Most people know the golden rule. Did you know that Jesus stated a version of the golden rule? “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matt. 7:12) The golden rule is found in many cultures and almost all religions but the version Jesus stated is different from all the rest. There is a reason why he stated it differently.
We may fear death. We may be anxious about growing old. Someone once said, aging is not for sissies.We may worry about losing our memory when we can’t remember something that we’ve always known. So how do we deal with these fears? What will help us have peace?
Politics stir up emotions. Often we can’t talk about politics at home, at church or with friends because of the division it causes. During election cycles fear may be stirred up in us as candidates point out various things that we should be afraid of. So where do we find hope and peace?
You may think that nobody cares about you. You may feel that nobody wants to be in relationship with you. You might even feel lonely in the midst of a crowd. We need connections. We need companionship. Even God said it was not good for Adam to be alone. So what spiritual resources are available so we don’t feel alone? Where might we find community and friendship?
Sometimes we fear other people. We are worried they might harm us in some way so we are ready to take action to stay safe. Our list of people we fear might include people of different ethnicity, religion or social standing. When we act toward others out of fear our actions are rarely commendable. Horrible acts throughout history have been committed when one person fears another or a whole society fears another society. How do we move from fear to love?
We often fear failure. What happens if it doesn’t work out? What are people going to think if I fail? Fear of failure caused Moses to give a list of excuses when God asked him to do something. Moses even gave God a suggestion. “O my Lord, please send someone else.” Fortunately God didn’t let him excuse his way out of fear. How might God help us deal with our fear of failure?
In today’s world there is so much to fear: terrorism, global warming, economic insecurity, mass shootings, conflict with Iran and fears regarding our family and health. President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” The Bible’s response to this is to say over and over, “Do not be afraid.” In this sermon series we will discover ways to build our faith so that our fear might be diminished.
We have all experienced guilt. Guilt reminds us we need to make something right. If we don’t make it right, we end up carrying the burden of guilt into all other relationships. In this message we will look at a solution that helps us put down the burden of guilt.
As we grow older we learn to modify our behavior. We learn what to say to get a job or to get a date. We learn what to say to keep a relationship going and to make life work. But Jesus challenges us to go deeper. He wants us to examine our soul which causes us to say the things we do. He even challenged his listeners to pay more attention to things of the heart than other things they were focused on.
We use heart monitors to keep track of our heart beat and it’s rhythm but do we monitor what is on our heart? Do we monitor the emotions that we feel? Because it is those emotions that drive our life. Do various emotions like jealousy rule our heart and guide our life? Then how might we clear our heart of envy?