Monday, September 5, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 6:1-4

"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. 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. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." -Matthew 6:1-4

Who is this command to?

Spoken in the Sermon on the Mount before a great multitude, but it seems that this is instruction for Jesus' followers. He is teaching them how to give, pray, and fast in these next few paragraphs.

What does this command require?

Do not do charitable deeds so that they can be seen by men. Do your charitable deeds in such a way that your left hand doesn't know what your right hand is doing. Do them in secret.

What truths do we learn through this command?

We learn that those who do hypocritical 'good deeds' to be seen by men will not be rewarded by God. Their reward is exactly what they were looking for--praise from men. And we learn that good deeds done in secret for the sake of doing good deeds will be rewarded by the Father in heaven. Which would you rather have--praise from men or reward from God? Keep in mind that praise from men will pass away but reward from God will last.

I also find it interesting that Jesus says that the hypocrites are in the synagogues. If you would expect anyone to be doing good deeds for the Lord and not for men it would be those who are 'in church', right? Jesus says  that there are hypocrites in the synagogue. The pharisees had so perverted the religious system that it even affected how they did good deeds. Don't be like them. Do good deeds for the reward in heaven.

What are the consequences for disobedience to this command?

lack/loss of reward, temporary praise from men, hypocritical lifestyle, lack of authenticity.

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