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Good Deeds Gone Bad

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Good Deeds Gone Bad

 

Sermon Text: Matthew 6:1-18 (NIV)

 1“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. [KM1] 

 2“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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. [KM2] 

 5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.[KM3]  8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

 9“This, then, is how you should pray:

 “‘Our Father in heaven,

 hallowed be your name,

 10your kingdom come,

 your will be done

 on earth as it is in heaven.

 11Give us today our daily bread.

 12Forgive us our debts,

 as we also have forgiven our debtors.

 13And lead us not into temptation,

 but deliver us from the evil one.’

14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. [KM4] 

 16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.[KM5] 

I.        Introduction: Bad motives corrupt good deeds. Performing good deeds for the sake of personal recognition and men’s applause destroys the value of those deeds in the sight of God, and forfeits any reward those good deeds may have otherwise brought.

II.    Be Careful Of Seeking Recognition From Others: Impure Motives

A.    Performing Good Deeds

B.     Prompted By Bad Reasons

III. Be Careful Of Seeking Admiration For Self: Inflated Egos

A.    Parading Goodness: Looking Good

B.     Pursuing Honor: Seeking Glory

IV. Be Careful Of Sacrificing Praise From God: Inverted Values

A.    Praise From Men Sought: Earthly Rewards Prized

B.     Praise From God Sacrificed: Eternal Rewards Lost

V.    Conclusion: Make sure that what motivates you to do acts of righteousness is not the applause of men, but Praise from God. Glory seeking do-gooders will find that all their efforts are worthless in the sight of God.


 [KM1]Summary introduction to the three sections which follow (vv. 2-4, 5-6, and 16-16)

 [KM2]Section one of three dealing with our motivation to good deeds. Almsgiving was considered a basic expression of Jewish Piety..

 [KM3]Prayer was considered a duty of the pious Jew. Those who pray to be seen by men are trying to impress men with their piety, but fail to impress God with their righteousness, for their prayers are hypocritical, and are not realy prayers to God at all.

 [KM4]An instructional interlude about prayer.

 [KM5]Fasting is listed in this section along with prayer and almsgiving as a basic act of piety. The idea of self denial is foreign to many today. The Jew who performed it in this hypocritical fashion were not practicing self denial, as much as they were working from an attitude of sef-interest.

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