Summary: Why do we do what we do when it comes to practicing our righteousness? Is is for self-glorification or is it honest and sincere giving to God and others? Christ teaches a hard lesson that we all need to pay attention to. This is a wake-up call to self-
The Right Kind of Righteousness
Griffith Baptist Church – 11/25/07
Text: Matthew 6:1-4
The story is told of an eastern ascetic holy man who covered himself with ashes as a sign of humility and regularly sat on a prominent street corner of his city. When tourists asked permission to take his picture, the mystic would rearrange his ashes to give the best image of destitution and humility.
A great deal of religion amounts to nothing more than rearranging religious “ashes” to impress the world with one’s supposed humility and devotion. The problem, of course, is that the humility is a sham, and the devotion is to self, not to God. (John MacArthur, Matthew, Ch. 33)
1. Jesus takes a different approach with Chapter 6 now.
A. In Matthew 5 Jesus dealt with the aspect of inner righteousness - the heart
B. In Matthew 6 Jesus deals with the aspect of outer righteousness – the practice
C. The first has to come before the second.
2. What are your alms?
A. Acts of righteousness, particularly giving to the poor and needy
B. Providing for others who are struggling, or have nothing at all
C. This is done from a heart of compassion
3. A Warning to Heed (1)
A. Take Heed
i. This means to pay attention because what is being said is important to your own well-being, especially spiritually
ii. Beware of evil influence - Matthew 16:6 – Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
iii. Beware of hatred of God’s children - Matthew 18:10 – Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
iv. Beware of letting others deceive us with their claims of being Christ - Matthew 24:4 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
v. Beware of covetousness (greed) - Luke 12:15 – And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
vi. Beware of pride - 1 Corinthians 10:12 - Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
B. To be seen or not to be seen
i. “To be seen” is the inner intention of getting attention
a. Not to be seen of God alone, this is to have notice and praise of men
b. The motive is purely selfish and has nothing to do with God
c. When you serve, are you working for that recognition or just loving God and loving what you do for Him?
ii. Times when you are seen of men and yet your motives are right
a. The Bible says nothing of loss of reward if we are doing things from the right motive.
b. Only you and God know that.
c. Proverbs 27:2 - Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
d. The important thing to remember is not that your righteousness is seen but is it done for that purpose - Matthew 5:16 - Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
4. Signs of Hypocritical Righteousness (2)
A. Hypocritical righteousness – Righteous or godly acts done in insincerity to attract the attention and praise of others around them
B. Signs of hypocritical righteousness:
i. Righteous hypocrites put thought into what gives them the most exposure and praise
a. They sound a trumpet – a rather obvious way to attract attention
b. It is planned and sometimes instinctive
c. It is a performance – hypocrite = stage players (actors)
ii. Righteous hypocrites make sure others know of their righteousness
a. They like to brag but couch it in religious phrasing (“The Lord used me . . .”)
b. It is all supposedly for the Lord but when no one notices, they figure a way to get noticed.
c. They may even use others to point to their accomplishments
iii. Righteous hypocrites are bothered when praise is given to another
a. It affects their behavior and attitude
b. They ignore the command given in Philippians 2:3 - Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
iv. Righteous hypocrites seek more praise when the old praise is gone
a. They cannot get enough
b. The problem with self-praise is when it wears off, you have to have more
c. It is like a drug addiction but it is praise addiction, and the church is full of them.