Matthew 6:1-8

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

DOING THINGS TO BE SEEN BY MEN

INTRODUCTION:

 

In Matthew 6 Jesus deals with the subject of loving God above all else. Jesus said,

 

Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

 

In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus demands the sincere devotion of the heart to God the Father; whereas, in Matthew 6:19-34 Jesus demands undivided trust in God the Father, no matter what the circumstances.

We see that –

    I.     JESUS’ FOLLOWERS MUST GIVE WITH SINCERITY – 6:1-4

 

In 6:1-4 Jesus teaches how someone should make charitable contributions. It should not be done for show if the giver expects God to reward him. Therefore, he should not call people’s attention to what he is doing; instead, he should not even be reminding himself of what he has given in the past. His giving should be in secret so that his heavenly Father may reward him openly. By contrast, the Pharisees were guilty of making a show of their giving.

 

We note that –

                  1.   Jesus’ followers must not give for show – 6:1

 

Matthew 6:1 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.

 

In verse 1 Jesus makes it clear that His followers should not make a spectacle of their giving. If they do, no reward will be given to them by God the Father.

 

Take heed followed by not suggests watch out . . . that you not or take care . . . that you not.

 

That ye do not your alms before men is that you are not doing your charitable giving in the sight of men.

 

Men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

 

To be seen of them is for the purpose of being noticed by them or in order to attract their attention.

 

Otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven is a conditional statement in the Greek text.

 

The condition is otherwise, and the conclusion is ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. The structure of this condition indicates that, for sake of discussion, it is assumed to be true.

 

Otherwise is the translation of a phrase which is literally, but if indeed. It implies, But if indeed you do your charitable giving in the sight of men.

 

Otherwise introduces a statement in mild contrast to take heed that ye do not your alms before men. Since one cannot be sure whether it will actually be true in the case of a particular person, otherwise is understood in the sense of but, indeed, assuming that.

 

Ye have no reward is you do not have a reward.

 

Of your Father which is in heaven is with (or from) your Father, the One in heaven, which means with (or from) your heavenly Father.

 

We also note that –

                  2.   Jesus’ followers should not give in a way which calls attention to their giving – 6:2

 

Matthew 6:2 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.

 

Verse 2 indicates that believers should never call attention to their giving. People who do have already received their reward in full.

 

Therefore introduces an inference drawn from what Jesus said in verse 1 and is understood in the sense of consequently, accordingly, so, or then.

 

When is whenever.

 

Thou doest thine alms is you do your charitable giving.

 

Do not sound a trumpet before thee is do not begin to blow a trumpet before you or never blow a trumpet before you.

 

As the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets suggests as the hypocrites are doing in the synagogues and in the (narrow) streets (lanes or alleys), thereby calling attention to what they are doing.

 

That they may have glory of men indicates the hypocrites’ purpose or motive in making a great show of their giving.

 

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

 

That they may have glory of men is in order that they may be glorified (i.e. praised or honored) by men.

 

Once again, men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

 

Verily is truly.

 

I say unto you is I (i.e. Jesus) am saying to you (i.e. to you who are listening to or reading the Sermon on the Mount).

 

What Jesus is saying to those gathered on the mount is, They have their reward, which suggests, They have their reward in full or, They have received their reward in full. It implies that there will never be any additional reward.

 

Next, we note that –

                  3.   Jesus’ followers should not be reminding themselves of what they have given in the past – 6:3

 

Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

 

In verse 3 Jesus indicates that a person’s giving should be so secret that even he forgets what he has given.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to someone’s making a show of his charitable giving so that he will be highly esteemed in people’s estimation.

 

When thou doest alms suggests when you are doing charitable giving. The tense of doest indicates ongoing or repeated action in the present time.

 

Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth is your left hand must not know what your right hand is doing. It indicates that giving should be between the individual and God. It also suggests that he should not keep reminding himself of what he gave.

 

Finally, we note that –

                  4.   Jesus’ followers should give in secret so that their heavenly Father may reward them openly – 6:4

 

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

 

According to verse 4, as a result of giving in secret, God the Father will reward the giver openly.

 

That is in order that or for the purpose that. It introduces the purpose for which the left hand of the giver must not know what his right hand is doing.

 

That thine alms may be in secret is in order that your charitable giving may be in secret.

 

And introduces the result of one’s charitable giving being done in secret: thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

 

Thy Father speaks of your heavenly Father.

 

Which seeth in secret is the one Who sees in secret.

 

Himself intensifies Father and implies, Your Father Himself shall reward thee openly or, Your Father will Himself reward you openly.

 

Not only do we see that Jesus’ followers must give with sincerity, but we also see that –

  II.     JESUS’ FOLLOWERS MUST PRAY WITH SINCERITY – 6:5-8

 

In 6:5-8 Jesus switches from discussing proper giving to proper praying. Jesus’ followers are not to pray like the hypocrites who seek to draw attention to themselves. Instead, they are to pray in private to their Heavenly Father. Furthermore, they are not to use vain repetitions like the heathen do because God the Father knows their needs before they ask. The Pharisees were guilty of calling attention to themselves in their praying.

 

We note that –

                  1.   Jesus’ followers must not pray to draw attention to themselves – 6:5

 

Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

 

And when thou prayest is and whenever you are praying.

 

Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are is you shall not be like the hypocrites.

 

Hypocrites are pretenders. They are people who are playing a part like an actor, pretending to be someone or something they are not.

 

For is the word ordinarily translated because and is to be understood in this sense in this verse.

 

For they love to pray suggests because they are fond of praying or because they like to pray.

 

The word translated love is the Greek word from which our term Philadelphia comes.

 

Standing is understood in the sense of while standing or when they are standing.

 

In the synagogues and in the corners of the streets suggests in public places where they may be seen.

 

Synagogues are gathering places or places of assembly where the Jews would meet to worship God.

 

In the corners of the streets suggests on the corners of the wide roads.

 

That they may be seen of men is in order that (or for the purpose that) they might be seen by men, the generic term for human beings which may include females as well as males.

 

Verily I say unto you, They have their reward is, Truly I am saying to you (or I am solemnly declaring to you) that they have their reward in full.

 

We also note that –

                  2.   Jesus’ followers must pray in private to their Heavenly Father – 6:6

 

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

 

In verse 6 Jesus tells His listeners how to pray.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to what He said in verse 5.

 

Thou, when thou prayest is you, whenever you pray.

 

The first thou is you and is emphatic.

 

Enter into thy closet is go into your inner room. It is a command and suggests a place where no one will see you.

 

And when thou hast shut thy door suggests after you close your door. It may instead be understood as an additional command in the sense of and shut (or close) your door.

 

Pray is a command.

 

The One to Whom the prayer is to be addressed is to thy Father which is in secret, i.e. to your Father, the One Who is in secret.

 

And thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly indicates the result of praying to God the Father in secret.

 

Thy Father which seeth in secret is Your Father, the One Who sees in secret.

 

Shall reward thee openly is predictive of something which will definitely happen in the future. In contrast to the one in verse 5 who prays to be seen by men and receives no reward, the one who prays in private to his heavenly Father will be rewarded openly.

 

Next, we note that –

                  3.   Jesus’ followers must not use vain repetitions like the heathen do – 6:7

 

Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

 

In verse 7 Jesus teaches His listeners not to pray like the pagans.

 

But continues the thought of verse 6 in the sense of and or now.

 

When ye pray modifies use . . . vain repetitions.

 

The tense of use not vain repetitions forbids an action from ever beginning in the sense of do not begin to use vain repetitions or never use vain repetitions. Use not vain repetitions suggests, Do not use the same words again and again or, Do not repeat the same words over and over.

 

As the heathen do suggests like the pagans do or like the Gentiles do.

 

For introduces the reason Jesus’ hearers should not use the same words repeatedly when praying: they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

 

They think, where they refers to the heathen, suggests they are supposing, they are believing, or they are considering.

 

What they are thinking is that they shall be heard for their much speaking, i.e. that by their wordiness (or because of their wordiness) they will be heard. It implies that they expect the god to whom they are praying to answer their prayers due to their wordiness.

 

Finally, we note that –

                  4.   God the Father knows the needs of Jesus’ followers before they ask – 6:8

 

Matthew 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

 

In verse 8 Jesus instructs His listeners not to be like the heathen who pray using vain repetitions.

 

Therefore introduces an inference drawn from Jesus’ instruction never to pray like the pagans.

 

Be not ye . . . like unto them suggests never be (or become) like them or do not begin to be (or become) like them.

 

The reason Jesus’ listeners should never be (or become) like the heathen in their prayers is for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

 

For introduces this explanation.

 

Your Father is your heavenly Father, i.e. God the Father.

 

Your makes it personal.

 

Knoweth is knows.

 

What your heavenly Father knows is what things ye have need of, which suggests what things you need.

 

Before ye ask him indicates when God knows your needs. This means that He does not have to be told repeatedly what your needs are because He already knows them, but He still wants you to tell Him.

CONCLUSION:

 

Let’s be genuine in our giving and in our praying. Let’s never do anything in order that men may praise us; instead, let’s always be concerned about what God thinks.

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