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Summary: Moving from what the scribes and the Pharisees taught the people, to what they practiced before the people, Jesus helps us to understand this greater righteousness we are called to live. This week we look at our giving - time - talents - finances - and d

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The Secret Life of the Christian - Matthew 6:1-4 - February 19, 2012

Series: Kingdom Life – A World Turned Upside Down #18

A number of years ago a Christian rock band by the name of Petra, came out with a song called, “Godpleaser.” Anyone familiar with that song? .… Truth be told it is not one of my favorites – just not my style – but I truly appreciate the words. Now, I won’t sing that song for you but I do want to read those lyrics to you. And I invite you to listen for the message hidden within, for it cuts to the heart of the Scripture passage that we will be looking at this morning. Here we go …

So many voices telling me which way to go

So many choices come from those who think they know

There's a way that seems right to a man, but it only brings him death

I wanna go the way that leads to life till I draw my dying breath

Don't wanna be a manpleaser

I wanna be a Godpleaser

I just wanna have the wisdom to discern the two apart

Don't wanna be a manpleaser

I wanna be a Godpleaser

I just wanna do the things that please the Father's heart

Some make a sacrifice and never let it show

Some make a point of letting everybody know

Some will live their lives as unto men, and they have their reward

I just wanna do everything I do with all my heart unto the Lord

I just want my life to glorify His Son

To make my Father proud that I'm His child before I'm done

No need to pat me on the back or stop to shake my hand

I just want to hear my Father say, "well done,” "well done"

I just want to hear my Father say, "well done

Open your Bibles with me please to the Gospel of Matthew. Last week we wrapped up chapter 5; this week we begin in chapter 6. This is still the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus is still teaching us about this righteousness that is greater than the righteousness of the Pharisees. We’ve spent the last six weeks looking at how the righteousness of the kingdom of God compares with the righteousness that the Pharisees were teaching. And so in each of those six examples that He gave, Jesus started off with the words, “You have heard it said …” and then He wraps it up with the words, “But I say to you ….” In other words, “This is what the world teaches you is right … but this is what I’m telling you is pleasing in God’s sight.” And we’ve seen that there’s a difference between the two. This morning we begin to look at how the righteousness of the kingdom of God compares with the righteousness that the Pharisees were practicing. We move from what was being taught, to what was being lived out in day to day life. So let’s start reading in Matthew 6, verse 1. This is what we read …

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1–4, NIV)

Now there were three foundational practices in the life of the God fearing Jew. Three pillars of practical righteousness if you will. They were, #1 giving to the needy, #2 actively praying, and 3# regular fasting. These were the things that a people living out their faith in God would give themselves to doing. And in these next few passages, Jesus is going to look at each one of those pillars of righteousness, and in each case we’re going to see four things. First we are going to see A Warning Given, secondly An Example To Avoid, thirdly A Principle to Follow, and finally A Reward To Be Received.

Let’s start with A Warning given. We live in a society in which nearly everything seems to come packaged with a warning of some sort. Some cross the line into utter ridiculousness like the warning on a lawnmower that says “Do not place hands or feet under mower when the engine is running,” or the label on the hair dryer that says “Do not use in the shower and never use while sleeping,” or the one on a disposable razor that says, “Do not use this product during an earthquake,” or the one on a collapsible children’s stroller that warns parents to “remove children before collapsing stroller.” My all time favorite though is the one on the Magic 8 ball that reads “not advised for use as a home pregnancy test.” (www.squidoo.com/Stupid_Warning_Lables.) Folks, if we can’t figure those things out, without reading a warning label, we probably shouldn’t be using the product in the first place - and what bothers me, is that those warnings are there for a reason, and that reason is likely that someone has tried to do that very thing in the past!

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