Summary: Our deeds are not to become a show to be watched.
• SLIDE #1
• Have you ever been around folks who will do good things, but they want to make sure others know they did it? LOOK AT ME!
• For some it is all about looking good.
• In a small college town a tavern frequented by students ran the following ad in the campus paper during the days before Parents Weekend: "Bring Your Parents for Lunch Saturday. We’ll Pretend We Don’t Know You!"
• The ad was soon challenged by the college chaplain, who posted a revised version on the campus bulletin board. It read: "Bring Your Parents to Chapel Sunday. We’ll Pretend We Know You!"
• We have seen some people who will do some nice things, but they want to make sure others see it. It is like the athlete who goes to visit sick children with a camera crew in tow.
• We seen others who do things and they do not seek recognition for what they do, speaking of athletes, there are so many who do so much like visiting children in hospitals who never seek fanfare for it.
• Which person would you respect more?
• In life, people are looking for something real to hold on to. People are looking for people who are genuine to look up to and follow.
• God is the same way. God is looking for people who are truly committed to Him, not people who do things “FOR” God to be recognized for it while their hearts are not with God.
• Are actions alone good enough, or is the heart behind the actions important?
• Today we are going to look at a new section of the Sermon on the Mount.
• This section will deal with three important duties we are called to do along with the kind of heart we are to have when performing them.
• SLIDE #2
• Matthew 6:1 ( ESV ) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
• From this verse we see…
• SLIDE #3
I. A WARNING TO HEED
• The landscape has not changed too much over two thousand years. During Jesus day many people were going through the motions of religion so that they would receive accolades from other people.
• Jesus tells us to “beware” or “be on guard against” the heart and motivation that He is going to speak of. Jesus is going to warn us about the attitude and motivation by which we do things for God.
• The use of the term “righteousness” clearly indicates that what follows is still concerned to expand the theme of “greater righteousness” (5:20).
• In this context, “acts of righteousness” are defined as religious acts motivated by one’s devotion and relationship with God. Jesus has no quarrel with the traditional forms of religious holiness, but calls his followers to be truly God-centered in their performance, not oriented toward self-glorification.
• The word for (to be noticed) is related to the term from which we get theater. It has in mind a spectacle to be gazed at.
• In other words, Jesus is warning about practicing a form of righteousness (acts of religious devotion in general) whose purpose is to show off before men.
• Such religion is like a play; it is not real life but acting. It does not demonstrate what is in the minds and hearts of the actors, but is simply a performance designed to make a certain impression on those who are watching.
• Jesus tells us that if we do things to receive attention from people, that we will have received our reward.
• Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16 to let our light shine in such a way that people see your good works and the key, so that they glorify the Father!
• We are not forbidden to do righteous acts in front of people; we are not to do it with the intention of receiving the glory.
• This is why it is important to let people know why we are doing what we are doing. “I am doing this for you in the name of Jesus.”
• Many of the religious leaders of Jesus day struggled with this issue and many people today struggle with it.
• Jesus tells us that the “Look at Me” way is not what God is looking for. That is not to be our intent.
• In the context of this section of text Jesus is going to encourage us in three areas.
• Jesus picked these areas because they were one that were interwoven into the everyday life of the people of His day and they should be today. From these three areas we will first look at…