Summary: Only acts of righteousness done for God’s glory will be rewarded.
IT IS JUST NOT FAIR
MARCH 10, 2002
INTRODUCTION: And now the end is near and so I face the final curtain. My friend I’ll make it clear, I’ll state my case of which I’m certain. I’ve lived a life that’s full, traveled each and every high way. And more, more than this, I did it my way. Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again to few to mention. I did do what I had to do. I saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the by way. And more, more than this, I did it my way. Yes there were times, I guess you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew. But with it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up then spit it out. I grew tall through it all and did it my way. I’ve loved, laughed and cried and I had my fill, my share of losing. But now as tears subside, I find it all so amusing, to think I did all that and may I say, not in a shy way, oh no, no not me. I did it my way. For what is a man? What has he got? If not himself, then he has not, to say the things he truly feels and let words of one who kneels, the record shows, I took the blows and did it my way. MY WAY!
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Ulterior motives. What are they and why do they get in our way when we want to be in HIS way. Frank and Elvis, phenomenally gifted men, but men who chose to do it their way, had an ulterior motive, success and wealth. Maybe this is being judgmental and for that I ask forgiveness. Maybe and just maybe, they did it for the sake of fame, to be seen and known. Whatever the case, we are the same, by nature, if not by example. In any event, we share the struggle that our text is really focusing on, getting it our way or doing it His way. The focal point in our passage is prayer, but the real issue is JUSTICE.
THESIS SENTENCE: Only acts of righteousness done for God’s glory will be rewarded.
Jesus teaches us there are two ways to look at everything.
I. IT IS NOT FAIR, I WANT TO BE SEEN (VV. 5-6)
A. Our perspective: I want to be seen by men (VERSE 5)
1. Verse 5 tells the story. The tradition is that of formality. Prayer is seen here as a ritual to be done.
2. The problem is not strictly ritual, but ritual for the sake of appearance. 3. The more “religious” and I do use quotes here, the more one needed to be seen “DOING” the ritual. Anyone could follow the ritual, but if others were to know, you must do the ritual in public.
4. In public is not strictly the issue, but where in public. The “HYPOCRITES” stood on busy street corner to be seen by men. This would stand in opposition to those that stood in the Synagogue during a worship service.
5. The saddest reality to it all is “UNANSWERED PRAYER!”
6. If this is the reality, let me share the truth, these “HYPOCRITES” got just what they wanted, a win, lose situation!
ASIDE: BUT NOT REALLY! There have been times, when I was called on to pray, and not being emotionally or spiritually prepared, I prayed a prayer that sounded just like a preacher should pray and included all that was necessary for me to sound as Spiritual and Pastoral/ Christian as possible. The problem was, only God truly knows, I received my reward immediately, many thought a good prayer was prayed, but in my heart, I had prayed to be seen by men. Maybe I should have said, “NO!”
B. A Godly perspective: I want to be seen by God (VERSE 6)
1. Jesus has to teach us a powerful reality here.
2. Often we don’t think that God can see us because we can’t see Him. I would argue that we can see God, but that’s another sermon.
3. God who is unseen sees what is done in private places.
4. This is good news and bad news. TRUTH: HE SEES IT ALL!
5. Goodnews: even when we think that HE will not see, He will and it is for our benefit.
6. NOT only will he see what is done in secret, HE WILL REWARD YOU FOR IT!
7. JUST AS ABOVE, WE GET WHAT WE WANT: HIS REWARD!
ANOTHER STRUGGLE WE HAVE IS OUR UNFILLED DESIRE….
II. IT IS NOT FAIR, I WANT TO BE HEARD (VV. 7-8)
A. Our perspective: I want to be heard by men