The Sermon on the Mount (III)
Comments for Study 9
Memory Verse: 9
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I. Giving to the Needy (1-4)
>1. What are "the acts of righteousness"? Why do people perform their "acts of righteousness" before men? What is the result? (1)
Matthew 6:1 "'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.'"
* "Be careful" -Its easy to fall into wrong motives while trying to do the right thing. Anyone can fall into a hypercritical life.
* "acts of righteousness" -There are three acts of righteousness mentioned here. They are; giving to the poor (2-4), prayer (5-15), and fasting (16-18). "Giving to the needy" is to help others who can't help themselves as God has help me with sin and death which I can not help myself with. "Prayer" is communication with God. "Fasting" is for denial of the flesh to help the body concentrate.
Acts of righteousness are the ways a man who has a right relationship with God acts. According to Jesus they are done before God. An act of righteousness can be defined as; things that God see as right. These things are practical to our spiritual life here on this earth and often involves sacrifice, self denial, serving God, and in the process we come to know God better.
* "before men" -People do acts that otherwise would be righteous before men, to get praise from men for being great and spiritual men for such acts look impressive.
* "reward" -Reward here does not mean salvation, rather it is gifts that God will give in heaven to those who are welcome there because they have believed in God's one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus taught this in many parables like the Parable of Talents.
>2. What is the typical way of giving in Jesus' time? (2) What is the right attitude of giving? (3) What is its reward? (4)
Matthew 6:2 "'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.'"
* "Give to the needy" -This is to help others who can't help themselves as God has help me with sin and death which I can not help myself with. It is not given to those who do not need.
Giving to the needy is an act of faith for it shows I know God will provide for me when I give things away. It also is a way to show thanks to God who gives to me who is needy
* "announce it with trumpets" -To let others know it
* "hypocrites" -A hypocrite is one who professes to be and do one thing but in actuality is and does another. Their motive is to gain respect before men, not to gain respect and honor from God. A hypocrite does their acts of righteousness not because of God's greatness and love but because of human recognition. Therefore they make human recognition greater than God's recognition.
People may not know others are being hypocrites so they give them recognition. So they give the hypocrite his reward.
Matthew 6:3 "'But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.'"
* Give not for self and self gain. Give unconsciously for we can become proud of being humble. We can be self-righteous about our pure motives.
Matthew 6:4 "'So that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.'"
* "will reward you" -God sees all including the heart motive.
II. Prayer (5-15)
>3. What is a hypocrite? How do they abuse prayers? (5)
Matthew 6:5 "'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.'"
* "Pray" -Prayer is communication with God.
Prayer can give glory to God because it shows my humbles and need for God to help. For many years when I was alone I prayed in my mind. Now I realize the need to pray out loud even when I am alone because my prayer can bring glory to God in the spiritual realm. People in the world will not hear me when I pray in secret out loud and God already knows in my heart what I will pray for and does not need to hear it. However, the spiritual realm should hear my prayer; they can not read minds, and so I pray in secret out loud.
* "in the synagogues and on the street corners" -There is nothing wrong with public prayer when it is done with the right heart attitude. Jesus prayed in public places with much people around, like in the temple or at the raising of Lazarus.
God will reward people according to the heart attitude.
* "to be seen by men" -Draw attention to one's self so people may be impressed.
>4. What is the proper attitude of personal prayer that pleases God? (6) What is the reason for pointed prayer? (7)
Matthew 6:6 "'But 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.'"
* When God answers my secrete prayer then I see his hand and can give glory to God.
Matthew 6:7 "'And when your pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.'"
* "babbling" -Many words but no heart, no meaning. We can not pursuade God with many arguments nor do we need to tell God all about the situation for he already knows it. Prayer is needed for self not for God.
>5. What is the significance of addressing God as "our Father"? (Think about "our" and "Father") What does this teach about our relationship with God and with other people?
Matthew 6:9b-10 "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven...'"
* "Our Father" -This shows us that God is our true Father.
* "Our" -God is the Father of all people for he is the creator. God is the spiritual Father of all believers. "Our" shows that God is not just my Father.
* "Father" -We can have a personal and close relationship with God, like one can have with his human Father. We respect, love, admire, and brag to others about God. God treats his people as a good human father does his children. The father in a family represents authority, power, provider, stability, teacher, disciplinary, and love.
God is the Father of everyone physically. Spiritually he is the Father of the whole church. "Father" shows God loves us, provides for us, and cares for us like a Father.
My relationship with God can be very close love relationship; a father and son relationship. I can look to God with respect and honor. I come to him with my needs, problems, troubles, distress and for others too.
If God is my and others father than Christians are brothers and sisters of each other. We are a family.
* Hebrews 5:7
>6. What are the first three prayer topics? What is their common theme? What does each mean?
* "hallowed by your name" -sanctify; consecrated; held in honor and with respect.
* "your kingdom come" -God's kingdom is a spiritual kingdom wherever God rules; it is wherever God's name is regognized and honored and made holy. Praying for God's kingdom to come is to pray for: God to rule in men's heart; more people to become a member of God's kingdom; Jesus' second coming when he will rule over all the earth and heaven.
* "your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." -We may obey God's will and teach others to obey God's will.
>7. What are the last three prayer topics? Why should we ask for daily bread? (Exodus. 16:16-30; Proverbs 30:8) Why our daily bread? (Luke 16:19-24)
Matthew 6:11-13 "Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"
* "Give us today" -tells me that there is nothing wrong to pray for specific personal needs for self and others.
* "our" -This is the same meaning as when above it states "our father". We are to pray for and recognize others in our prayer. An example of praying for and helping others in need was taught by Jesus is Luke 16:19-20 which states,"'There was a rich man who was dress in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and liked his sores.'"
* "daily" -This refers to what is needed for the time or event. God taught this in Proverbs 30:8 which says, "...give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.'" God is the sovereign God from day to day. We are to not to ask for more because God will always provide and we will grow in faith and thank God each day when he provides
* "bread" -refers both to physical and spiritual substance that extend our lives. God taught this to the Israelites in the Old Testament with the manna. " Exodus 16:16-30 says, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.'" Why did God do this? To teach that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from God, as it says in Deuteronomy 8:2-3.
* "Forgive us" -Through forgiveness we have a relationship with God and are made spiritually healthy.
>8. What are "debts" here? Why is asking for the forgiveness of sin essential to spiritual life? How did Jesus emphasize its importance?
* "Debts" -This is sins because our sin separates us from the giver of our life. With sin removed we can have life. Sin is a great debt that can not be repaid by ourselves. Sin must be paid if we are to be right with God.
We must first acknowledge our sins and sinfulness to ask for forgiveness. We need to step into the light to see our sins.
* "Forgiven our debtors" -If we don't forgive we will lose the heart of the law. Our forgiving is a reflection of God's forgiving us. In fact when God forgives us we are compelled to forgive others.
* "And lead us not into temptation" -Jesus was lead by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil at the beginning of his ministry.
>9. Who is the evil one? (John 8:44) Why must we pray to be delivered from him? (1 Corinthians 10:12; James 4:7-8)
* "evil one" -Who is the evil one? John 8:44 says he is a liar. It states, "'You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.'"
* "deliever" -We need God's help to be delivered from Satan's temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." And James 4:7-8 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
>10. Why is forgiving others so important for the right relationship with God? (14)
Matthew 6:14 "'For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.'"
* This is no small thing and yet often ignored.
Matthew 6:15 "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
* Jesus taught a parable about not forgiving others. The parable teaches that if we do not forgive others we will be beaten on judgement day.
III. Fasting (16-18)
>11. What is the purpose of fasting? (Psalms 35:13; Acts 14:23) How do the hyporites abuse fasting? What is the right way of fasting? (17-18)
Matthew 6:16 "'When you fast, do not look sombre 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."
* "Fast" -Fasting is for denial of the flesh so that we may consintrate on prayer and the word of God. Psalm 35:13 says, "Yet when you were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered...." And Acts 14:23 says, "Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust."
Fasting is associating with distressing and/or important situations in life when it is utterly important to seek God and/or understand his will and receive his blessing.
Matthew 6:17-18 "'But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so 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.'"