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Sunday, September 29th, 2019 - AM - The Right Thing, The Right Way, for the Right Reason (Mt. 6:1-4)

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Breaking Bread with Barnabas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  55:32
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Be careful of your motive when seeking to make a difference in someone's life, that you may receive your heavenly reward.

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Matthew 6:1–4 KJV 1900
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Introduction:

Matthew 6 begins a new section of the Sermon on the Mount. The Master has just concluded a study of six hindrances to the life of righteousness. Now He unfolds what might be called helps to the life of righteousness. The first of these has to do with the giving of alms and involves far more than just the offering of gifts to God and man. It covers the entire area of good works or charitable deeds in the life of the Christian. [Olford]
Main Thought: Doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons yields the Father’s reward.
Purpose
I aim to challenge God’s people to find areas where they miss the mark.
I aim to help them understand how to channel God’s blessings on them to truly make the best difference they can for others for Christ’s sake.
Sub-intro:
The Symmetrical Constrasting Structure of Matt. 6:2–18
Hypocritical Religion Prohibited:
1.The occasion: “Whenever you …” (6:2, 5, 6, 7, 16)3
2.The prohibited ostentatious activity: “do not …” (6:2, 5, 7, 16)4
3.The prohibited motivation: “to be admired by others” (6:1, 2, 5, 16)5
4.The solemn affirmation: “they have their reward” (6:2, 5, 16)6
Genuine Religion Commanded:
1.The contrasting occasion: “but when you …” (6:3, 6, 9, 17)7
2.The commanded secret activity (6:3, 6, 9–13, 17)8
3.The commanded motivation: to be seen only by the Father (6:4, 6, 18)9
4.The solemn affirmation: “your Father will repay you” (6:4, 6, 18)10 [BECNT]

I. Beware, Lest You Lose the Father’s Reward to Gain the Applause of People (Matt. 6:1-2)

A. The Imminent Danger of Doing Alms to Be Recognized (Matt. 6:1)

Matthew 6:1 KJV 1900
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
ALMS, ALMSDEEDS
eleemosune (ἐλεημοσύνη, 1654), connected with eleemon, “merciful,” signifies (a) “mercy, pity, particularly in giving alms,” Matt. 6:1 (see below), 2–4; Acts 10:2; 24:17; (b) the benefaction itself, the “alms” (the effect for the cause), Luke 11:41; 12:33; Acts 3:2–3, 10; 9:36, “alms-deeds”; 10:2, 4, 31.¶
Note: In Matt. 6:1, the rv, translating dikaiosune, according to the most authentic texts, has “righteousness,” for kjv, “alms.” [Vines]
ALMS, n. àmz. [Sax. almes; old Eng. almesse; Norm. almoignes; Fr. aumônes; D. aalmoes; Sw. almosa; Dan. almisse; G. almosen; L. eleemosyna; Gr. ελεημοσυνη. The first syllables appear to be from ελεεω, to pity.]
Any thing given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing, otherwise called charity.
A lame man was laid daily to ask an alms. Acts 3.
Cornelius gave much alms to the people. Acts 10. [ADEL]

B. The Illustrations of Doing Alms for Recognition (Matt. 6:2)

Matthew 6:2 KJV 1900
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But more likely Jesus is drawing on a vivid piece of typical irony. In our day the same metaphor is well known as a person who wants to “toot his/her own horn.” [ZIBBC NT]
Three times Jesus uses the phrase, as the Revised Standard Version has it: ‘Truly I say to you, they have their reward’ (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16). It would be better to translate it: ‘They have received payment in full.’ The word that is used in the Greek is the verb apechein, which was the technical business and commercial word for receiving payment in full. It was the word which was used on receipted accounts. For instance, one man signs a receipt given to another man: ‘I have received [apechō] from you the rent of the olive press which you have on hire.’ A tax-collector gives a receipt, saying: ‘I have received [apechō] from you the tax which is due.’ A man sells a slave and gives a receipt, saying: ‘I have received [apechō] the whole price due to me.’
What Jesus is saying is this: ‘If you make charitable gifts to demonstrate your own generosity, you will get the admiration of the world—but that is all you will ever get. That is your payment in full. If you pray in such a way as to flaunt your piety in the face of others, you will gain the reputation of being an extremely devout person—but that is all you will ever get. That is your payment in full. If you fast in such a way that everyone knows that you are fasting, you will become known as an extremely abstemious and ascetic person—but that is all you will ever get. That is your payment in full.’ Jesus is saying: ‘If your one aim is to get yourself the world’s rewards, no doubt you will get them—but you must not look for the rewards which God alone can give.’ And we would be sadly short-sighted creatures if we grasped the rewards of time and let the rewards of eternity go. [NDBC]
Application
Christian giving is a huge issue today. Many emphasize tithing even though it is an OT rather than NT demand. While the NT does not mandate tithing, it is clear that 10 percent is where we should start rather than a goal we should strive to attain. We have so much and give so little, while the people of God in both the OT and NT (and so many Christians worldwide today) have so little and give so much. This parallels 2 Cor 8:2, “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” In 2 Cor 8–9 we see the center of a biblical theology of giving, stressing the joy and service behind generous stewardship. We give not out of necessity but out of privilege, both to tell ourselves that everything we have is from the Lord and to return to him some of the blessings he has given to us.
Sacrificial Giving
In our affluent society tithing is where we should begin! Statistics are an indictment to American giving. I saw a recent note that evangelicals gave 2.8 percent a decade ago, but now the average is 2.4 percent. I know of one church that discovered that nearly all their giving came from 15 percent of the members and another where 30 percent of their members had given nothing the previous year! Christian organizations are so desperate for funds that they actually encourage ostentatious giving by selling bricks with people’s names on them or naming buildings or even whole seminaries after wealthy donors. The point is clear here—anyone who gives to be noticed and lauded has already received their reward; there is nothing in heaven waiting for them (cf. Luke 6:24).
Flowing out of Gratitude for God’s Grace and Mercy
Giving is to be an act of worship and compassionate concern, not a statement of worth. The concept of reward is an important theme in the Sermon on the Mount (see also 19:29). The principle is that God will reward us on the basis of our spiritual priorities and deeds. If we live entirely for him and surrender earthly attachments and rewards, our reward will be heavenly and eternal. [ZECNT]
Application:
You’ll miss the mark when you do it with self-righteous motives
The Pharisees
You’ll miss the mark when you do right to be seen
Ananias & Sapphira
You’ll miss the mark when you take your focus off of the real Judge
The Apostle Paul before Felix

II. Do the Right Thing, the Right Way, for the Right Reasons (Matt. 6:3-4)

A. The Reward of Doing Right the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons (Matt. 6:3)

Matthew 6:3 KJV 1900
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
Plummer says it well: “They receive their pay then and there, and they receive it in full … God owes them nothing. They were not giving but buying. They wanted the praise of men, they paid for it, and they have got it. The transaction is ended and they can claim nothing more.”16
The term “hypocrite” (hypokritēs) originally was used for actors on a Greek stage who put on various masks to play different roles.114 Modern usage normally designates a hypocrite to be a person who says one thing and lives a different way. But the religious leaders are indicted by Jesus for a particular form of hypocrisy: They were carrying out external acts of righteousness that masked, even from themselves, their own inner corruption. Their hypocrisy, especially here, means doing right things for the wrong reasons. [ZECNT]
Christian Charity
In a church I served for several years, we once had a “burn the mortgage” campaign. The leaders launched the campaign to raise the $100,000 needed to retire the congregation’s only debt. Several members were capable of writing a check for the entire amount, so it seemed like the project should be quick and successful.
I was surprised, however, when raising the final $20,000 stalled for several weeks. Wondering why, I was told that two of the wealthier men of the church were each intending to give $10,000, but each one wanted to be recognized as the person who put the campaign “over the top.” Both men desired to be seen by the congregation as timely and generous; both believed there was room for only one person in this honored position.
Eventually, the two men worked this out somehow, and neither was announced as the final giver. This was as it should have been. While this giving was not directly for relief of the poor (a context of this week’s lesson), its intent to eliminate the congregation’s debt would free up budget funds for international missions giving and support of the city’s rescue mission.
The campaign was never intended to be a contest for recognition. Today’s lesson tells us how that turn could have been prevented. [KJV SLC 2019-2020]

B. The Reward of Doing Right, the Right Way, for the Right Reasons (Matt. 6:4)

Matthew 6:4 KJV 1900
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Cornelius

Conclusion:

You’ll make the most difference when you follow the Apostles example with the Lame Man at Gate Beautiful
You’ll make the most difference when you follow Joses’ example in giving to the Lord
You’ll make the most difference with a Philippian heart
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