Seeking God First: A Study on the Sermon of the Mount
Living our Lives to Please God Matthew 6:1-4
July 15, 2018
Pastor John Lloyd
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expresses His desire for us to live for Him in an upside down world. This greatest sermon ever given, is uplifting, yet challenges us to live a life with Jesus that is far better than any other! It is our prayer that you will be encouraged and challenged by studying and applying this great sermon to your life. Small groups are also available throughout the week to further discuss and put into practice the lessons taught from the Sermon on the Mount.
Today’s Passage: Matthew 6:1-4, Psalm 139-23-24.
Big Idea: Our greatest goal is to please God in our actions, motives and manner of living. All for His Glory!
Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Living with a single focus to please God means:
I. My motives are dedicated to glorifying God.
Matthew 6:1 “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.”
6:1 To be seen of them- with the view or intention of being beheld of them. Same expression is used in 5:28 and also in Matthew 5:16. The difference is one is in self glorification and one in God glorification.
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Luke 16:15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
A. Beware of inward divisions in our motives.
Matthew 6:1a “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.” (Romans 7:23)
Matthew 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 23:5
B. Surrender our motives to purity of His glory.
Matthew 6:2 “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.
2 Corinthians 5:9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 2 Corinthians 13:5, Psalm 139:23-24, Hebrews 4:12.
Prayer: God, examine me, my thoughts, motives and to purify them by your Words of life. All for His Glory!
II. My actions are dedicated to glorifying God.
Matthew 6:3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
The secret is not in conflict with 5:16. Luther has the key: “Thus I do not see it even though other people may see it.” The left hand does not represent men who are, indeed, to glorify God on seeing my good works. The left hand represents myself just as the right hand does; the right, me with my good deed, the left, me with my good opinion about my good deed. If then, the left does not even know what the right is doing, I shall be absolutely free of desiring any praise or credit from men. This is the secrecy Christ wants even when all the church knows my deeds. Lenski
Acts 20:35b remember the words of the Lord Jesus, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 2 Corinthians 9:7b God loves a cheerful giver.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
I dedicate my acts of giving to the glory of God. Lord, help me to refrain from keeping track. God keeps track. All for His Glory!
III. My greatest rewards will be from God.
Matthew 6:4b so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And as we help others we must guard our eyes from wandering from those we are helping to the observers. Do not keep track. Do not give yourself merit marks. Forget your goodness. Follow God. Do it, forget it. Hughes
Matthew 6:6 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. Matthew 6:18, 10:42, 25:40.
“Let’s do everything we can to please Him. We shall find that God will have an account. Nothing we have done will be forgotten, our smallest act will be remembered.” D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Hebrews 11:6
John 17:4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Prayer: Lord, I do not want this to be about my glory but all for your glory!
Living to please God makes both what I do and how I do it, an offering of glory to God. All For His Glory!
Growth Group Questions for July 15th
Icebreaker: What is the nicest thing someone has done for you without you knowing about it? How did it impact you?
1. Read Matthew 6:1-4. Summarize in your own words what you hear Jesus saying. Ask God to speak to your heart and how these verses can be applied to your life.
2. Read Matthew 6:1, Matthew 5:16, Hebrews 10:24. Read both verses carefully. What are differences between them? How should one share about good works? If at all? How should we encourage one another to serve selflessly?
3. Read Matthew 6:2. What is the motive behind what the hypocrites were doing? Read 2 Corinthians 5:9, Hebrews 11:6, John 17:4. What should our motives be? How can we check our motives?
The secret is not in conflict with 5:16. Martin Luther has the key: “Thus I do not see it though other people may see it.” The left hand does not represent men who are, indeed, to glorify God on seeing my good works. The left hand represents myself just as the right hand does; the right, me with my good deed, the left, me with my good opinion about my good deed. If then, the left does not even know what the right is doing, I shall be absolutely free of desiring any praise or credit from men. This is the secrecy Christ wants even when all the church knows my deeds. Lenski
4. Read Matthew 6:3, Luke 16:15 and the Lenski quote above. Discuss what it looks like practically to you to follow the guidelines given by Jesus.
5. Read Matthew 6:4, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 6:10, Matt.10:42. What is it that God rewards? What works has God prepared for us to do? How is it helpful to know that God notices and rewards every act of service done in His name?
6. Why does God mention great is your reward in Matthew 6:1,6:4, 6:6, and 6:18? What message is He giving the disciples? How would you explain the rewards God gives to someone who is new to the faith?
7. Read Psalm 139:23-24. How is this prayer helpful in keeping our motivation in check?