April 7: Authentic Faith (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18)
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (ESV) Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
In the second half of chapter 5, Jesus has contrasted the superficial righteousness of the Pharisees with a true righteousness of the heart. In chapter 6, Jesus will contrast the practice of the shallow religion of the Pharisees with the practice of a deep religion of the Christian. Jesus knows the heart of man can twist a life of godliness into a deep hypocrisy where we no longer seek God’s glory but glory for yourself. So Jesus warns his church of the dangers of hypocrisy, which undermine and destroy authentic God-pleasing faith. In the first 18 verses of chapter 6, he will give a warning regarding motives and then use three examples of godly piety to show how eve godly practices can be twisted to ourselves. Jesus calls us to check our motives, recognize the danger of hypocrisy and pursue seeking God’s approval in all of life.
Review and Apply
Give examples of how your righteous acts have been twisted toward self-promotion?
How does Jesus highlight the importance of motivation?
What are the dangers of living for the applause of man?
Give ways of overcoming the hypocrisy in your life.
Is it wrong to yearn for rewards from God?