Summary: Are actions without the right attitude and motives pleasing to God?
• In a small college town a tavern frequented by students ran the following ad in the campus paper during the days before Parents Weekend: "Bring Your Parents for Lunch Saturday. We’ll Pretend We Don’t Know You!" The ad was soon challenged by the college chaplain, who posted a revised version on the campus bulletin board. It read: "Bring Your Parents to Chapel Sunday. We’ll Pretend We Know You!"
• There is a lot of pretending in life isn’t there?
• We have heroes that we almost worship only to find out that they were pretending to be someone they were not.
• We have political leaders who claim to be champions of the poor only to find out they are using the poor for votes.
• There are many young ladies who go out with guys who pretend to love them so that they can get what they really want from the girls.
• People use people to get what they want. Maybe some of you here today have felt that sting.
• In life, people are looking for something real to hold on to. People are looking for people who are genuine to look up to and follow.
• What do you think about the person who does good but always makes sure that other people knew what he or she did? One of my favorite ones is when a politician secures financing for a project using tax payer money, and then the person ends up with his or her name on the project.
• God is no different. God is looking for people who are truly committed to Him, not just someone who does their duty and leaves.
• Is just doing our “religious” duty enough? Is doing the right thing all that God is looking for or is there something that needs to go along with the action?
• With your spouse, do you want them to be faithful to you because they feel that HAVE to or because they love you and want to?
• Does God just want us to go through the motions of our faith or does He expect something more? Is it like the child who finally does what they are told to do, but proclaim that they will not like doing it?
• If we are coming to church most of the time, giving some money and occasionally volunteering to do something is that all God wants from us?
• Today we are going to look at a new section of the Sermon on the Mount. We are going to go from some of the things of the Law to what we might call a persons religious duty.
• Today we are going to look at what God says about., “Tooting Your Own Horn”
I. A WARNING TO PAY ATTENTION TO (V1)
• The landscape has not changed too much over two thousand years. During Jesus day many people were going through the motions of religion so that they would receive accolades from other people.
• Jesus tells us to “beware” or “be on guard against” the heart and motivation that He is going to speak of. Jesus is going to warn us about the attitude and motivation by which we do things for God.
• The use of the term “righteousness” clearly indicates that what follows is still concerned to expand the theme of “greater righteousness” (5:20). In this context, “acts of righteousness” are defined as pious acts motivated by one’s devotion and relationship with God. Jesus has no quarrel with the traditional forms of religious holiness, but calls his followers to be truly God-centered in their performance, not oriented toward self-glorification.
• The word for (to be noticed) is related to the term from which we get theater. It has in mind a spectacle to be gazed at. In other words, Jesus is warning about practicing a form of righteousness (acts of religious devotion in general) whose purpose is to show off before men. Such religion is like a play; it is not real life but acting. It does not demonstrate what is in the minds and hearts of the actors, but is simply a performance designed to make a certain impression on those who are watching.
• Jesus tells us that if we do things to receive attention from people, that we will have received our reward.
• Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16 to let our light shine in such a way that people see your good works and the key, so that they glorify the Father!
• We are not forbidden to do righteous acts in front of people; we are not to do it with the intention of receiving the glory.
• This is why it is important to let people know why we are doing what we are doing. “I am doing this for you in the name of Jesus.”