The Weekend Word
As we move into chapter 6 we need to see that this is the life Jesus lived perfectly for us. Remember, it was his perfect life, death and resurrection that won the salvation.
Giving to the Needy – stewardship is more than just money. It is you time – talents – & treasures.
Today, how do we separate the needy from the scammers?
But we will see that Jesus’ discourse here is against us, not the needy or the scammers.
Jesus is pointing out that we give to be seen by man.
1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Note how he begins with BEWARE – a warning that we often slip past.
“Maria, hand me the checkbook” loudly – In order to be seen – wrong motive.
Acts 5 Ananias and Saphira – what was their motivation when they said they had sold it all?
Is there a way to have “no reward” and a way to “have reward”?
How much of our giving is to ease out conscience?
“Look, you have received your reward – your name is in the paper”
Why do we want to grow the church? To be more like the big churches so everyone will see how great our church is?
How does this fit with the upcoming Lenten season?
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Does anyone remember the old Seinfeld episode, where George puts the tip in the tip jar? But no one sees him do it, so he reaches in to get his money so he can do it again and be seen. But, they guy turns around and all he sees is George stealing money from the tip jar.
This is doing a good work to be seen of men.
Praise of men or even praise by yourself – walking away “good job (fill in your name)”
“Sound no trumpets” = don’t blow your own horn.
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
Give for the sake of the neighbor – not for your own feelings.
How about having the church keep track of your giving for tax purposes?
Look at Matt 25 – the sheep don’t know what they are being commended for. They don’t keep track.
4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
There are no secrets that are hidden from God – even in a good sense.
Where does prayer for the needy fit in – isn’t that doing something in secret?
The Lord’s Prayer – In the Lord’s Prayer, we will see that we learn to speak to our Heavenly Father by listening to what he says.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Note the comparison to the hypocrite
What is a hypocrite?
To be seen of others – what about the “regulars” you see out in public prayer after national disasters?
Prayer is really us showing our dependence on God – that we can’t do it ourselves
How many think that if you pray a certain way – God kinda owes you?
Some folks would make a big performance of prayer – not to offer thanks and praise but for the admiration of men.
”and when you pray – not a command to pray – but a given that you do pray.
What is the reward for a proper prayer life?
I don’t know, but who here doesn’t like rewards?
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
When and where do you pray?
Praying secret??? Isn’t prayer somewhat of a public witness?
Is Jesus forbidding public prayer? – Depends on motive
Could this secret place be the ‘secret chamber of your heart’? What is that?
So what is the proper way to pray?
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
It’s OK to keep prayer short
You don’t need to add extra words or big words to impress others.
“empty phrases = “Do not babble” is the Tyndale translation
Have you ever heard a pastor (or anyone) preach the message a 2nd time in the closing prayer?
Or do we use prayer as a spiritual form of gossip – “Lord, please help brother Bill with his lustful, dirty thoughts.”
Or do we think that we impress God by long prayers
Babbling = look how the prophets of Baal prayed vs Elijah … Keep it simple.
For the Christian, prayer is an act of service and the fruit of our salvation.
It is an act of love – we are to be little Christ’s to those we intercede for.
This is why we are called a priesthood – priests pray and intercede for others
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Why ask? Why pray?
Why doesn’t God just read our thoughts and deliver?
Forget reading our thoughts; just give us what we need.
Actually he does that, we have air to breath, food and water just comes out of the ground.
But what about our unbelieving neighbor – we could intercede for him
The unbelieving neighbor does not get up in the morning and pray “Lord watch over me and my family today – but we could and we should.