Summary: Superman theme about good things we should do in secret, and secret sins and their demise. [Clark Kent Christians] Link included to formatted text and ’Super’ PowerPoint Presentation.
A Super Secret Message
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Are you good with secrets? About to bust? Find joy in it? “I know something you don’t know!” [spill the beans?]
Secrecy makes Christmas more fun. But, marriages fail when secrets are kept from one another.
Our God is the master of secrets, and He knows all about ours!
Ill.—The microscope reveals to man an unknown world of living things we never knew were there…but God did! Some Christians serve God in secret…a good thing in many ways, until it’s the gospel we’re holding back! But if you do a good deed, whether seen by man or not, God sees it. Back in Mt. 5:16 He tells us to do things before men, but here in chapter 6 is the balance. Who gets glorified?
He knows the good we do in secret, and our secret sins, and He keeps most of it secret until judgment day.
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
Confessed sin He remembers no more. But others? Let’s keep short accounts! Will others see my sin? Don’t know. And who cares on that day, face to face w/ God. Our judgment is one primarily of rewards, but there will be tears, and we will ‘suffer loss.’
Let’s not worry about what others think. That is Phariseeism.
Ill.—Many Christians don’t witness, not in rebellion to God’s command…they want to, but are worried about what others would THINK. They become ‘Super Secret Christians’. In disguise like Clark Kent.
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
By the way, why do some put such importance on what others think? Many answers, but here’s a biggie: they were raised on conditional love. [explain] They always needed to prove themselves, and find their acceptance based on accomplishment.
Thanks, mom, for unconditional love. Thanks for loving me more than yourself, more than being embarrassed by me, what others at church thought of me, more than my sister!
Now to our text:
v. 1 alms=righteous acts
v. 2 alms=giving [different word] Like the lame man in Acts who sat at the gate of the city…he asked for alms and instead got legs!
First, notice the assumption: ‘when thou doest thine alms…’ You’ve been brought into the kingdom of God, so you give to the kingdom of God, to further the kingdom of God. It’s an evidence that you are truly saved…not just that you give the tenth, but above that, but that as a minimum. [not partial obedience, but all or nothing].
Now, mankind by nature are not givers, but takers. The prodigal son said ‘give me what’s comin’ to me!’
We need to practice secrecy in our giving, however. You see, our sin nature is so devious it can even defile a good thing like giving!
It’s all about when you want the reward. Immediate from men? Or a better reward in heaven.
v. 2 ‘trumpet as a hypocrite’
ill—hypocrite means ‘to wear a mask’, as the Greeks did in their dramas [smile, frown, angry, etc.]
When the Pharisees were going to give to the poor, they would sound a trumpet. They said it was to get the poor to come to them, but Jesus saw thru the mask…the real reason was to call attention to themselves! [Recognition, prestige, applause of men, honor]
v. 3 [use our #’d envelopes]
v. 4 secrets will be revealed one day!
Ill.—a mother gives and gives all day w/out realizing it…never appreciated until years later.
Give, and w/ the right motive. Not to prove you’re a Christian, but because you want to, and find hilarious joy in it! God knows if we have a wrong motive.
Ill.—Vandals cut down 6 huge royal palms along a major Miami Blvd. The city wasn’t sure if they could pay to replace palms that large. But then someone donated 6 more…even bigger ones. They had them planted even. The old ones were 15 ft. high and were a nice foreground to a billboard which said, ‘Fly Delta’. The new ones were 35 ft…completely hiding the sign. The new donor: Eastern Airlines!
Not only in giving, but in prayer:
Secret and sincere prayer is the goal.
v. 5 “when you pray” … Another assumption.
ill.—little boy saying bedtime prayers w/ mother / ‘bless mommy, daddy, and God, GIVE ME A NEW BICYCLE!!!’ [shouted] Mom: God’s not deaf, son. / ‘I know, but Grandma’s in the next room, and she’s hard of hearing!’
John Bunyan said, ‘In prayer it is better to have a heart w/out words than words w/out a heart.