Summary: Lesson 8 in a series. This lesson focuses on how to do good deeds.
Fix Your Heart
Intro. Father’s Day today. Time to think about our earthly fathers. But also a great time to reflect on our heavenly Father. We have been looking at the Sermon on the Mount and we are moving into a new chapter today. In Matthew 5 Jesus used the phrase Heavenly Father or Father in Heaven only 3 x’s but now in chapter 6 Jesus will use it 12 x’s and chapter six is shorter. There’s a reason for that. In chapter 5 Jesus condemned several actions, but he did it based on the attitude of the heart behind the action. Sure murder is wrong, but the hatred that leads to murder is just as wrong. What Jesus says in chapter 5 is the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. Now He begins to address our hearts and what we need to do about our heart problems and that involves your relationship to God. That’s why this chapter mentions our Heavenly Father so much. Remember at the end of chapter 5 Jesus challenged us to be perfect as our father in heaven is perfect. Now we learn how to do that better.
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
I love what one person said about this passage. Jesus is addressing spiritual strippers in this passage. Spiritual exhibitionists. They do their good things so that other people will watch them do it. And Jesus gets very upset with them. If you’re taking notes this morning, and I hope you are, we will have five short points and they will spell the word heart.
H - Humble yourself.
If you want to give your heart to God, you must humble yourself. That means you have to realize that you are not such a great person. You are not “OK.” You have plenty of room for improvement and you should not be happy with yourself. If God is our measuring stick, we are in pretty bad shape. One of the reasons we like other people to know about our good deeds is because we are proud of them. Hey, that was pretty good of me to do, we think. I hope other people notice.
Friday night I caught a couple of catfish at our guys night out. I was kind of proud of those fish and several times that night I took somebody over to the stringer to show them those fish. In fact, I didn’t stay the night but went home about 12:30 in the morning. Heather woke up just enough to say hello to me and what do you think I did? Told her about those fish right then! I was proud of what I’d done.
That’s fine with fish (unless you happen to be married to me and it’s 12:30 in the morning and you want to sleep) but when it comes to our spiritual life, that’s another matter. You see, we don’t ever do something so great that God is impressed. Jesus said, in Luke 17:10
“In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ’We are not worthy of praise. We are servants who have simply done our duty.” In other words, when we do great things for God, it only what we are expected to do. That’s kind of humbling isn’t it? If you are going to try and get ahead with God you will have a difficult time because your best is what he expects. Total commitment is what he asks you for in the beginning. When we realize that our good deeds are just what is expected of us, we will begin to understand why there is no need to brag about them to other people or make sure they see us doing them.