Summary: This message looks at the problems that come with living your life to impress others.
A LIFE GOAL: Live your life so that people will say good things at your funeral.
- The Pharisees were doing things for an audience of people.
- Key phrase is v. 5a – “done for men to see”
- Three examples:
a. Phylacteries and tassels.
- These were things talked about in OT law. The problem wasn’t having them – it was making them bigger and more prominent.
b. Places and seats of honor.
- So everyone could see them looking important.
c. Greetings in the marketplace.
- Receiving honor from everyone in everyday life.
- We often do things for an audience of people.
- We have the desire to be popular and to be liked.
- We’ve come to believe in our society that “image = reality.”
- And so we act like the image and the reputation is the most important thing.
- After the Tiger Woods scandal, the media discussion was centered on the question: “How can he repair his image?” I didn’t hear any asking, “How can he change his life?”
AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: God is our life’s Judge.
- God sees everything – good and bad.
- They have received their reward in full.
- Matthew 6:2, 5, 16.
A QUESTION: If you strip away every part of your spiritual life that someone else sees, what’s left?
- What are the things we do for public consumption when it comes to our spiritual life?
a. Big Bible for Sunday morning.
b. Suit for Sunday morning.
- Do we wear a suit to honor God or to fit in?
c. Bumper stickers.
d. Fish symbols.
e. Going to church.
- Do I go because I really want to, or because I know people will talk if I miss 2 weeks in a row?
f. Activities at church.
- Sometimes we are so busy with church activities that we don’t spend much time on internal work.
- My own life early at PBC when we were building a sanctuary and I struggled to do devotional time.
g. Church as a whole: bricks, budgets, and bodies.
- What are the things we don’t do that we should behind the scenes when it comes to our spiritual life?
a. Prayer life.
b. Bible reading.
c. Financial giving.
- The path of least effort spiritually is just to do what people can see.
JESUS' POWER SOURCE: The amazing things that Jesus did in public required what Jesus did in private.
- The disciples’ lack of power: Mark 9:29 (“this kind cannot come out but by prayer and fasting”). Cf. to our need for that kind of closeness to God if we want to see His power in our lives.
a. A church adopting techniques (say, a Thursday night visitation program) of a sister church that’s seeing many saved. But they don’t have the deep burden and passion for the lost that that church’s pastor has.
b. A Christian adopts the wording that the most powerful pray-er in the church uses. But he doesn’t spend time each time confessing sin and staying close to God like she does.
A PRAYER: “Spirit, is my spiritual life about good public relations or a deep private relationship?”
- By private, I don’t mean that all of our spiritual life should be hidden and behind the scenes. I mean that there has to be significant stuff going on behind the scenes if our faith is to be real and to have an impact on our souls.
- Do I want to know God deeply? Not just hypothetically, but enough to do the hard work that no one else will see. The work that you don’t get credit for, except in the eyes of God.
- Am I content with having a reputation for righteousness?
- The larger point: do I have a heart to please God?
- Is my heart to be someone who looks and lives like Jesus or someone who fit in at church?