Rewards: Temporal or Everlasting?

Good morning!

This morning’s text is Jesus teaching on the spiritual nature of man, and how we can be in the true spirit of worship without being caught in hypocritical, religious worship.  He gives us examples to follow in giving, praying, fasting, and serving that will bring glory to God and everlasting rewards for us.

Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  What does it mean to “do your alms”? Alms is a portion of ones own goods set apart for the relief of the poor.  It is not specifically money, but could also be part of the yearly harvest of a farmer, or clothing; basically any gift of charity is considered to be alms.  Jesus warns us not to “sound a trumpet” by letting everyone know what we are doing when we give a charitable gift.  He says not to let “thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” or in other words don’t keep track of the things we give in charity.  Is it right to claim these things on our taxes?  If we do are we not getting our reward now?  How can it “be in secret” if we tell the federal government about it?  The media likes to talk about the celebrities that give hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity every year.  And that is great, but what spirit is it given in?  These same celebrities get huge tax breaks for doing so.  I am sure that there are some who do good with their wealth, but I am also sure that we will never hear about it either when it is done in the true spirit of giving.  If we seek to receive an earthly reward of men’s praise for what we do, we can forget about a reward in heaven. 

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 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.  7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  Praying like giving is to be done in secret.  Does this mean we are not supposed to pray aloud at church? No, but anyone who has been called on during the service to pray knows how aware they are of the words they say.  We want our prayer to sound good to the ears of those around us.  Jesus was not condemning all public prayer.  There are many instances of the apostles praying out loud in front of the congregation.  There is true power in the prayer lifted up to God when many of His children stand in agreement.  Jesus is speaking of the abuse of this privilege.  It is the rehearsed prayer that is solely meant to impress those around us in focus here.  Jesus is calling for us to be in an intimate relationship with the Father; one where we seek His face and not just what He has in His hand for us.  Here is the best part!  “your Father knoweth” before we even ask what we need; but He wants us to ask Him.  He wants to talk to us personally, as a child would speak to their dad.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Jesus now gives us a model prayer but some have turned this into vain repetition too.  This was given to us as an example; not something to be mindlessly repeated over and over again.  I must confess that when I was a new Christian that is exactly what I would do.  Every night I would repeat this prayer as my only prayer until one day it occurred to me that I did not even know the real meaning of the word “Hallowed”!  How could I talk with the Father and not even know the meaning of the words I was saying to Him? 

The first part of the prayer involves our relationship to God, (verses 9-11) and the second part( verses 12 and 13); our relationship to our fellow man.

Our Father which art in heaven, This prayer is opened like none other before it.  Notice that Jesus says “Our Father”.  Jesus is our constant Intercessor.  When we pray He is right there with us!  Once we are born again we become the children of God and the brother or sister of the Lord Jesus.  God is now “Our Father” as well.  Jesus is with us as the indwelling Holy Ghost as we pray to the Father “which art in heaven”.  Hallowed be thy name. “Hallowed” means sacred, or associated with deity.  What is His name?  The only name He gave to Moses was I AM.  That is a name to be held in reverence for He is EVERYTHING!  I AM _______.  Just fill in the blank to what you need Him to be to you; whether it be Savior, healer, financial advisor, or provider of all your needs.  He is EVERYTHING that we will ever need.

10 Thy kingdom comeAs a regenerated Christian we are to pray for the arrival of the “kingdom” here on earth.  Once we become aware of the sinful nature of not only ourselves but this world, we should have a longing to see the kingdom of God fully instituted.   Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Prayer is not to be seen as a means to change the will of God, but rather to change our will to fit that of God’s perfect will.  Prayer is to bring us into conformity with God’s plan for us.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.  The word “bread” may be applied to the provision of daily food, or the Bread of Life that is the Word of God.  We “daily” need the Word dwelling in our hearts and minds to keep us in communion with God.  When the Israelites wandered through the wilderness for 40 years God provided His manna from Heaven to sustain them.  Why would He not much more give us the Bread of Life, the Lord Jesus, to sustain us as we wander in this strange land?

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  The greatest debt we owe is our sin debt that Jesus paid for us on Calvary.  Our selfless acts of alms giving should also include forgiving those who borrow from us and do not repay.  It is better to suffer the lose than to boast of the gift.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: This is not a plea made to God so that He does not “lead us” “into temptation”.  This issue is covered by the book of James.  James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.   God does not tempt us with evil, but we can be tempted to commit evil by the epitome of evil.  This is a plea for God to help us when we are tempted by Satan.  The New International Version of the Bible adds the word “one” after evil in this Scripture, and it completely leaves out these next 14 words!  And this is why I refer to the NIV as the Non-Inspired Version!  Why would this be left out?

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   Why would we ever want to leave out this doxology of praise to God?  A very similar doxology of praise was given in 1 Chronicles 29:11 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Amen!

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  How can we not forgive each other for “trespasses” or wrongs done to us when God has so completely forgive us for all of our sins and trespasses?  This carries a warning for the believer.  If we seek forgiveness, we too must be willing to give it!

Tomorrow we will finish up this chapter!  There is a lot of good stuff here to be had!

Take my word for nothing; go to the Source and read it for yourself.  And as always to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be all the Glory forever.

FAITH: Forsaking All, I Trust Him.

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