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WHAT REALLY MATTERS COMES FIRST

A MINISTRY THAT MATTERS  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  2:22:00
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PRACTICING YOUR FAITH

What an awesome subject of discussion. It’s interesting because the believer is expected to do so, that is, to practice, perform, prove their faith. (You do know that “none but the righteous shall see God) Yet it is quite unsettling that in our very lives, present right now, a mindset that says otherwise. A mindset called relativism that dares to say in the face of God: “You can’t tell me what to do!)
The prohibition here is not against practicing or “living out” your faith because it is your that makes you righteous. Because we are saved by grace through faith, we ought to be practicing our Faith. The text says “When you are practicing your righteousness.There are four areas of our spiritual being where we should be practicing our faith: giving Matt 6:1-4 , praying Matt 6:5-13, forgiving Matt 6::14-15, and fasting Matt 6:16-18. These are things that disciples should be doing. Jesus says be mindful how you do them because it reveals something about us.

GIVING

Matt 6:1-4
Matthew 6:1–4 NASB95
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

PRAYING

Matt 6:5-13
Matthew 6:5–13 NASB95
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

FORGIVING

Matt 6::14-15
Matthew 6:14–15 NASB95
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

FASTING

Matt 6:16-18
Matthew 6:16–18 NASB95
“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

PROBLEMATIC PREOCCUPATIONS

REWARDS

As we read through the passage leading up to now, we discover that the Lord states a reward component on all of the Spiritual acts of worship. Oh, bless His name, the Lord will reward us for our service.
Dictionary of Bible Themes 5499 reward, divine

reward, divine

God’s dealings with people are always in harmony with his grace and his justice, hating evil and loving good. No gift of God is on the basis of merit, but on the basis of his faithfulness to his promises.

God’s reward is in harmony with his character

His graciousness Ro 4:4-5 See also Ps 103:10; Mt 20:14-15; Lk 17:7-10; Ro 11:6-7; Eph 2:8-10

His justice Ro 2:6-11 See also Dt 28:1-2 blessings for obedience; Dt 28:15 curses for disobedience; Ps 19:9-11; 62:12; Pr 13:21; 14:14; Jer 17:10; 32:19; 1Co 3:8; 2Co 9:6; Gal 6:7-9; Eph 6:8; Col 3:25

The reward of the ungodly

Ro 6:23 See also Ex 20:5; Dt 7:9-10; Pr 22:22-23; Isa 13:11; 26:21; 59:18; 65:6-7; 66:6; Eze 7:4; 9:10; 11:21; Hos 9:7; Zep 1:12; 2Th 1:6; Heb 2:1-2

The reward of the godly

God’s treatment of the righteous Ro 8:17-18 See also Ex 19:5; Ru 2:12; 2Sa 22:25 pp Ps 18:20 pp Ps 18:24; 1Ki 3:14; 2Ch 15:7; Ps 19:9-11; 58:11; Pr 11:18,28; 13:21; 19:17; 31:31; Isa 62:10-12; Jer 31:16; Mt 5:12; Lk 6:34-35; 1Co 2:9-10; Jas 1:25

The example of Jesus Christ Php 2:8-11 See also Heb 12:2-3

Apparent unfair treatment of the godly Ps 73:13-14 See also Job 1:1; 2:11-13; 9:29-31; Isa 49:4; Hab 1:12-13; Mt 5:10; 2Ti 3:12

TREASURES

5591

treasure

Highly valued objects or accumulated riches. Treasure has at best only short-term benefit but can bring spiritual dangers. Spiritual treasure is of eternal value and comes from knowing and serving God.

The limitations of accumulated treasure

It is easily lost Isa 64:11 See also 2Ki 24:13; Jer 15:13; 17:3; 20:5; La 1:10-11; Hos 13:15; Ob 6; Mt 6:19; Jas 5:2-3; Rev 18:14

It is no security against God’s displeasure Pr 11:4 See also Job 20:20; Jer 51:13; Eze 7:19; Hos 9:6; Zep 1:18; Lk 12:16-21

It does not satisfy Ecc 5:10 See also Ps 39:6; Hag 1:6

The spiritual dangers of accumulated treasure

It can lead to pride 1Ti 6:17 See also Dt 8:13-14; Eze 7:20; 28:4-5; Da 4:30

It can lead a person away from God Rev 3:17 See also Job 31:24-25,28; Pr 11:28

It can lead to greed Lk 12:15 See also 1Ti 6:9-10

Acquiring it can lead to dishonesty Jos 7:21; Ps 62:10; Pr 21:6

It can lead to idolatry Ex 32:2-4; Isa 2:7-8; Eze 7:20; 16:17

Preoccupation with rewards and treasures causes anxiety. Many perceptive observers have sensed that the greatest danger to Western Christianity is not, as is sometimes alleged, prevailing ideologies such as Marxism, Islam, the New Age movement or humanism but rather the all-pervasive materialism of our affluent culture. We try so hard to create heaven on earth and to throw in Christianity when convenient as another small addition to the so-called good life. Jesus proclaims that unless we are willing to serve him wholeheartedly in every area of life, but particularly with our material resources, we cannot claim to be serving him at all (cf. under 8:18–22).
Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 124). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

PROHIBITION AGAINST PANIC

The New American Commentary: Matthew 2. Paradigmatic Preaching: The Sermon on the Mount (5:1–7:29)

If, on the other hand, we put trust in God first, God will take care of the rest of life. This renders worry unnecessary. “Worry” is the key word of this entire section, since it occurs six times (vv. 25, 27–28, 31, 34 [2×]). The KJV’s “take no thought” is definitely misleading here. Christians must plan for the future, but they need not be anxious. Jesus illustrates his point by discussing the basic provisions of food and clothing.

FOOD

Birds in their wild state provide a good example because they are tirelessly industrious. Jesus is not discouraging hard work to provide for our needs. Yet despite their constant efforts, birds remain far more dependent on the “whims” of nature (which Jesus views as God’s provisions) than are people. We who have so much more opportunity to use creation for our own ends ought to worry even less than birds.
Two additional rationales for Jesus’ instruction follow. First, we are more valuable in God’s eyes because we are the only creatures made in his image. Second, worry doesn’t accomplish anything anyway, at least not in terms of enabling us to live longer. The NIV marginal note “single cubit to his height” is a somewhat more natural translation of the Greek than “single hour to his life,” but it does not fit as well into the context. Adding a foot and one half to one’s height is not the trifling amount Jesus’ flow of thought seems to demand, and stature does not fit the context of provisions of food and clothing nearly as well as longevity.
Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 125). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

CLOTHING

The New American Commentary: Matthew 2. Paradigmatic Preaching: The Sermon on the Mount (5:1–7:29)

To illustrate God’s provision of clothing, Jesus next directs attention to “the lilies of the field” (perhaps a reference to wild flowers and grasses more generally). “See how” is better translated “learn carefully from” (katamathete). Uncultivated vegetation does much less to provide for itself than do birds, yet God adorns it with beauty that at times surpasses the greatest splendor of human raiment (on Solomon’s wealth, cf. 1 Kgs 4:20–34; 7:1–51; 10:14–29). “Labor” (toiling in the field) and spinning (sewing clothing at home) probably refer, respectively, to the characteristic occupations of men and women in ancient rural culture. Yet plants prove even more fragile than birds and more short-lived than humans. People even picked plants and used them as fuel for the ovens in which they baked bread. If God lavishes such concern over the rest of his creation, how much more does he love us! Again, Jesus uses the characteristically Jewish type of reasoning—from the lesser to the greater. If the logic of his argument be granted, then worry can only result from a lack of genuine belief in God’s goodness and mercy. R. Mounce says, “Worry is practical atheism and an affront to God.” Anxiety characterized pagan religions, which were dominated by fears of a capricious and despotic deity who constantly had to be appeased. In its modern, irreligious garb, pagan anxiety displays a great preoccupation with physical exercise and diet without a corresponding concern for spiritual growth and nutrition.82 Verse 32a recalls the logic of 5:47; v. 32b parallels and recalls 6:8b.

PROPER PRIORITIES

The New American Commentary: Matthew 2. Paradigmatic Preaching: The Sermon on the Mount (5:1–7:29)

Verse 33 brings this paragraph to its climax. When priorities regarding treasures in heaven and on earth are right, God will provide for fundamental human needs. Seeking first the righteousness of the kingdom implies obedience to all of Jesus’ commands and shows that the thesis of 5:20 continues to be advanced. Of course, the major problem with the promise “all these things [food, drink, clothing] will be given to you” is the contrary experience of many Christians throughout history who have suffered deprivation and even starvation. One possible solution to this problem is to reserve all guarantees for the age to come. “Will be given” does not specify when God will provide. To be sure, the fullness of the kingdom will eradicate all suffering for God’s people, but it is hard to see why Jesus would rule out worry in the present age if his promise applies only to a distant future. And if God’s kingdom has already been inaugurated, then believers should expect to receive in this age the firstfruits of its material blessings. Hence, v. 33b is probably to be interpreted in light of Luke 12:33 and Mark 10:30a, which presuppose the sharing of goods within the Christian community. When God’s people corporately seek first his priorities, they will by definition take care of the needy in their fellowships. When one considers that over 50 percent of all believers now live in the Two-Thirds World and that a substantial majority of those believers live below what we would consider the poverty line, a huge challenge to First-World Christianity emerges. Without a doubt, most individual and church budgets need drastic realignment in terms of what Christians spend on themselves versus what they spend on others (cf. 2 Cor 8:13–15).

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS

WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO YOU

Whatever is at the top of your priority list is what matters the most.
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