hear from the just Judge, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Then they will be sorry that they took the wrong road, but it will be too late.
1. How does a "mote” compare in size to a "beam"?
2. Which verse in this lesson is called "the Golden Rule"?
3. Give one reason why so many go in at the wide gate.
4. How may a sinner recognise a real Christian?
5. What illustration did Jesus give that shows the importance of a good foundation?