Summary: Jesus presents a clear description of what it is followers are to be like internally and how they are to live outwardly in the Sermon on the Mount
Many years ago- King of Egypt employed an architect to build a watchtower. When Kings had buildings built- they would have their name engraved on the buildings to be remembered in history. When the architect finished the building he engraved his own name in the cornerstone of the building. Then he took some lime/mortar- covered up his own name and wrote- name of the King in large gold letters. Outwardly- appeared the architect was honoring the King. However, he knew in time the rain/elements would wear off the name of the King and his name would live on in history. Contributed by Randy Aly
Many today- outwardly appear- live godly lives, but if you examined their motives- would be self-seeking
Going to be looking at this as continue w/SOTM.
Mtt 6:1 A Warning
Righteousness- exhibiting the character of God in our lives, living a godly life before men/God.
Christian righteousness- not just outward appearance, but is more concerned- w/condition of the heart.
Jesus tells us how to be righteous in three areas … giving, praying, and fasting- V2, 5, 16
In each case- it is assumed- that we give, pray, fast.
Mtt 6:2-4 Giving (read)
Giving- speaks of showing mercy and compassion.
Lk 6:35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. NASU
Giving is good- however- God- concerned w/motives.
V2- hypocrite- an actor.
Gk/Roman actors would become various characters by holding masks in front of their faces.
Actors- lay aside- true identity- assumes a false one.
The religious hypocrite does the same …deliberately deceive people to think something about them that is not true.
If we give/pray/fast w/incorrect motives- we received our reward in full- no other benefits from God.
Vandals cut down 6 huge royal palms along a major Miami Blvd. The city was not sure they had the money to replace palms that large. But someone donated 6 trees …even taller ones. The original ones- 15 ft. high- nice foreground to a billboard which said, ‘Fly Delta’. The new ones- 35 ft high- completely hiding the sign. The new donor: Eastern Airlines! (Pastor Jerry Shirley)
Not only are we not to brag to others about our giving, we should not be overly conscious of it ourselves.
V3- do not let- left hand know what- right hand doing.
Easy to feel good about ourselves- praise ourselves- when we give- can become self-righteousness.
Our giving is to be for an audience of one- not others, not even ourselves, but God alone.
We give because God asks us to give.
True giving always involves a sacrifice …
If you give what you do not need, it isn’t giving.” Mother Teresa
Sir Henry Taylor said …
… the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.
God has called us to give and to give cheerfully …
2 Cor 9:7 … God loves a cheerful giver.
It may be better to not give than to give grudgingly.
A mother wanted to teach her daughter about giving. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church. She told her to put whichever one she wanted in the offering plate and keep the other for herself. On the way home, the mother asked her daughter what she had done. ‘Well,’ said the little girl, ‘I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the pastor said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I would be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did. (John Shearhart)
When we learn to do good before God alone then we will be led by His Spirit, not natural inclinations.
Our motives will be driven by God’s heart, not ours.
Be careful not to become overly legalistic in this.
I do not believe this precludes giving w/check.
The issue is the motive of our heart when we give.
The average church giver in the US gives- 1.5-2.5%.
I would leave us with this question …
Am I a generous giver?
The question is not, did we give or did we tithe, but are we generous givers.
Mtt 6:5-8 Praying
The Jews would pray three times a day.
Dan 6:10 … Daniel … entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. NASU
Nothing wrong with praying on the street corner or in a public setting, depending again on our motives.
Praying- no different from giving- both authentic acts before God, but ulterior motives destroy them.
We must be careful- when pray- who is our audience?