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A. Introduction

1. There is a biblical doctrine of r __ __ __ __ __ __. It holds that, since God is absolutely and perfectly just, He must punish evil and reward what is good.

a. Proverbs 24:11-12 [ NIV ]

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your heart know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?

b. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 [ CEV ]

All of this shows that God judges fairly and that he is making you fit to share in the kingdom for which you are suffering. It is only right for God to punish everyone who is causing you trouble, but He will give you relief from your troubles. He will do the same for us, when the Lord Jesus comes from heaven with His powerful angels and with a flaming fire.

Our Lord Jesus will punish anyone who doesn't know God and won't obey His message. Their punishment will be eternal destruction, and they will be kept far from the presence of our Lord and His glorious strength. This will happen on that day when the Lord returns to be praised and honoured by all who have faith in Him and belong to Him. This will include you, because you believed what we said.

2. Our summer sermon series began with Jesus' declaration that His disciples must possess and exhibit a righteousness which exceeded even that of the Pharisees. His teaching in Matthew 5 focused on Christians' radical approach to the scrupulous moral and ethical standards of the scribes and Pharisees, but, as we move into chapter 6, our Lord turns His attention to the manner in which they performed their three most prominent religious obligations.

a. a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

b. p __ __ __ __ __

c. f __ __ __ __ __ __

3. In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus will in no way discourage His disciples from pursuing these disciplines. Indeed, they are expected of us. What Jesus does challenge is, as always, is the attitude of our

h __ __ __ __ __ when we are engaged in acts of charity, when we pray, and when we fast.

a. "Jesus contrasts the true piety He expects of the children of the kingdom with the false piety or hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. The one characterized by true piety is concerned primarily with relation to God and His approval rather than the applause of men. The Father as the Seeing and Knowing One is mentioned ten times in these eighteen verses. Jesus discusses the three cardinal works of Jewish religious life -- almsgiving, prayer, and fasting -- not to condemn them, but to urge the right motivation in performing them." - Howard F. Vos: Matthew

b. "That Christians are not to conform to the world is a familiar concept of the New Testament. It is not so well known that Jesus also saw (and foresaw) the worldliness of the church itself and called His followers not to conform to the nominal church either, but rather to be a truly Christian community distinct in its life and practice from the religious establishment, an ecclesiola ( "little church" ) in ecclesia. The essential difference in religion as in morality is that authentic Christian righteousness is not an external manifestation only, but one of the secret things of the heart."

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