Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes -

Part VII: Discerning True Kingdom Righteousness From Mere Religiosity
D. Christ's TRUE Righteousness As Contrasted With Religiosity's Bankrupt Practices
1. Contrasting TRUE Worship With Religiosity's False Concept
(Matthew 6:1-4, 5-15, 16-18)
  1. Introduction
    1. The Pharisees put much emphasis on worship. Giving, fasting, prayer -- these practices had numerous customs connected to them to assure an effective practical godliness, cf. Danby, The Mishnah.
    2. However, Jesus said that unless one's righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, in no way could he enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Mtt. 5:20.
    3. In addressing the issue of worship, Jesus discriminated between false worship and true worship in the areas of giving, prayer and fasting in Matthew 6:1-18.
  2. Contrasting TRUE Worship With Religiosity's False Concept, Matthew 6:1-4, 5-15, 16-18.
    1. Jesus contrasted true spiritual giving with the false giving of the Pharisees in Matthew 6:1-4 as follows:
      1. The Pharisees felt that their giving needed to be approved and thus rewarded by their fellow men, and thus made a big show of giving before others to gain this approval rating, B.K.C., N.T., p. 32; Mt. 6:2.
      2. Opposite this idea, Jesus taught that to be rewarded by GOD in ones giving practices, one needed to BYPASS the rewards of one's fellow man and do his works as unto GOD; accordingly, one needed to give as unto God in so much secret that his right hand readily forgot what his left hand had given, Ibid., Mtt. 6:1,3. Then God would reward one openly before men as an added blessing, Mtt. 6:4!
      3. The Ryrie Study Bible, KJV footnote to Mtt. 6:4 points out that "Jewish tradition said that there was in the temple a 'chamber of secrets' into which the devout used to put their gifts in secret so that the poor could receive s upport therefrom in secret." Jesus could well have alluded to this temple practice to reveal to His listeners what God thought was proper worship in giving to Him.
    2. Jesus contrasted true spiritual prayer with the false praying of the Pharisees in Matthew 6:5-15 as follows:
      1. The Pharisees loved to practice their prayers to be seen by men and thus rewarded by them, Ibid., 6:5a. Accordingly, the only reward they got was the approval of men, not of God, Mtt. 6:5b!
      2. Opposite that idea, Jesus taught that to be rewarded by GOD in one's prayer life, he needed to pray from the heart in a completely humble, God-oriented manner as follows:
        1. He needed to pray in secret and God would conversely reward one openly for doing so, Mtt. 6:6.
        2. He needed to pray not with vain repetitions to attract man's awe, but with simple statements, recognizing that God even knows what he will ask before he utters a word in prayer, Mtt. 6:7-8.
        3. He needed to pray with an appreciation for his relationship with God as his heavenly Father, 6:9a.
        4. He needed to pray with an appreciation for God's separateness from man's sin, and with a desire to see God's righteous kingdom established on this earth of present wickedness, Mtt. 6:9b-10.
        5. He needed to pray for his daily needs to that end to be met, whether they be material or spiritual in nature, Mtt. 6:11-13. (Note: Jesus talked about forgiveness with fellow man that a believer prays, for forgiveness with God is based upon salvation that precedes such a prayer given here.)
    3. Jesus contrasted true worship fasting with false fasting practiced by the Pharisees in Matthew 6:16-18.
      1. The Pharisees loved to fast by being seen of men in it. They thus used fasting to glorify the flesh.
      2. However, the original use of fasting was a signal of self denial so that one demonstrated he was leaning on GOD and not his own strength, just the opposite of what the Pharisees did, Ibid., Mtt. 6:16.
      3. Jesus thus ordered His disciples to cloak their fasting that only God would see it, and then it would be real fasting with its original intent of showing faith in God instead of one's self, Mtt. 6:17-18.
Lesson: False worship looks for MAN'S approval as a goal from a heart bent on personal pride where true worship looks only for GOD'S approval and comes from the heart of a candidly humble party.

Application: If we have practiced giving, prayer or fasting to be noticed by men, we must repent and accept Christ or confess our sin as a believer for cleansing. If we are giving, praying or fasting as God designed it to be, for HIS notice alone, we are doing what is upright and can rejoice in it!