Summary: The Law which more than what you do or you do not do, but about a reflection of our character - about who we are on the inside. It is not just doing what is right, but being right which is more important.
Matthew 6:1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
The Law is more than what you do or you do not do, but about a reflection of our character - about who we are on the inside. It is not just doing what is right, but being right which is more important. Matthew 6:1 says not to do our acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them because if we do that we will have no reward from our Father in heaven.
There was a period of time when the pharaoh was Greek. Ptolemy was in charge of Egypt. He commissioned a great architect named Sostratus of Cnidius, a skillful architect, to build, what came to be one of the great seven wonders of the ancient world. The Light House of Alexandria was over 400 feet tall and built it with the masonry stones, which is huge. They poured melted lead to hold these stones together.
Sostratus built it with the intention to last for a millennium, and it did. It stood until 1500 years later, when it was destroyed by an earthquake.
The Greek Poet said, when this architect built it, he had his name engraved on one of the stones at the base in huge letters. Then he had it fill in his name with masonry and on top of that, he had in beautiful, large, metal letters, Ptolemy II. This building was in the midst of the sea and under the weathering and the rainfall over the course of centuries, the masonry dissolved. And so Ptolemy's letters began to fall from the surface of the building. After the masonry was washed away, one could see the name of the architect.
He had it made so over time it will not be a monument for Ptolemy, but a monument for Sostratus. On the outside the glory was for Ptolemy, but on the inside the glory was for the architect.
How many of us do something like that? On the outside we do it for God, but on the inside, we do it for ourselves. Is it for God’s glory or ours? Our hearts are desperately wicked and God knows our hearts.
After this introduction, Jesus describes three specific applications of the general principle, concerning:
We will look into fasting first, then giving and then finally prayer.
Matthew 6:16-18 - FASTING
Matt.6:16-18 – the principle is to not do spiritual things to be seen by people; for unspiritual purposes, but to do it with the right motivation.
There was this pastor when he was younger, now he is about 82 years old, he would visit people’s homes and sometimes he would do his visits during the days he was fasting. If he were offered something to eat, this pastor would simply say, “No, I am fasting.” The host would go, “Oh!” This pastor in California said, if you go to someone’s home and you are given something out of hospitality, “break the fast and eat the cake, otherwise you are kind of boasting and proving your spirituality!”
Matthew 6:2-4 -- GIVING
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
A mother was hysterical because her little son had swallowed a 1 rupee coin. She turned to her husband and screamed for him to call a doctor. So he picked up the phone, but instead of calling the doctor, he decided to call his pastor. The wife was upset and said, “We don’t need the pastor, and we need some medical help!” The husband replied, “Our pastor can get money out of anyone!”
Some pastors do not even want to talk about giving because they don't want people to think the church exists only to receive. God made us the body of Christ so that we can give. I have a friend who says that the church is God’s bank. He deposits money in us so that we can give out the loan to others in need. Some people are blessed by God with wealth and they think – “Praise God, I can celebrate – I can be comfortable, eat fancy food, drive a fancy car, wear fancy clothes, fancy watch and jewellery – praise God!” But they miss out the point that God gave to them so that they could be a blessing to others and have the added blessing – it is more blessed to give than to receive, to have the eternal joy of storing up for themselves treasures in heaven.