Yay! We are finally moving on to Matthew Chapter 6! Chapter 5 had so many great teachings from Jesus that we can glean from, however Jesus is far from done in His teachings on the Mount. Warren Wiersbe sums up the rest of the sermon in Chapters 6 & 7 as, “The true righteousness of the kingdom must be applied in the everyday activities of life. This is the emphasis in the rest of the Sermon on the Mount.” Father, I pray that our hearts and minds will be open to the teaching of your Word that our lives will truly reflect you. Amen.
Matthew 6:1,2 – “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.”
- The beginning of the chapter starts out with Jesus confronting an issue of the heart: giving for selfish motives. Why is he addressing this issue? The Pharisees and other religious leaders would give so they could receive the praise of men and boast in their own righteousness. Jesus called these leaders hypocrites.
- The Greek definition for hypocrite is actor or an actor who wears a mask. They claim to be men of God but they are only using their religion to hide their own sins and promote their own gains or self-righteousness. So in layman’s terms, hypocrites are fakes and Jesus was calling these men out on it.
- Jesus confronts the Pharisees as being hypocrites many times in the Bible. Matthew 23:25 says, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are filthy – full of greed and self-indulgence.” HUGE heart issue going on with these guys.
- “They have received all the reward they will ever get.” (v. 2b) All that these men want are the praise of men. They will never receive the praise of God. Spurgeon explains further, “they will have no more; there is, in their case, no laying up of any store of good works before God. Whatever they may have done, they have taken full credit for it in the praise of men.” They will receive all the glory, honor and praise here on this earth but what do they gain and be rewarded if they lose their soul for eternity? “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” – Matthew 16:26
- Do you know someone who has the Pharisee complex? They try to make everything look good on the outside but you know that deep on the inside they have hidden their sins to where they are rotting and stinking up the place. Or maybe it is you who has the heart issue. You are wearing the mask. You are a fake and a phony. But there’s good news! Christ offers forgiveness through his free gift of grace. Accept it and be washed clean. Jesus offers the soap of life to cleanse us from the filthiness of sin.
Matthew 6:3,4 – “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
- Jesus wants us to deal with our heart issue and check ourselves when it comes to giving and generosity. Our hearts are naturally deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) but when we give our lives to Christ, he gives us a change of heart. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Jesus wants to do this for us! He wants to replace our hardened hearts with his tender, loving and giving heart.
- Billy Graham gives a great explanation of verse 3;“God has given us two hands—one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.” Our lives were not given to us so that we could get, get and get some more. When we receive we should always be willing to give back. It’s not saying we should only give our money. We can give our time and our talents as well. And we should always give with the intention of not getting anything in return. This brings great pleasure to our Father because he sees all things even when no one else does. The rewards and praise we get on this earth can’t even compare to the rewards we will get in Heaven. God wants to give those to us. That’s why we should do what Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:20-21, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
- Robert Rodemayer gives us 3 kinds of giving: “grudge giving, duty giving and thanksgiving. Grudge giving says, ‘I have to’; duty giving says, ‘I ought to’; thanksgiving says, ‘I want to.'” Test yourself to see what category of giving you fall into. When Jesus gives a completely new heart, we will always give with thanksgiving.
- Above all, Jesus gave his life for you and for me. What we give will never surpass what he did to set us free from sin. When we live by God’s grace, generosity should flow through us. We can also give people opportunities to know Jesus through our generosity.
It’s time for a heart check. Do you flaunt your giving for man? Or do you give in secret to please your Father out of your love for Him?
Father, I pray that the masks of hypocrisy will be taken off right now and we will step into the freedom that your grace offers so that we may have a heart that responds to your love. I pray that our hardened hearts will become sensitive to your Spirit and that we will give to others because you freely gave your life for us. Amen.