Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Matthew 6

"Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven." - Matt. 6:1.  In chapter 6 Jesus is continuing His teaching with the Sermon on the Mount.  He tells us not to be like the hypocrites.  A hypocrite is a pretender with a mask to hide his true identify.  Jesus repeats several phrases in Matt. 6:1-18:  "I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full" and  "Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."  He is instructing us to be careful when we do our acts of righteousness like giving to the needy, our prayers and our fasting to not do them for the praises of men like the hypocrites, but to do them without others knowing.  If you do them in secret, then God will reward you in heaven.  If you do them publicly for men to see then your reward will not be in heaven, but only here on earth.  God knows what we do even in secret and He will reward us.  If someone finds out about your good works, that's OK.  You will still get your reward from God.  It's all about your heart motive.

Matthew 6:1-4 - Giving to the Needy

Christians have responsibilities to give to the needy and to forgive others and God will forgive us.  He rewards us for caring for others, when we pray and when we seek Him with a pure heart.  Many people today use religious activities to gain approval of others.  They brag about how many committees and boards they are on.  They do volunteer activities out of a sense of obligation or duty.  They give large offerings for the wrong reasons.  They like to be noticed and appreciated.  When they do this they get men's praises and earthly rewards, but are losing their heavenly reward and may miss out on God saying, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

Jesus said, "they have received their reward in full".  Meaning they have already received their reward and there is no reward in heaven for them.  So to received God's rewards you must do what God commands - love others and do your good deeds in secret not drawing attention to yourself.

Matthew 6:5-18 - Prayer and Fasting

Jesus also instructed us how to pray. We are not be like the hypocrites praying in public praying long prayers for others to see.  We are to pray in secret.  We are not to babble like the pagans using many words.  God sees and hears us when we pray.  There is no need to keep repeating ourselves.

Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer in Matt. 6:9-13 as an example of how we should pray.
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." This is meant only to be a pattern for us to follow as we pray.

Here He is showing us that we are to honor God as our Father and that He is holy:  we want His will above our will to be done on earth and in heaven; request of Him to give us what we need both physically and spiritually; we want to be forgiving to others just as He is to us; we should ask Him for the ability to resist sin and that He will help us stand up against Satan's temptations.

Why pray for God's will?  Because when we do, we yield to God's authority.  It's a humble admission that He knows what is best.

Why fast?   When we pray, sometimes we get distracted.  We fast because we want to be closer to God.  When we fast, it helps us focus our attention to God.

If God know what we want before we ask, why pray?  To pray is not to get what we want, but to deepen our relationship with God.  Prayer changes us rather than the situation sometimes.  It gives us confidence in God being sufficient.  Prayer invites God into our lives and God wants a relationship with us.  Prayer is simply talking with God as you would a friend.  Prayer is seeking God and is a demonstration of our faith. 

There are specific lessons about prayer here:
Do not pray like the hypocrites to be seen by others.
We should glorify God.
We are to seek His will.
Pray for both our physical and spiritual needs.
Seek forgiveness.
Pray for strength against temptations.

Luke 18:1-8 tells us we need to be persistent when praying and to never give up.  Remember prayers are answered in God's timing, not ours.

Matthew 6:19-24 - Treasures in Heaven

People tend to collect earthly treasures such as money, new cars, big homes, powerful jobs, and many other possessions.  These do not last forever and can be lost by fire, theft,  job loss, failing economy, etc.  They are here today and can be gone tomorrow.  Jesus tell us to store up treasures in heaven not on earth.  Some treasures we can store in heaven are: offerings to God, love for others, actions that glorify God, words of praise and thanksgiving to God, true worship, and anything that makes us more like Jesus.

The following verses talk about treasure:
Psalm 119:72 - the law from your mouth is more precious than silver and gold.
Luke 12:15-21 - a man's life does not consist of his possessions.
1 Cor. 2:9 - we can't conceive what He's prepared for us in heaven.
2 Cor. 4:17-18 - what is unseen is eternal.
Phil. 3:8 - nothing is worth having except Christ
1 Peter 1:4-5 - our inheritance is kept in heaven and will never perish, spoil, or fade.

Luke 11:34-36 and Matt. 6:22-24 tell us that the eye is the lamp of the body and your body is full of light.  If you have bad eyes, your whole body is then full of darkness.  In other words - the eyes guide your body and if there is light you can see where you are going.  You believe in Jesus and have a healthy spiritual life.  But if you have bad eyes or double vision, you are in darkness and can't see where you are going.  You want to go to heaven, but don't want to give up worldly things.  You lack clear guidance so you are in darkness.  Verse 24 says, "No one cannot serve two masters."

Do you have earthly treasures?
Who is your master?
What motive or desire will you ask God to help you change?
What are you treasures in heaven?

Matthew 6:25-34 - Do Not Worry

Jesus tell us not to worry.  We should not worry about our life, what we eat or drink, or what we will wear.  He gives us reasons for not worrying.  The birds do not sow or reap, yet our heavenly Father feeds them.  We cannot add a single hour to our life so why worry?.  He even takes care of the lilies of the field.  He knows what you need.  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matt. 6:33-34.

What do you worry about?
Will you trust God and stop worrying?
How has God provided for you?
What will you do to thank God for His provision?

God rewards those who do good works to please Him.
God rewards those who serve for His glory, not the personal gain.
Real treasure is stored in heaven.
God is worthy of our undivided focus.
Christians need not worry.
God rewards our trust in His care with worry free living.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you next week for Matthew 7.

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