Author: Ron Graham
Seen By Men
Having completed our study of Matthew chapter 5, we now begin our study of Matthew chapter 6, the second of three chapters containing our Lord's Sermon on the Mount.
1 Religious Acts
Matthew chapter six begins with a warning to beware of doing good deeds before men to be seen by them.
Regarding the practice of our religion, Jesus uses at least four examples. In chapter five he had already used the example of taking one’s gift-offering to the altar. Now, in Matthew chapter 6, he talks about three more religious acts: giving alms, prayer, and fasting.
Jesus chose the examples of sin offerings, almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, because he was speaking mainly to Jewish people, and these activities were high on their list of things that a devout person should do.
We might make a somewhat different list, but the principles that Jesus taught still apply. They are true of any religious act.
The principles are these:
- Don’t do your religious works in order to get the praise of men. Be sincere in what you are doing, and do it for God, not for yourself.
- Make sure that what would bring glory and praise to you is kept secret and not "seen by men".
- Make sure that what will bring glory and praise to God is "seen by men" and not kept secret, because we must, as Jesus says in chapter 5, let our light shine before men.
- Let your religion be undecorated and uncomplicated by pomp and ceremony and flowery phrases.
- No matter how well you perform an act of worship, it will be rejected if your heart is not right and you are just acting. God has no time for hypocrites.
2 Outline of Matthew 6
|Second part of the Sermon on the Mount|
|Treasure in Heaven||6:19-21||12:33-34|
|Lust of the eye||6:22-23||11:34-36|
|God and money||6:24||16:13|
3 Deep Thought
1. Explain what it means not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (see verse 3).
2. In verse 7, Jesus recommends that our prayers be short. His example prayer is very short indeed. Is there any place for long prayers? Was the length of prayer Jesus’s main concern?
3. In verse 6, Jesus recommends that our prayers be in secret. Is there any occasion for praying in the presence of others? What is the value of praying alone and in secret?
4. Construct a simple, clear definition of these unusual words: (1) Mammon, (2) Alms, (3) Synagogues, (4) Hallowed.