OceanSide church of Christ

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Not Before Men

Wayne Rodgers

Text: Matthew 6:1-4

Thesis:  to examine our motives of service to God and man & to inspire us on to greater service.



1.     The study of this great chapter of Matthew and the Sermon On The Mount should thrill our souls.

2.     In this great sermon, our Lord gave several principles to enable His followers to form the character and characteristics by which they were to live, and would be saved eternally.

3.     The Mater Teacher clearly showed the need for teaching positive truths by 1st teaching the negative aspects of the matter.

4.     When one studies the opening verses of Matthew 6, he is immediately confronted with one very important question.

A.     What is the place of the reward motive in the Christian life?

B.     In other words, what motivates us to do that which we do?

C.     Jesus began teaching on “what is on the inside?”

5.     Three times in this section, Jesus speaks of God rewarding those who have given to Him the kind of service which He desires.

A.    Mat 6:4  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

B.    Mat 6:6  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

C.    Mat 6:18  That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

6.     Rewards and punishments are necessary in order to make sense of life.

A.     In his collection called Last Poems,  A.E. Housman wrote:

Yonder, see the morning brink,

The sun is up, and so must I,

To wash and dress and eat and drink

And to look at things and talk and think

And work and God knows why.


And often have I washed and dressed,

And what’s to show for all my pain?

Let me lie abed and rest;

Ten thousand times I’ve done my best,

And all’s to do again.

B.     If there are no rewards and no punishments, then the poem’s view of life is true.  Action is meaningless, and all effort goes unavailingly whistling down the wind.

7.     There are certain things which must be considered and be very clear as we consider the reward in the Christian life.

A.     When Jesus spoke of reward, He was definitely not thinking in terms of material reward.  For there are promised trials, tribulations, suffering, persecution, and even death (1 Pet. 4:11, 16).

B.     Christians would certainly be “persecuted” and suffer many “fiery trials.”

8.     Let us look at the teaching of Jesus about hypocrisy and the desire to be “seen of men.”

A.     First, the hypocrisy in giving alms.

B.     Second, the hypocrisy in prayer.

C.     Third, the hypocrisy in fasting.


      I.          THE HYPOCRISY IN GIVING ALMS (v. 1-4)

A.     “Take heed”

1.       This expresses the real need for us to give close attention to the matter of giving what we have to help others.

2.       This involves both the MANNER and MOTIVE of giving those who are in need.

3.       We should remember that we are stewards of all we possess in this world, and that which we have is given to us of God (Matt. 25:14-30; Luke 12:41-48).

B.     Different reasons for giving:

1.       People may give from a sense of duty.  (a duty they cannot escape, not really giving themselves)

2.       People may give from motives of prestige.  (for the glory of giving)

3.       Some may give b/c they feel they have to (not duty, but love)

a.     An overflowing love and compassion in their hearts will not allow them to do anything else.

C.     We have a beautiful picture of the perfect pattern for giving in Christ Jesus Himself.

1.       Paul wrote to his friends at Corinth: “For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

2.       Remember, Peter told us to “follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).

3.       Giving to those less fortunate is a quality of “pure religion” as defined by the Lord’s brother James (James 1:27).

4.       Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

5.       Those of Macedonia “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5)

D.     But, here there was a condemnation upon those who would “sound a trumpet.”

1.       This shows the purpose of the heart is to simply draw attention to oneself with no real intent to help the downtrodden or to honor God from whom we have received all things!

2.       Literally, some are guilty “blowing their own horns.”

E.     The Lord also condemns publicizing our giving for the purpose of self-praise.

1.       Correctly done, giving must be out of love and concern for our fellow-man (1 Cor. 13:3).

2.       The Priest and the Levite would have probably helped the man on the road to Jericho if there had been someone around to see them (Luke 10:25ff). 

3.       Giving must be done out of mercy, not for the applause of men.

F.      The proper manner of giving as taught by Jesus:  TO GIVE WITHOUT TRYING TO IMPRESS OTHERS.

1.       Hence, the expression: “let no thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Matt. 6:3).

2.       Remember our previous lesson about “letting our light shine” rather than “shining our lights.” (Matt. 5:13-16).

3.       Our goal should be to bring glory to the Father in heaven rather than to ourselves. (attitude of humility)

a.     Our actions and motives are all known by God and will not be forgotten.

b.     He will reward us in proper time, either here or in eternity.

G.    When Jesus wanted to show the character of true and blessed giving,

1.       He published the actions of the poor widow (Mark 12:41-44).

2.       Luke preserved the record of the generosity of the good man, Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37).

3.       Immediately after we read of the righteous and generous giving of Barnabas, the Lord made his attitude toward HYPOCRISY IN GIVING abundantly clear.

a.     He had Luke record the account of the 1st open sin in the church: the lying of Ananias and Sapphira his wife concerning their giving (Acts 5:1-11).

b.     Their intent, desire, and motive were evidently for the praise of men, and were expressive of their love of money.

c.      Their hypocrisy caused their deaths!

H.    Does that which we are giving today live up to the expectations of Jesus?

I.       Where are the “alms-givers”?  We have works that we have to consider if we can even support because we can easily see from week to week exactly where we are in our giving (as a congregation), but that is proportionate and directly connected to how we are giving as individuals.

1.       When you are not here are you making up your contribution from when you missed?

2.       When going to be out of town, do you leave your contribution so that it is here?

3.       We have works that we are looking at, not just a budget of numbers, but souls in need of the gospel.  We are using funds to preach the Gospel, to train preachers to preach the Gospel, missionaries to preach the Gospel, orphans who are in need, widows who have needs, and on and on the list goes…but it takes these funds for it to happen.

4.       In the interim, between the news of the preacher leaving and another preacher coming in, the contribution (offering) took a “nose-dive” and now we are in need of pulling it back up.

5.       We’ve had physical things we have had to do to fix the building, we have other needs that need to be fulfilled but the constant lack of funds will choke the work that can be done.

J.       I don’t believe that is a characteristic of this congregation.  This congregation through its history has been a go-get-it-done, what-do-we-need-to-do-it type of congregation. 

K.     We will continue on that path.  As we come down the stretch as they say, to the last quarter of the year.  We will consider the works, consider “OUR” renewed conviction in our giving, and look to give God our very best of service here at OceanSide.