Summary: Jesus tells us that the secret in giving is the motivation of our heart.
A Messiah Who Gives
Text: Matthew 6:1-4
1. Illustration: A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church "Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself," she told the girl. When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given. "Well," said the little girl, "I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did."
2. People often get turned off by church because they say all we ever really talk about is money, and all we’re really concerned about is getting in their pocket.
3. Well there is a reason for that because the Bible talks a lot about money. “In fact, 15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic (money and possessions) – more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined. Why did Jesus put such an emphasis on money and possessions? Because there’s a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money. We may try to divorce our faith and our finances, but God sees them as inseparable.” (Randy Alcorn in The Treasure Principle, 2001, p.8).
4. Here in Matthew 6, of the 34 vv., 19 of them talk about possessions, finances, and giving. In these first 4 vv., Jesus tells us about:
a. The caution of giving
b. The danger of giving
c. The reward of giving
5. Read Matt. 6:1-4
Proposition: Jesus tells us that the secret in giving is the motivation of our heart.
Transition: First, he talks about...
I. The Caution In Giving (1)
A. Watch Out!
1. You might be asking yourself, "How can there be a caution in giving? As long as we give isn’t that enough? I mean it’s the bottom line that counts, right?
2. Not according to Jesus. You see, "this verse connects righteousness with the disciples intentions" (Turner, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Matthew, 99).
a. Giving is not just a physical act; it is actually more spiritual that it is physical.
b. If we think that God needs our money we are sadly mistaken.
c. You see, he doesn’t need our money, but we need his blessings!
d. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (NIV)
yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
3. Jesus tells us to “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven."
a. The phrase translated "watch out," means to hold, or take hold of, something and pay attention to it, especially in the sense of being on guard (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 1-7).
b. He is telling us that we need to be careful about our motivation when we give. You see, the reason we give is because we need God’s blessings, and if we are not careful we can lose God’s blessings even when we give.
c. Jesus warns his disciples that obedience in the public arena does not guarantee a reward from God, because motive is more important than simple activity (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 271).
d. The reason we give is more important than the giving itself.
e. The NLT’s "good deeds" is lit. "righteousness," which refers to practical or functional godliness - that is, obedience to God’s laws (Tuner, 98).
f. Again, it is more spiritual than it is physical.
4. Some people give because they love God, and some people give because they like it when people think they’re a wonderful person.
a. The phrase "to be admired by others" is related to the term from which we get theater.
b. It has in mind a spectacle to be gazed at. In other words, Jesus is warning about practicing a form of righteousness whose purpose is to show off before people.
c. This king of spirituality is like a play; it is not real life but acting.
d. It does not demonstrate what is in the minds and hearts of the actors, but is simply a performance designed to make a certain impression on those who are watching (The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 1-7).
5. If our hearts are not right in giving, we can actually loose the benefit of giving - God’s blessing.
a. This verse is the flipside to Matt. 5:16. There we are to do good deeds only for the Father’s glory, here we are not to do them for our own glory (Turner, 98).