Let me begin this PODCAST with a little bit of Bible trivia. Fun little factoids to tickle your fancy:
You may know that there are 66 books in the Bible.
But did you know that there are 1189 chapters and a grand total of 31,102 verses (KJV)?
Well, on the surface, these numbers might make it seem like a daunting task to even begin to understand Bible.
I mean, where do you start?
Well, my friends. That’s why I am here. Think of me as the lubricant that makes the machinery of your life run smooth.
Lest you find those numbers to be somewhat dispiriting, what if I told you that we could summarize the entire Bible in only three verses? Three verses that tell the tale?
Want to know what they are?
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The third verse is the one we are looking closely at this week:
Matthew 7:12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
These three verses spell out these truths:
- There is a God (and you are not Him)
- You can have a relationship with God and Jesus the Way
- We can have a relationship with one another and the way to do it is: whatever we want people to do to us, we should do also to them. Or, as the Contemporary English Version of the Bible says: Treat others as you want them to treat you.
Consider what I call the “Three ‘Hey’s!”:
- Hey! Before you say what you are about to say to someone else, ask yourself, “Would I want someone else to say this to me?” If not, don’t say it.
- Hey! Before you say what you are about to say about someone else, ask yourself, “Would I want someone else to say this same thing to someone else about me?” If not, don’t say it.
- Hey! Before you do something to someone else, ask yourself, “Would I want someone else doing this exact same thing to me?” If not, don’t do it.
Sometimes, things really are as simple as they sound.
If everyone thought along these lines, this approach could revolutionize all of our relationships: our marriages, our parenting, our co-workers, our friendships, our neighbors…
So, why don’t we do this more often?
In fact, one of the last messages that Jesus offered to His disciples was that the way the world will know that we follow Him is how we love one another.
This even applies to the hot button topics of the day.
Once upon a time, within many Christian circles, the hot-button was people who were divorced. Not too long ago, it was women who had chosen to have an abortion. Today, its homosexuality.
Think about how you have shown love to the people within just these three hot-button (or once hot-button) groupings.
Would you be known as a Christian by your love to them?
Now, keep this in mind: loving someone who has made decisions or falls into a particular grouping that is different than yours does not mean that you agree with or accept their decisions, lifestyles or “grouping”.
Likewise, just because you disagree with someone’s beliefs does not make you an intolerant bigot. So, could we all stop slinging these verbal arrows at one another from either side of the “battle lines” and simply live by those three verses listed above?
Truly, what we need to do, is examine what it is we are pursuing in life. Consider the verses that immediately precede this week’s key verse: Matthew 7:7-11.
7 Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9 Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10 Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11 As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.
These verses beg us to eagerly, prayerfully pursue gentleness, mercifulness, kindness, etc.
If we were to do so, and put our energy into praying and living in this way, it would greatly affect our relationships with one another and our relationships with God. You see, if we did, 1. God would answer that prayer and 2. We will change the world!
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