Why I Do What I Do
Audio Commentary by Life Focus Teacher- Rex McMasters
Scripture: Matthew 6:1-4
Lesson Goal: To better understand Jesus’ teaching concerning the purity of our hearts as we do charitable deeds.
Introduction: Please answer the following questions based on the past several weeks’ study of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).
• How would you summarize Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5?
• What is at the heart of Jesus’ teaching?
• Please explain these words, as they pertain to Jesus’ teaching:
1) Motives of the heart
2) Application of life
3) Character of a true follower.
Jesus began his instructions on the hill by portraying, in the beatitudes, the essential elements of Christian character. He went on to indicate by His metaphors of salt and light the influence for good which Christians will exert in the community, if they exhibit this character. He then described Christian righteousness which must exceed the righteousness of scribes and Pharisees by accepting the full implication of God’s law without dodging anything or setting artificial limits. Christian righteousness is righteousness unlimited. It must be allowed to penetrate beyond our actions and words to our heart, mind, and motives, and to master us even in those hidden, secret places (Stott).
In the first half of Matthew six, Jesus specifically speaks to three areas of practical righteousness in an individual’s life: charitable deeds “giving” (verses 1-4), prayer (verses 5-15), and fasting (verses 16-18). It is interesting to observe that in these eighteen verses, the name “Father” is recorded ten times.
• Why do you think it should be a point of emphasis for us that “Father” (Heavenly Father) is used so frequently in these verses ?
In these 18 verses, Jesus instructs and warns His followers against the temptation and the parading of their piety in a performance manner before others to draw attention and approval of men. Jesus does not warn against the action of the charitable deed in itself; rather, He again warns His followers about the motives behind the action of the deed. He does not condemn the action of charitable deeds, but He condemns unholy motives of the heart.
(V1) “Take heed” meaning to be careful, watch out for, give heed to (Rienecker).
“that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them”
Please read Matthew 5:14-16. How do we understand that there is no contradiction between these two passages of Scripture (Matthew 6:1a and Matthew 5:14-16)?
In both passages, Jesus helps us to understand that our motives and actions should glorify the Father.
Please explain the following statements.
1) As a follower of Jesus Christ, the greatest testimony of my life is to bring glory to the Father.
2) As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am to glorify the Father in all areas of my life.
Please list and define 10 areas of your life in which you are to glorify the Father.
The story is told of an eastern religious holy man who covered himself with ashes as a sign of his humility and regularly sat on a prominent busy street corner of his city. Tourist would often ask to take a photograph of him. Before the photograph was taken, the man would carefully arrange and position his ashes to give the best possible picture of his destitution and humility. John MacArthur offers these words:
A great deal of religion amounts to nothing more than rearranging religious ashes to impress the world with one’s supposed humility and devotion. The problem, of course, is that the humility is a sham and the devotion is to self, not to God. Such religion is nothing more than a game of pretense, a game at which the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day were masters.
• How is pride related to doing charitable deeds before men?
After praying for godly wisdom, answer the following questions.
1) As a follower of Jesus, why do I do the things I do?
2) What is the difference between the applause of men and the approval of God?
If our actions are done with the motive of gaining the attention and approval of men, by impressing them with our appearance of righteousness, then our actions will not have any lasting eternal affects. These kinds of actions do not glorify the Father, nor do they gain His approval or reward.
(V2) “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.”
Please read Mark 12:41-44.
• In the context of Mark 12:41-44, how were offerings presented in the temple?
• How did offerings given in the temple become a kind of trumpet sounding or blasting?
John B. Phillips rendered Matthew 6:2 in his usual graphic style: “When you do good to other people, don’t hire a trumpeter to go in front of you like those play-actors in the synagogues and streets who make sure that men admire them.”
Beware if all you seek is the applause of men, because the applause can change very quickly.
Please explain the following statement.
• The “Hosanna!” of Sunday can become the “Crucify Him!” on Friday. What does this say about the nature of people and their applause? (Please examine Jesus’ life during crucifixion week to answer this question.)
We also find in Jesus’ words, of verses 1-4, that there should be no doubt about the followers of Jesus Christ helping others and doing charitable deeds. Jesus did not use the word “if” in reference to these deeds, but rather used the word “when.” “When” we give, pray, and fast, we should be sure of the “why” behind the “when.”
God rewards good deeds done for His glory. He does not reward good deeds done for selfish recognition, display, applause or honor. In fact, as Jesus explains in Matthew 6:5, the valued “reward” from others is the only reward that will be received (Barton).
In verse two, Jesus instructs how not to give alms or do a charitable deed. He strongly warns against self-glorifying demonstrations of giving that seek to impress men and gain their applause. We should not call attention to our actions to impress others.
In verses 3 and 4, Jesus explains how we (His followers) should give. Our motives must be pure and our ultimate goal to help others and glorify God. When we give in such a fashion, God blesses and rewards.
As we close today’s lesson, The Life Application Bible Commentary offers three points of practical advice concerning verses 1-4:
Don’t get proud of your generosity. You are only a steward of resources that belong to God already.
Don’t give for the honor bestowed on donors. Instead, give in gratitude for what God has given you.
Don’t count your gifts as merit points for heaven.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Amen.