Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
INTRO: People do what they do for all sorts of reasons. And often the motivation determines how things are done, what things are done, the acceptability of these things. In our scripture text we have read of two possible motives in matters religious. The Lord minces no words in His indictment of the wrong motive. When religion becomes a show, it has no spiritual eternal value! Right things can be done for wrong reasons.
I. ILLUSTRATION NO. 1
A. Alms giving - Mt 6:1
1. Jesus does not condemn giving
2. but note the scribal practice - vv.1,2
3. the scribes and Pharisees apparently gathered a crowd to watch them give!
4. and Jesus said, That they may have glory of men
5. He called them play acting people - and said they had received their reward (Jno 5:44)
B. Mt 6:3,4 Not for show; not for self-commendation
1. what Jesus says is obviously exaggeration
2. but His comment tells us that our giving should seek to please only God
3. thought: even if given privately, pride can be problematic
4. giving must be - always expression of loving heart
5. so, 2 Cor 8:5,8
II. ILLUSTRATION NO. 2
A. Praying - Mt 6:5
1. Jesus certainly does not condemn praying!
2. in fact, a bit later He gives an example of prayer
3. but the scribes, Pharisees made a public spectacle of praying
4. why? that they may be seen of men - pride!!
5. and they had their reward ... they appeared pious, and people would have thought them to be so!
B. Mt 6:6 Genuine praying is not for show
1. now, not all prayer can be in secret - 1Tim 2:8
2. but all prayer can be for the right purpose
3. note Ps 27:8 - beautifully said
4. God not only sees into secret places, He also sees into our hearts - Acts 1:24
5. Mt 6:6b a great promise! (1 Jno 5:14,15)
III. ILLUSTRATION NO. 3
A. Fasting - Mt 6:16
1. only one compulsory fast - Lev 16:29-31 (Ezra 8:21)
2. but note Mt 9:14 and Lk 18:12 (Mon and Thurs ...market days according to Barclay)
3. the scribal practice? to look the part ... look sad, unkempt, even to whiten faces to appear pale
4. why? again, that they may appear unto men to fast
5. apparently, fasting had become a symbol of piety
B. Mt 6:17,18 Fasting is a very personal thing and choice
1. although it is not commanded, it is not condemned
2. if we choose to fast, we must not publicize our fasting!
3. rather, from a public perspective, life goes on in a normal, ordinary way
4. if our fast is properly motivated, the Father rewards
5. one connection Id mention: 1 Cor 7:5 ... seasons of prayer might well be accompanied by fasting (Dan 9:3)
CLOSE: I recall Pauls words at Gal 1:10. And remember Eph 6:6 ... doing the will of God from the heart.We do need to look at our hearts. This morning, are we here to display piety? or to humble ourselves before God?
Cecil A. Hutson
13 October 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)