"Right Things, Wrong Motives" (Matthew 6:1-4)
In Matthew 5:1-11 Jesus discussed our Christian Character.
In Matthew 5:12-48 Jesus discusses our Christian Conduct (how we are to act).
And in Matthew 6:1-8:1 Jesus explains our the Christian Culture that should be displayed.
Matthew 6:1 is an intro to verses 2-18.
WE MUST UNDERSTAND OUR IDENTITY TO UNDERSTAND THESE VERSES
I want to start with the most basic question we could ask in this world.
What is our purpose here?
In simple, it is to glorify God.
The harder question is, what does it look like to glorify God?
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
The first part in glorifying God is knowing that we are His and to praise and worship Him.
We are also glorifying God when we live in relationship and faithful service to Him.
In the basics of this principle we need to realize that apart from God, we can not fulfill our purpose.
In our fallen state, sin separated us from that relationship with God but through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, our relationship with God was reconciled.
Our sin was and is forgiven and no longer creates a barrier between us and God.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
We are able to glorify God because He first gave us glory.
what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:
The more we get to know God, the more we understand our purpose and identity.
And the more we love Him.
We were created to bring Him glory through our lives.
On a personal level you may feel inadequate and insecure, if you do good.
Turn that over to the Lord so He can use you in that humble state for His glory and His purposes.
He has a purpose and unique plan for each one of you.
As a pastor we have the privilege to get a front row seat to see what God does in people’s lives.
It has been a complete joy and reward to see so many of you grow in their faith over the past few weeks, months and almost 10 years that I’ve been here.
The cool part? God continues to work in us. He is not done with us or this church and I’m excited for the road ahead!
So let’s get into our passage for today:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I want to start with the reward part and then work our way around these verses.
Before we go into the meaning I need to make a statement that may be part of the conclusion but.
“Contentment should be the crown of life to us.”
In this world and in this day in age we always want more.
But what do we do with what we currently have, before we received the “more of something”?
That’s what matters to God.
Three rewards for the Christian
Satisfaction- When we do the right thing, when we are following the Lord and obedient to Christ it leads to a satisfied, but not perfect life.
Still more work to do- Christian reward is different than the worlds.
The world says to retire and rest.
Fo the Christian, you are not done until you’re dead and there is always work that God has for you.
The vision of God
To a worldly person to be confronted by God would be a terror, not a joy.
But to the Christian it is the ultimate joy.
One day we will see God face to face and be in His physical presence for all eternity.
In Verse 6:1 Jesus agreed with the Jews that the three great pillars were giving, prayer and fasting but He didn’t agree with the motive in which they were performed by most people.
The title today is “Right things, wrong motives” because this is exactly Jesus’ point.
HOW NOT TO GIVE
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus is already assuming that His disciples here already give because he says “when you give”
So we must also assume that if we are followers of Christ giving should be expected of us.
To the common jew giving or almsgiving as it is also called (giving of food or money/possessions) was what gained them merit in God’s sight.
To them it was also a way to gain forgiveness for their past sins.
We can often do this in our lives.
We occasionally feel bad that we aren’t tithing so we throw God a few dollars in the offering box, but not really in comparison to what we truly have to give.
We often latch on to our material possessions and never give or loan them to a friend or family member who is in need.
We certainly wouldn’t go in to the community and do something radical like give of our time, possessions or money to those in need.
But some are and some do.
Sometimes people do this but do it for a reward or recognition and this is where Jesus is going with all of this.
Most of the jews would not argue that giving was imperative but at the same time many of them did it for show.
They were called hypocrites.
Did you know that the greek word hupokrites meant actor?
These individuals who seemed to be giving, but were really giving for show, only would seek to glorify themselves. Not God.
When we give like the hypocrites, Jesus says our reward is in full.
The reward is men’s praise but there will be no reward from God in heaven, which should be what we want.
MOTIVE OF GIVING
Here are two reasons not to give:
When we give from a sense of duty.
We must not give because we feel obligated or forced to give in order to earn God’s favor.
This is because we can give, but we can not give ourselves which is what God wants first.
We should not give from a motive of prestige.
God is not impressed with how much or how little we give when we give for recognition of ourselves.
We should not give to receive glory, praise or a reward from others.
We should not determine whether we give based on if we will be noticed by it or not.
Here is one reason to give:
1. Give out of love and kindness that flows from God’s love
When we experience the love of God our heart forces us to give out of that over flow.
If someone is in need we can’t ignore it.
Jesus first showed us the type of giving
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
We were broke in our sin.
We are not only made alive in Christ but made rich.
This is not in monetary value like the world knows, this is eternal richness and satisfaction on this earth that is crazy to the world!
In Matthew 6:2-4 Jesus is urging His followers to not give for recognition or show like the people of the day but to do it in secrecy.
He says to do this to the illustration that our left hand should not know what the right is doing.
OK, IT’S SUPER BOWL SUNDAY AND MY PATRIOTS WILL MOST LIKELY GET ONE MORE CHAMPIONSHIP.
SO IN HONOR OF THAT I NEED A VOLUNTEER!
Illustration showing how important and hard it is to picture our other hand wouldn’t know what it was doing.
But it is the principle of it.
What Jesus is saying with the hands?
Don’t give with strings attached.
Give in complete trust through the spirit of love for the good of the experience instead of personal benefit from the gift.
We should discern our gifts to certain individuals that have a track record of abusing those gifts, because that is enabling, but we should always keep in our minds that Christ first gave to us and we should have that same heart and love for others.
Even when we don’t have the means to give food or financially we can still give physically or spiritually through service and prayer.
There is a parable that explains that motive for giving that I believe will give us better insight.
READ MATTHEW 25:14-30
The Journey (Verses 14-15)
Property owner is about to leave on a long journey and entrusts his possessions to his servants.
In this case, it’s money.
Talents was a measure of weight or a measure of coinage
We are talking about bags of gold here which is not a small amount of money.
The business man’s expectation is not to let the money sit idle when he is gone but for it to gain a profit.
So he divided up the bags of gold to his three servants according to what he felt each servant could handle.
The he leaves.
The Mission (Verses 16-17)
The servants went and did what they felt was expected of them.
Two went and doubled their gold and then one well… did absolutely nothing.
The Issue (Verse 18)
Even though it wasn’t uncommon to bury treasure this is not what he master expected.
What motivated this servant to do this?
Was it the love for his master to protect it from theft?
Was he not confident to get a return and so he gave up?
Verses 24-27 tell us it was unjustified suspicion and really just laziness.
The Return and Account of the master (Verses 19-23)
It was a ‘long time” until the master returned.
Returns double what he was given
“Look what I gained!”
He was excited and enthusiastic for his master to see what he had accomplished for him.
The master replies with “well done”.
Returns double what he got from his master.
He doesn’t get more or less praise from his master.
3rd servant (Verses 24-25)
His first words were a lie
And his excuse was he was afraid and so he hid it.
He felt fear of losing the money and put it on the master as his fault for giving him such an overwhelming task.
He says, “Look, here you have what is yours.”
Yes he gave him back the same, but he did not complete the task.
The Master (Verse 26-27)
The master is not amused or pleased with the last servant.
Instead of admitting his guilt the last servant acts like he should get credit.
This servant was selfish and cruel
The master says “the least you could do was put it in the bank to get interest you dumby!”
Wicked and laziness are allies but spoken against many times in the Bible, just read the book of Proverbs.
The Idea (Verses 28-30)
The master issues a command
To other servants that were present, not just the three.
The one who diligently used the opportunities for service, given to him by God, has by grace surrendered himself to the Lord, to love and help others.
By this that person has enriched their lives and become more abundantly rich in God’s blessings
On the other hand- from the person who has become poor (b/c he has never given himself), even whatever or how little they have, it would be taken away- and no reward would be given.
Let everyone be faithful in using the opportunities for service which the Lord has given him.
What God has given us, we should use for His glory.
Matthew 6:1-12 is all about right things but doing them in the right motive.
We often do the right things, with the wrong motives.
The first example in Matthew 6:1-4 Jesus gives is that we must give in the right way.
Neglecting to use our gifts and resources is punished, not rewarded by God.
With the right heart, not out of obligation but because He first loved us and He has given to us beyond measure or deserving.
We should give, not for the praise of men but because of the overflow of love and for God’s glory.