"THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT"
Charitable Deeds (Mt 6:1-4)
1. In chapter five, we found Jesus contrasting the "righteousness of the
kingdom" with what the scribes and Pharisees were TEACHING
2. As we enter chapter six, we find the contrast to be with what they
3. The entire chapter expounds upon the "righteousness of the kingdom"
WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD, especially in the practice of
certain acts of righteousness...
[In verse one, we find...]
I. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE GOVERNING OUR ACTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - v1
A. PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS CONCERNING THIS VERSE...
1. Some manuscripts, upon which the KJV and NKJV are based, have
the Greek word eleemosunen
a. Translated "alms", or "charitable deeds"
b. Which would make verse one refer specifically to almsgiving,
or charitable deeds
2. Older manuscripts, upon which the ASV and NASV are based, have
the Greek word dikaiosunen
a. Translated "righteousness"
b. Which would make verse one speaking in general terms,
establishing the principle to be applied to ALL acts of
3. Textual support seems strongest for dikaiosunen, making verse one
an INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT concerning all righteous acts
B. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE (1a)
1. Note: The purpose is NOT to avoid ANY practice of righteousness
before men cf. Mt 5:16
2. Rather, it is to avoid the doing of such JUST TO BE SEEN OF MEN
3. Therefore, it is proper to do good works before men...
a. When we are trying to secure praise for GOD
b. But NOT when we are trying to secure praise for ourselves!
C. CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING THE BASIC PRINCIPLE - v 1b
1. If, in the innermost being of your heart, you do not mean to
please and glorify God, HE WILL NOT REWARD YOU!
2. What reward you may have (cf. Mt 6:2, v5, v16) will be limited
to the praise of men
[Consider how Jesus applies this to the matter of charitable deeds...]
II. CONCERNING CHARITABLE DEEDS - Vs 2-4
A. WHAT "NOT" TO DO - v2
1. Don't be like the "hypocrites" (literally, "actors")
a. Who sound trumpets in the synagogues and streets
b. Who are looking to be honored by MEN
2. "They have their reward"
a. I.e., they receive exactly (and ONLY) what they wanted: the
praise of men
b. But remember - verse 1 ...
1) They have no reward from the Father in heaven
2) Neither in the present or in the future.
B. CHARITABLE DEEDS DONE PROPERLY - Vs 3-4a
1. "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing"
a. This involves avoiding not only the praise of others, but
SELF praise as well
b. Some thoughts by others on what this metaphor means:
1) "The right [hand], [represents] me with my good deed;
the left, me with my good opinion about my deed."
2) "The expression probably refers to the fact that as much
as possible a person must keep his voluntary contribution
a secret not only to others but even to himself; that is,
he should forget about it, instead of saying in his
heart, 'What a good man, woman, boy, girl, am I!'"
c. How can one develop the ability to give in this way?
1) Perhaps by giving so often it becomes "second nature"?
2) So that you do it without much thought (just as with
anything done repeatedly)?
2. NOTE: Jesus is not condemning public giving per se
cf. Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:34-37
a. He is condemning the spirit which seeks publicity
b. He is teaching "secret-giving" in the sense of "secret to
3. "The true Christian cares not how much men hear of his public
charities, nor how little they hear of his private ones."
C. THE FATHER'S REWARD FOR PROPER CHARITABLE DEEDS - Mt 6:4b
1. "Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."
2. The reward may be experienced to some degree in this life - Ps 41:1-3
3. Without a doubt, it will be experienced on the day of judgment
- Eccl 12:14; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Ti 6:17-19
1. Christians who have been blessed materially have been given a charge
to be "rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share" - 1 Ti 6:17-19
2. The teaching of Jesus ASSUMES that His disciples would engage in
"charitable deeds" cf. Mt 5:42, and in this section He has
directed His words to the spirit and manner of such deeds
Our next study will examine Jesus' application of the basic principle
concerning the practice of righteousness to the subject of PRAYER...
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