Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"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. And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the street, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I tell you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you openly.... Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:2-6, 16-18).

IDEA: We should do acts of piety because we know our Father in heaven is watching.

PURPOSE: To help listeners understand that we live before God.

Several years ago a reporter from a local paper came to interview me. After he asked his questions, I asked him about himself. Even though he handled the religious beat for his paper, he himself wasn’t religious. He asked some personal questions about my faith and then he asked, “What makes you people good?’

I. How do you think most religious people might answer that reporter's question?

Why should a Christian give money to the needy or pray or fast?

Some people think, "God's going to get you if you don't." It's like the ad on TV for putting good oil in your car when the mechanic says, "You pay me now or you'll pay me later.

Others think, "Shame on you for letting other people pay your way."

Still others say, "Don't let other people beat you in your giving."

"Let me give you examples of people who pray more than you do or who are serious enough about their faith that they deny themselves daily food."

II. How would Jesus answer that reporter's question?

"Your Father sees in secret and he will reward you." (What does that mean?)

The onlooker is "My Father in heaven." What does that say about me?

My Father knows my heart's deepest wishes.