Summary: what's the difference?
Redeemed or Religious?
November 20, 2011
What’s the difference between a person who’s redeemed and a person who’s religious? Tonight we’re going to read from Matthew six, but to really understand it we have to keep in mind the conclusion from Matthew seven:
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock (Mt. 7:18-24).
True religion is not a cause that leads to good work. True religion is the effect from the cause of God. As God has redeemed us (possessed our reins—Psalm 139:16), we are good trees which will bear good fruit. There’s a difference between the redeemed and the religious:
The redeemed give from the abundance of their hearts (:1-4)
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
The point isn’t that we should keep all our good works secret—men will see our good works and judge the tree by its fruit and they will glorify God. But the point is that the redeemed aren’t doing good works to get recognition. We bear good fruit because of the vine, so if you’re going to make a plaque, put His name on it!
The redeemed truly pray to the Father (:5-13)
5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Think about the Pharisee and the Publican (Lk. 18:9-14). The Pharisee prayed to himself. Everything he did was the fruit of his own self-effort. He did not leave justified!
9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The redeemed forgive as much as they’re forgiven (:14-15)
14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Now keep chapter seven in mind. Jesus can’t be saying that God forgives us if we forgive others any more than He could be saying if we’re saved but hold a grudge He’ll take away our salvation. Read Luke 7:36-50. The good heart bears good fruit. If you find yourself bearing grudges then ask yourself how a good heart, forgiven much, could do so.
The redeemed truly seek God (:16-18)
16Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.