Summary: True worship is all about God, not about us. An examination of proper motives for giving and praying.
There’s a “Why” in the Road
Matthew 6:1-6 "Be careful not to do your ’acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Intro: As we get into Matthew 6, we’re going to be talking doing good things, such as prayer and benevolence. Three marks of Jewish piety or spirituality were prayer, giving to the poor, and fasting. A devout pious Jew was one who was generous to the needy and faithful in praying to God. But before we say too much about, prayer, or giving, I’d like us to think about why we do these things. What do we hope to accomplish by our prayers or by giving to those in need? What’s the point? What result are we hoping for? If we fail to find answers to these questions, one of two outcomes is likely: either we won’t waste our time giving or praying, or we might do these things, but miss any real benefit because we are doing them for the wrong reasons. Those who do right things for the wrong reason will get the wrong reward. Cashing in for man’s applause makes us miss out on the Father’s applause. You might get what you’re after, but it holds very little value, and will not benefit anyone in any significant way.
-Here is the main point of the message today.
Prop: True worship is all about God, not about us.
Interrogative: How important is it that we serve God and communicate with Him in a way that takes the focus off of us?
TS: Let’s look at a few thoughts about our motivations for serving Jesus and getting closer to Him.
I. Motivations for giving to those in need
A. Misplaced Motivations (Attention, Admiration & Honor from others- feeding pride, ego, self-centeredness, personal advancement- political ambitions, etc.)
B. Proper Motivations (Meet a need, Share God’s love, Obey God’s Word)
-Giving should be expected of those who follow Christ. That opens us up to being taken advantage of through guilt and manipulation, but we are still to give. Jesus said, “When you give…,” not IF you give.
-Give, and w/ the right motive. Not to prove you’re a Christian, but because you want to, and find hilarious joy in it! God knows if we have a wrong motive.
-Vandals cut down 6 huge royal palms along a major Miami Blvd. The city wasn’t sure if they could pay to replace palms that large. But then someone donated 6 more…even bigger ones. They had them planted even. The old ones were 15 ft. high and were a nice foreground to a billboard which said, ‘Fly Delta’. The new ones were 35 ft…completely hiding the sign. The new donor: Eastern Airlines!
1 John 3:17-18 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
-The OT urges giving to the poor all throughout it. Remember, Jesus said He did not come to do away with the Law and the Prophets (the OT), but to fulfill them.
Acts 20:35 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’"
II. Motivations for praying to God
-A little boy was saying bedtime prayers w/ his mother. “Bless mommy, daddy,” and then he shouted, “God, GIVE ME A NEW BICYCLE!!!” His mother said, “God’s not deaf, son.” “I know,” he answered, “but Grandma’s in the next room, and she’s hard of hearing!”
-Sometimes we use prayer as a means to communicate with other people rather than with God. That isn’t always a bad thing, but be careful about using the precious gift of communication with God as a battering ram attempt to preach-pray a certain agenda on someone.