This week in our lifegroup we continued our study in the “Sermon on the Mount,” continuing the series on the Teachings of Jesus. We started last month in Chapter 5 of the Gospel of Matthew. Our aim was to take the word of God and apply it to our lives in such a way that we are living the scriptures in our lives, not just saying the truths but putting them into practice.
In this week’s scripture reading we started Chapter 6. Our reading takes us to verse 8. We will start in verses 1-4.
1“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
Jesus begins this chapter speaking on Giving to those in need. One of the reasons I believe He speaks of the act of charity is because it is first and foremost what God wants those who follow Him to do. God is extremely concerned with the poor and needy and expects His followers also to be concerned with those in need. In fact, Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament is overwhelming that of charity and meeting the needs of others. A Charitable heart and lifestyle is a benchmark of the Christian faith. If anyone in this world were to be “charitable” it should be first the Christ-follower. Even the secular world recognizes this truth. What would the “world” think if they see a so called Christian who is not concerned for the needy? It is unfortunate that the world already sees too many “Christians” today not concerned with the welfare of those in need. We become as the world and even Jesus sees us as hypocrites. Far too often, today’s Christians are so caught up in their own lives and needs that they fail to see the needs of others. These verses in Matthew 6, however paint another picture of the hypocrite, one of showing off there charitable deeds in order to look the part.
Jesus begins this passage by warning His followers not to “be like” the hypocrites. Jesus explains that there are some people that will do charitable things not because they are compelled to because of their compassion or even because God’s word told them to, but so they can boast about how “good” they are. They give to those in need just to be seen by men and to show how religious and generous they are. Jesus calls these men hypocrites. A hypocrite is a person who portrays a different person than who they really are. Jesus warns his listeners to be real - not fake.
Jesus was pretty clear that His followers must do charitable deeds and care for those in need. But a person must not do these things just to be seen by others. Jesus said if you do your good deeds just to show others how much of a good guy you are…then that is all the reward you are going to get. Don’t expect a Godly blessing in your “good works.”
For the Christ-follower you have to choose between getting praise and a blessing from God or from Men. If you choose to show off your faith, then expect God to ignore you.
Additional Scriptures for further study - Dt 15:7-8; Isa 58:7; Mt 19:21 pp Mk 10:21 pp Lk 18:22; Lk 12:33; Ro 12:13; Gal 2:10 1Jn 3:17 See also 2Ch 28:15; Mt 7:9-11; Lk 10:33-35
Giving is an essential part of being a Christ-follower. God in His nature is a servant; He gave his son to a needy world. God continues to give us blessings everyday even though we are not worthy. The greatest way we can show God’s love and that we follow Him is by giving to those in need. Please study these scriptures this week and see the blessings of being a person of blessing to others.
God bless you this week!