Summary: This is Part 12 in a 14-part series of studies I call “The Christian Character” as described by in what is familiarly known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” In this part, we examine Jesus teaching about laying up treasures, the eye as the lamp of the body, and the impossibility of serving two masters.

Part 12 - Laying up treasures, eye is the lamp of the body, serving two masters

Sermon on the Mount

The Christian Character

Matthew 5:3 - 7:27

(Cf. Luke 6:20-49)

This is Part 12 in a 14-part series of studies I call “The Christian Character” as described by Jesus to a crowd of people on a Galilean hillside as he delivered what is more familiarly known as the “Sermon on the Mount.”

The 14 parts are as follows:

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Beatitudes – the poor in spirit

Part 3 - Beatitudes – those who mourn

Part 4 - Beatitudes – the meek, and those who hunger and thirst

Part 5 - Beatitudes – the merciful and the pure in heart

Part 6 - Beatitudes – peacemakers

Part 7 - Beatitudes – the persecuted and insulted

Part 8 - Salt of the earth and light of the world

Part 9 - Righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees; divorce, oaths

Part 10 - Eye for eye, loving neighbor and hating enemy, being perfect

Part 11 - Three things to do, not to be seen by men and a model prayer

Part 12 - Laying up treasures, eye is the lamp of the body, serving two masters

Part 13 - Do not judge, do not give what is holy to dogs and pigs

Part 14 - Ask, seek, and knock; the narrow gate; false prophets; building on the rock

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Last week we discussed three things Jesus warns against doing for the sake of being seen as religious. For those who do so, being seen is the extent of the reward.

Matthew 6:1-18 - Read

In each of these illustrations - giving to the needy, praying, and fasting - Jesus teaches that we should do them, assumes that we will, and distinctly says they not to do them to be seen by other people.

Last week we discussed the suggestion that this teaching conflicts with what Jesus had said a couple of minutes earlier:

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

How is it possible to conceal and display our good deeds at the same time?

The trip wire is self - doing good things – the 3 Jesus mentions and others - for selfish purposes.

I believe the harmony of these verses lies in our own motivation. If my righteous acts are to gain the appreciation of people, then I’m really doing them for me. If they are for me, then I fail to meet those touchstone passages that define our standard:

• achieve a righteousness exceeding that of the Pharisees (and that means I will not enter the kingdom of heaven)

• be perfect, as the Father is perfect.

Whatever good works proceed from a person who is attuned to the will and the words of God, are a glory to God and not to the person.

We learned in the beatitudes that we are to be poor in spirit, meek, and have attitudes that are exhibited only by humble people - poverty of spirit, mourning for losses suffered by us and others, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, peacemaking, enduring persecution for righteousness…

A person filled with the beatitudes will have no inclination to do good things for selfish purposes.

Having described the useless prayers of the Gentiles, Jesus taught the multitude how to pray:

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Last week we did not go into a phrase by phrase scrutiny of this prayer. It deserves its own mini-series, and we didn’t take the time for a detailed examination of it here. Instead, we made some observations about it, and considered this: the fault of the hypocrites was not that they failed to pray. Their faults were in the MANNER of their praying. He said, “In this manner, therefore, pray” What did Jesus mean by “In this manner?” What is there about this prayer that Jesus wanted his listeners to imitate?

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