Summary: message detailing the who, when, where, why, and how of giving.
I. You’ll be receiving 40 Days with Jesus in three weeks
A. Simple devotional designed for personal or family devotions
B. 6 weeks of daily scriptures on the life of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke,
John) leading up to the Easter Holiday Weekend
C. Challenge will be to read through the life of Jesus as we approach
D. Goal of which would be to become more like him as we read
II. In the 3 weeks leading up to that, we’ll be taking a look at some of the
words of Jesus found in Matthew 6, where he speaks on several spiritual
disciplines: giving, praying, and fasting.
III. Some church groups practice “lent” which could cause a person to focus
simply on what you’re losing!
When Ole quit farming and moved, he discovered he was the only Lutheran in
his new town of all Catholics. That was okay, but the neighbors had a problem
with his barbecuing beef every Friday. They were not allowed to eat red meat on
Fridays, but the tempting aroma was getting the best of them. Beside
themselves, they got together and confronted Ole.
"Ole," they said, "since you are the only Lutheran in this whole town and there’s
not a Lutheran church for many miles, we think you should join our church and
become a Catholic." Ole thought about it for a minute and decided they were
right. Ole talked to the priest, and they arranged it.
The big day came, and the priest had Ole kneel. He put his hand on Ole’s head
and said, "Ole, you were born a Lutheran, you were raised a Lutheran, and
now," he said as he sprinkled some incense over Ole’s head, "you are a
Both Ole and the neighbors were happy. But the following Friday evening, the
aroma of grilled beef still wafted from Ole’s yard. The neighbors went to talk to
him about this, and as they approached the fence they heard Ole saying
something strangely familiar to the steak: "You were born a beef, you were
raised a beef, and now" he said as he sprinkled salt over the meat, "you are a
A. As Easter approaches, we should be meditating on what we’re gaining!
B. As we practice the disciplines of prayer, fasting, giving – we could think
about the time, food, and money we’re losing.
C. They are actually small investments when you consider them as
investments with an incredible return
D. When Jesus laid down his life and rose again, all these become
E. After all, what is prayer, fasting, and giving without a resurrection?
They would all be a waste of time and resources!
“If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I
gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die’” 1
F. When you factor in the resurrection, you’re praying to a living God, as
you fast – you’re communing with a living God, and as we give, we’re
giving to a living God who is able to do more than we could ever ask,
think, or imagine.
G. By discipline, I mean a “regular practice” (we will discuss later why we
should make these things a regular practice)
IV. The text we want to focus on, however, are the words of Jesus in Matthew 6
Matthew 6:1-4, 1"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
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. 3But when you give to
the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that
your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret,
will reward you.
V. The first verse is a set-up for the three disciplines that will follow.
VI. It gives us three keys to keep in mind for each discipline “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
A. “Acts of Righteousness” are necessary!
1. “Acts of righteousness” appears in quotations in the NIV. Some
call it alms, but the NIV does a better job in this instance.
2. Could also be translated, “religious observances, religious
3. Observances or practices required by one’s religion
4. Remember that he’s talking first of all to his disciples
5. Each of the three are considered “requirements” to being a