Matthew Chapter Six
Note: The following covers chapters 5-7.
He then gathers around Him those who were definitively to follow Him in His ministry and His temptations; and, at His call, to link their portion and their lot with His, forsaking all beside.
The strong man was bound, so that Jesus could spoil his goods, and proclaim the kingdom with proofs of that power which were able to establish it.
Two things are then brought forward in the Gospel narrative. First, the power which accompanies the proclamation of the kingdom. In two or three verses,  without other detail, this fact is announced. The proclamation of the kingdom is attended with acts of power that excite the attention of the whole country, the whole extent of the ancient territory of Israel. Jesus appears before them invested with this power. Secondly (chaps. 5-7) the character of the kingdom is announced in the sermon on the Mount, as well as that of the persons who should have part in it (the Father's name withal being revealed). That is, the Lord had announced the coming kingdom, and with the present power of goodness, having overcome the adversary; and then shews what were the true characters according to which it would be set up, and who could enter, and how. Redemption is not spoken of in it; but the character and nature of the kingdom, and who could enter. This clearly shews the moral position which this sermon holds in the Lord's teaching.
It is evident that, in all this part of the Gospel, it is the Lord's position which is the subject of the teaching of the Spirit, and not the details of His life. Details come after, in order fully to exhibit what He was in the midst of Israel, His relations with that people, and His path in the power of the Spirit which led to the rupture between the Son of David and the people who ought to have received Him. The attention of the whole country being thus engaged by His mighty acts, the Lord sets before His disciples-but in the hearing of the people-the principles of His kingdom.
This discourse may be divided into the following parts:--  The character and the portion of those who should be in the kingdom (v. 1-12). Their position in the world (v. 13-16). The connection between the principles of the kingdom and the law (v. 17-48).  The spirit in which His disciples should perform good works (chap. 6:1-18). Separation from the spirit of the world and from its anxieties (v. 19-34). The spirit of their relation with others (chap. 7:1-6). The confidence in God which became them (v. 7-12). The energy that should characterise them, in order that they might enter into the kingdom; not however merely enter, many would seek to do that, but according to those principles which made it difficult for man, according to God-the strait gate; and then, the means of discerning those who would seek to deceive them, as well as the watchfulness needed that they might not be deceived (v. 13-23).
Real and practical obedience to His sayings, the true wisdom of those that hear His words (v. 24-29).
There is another principle that characterises this discourse, and that is the introduction of the Father's name. Jesus puts His disciples in connection with His Father, as their Father. He reveals to them the Father's name, in order that they may be in relation with Him, and that they may act in accordance with that which He is.
This discourse gives the principles of the kingdom, but supposes the rejection of the King, and the position into which this would bring those that were His; who consequently must look for a heavenly reward. They were to be a divine savour where God was known and was dealing, and would be a spectacle to the whole world. Moreover this was God's object. Their confession was to be so open that the world should refer their works to the Father. They were to act, on the one hand, according to a judgment of evil which reached the heart and motives, but also, on the other, according to the Father's character in grace-to approve themselves to the Father who saw in secret, where the eye of man could not penetrate. They were to have full confidence in Him for all their need. His will was the rule according to which there was entrance into the kingdom.
We may observe that this discourse is connected with the proclamation of the kingdom as being near at hand, and that all these principles of conduct are given as characterising the kingdom, and as the conditions of entrance into it. No doubt it follows that they are suitable to those who have entered in. But the discourse is pronounced in the midst of Israel,  before the kingdom is set up, and as the previous state called for in order to enter, and to set forth the fundamental principles of the kingdom in connection with that people, and in moral contrast with the ideas they had formed respecting it.
In examining the beatitudes, we shall find that this portion in general gives the character of Christ Himself. They suppose two things; the coming possession of the land of Israel by the meek; and the persecution of the faithful remnant, really righteous in their ways, and who asserted the rights of the true King (heaven being set before them as their hope to sustain their hearts). 
This will be the position of the remnant in the last days before the introduction of the kingdom, the last being exceptional. It was so, morally, in the days of the Lord's disciples, in reference to Israel, the earthly part being delayed. In reference to heaven, the disciples are looked at as witnesses in Israel; but-while the only preservative of the earth-they were a testimony to the world. So that the disciples are seen as in connection with Israel, but, at the same time, as witnesses on God's part to the world (the kingdom being in view, but not yet established). The connection with the last days is evident; nevertheless their testimony then had, morally, this character. Only the establishment of the earthly kingdom has been delayed, and the church, which is heavenly, brought in. Chapter 5:25 evidently alludes to the position of Israel in the days of Christ. And in fact they remain captive, in prison, until they have received their full chastisement, and then they shall come forth.
The Lord ever speaks and acts as the obedient man, moved and guided by the Holy Ghost; but we see in the most striking manner, in this Gospel, who it is that acts thus. And it is this which gives its true moral character to the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist might announce it as a change of dispensation, but his ministry was earthly. Christ might equally announce this same change (and the change was all-important); but in Him there was more than this. He was from heaven, the Lord who came from heaven. In speaking of the kingdom of heaven, He spoke out of the deep and divine abundance of His heart. No man had been in heaven, excepting Him who had come down from thence, the Son of man who was in heaven. Therefore, when speaking of heaven, He spoke of that which He knew, and testified of that which He had seen This was the case in two ways, as shewn forth in Matthew's Gospel. It was no longer an earthly government according to the law; Jehovah, the Saviour, Emmanuel, was present Could He be otherwise than heavenly in His character, in the tone, in the essence, of His whole life?
Moreover, when He began His public ministry and was sealed by the Holy Ghost, heaven was opened to Him. He was identified with heaven as a man sealed with the Holy Ghost on earth. He was thus the continual expression of the spirit, of the reality, of heaven. There was not yet the exercise of the judicial power which would uphold this character in the face of all that opposed it. It was its manifestation in patience, notwithstanding the opposition of all around Him and the inability of His disciples to understand Him. Thus in the sermon on the Mount we find the description of that which was suitable to the kingdom of heaven, and even the assurance of reward in heaven for those who should suffer on earth for His sake. This description, as we have seen, is essentially the character of Christ Himself. It is thus that a heavenly spirit expresses itself on earth. If the Lord taught these things, it is because He loved them, because He was them and delighted in them. Being the God of heaven, filled as man with the Spirit without measure, His heart was perfectly in unison with a heaven that He perfectly knew. Consequently therefore He concludes the character which His disciples were to assume by these words: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." All their conduct was to be in reference to their Father in heaven. The more we understand the divine glory of Jesus, the more we understand the way in which He was as man in connection with heaven, the better shall we apprehend what the kingdom of heaven was to Him with regard to that which was suitable to it. When it shall be established hereafter in power, the world will be governed according to these principles, although they are not, properly speaking, its own.
The remnant in the last days, I doubt not, finding all around them contrary to faithfulness, and seeing all Jewish hope fail before their eyes, will be forced to look upward, and will more and more acquire this character, which, if not heavenly, is at least very much conformed to Christ. 
There are two things connected with the presence of the multitude, v. 1. First, the time required that the Lord should give a true idea of the character of His kingdom, since already He drew the multitude after Him. His power making itself felt, it was important to make His character known. On the other hand, this multitude who were following Jesus were a snare to His disciples; and He makes them understand what an entire contrast there was between the effect which this multitude might have upon them, and the right spirit which ought to govern them. Thus, full Himself of what was really good, He immediately brings forward that which filled His own heart. This was the true character of the remnant, who in the main resembled Christ in it. It is often thus in the Psalms.
The salt of the earth is a different thing from the light of the world. The earth, it appears to me, expresses that which already professed to have received light from God-that which was in relationship with Him by virtue of the light-having assumed a definite shape before Him. The disciples of Christ were the preservative principle in the earth. They were the light of the world, which did not possess that light. This was their position, whether they would or no. It was the purpose of God that they should be the light of the world. A candle is not lighted in order to be hidden.
All this supposes the case of the possibility of the kingdom being established in the world, but the opposition of the greater part of men to its establishment. It is not a question of the sinner's redemption, but of the realisation of the character proper to a place in the kingdom of God; that which the sinner ought to seek while he is in the way with his adversary, lest he should be delivered to the judge-which indeed has happened to the Jews.
At the same time the disciples are brought into relationship with the Father individually-the second great principle of the discourse, the consequence of the Son being there-and a yet more excellent thing is set before them than their position of testimony for the kingdom. They were to act in grace, even as their Father acted, and their prayer should be for an order of things in which all would correspond morally to the character and the will of their Father. "Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,"  is, that all should answer to the character of the Father, that all should be the effect of His power. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is perfect obedience. Universal subjection to God in heaven and on earth will be, to a certain point, accomplished by the intervention of Christ in the millennium, and absolutely so when God shall be all in all. Meanwhile the prayer expresses daily dependence, the need of pardon, the need of being kept from the power of the enemy, the desire of not being sifted by him, as a dispensation of God, like Job or Peter, and of being preserved from evil.
This prayer also is adapted to the position of the remnant; it passes over the dispensation of the Spirit, and even that which is proper to the millennium as an earthly kingdom, in order to express the right desires, and speak of the condition and the dangers of the remnant until the Father's kingdom should come. Many of these principles are always true, for we are in the kingdom, and in spirit we ought to manifest its features; but the special and literal application is that which I have given. They are brought into relationship with the Father in the realisation of His character, which was to be displayed in them by virtue of this relationship, causing them to desire the establishment of His kingdom, to overcome the difficulties of an opposing world, to keep themselves from the snares of the enemy, and to do the Father's will. It was Jesus who could impart this to them. He thus passes from the law,  recognised as coming from God, to its fulfilment, when it shall be as it were absorbed in the will of Him who gave it, or accomplished in its purposes by Him who alone could do so in any sense whatever.
 It is striking that the whole ministry of the Lord is recounted in one verse (23). All the subsequent statements are facts, having a special moral import, shewing what was passing amongst the people in grace onward to His rejection, not a proper consecutive history. It stamps the character of Matthew very clearly.
 In the text I have given a division which may assist in a practical application of the sermon on the Mount. With respect to the subjects contained in it, it might perhaps, though the difference is not very great, be still better divided thus:- Chapter 5:1-16 contains the complete picture of the character and position of the remnant who received His instructions-their position, as it should be, according to the mind of God. This is complete in itself. Verses 17-48 establish the authority of the law, which should have regulated the conduct of the faithful until the introduction of the kingdom; the law which they ought to have fulfilled, as well as the words of the prophets, in order that they (the remnant) should be placed on this new ground; and the despisal of which would exclude whoever was guilty of it from the kingdom; for Christ is speaking, not as in the kingdom, but as announcing it as near to come. But, while thus establishing the authority of the law, He takes up the two great elements of evil, treated of only in outward acts in the law, violence and corruption, and judges the evil in the heart (22, 28), and at all cost to get rid of it and every occasion of it, thus shewing what was to be the conduct of His disciples, and their state of soul-that which was to characterise them as such. The Lord then takes up certain things borne with by God in Israel, and ordered according to what they could bear. Thus was now brought into the light of a true moral estimate, divorce-marriage being the divinely given basis of all human relationships-and swearing or vowing, the action of man's will in relationship to God; then patience of evil, and fulness of grace, His own blessed character, and carrying with it the moral title to what was His living place-sons of their Father who was in heaven. Instead of weakening that which God required under the law, He would not only have it observed until its fulfilment, but that His disciples should be perfect even as their Father in heaven was perfect. This adds the revelation of the Father, to the moral walk and state which suited the character of sons as it was revealed in Christ. Chapter 6. We have the motives, the object, which should govern the heart in doing good deeds, in living a religious life. Their eye should be on their Father. This is individual. Chapter 7. This chapter is essentially occupied with the intercourse that would be suitable between His own people and others-not to judge their brethren and to beware of the profane. He then exhorts them to confidence in asking their Father for what they needed, and instructs them to act towards others with the same grace that they would wish shewn to themselves. This is founded on the knowledge of the goodness of the Father. Finally, He exhorts them to the energy that will enter in at the strait gate, and choose the way of God, cost what it may (for many would like to enter into the kingdom, but not by that gate); and He warns them with respect to those who would seek to deceive them by pretending to have the word of God. It is not only our own hearts that we have to fear, and positive evil, when we would follow the Lord, but also the devices of the enemy and his agents. But their fruits will betray them.
 It is important however to remark that there is no general spiritualisation of the law, as is often stated. The two great principles of immorality amongst men are treated of (violence and corrupt lust), to which are added voluntary oaths. In these the exigencies of the law and what Christ required are contrasted.
 We must always remember that, while dispensationally Israel has great importance, as the centre of God's government of this world, morally Israel was just man where all the ways and dealings of God had been carried out so as to bring to light what he was. The Gentile was man left to himself as regards. God's special ways, and so unrevealed. Christ was a light, to reveal the Gentiles, Luke 2:32.
 The characters pronounced blessed may be briefly noted. They suppose evil in the world, and amongst God's people. The first is not seeking great things for self, but accepting a despised place in a scene contrary to God. Hence mourning characterises them there, and meekness, a will not lifting up itself against God, or to maintain its position or right. Then positive good in desire, for it is not yet found; hungering hence and thirsting after it, such is the inward state and activity of the mind. Then grace towards others. Then purity of heart, the absence of what would shut out God; and, what is always connected with it, peacefulness and peace-making. I think there is moral progress in the verses, one leading to the next as an effect of it. The two last are the consequences of maintaining a good conscience and connection with Christ in a world of evil. There are two principles of suffering, as in 1 Peter, for righteousness' and Christ's sake.
 Those who are put to death will go up to heaven, as Matthew 5:12 testifies, and the Apocalypse also. The others, who are thus conformed to Christ, as a suffering Jew, will be with Him on Mount Sion; they will learn the song which is sung in heaven, and will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (on earth). We may also remark here, that in the beatitudes there is the promise of the earth to the meek, which will be literally fulfilled in the last days. In verse 12 a reward in heaven is promised to those who suffer for Christ, true for us now, and in some sort for those who shall be slain for His sake in the last days, who will have their place in heaven, although they were a part of the Jewish remnant and not the assembly. The same are found in Daniel 7: only, remark, it is the times and laws which are delivered into the beast's hands, not the saints.
 That is, the Father's. Compare Matthew 13:43.
 The law is the perfect rule for a child of Adam, the rule or measure of what he ought to be, but not of the manifestation of God in grace as Christ was, who in this is our pattern-a just call to love God and walk in the fulfilment of duty in relationship, but not an imitating of God, walking in love, as Christ has loved us and given Himself for us.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Matthew》
Against hypocrisy in almsgiving. (1-4) Against hypocrisy in prayer. (5-8) How to pray. (9-15) Respecting fasting. (16-18) Evil of being worldly-minded. (19-24) Trust in God commended. (25-34)
Commentary on Matthew 6:1-4
(Read Matthew 6:1-4)
Our Lord next warned against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties. What we do, must be done from an inward principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be praised of men. In these verses we are cautioned against hypocrisy in giving alms. Take heed of it. It is a subtle sin; and vain-glory creeps into what we do, before we are aware. But the duty is not the less necessary and excellent for being abused by hypocrites to serve their pride. The doom Christ passes, at first may seem a promise, but it is their reward; not the reward God promises to those who do good, but the reward hypocrites promise themselves, and a poor reward it is; they did it to be seen of men, and they are seen of men. When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. He will reward thee; not as a master who gives his servant what he earns, and no more, but as a Father who gives abundantly to his son that serves him.
Commentary on Matthew 6:5-8
(Read Matthew 6:5-8)
It is taken for granted that all who are disciples of Christ pray. You may as soon find a living man that does not breathe, as a living Christian that does not pray. If prayerless, then graceless. The Scribes and Pharisees were guilty of two great faults in prayer, vain-glory and vain repetitions. "Verily they have their reward;" if in so great a matter as is between us and God, when we are at prayer, we can look to so poor a thing as the praise of men, it is just that it should be all our reward. Yet there is not a secret, sudden breathing after God, but he observes it. It is called a reward, but it is of grace, not of debt; what merit can there be in begging? If he does not give his people what they ask, it is because he knows they do not need it, and that it is not for their good. So far is God from being wrought upon by the length or words of our prayers, that the most powerful intercessions are those which are made with groanings that cannot be uttered. Let us well study what is shown of the frame of mind in which our prayers should be offered, and learn daily from Christ how to pray.
Commentary on Matthew 6:9-15
(Read Matthew 6:9-15)
Christ saw it needful to show his disciples what must commonly be the matter and method of their prayer. Not that we are tied up to the use of this only, or of this always; yet, without doubt, it is very good to use it. It has much in a little; and it is used acceptably no further than it is used with understanding, and without being needlessly repeated. The petitions are six; the first three relate more expressly to God and his honour, the last three to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. This prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and that all other things shall be added. After the things of God's glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the needful supports and comforts of this present life. Every word here has a lesson in it. We ask for bread; that teaches us sobriety and temperance: and we ask only for bread; not for what we do not need. We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread of others, nor the bread of deceit, Proverbs 20:17; nor the bread of idleness, Proverbs 31:27, but the bread honestly gotten. We ask for our daily bread; which teaches us constantly to depend upon Divine Providence. We beg of God to give it us; not sell it us, nor lend it us, but give it. The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread. We pray, Give it to us. This teaches us a compassion for the poor. Also that we ought to pray with our families. We pray that God would give it us this day; which teaches us to renew the desires of our souls toward God, as the wants of our bodies are renewed. As the day comes we must pray to our heavenly Father, and reckon we could as well go a day without food, as without prayer. We are taught to hate and dread sin while we hope for mercy, to distrust ourselves, to rely on the providence and grace of God to keep us from it, to be prepared to resist the tempter, and not to become tempters of others. Here is a promise, If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive. We must forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Those who desire to find mercy with God, must show mercy to their brethren. Christ came into the world as the great Peace-maker, not only to reconcile us to God, but one to another.
Commentary on Matthew 6:16-18
(Read Matthew 6:16-18)
Religious fasting is a duty required of the disciples of Christ, but it is not so much a duty itself, as a means to dispose us for other duties. Fasting is the humbling of the soul, Psalm 35:13; that is the inside of the duty; let that, therefore, be thy principal care, and as to the outside of it, covet not to let it be seen. God sees in secret, and will reward openly.
Commentary on Matthew 6:19-24
(Read Matthew 6:19-24)
Worldly-mindedness is a common and fatal symptom of hypocrisy, for by no sin can Satan have a surer and faster hold of the soul, under the cloak of a profession of religion. Something the soul will have, which it looks upon as the best thing; in which it has pleasure and confidence above other things. Christ counsels to make our best things the joys and glories of the other world, those things not seen which are eternal, and to place our happiness in them. There are treasures in heaven. It is our wisdom to give all diligence to make our title to eternal life sure through Jesus Christ, and to look on all things here below, as not worthy to be compared with it, and to be content with nothing short of it. It is happiness above and beyond the changes and chances of time, an inheritance incorruptible. The worldly man is wrong in his first principle; therefore all his reasonings and actions therefrom must be wrong. It is equally to be applied to false religion; that which is deemed light is thick darkness. This is an awful, but a common case; we should therefore carefully examine our leading principles by the word of God, with earnest prayer for the teaching of his Spirit. A man may do some service to two masters, but he can devote himself to the service of no more than one. God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world. When two masters oppose each other, no man can serve both. He who holds to the world and loves it, must despise God; he who loves God, must give up the friendship of the world.
Commentary on Matthew 6:25-34
(Read Matthew 6:25-34)
There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often insnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Matthew》
 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.
As the hypocrites do — Many of the scribes and Pharisees did this, under a pretence of calling the poor together.
They have their reward — All they will have; for they shall have none from God.
 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth — A proverbial expression for doing a thing secretly. Do it as secretly as is consistent, 1. With the doing it at all. 2. With the doing it in the most effectual manner.
 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.
The synagogues — These were properly the places where the people assembled for public prayer, and hearing the Scriptures read and expounded. They were in every city from the time of the Babylonish captivity, and had service in them thrice a day on three days in the week. In every synagogue was a council of grave and wise persons, over whom was a president, called the ruler of the synagogue. But the word here, as well as in many other texts, signifies any place of public concourse.
 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.
Enter into thy closet — That is, do it with as much secrecy as thou canst.
 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Use not vain repetitions — To repeat any words without meaning them, is certainly a vain repetition. Therefore we should be extremely careful in all our prayers to mean what we say; and to say only what we mean from the bottom of our hearts. The vain and heathenish repetitions which we are here warned against, are most dangerous, and yet very common; which is a principal cause why so many, who still profess religion, are a disgrace to it. Indeed all the words in the world are not equivalent to one holy desire. And the very best prayers are but vain repetitions, if they are not the language of the heart.
 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of — We do not pray to inform God of our wants. Omniscient as he is, he cannot be informed of any thing which he knew not before: and he is always willing to relieve them. The chief thing wanting is, a fit disposition on our part to receive his grace and blessing. Consequently, one great office of prayer is, to produce such a disposition in us: to exercise our dependence on God; to increase our desire of the things we ask for; to us so sensible of our wants, that we may never cease wrestling till we have prevailed for the blessing.
 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thus therefore pray ye — He who best knew what we ought to pray for, and how we ought to pray, what matter of desire, what manner of address would most please himself, would best become us, has here dictated to us a most perfect and universal form of prayer, comprehending all our real wants, expressing all our lawful desires; a complete directory and full exercise of all our devotions.
Thus — For these things; sometimes in these words, at least in this manner, short, close, full. This prayer consists of three parts, the preface, the petitions, and the conclusion. The preface, Our Father, who art in heaven, lays a general foundation for prayer, comprising what we must first know of God, before we can pray in confidence of being heard. It likewise points out to us our that faith, humility, love, of God and man, with which we are to approach God in prayer. I.
Our Father — Who art good and gracious to all, our Creator, our Preserver; the Father of our Lord, and of us in him, thy children by adoption and grace: not my Father only, who now cry unto thee, but the Father of the universe, of angels and men: who art in heaven - Beholding all things, both in heaven and earth; knowing every creature, and all the works of every creature, and every possible event from everlasting to everlasting: the almighty Lord and Ruler of all, superintending and disposing all things; in heaven - Eminently there, but not there alone, seeing thou fillest heaven and earth. II. 1.
Hallowed be thy name — Mayest thou, O Father, he truly known by all intelligent beings, and with affections suitable to that knowledge: mayest thou be duly honoured, loved, feared, by all in heaven and in earth, by all angels and all men. 2.
Thy kingdom come — May thy kingdom of grace come quickly, and swallow up all the kingdoms of the earth: may all mankind, receiving thee, O Christ, for their king, truly believing in thy name, be filled with righteousness, and peace, and joy; with holiness and happiness, till they are removed hence into thy kingdom of glory, to reign with thee for ever and ever. 3.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven — May all the inhabitants of the earth do thy will as willingly as the holy angels: may these do it continually even as they, without any interruption of their willing service; yea, and perfectly as they: mayest thou, O Spirit of grace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make them perfect in every good work to do thy will, and work in them all that is well pleasing in thy sight. 4.
Give us — O Father (for we claim nothing of right, but only of thy free mercy) this day - (for we take no thought for the morrow) our daily bread - All things needful for our souls and bodies: not only the meat that perisheth, but the sacramental bread, and thy grace, the food which endureth to everlasting life. 5.
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors — Give us, O Lord, redemption in thy blood, even the forgiveness of sins: as thou enablest us freely and fully to forgive every man, so do thou forgive all our trespasses. 6.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil — Whenever we are tempted, O thou that helpest our infirmities, suffer us not to enter into temptation; to be overcome or suffer loss thereby; but make a way for us to escape, so that we may be more than conquerors, through thy love, over sin and all the consequences of it. Now the principal desire of a Christian's heart being the glory of God, (ver. 9, 10,) Matthew 6:9,10 and all he wants for himself or his brethren being the daily bread of soul and body, (or the support of life, animal and spiritual,) pardon of sin, and deliverance from the power of it and of the devil, (ver. 11, 12, 13,) Matthew 6:11,12,13 there is nothing beside that a Christian can wish for; therefore this prayer comprehends all his desires. Eternal life is the certain consequence, or rather completion of holiness. III.
For thine is the kingdom — The sovereign right of all things that are or ever were created: The power - the executive power, whereby thou governest all things in thy everlasting kingdom: And the glory - The praise due from every creature, for thy power, and all thy wondrous works, and the mightiness of thy kingdom, which endureth through all ages, even for ever and ever. It is observable, that though the doxology, as well as the petitions of this prayer, is threefold, and is directed to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost distinctly, yet is the whole fully applicable both to every person, and to the ever - blessed and undivided trinity. Luke 11:2.
 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
When ye fast? — Our Lord does not enjoin either fasting, alms-deeds, or prayer: all these being duties which were before fully established in the Church of God.
Disfigure — By the dust and ashes which they put upon their heads, as was usual at the times of solemn humiliation.
 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
Anoint thy head — So the Jews frequently did. Dress thyself as usual.
 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Lay not up for yourselves — Our Lord here makes a transition from religious to common actions, and warns us of another snare, the love of money, as inconsistent with purity of intention as the love of praise.
Where rust and moth consume — Where all things are perishable and transient. He may likewise have a farther view in these words, even to guard us against making any thing on earth our treasure. For then a thing properly becomes our treasure, when we set our affections upon it. Luke 12:33.
 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
The eye is the lamp of the body — And what the eye is to the body, the intention is to the soul. We may observe with what exact propriety our Lord places purity of intention between worldly desires and worldly cares, either of which directly tend to destroy.
If thine eye be single — Singly fixed on God and heaven, thy whole soul will be full of holiness and happiness.
If thine eye be evil — Not single, aiming at any thing else.
 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon — Riches, money; any thing loved or sought, without reference to God. Luke 16:13.
 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
And if you serve God, you need be careful for nothing.
Therefore take not thought — That is, be not anxiously careful. Beware of worldly cares; for these are as inconsistent with the true service of God as worldly desires.
Is not the life more than meat? — And if God give the greater gift, will he deny the smaller? Luke 12:22.
 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And which of you — If you are ever so careful, can even add a moment to your own life thereby? This seems to be far the most easy and natural sense of the words.
 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these — Not in garments of so pure a white. The eastern monarchs were often clothed in white robes.
 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
The grass of the field — is a general expression, including both herbs and flowers.
Into the still — This is the natural sense of the passage. For it can hardly be supposed that grass or flowers should be thrown into the oven the day after they were cut down. Neither is it the custom in the hottest countries, where they dry fastest, to heat ovens with them.
If God so clothe — The word properly implies, the putting on a complete dress, that surrounds the body on all sides; and beautifully expresses that external membrane, which (like the skin in a human body) at once adorns the tender fabric of the vegetable, and guards it from the injuries of the weather. Every microscope in which a flower is viewed gives a lively comment on this text.
 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Therefore take not thought — How kind are these precepts! The substance of which is only this, Do thyself no harm! Let us not be so ungrateful to him, nor so injurious to ourselves, as to harass and oppress our minds with that burden of anxiety, which he has so graciously taken off. Every verse speaks at once to the understanding, and to the heart. We will not therefore indulge these unnecessary, these useless, these mischievous cares. We will not borrow the anxieties and distresses of the morrow, to aggravate those of the present day. Rather we will cheerfully repose ourselves on that heavenly Father, who knows we have need of these things; who has given us the life, which is more than meat, and the body, which is more than raiment. And thus instructed in the philosophy of our heavenly Master, we will learn a lesson of faith and cheer. fulness from every bird of the air, and every flower of the field.
 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness — Singly aim at this, that God, reigning in your heart, may fill it with the righteousness above described. And indeed whosoever seeks this first, will soon come to seek this only.
 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
The morrow shall take thought for itself — That is, he careful for the morrow when it comes.
The evil thereof — Speaking after the manner of men. But all trouble is, upon the whole, a real good. It is good physic which God dispenses daily to his children, according to the need and the strength of each.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Matthew》
Matthew 6:9~13 Lord’s Prayer
I cannot say “our” if I live only for myself.
I cannot say “Father” if I do not endeavor each day to act like his child.
I cannot say “Who art in heaven” if I am laying up no treasure there.
I cannot say “Hallowed be thy name” if I am not striving for holiness.
I cannot say “thy kingdom come” if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful event.
I cannot say “thy will be done” if I am disobedient to his Word.
I cannot say “on earth as it is in heaven” if I’ll not serve him here and now.
I cannot say “give us this day our daily bread” if I am dishonest or am seeking things by subterfuge.
I cannot say “forgive us our debts” if I harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot say “lead us not into temptation” if I deliberately place myself in its path.
I cannot say “deliver us from evil” if I do not put on the whole armor of God.
I cannot say “thine is the kingdom” if I do not give the King the loyalty due him from a faithful subject.
I cannot attribute to him “the power” if I fear what men may do.
I cannot ascribe to him “the glory” if I’m seeking honor only for myself, and I cannot say “forever” if the horizon of my life is bounded completely by time.
There is a story of a wealthy woman who, when she reached heaven, was conducted to a very plain house. She objected. “Well,” she was told, “that is the dwelling-place prepared for you.”
“Whose is that fine mansion across the way?” she asked.
Her guide replied, “It belongs to your gardener.”
“How is it that he has a house so much better than mine?”
“The houses here are prepared from the materials that are sent up. We do not choose them; you do that by your faithfulness while on earth.”
This may be a story, but it bears a profound truth about the “treasures” we accumulate.
Matthew 6:24 Convictions
At the outbreak of the Civil War, a
One day this man was caught in the middle of a skirmish between the two armies. He stood up and shouted that he was neutral in this fight and expected to be allowed to leave the field before the battle closed in on him. But Union sharpshooters seeing the gray jacket, riddled it with bullets. And Confederate marksmen, seeing the blur pants, filled them with lead.
The point is, you cannot serve two master.
Matthew 6:24 Money-Making
A gentleman of Boston, USA, an intimate friend of Professor Agassiz, once expressed his wonder that a man of such abilities as he (Agassiz) possessed should remain contented with such a moderate income. ‘I have enough,’ was Agassiz’s reply, ‘I have not time to make money. Life is not sufficiently long to enable a man to get rich, and do his duty to his fellow-men at the same time.’ Christian, have you time to serve your God and yet to give your whole soul to gaining wealth? ── C.H. Spurgeon
Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake! ―― Victor Hugo
Said the Robin (知更鳥) to the Sparrow:
“There is one thing I would really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
Chapter 6. See in Secret
Store up Treasures on Earth
Store up Treasures in Heaven
I. Rewards for Secret Service
II. The Lord's Teaching of Prayer
III. Do Not Worry about Life
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Charity That Pleases God (6:1-4)
1. Are you a charitable person?
a. If so, are you sure that your charity is pleasing to God?
b. Were you aware that some forms of charity actually displease God?
2. In Jesus' day, there were religious people who were extremely
a. The Pharisees, for example, would give ten percent to God - e.g.,
b. They tithed even the smallest of seeds - Lk 11:42
-- But as indicated in these two cases, not all charity or giving
3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught His disciples to have a
righteousness which exceeded that of the Pharisees - Mt 5:20
a. Jesus first contrasted the "righteousness of the kingdom" with
what the scribes and Pharisees were teaching
b. He then contrasted what He expected of His disciples with what
the scribes and Pharisees were practicing
[In Mt 6:1-4, we find the first of several examples concerning the
practice of righteousness. In it, we learn about "Charity That Pleases
God." Note first what Jesus taught about...]
I. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE GOVERNING ACTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (1)
A. CONCERNING THIS VERSE...
1. Some manuscripts, upon which the KJV and NKJV are based, have
the Greek word eleemosunen
a. Translated "alms", or "charitable deeds"
b. Which would make this verse refer specifically to
almsgiving, or charitable deeds
2. Older manuscripts, upon which the ASV and NASV are based, have
the Greek word dikaiosunen
a. Translated "righteousness"
b. Which would make verse one speaking in general terms,
establishing the principle to be applied to ALL acts of
-- Textual support seems strongest for dikaiosunen, making verse
one an introductory statement concerning all righteous acts
B. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE...
1. Stated simply: we are not to do acts of righteousness to be
seen of men - Mt 6:
a. Note: It is NOT to completely avoid ANY practice of
righteousness before men - cf. Mt 5:16
b. Rather, it is to avoid doing them JUST TO BE SEEN OF MEN
2. Therefore, it is proper to do good works before men...
a. When we are trying to secure praise for GOD
b. But not when we are trying to secure praise for OURSELVES!
C. CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING THIS BASIC PRINCIPLE...
1. If, in the innermost being of your heart, you do not mean to
please and glorify God, He will not reward you!
2. What reward you may have (cf. Mt 6:2,5,16) will be limited to
the praise of men
[Let's now consider how Jesus applies this to the matter of charitable
II. CONCERNING CHARITABLE DEEDS (2-4)
A. WHAT "NOT" TO DO...
1. Don't be like the "hypocrites" (literally, "actors") - Mt 6:
a. Who sound trumpets in the synagogues and streets
b. Who are looking to be honored by men
2. "They have their reward" - Mt 6:2b
a. They receive exactly (and only) what they wanted: the
praise of men
b. But remember verse one...
1) They have no reward from the Father in heaven
2) Neither in the present or in the future!
B. CHARITY THAT PLEASES GOD...
1. "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing"
- Mt 6:3
a. This involves avoiding not only the praise of others, but
self praise as well
b. Some thoughts by others on what this metaphor means:
1) "The right [hand], [represents] me with my good deed;
the left, me with my good opinion about my deed."
2) "The expression probably refers to the fact that as much
as possible a person must keep his voluntary
contribution a secret not only to others but even to
himself; that is, he should forget about it, instead of
saying in his heart, `What a good man, woman, boy, girl,
am I!'" (Hendricksen)
c. How can one develop the ability to give in this way?
1) Perhaps by giving so often it becomes "second nature"
2) So that you do it without much thought (just as with
anything you do often)
2. Note: Jesus is not condemning public giving per se - cf. Ac 2:
a. He is condemning the spirit which seeks publicity
b. He is teaching "secret-giving" in the sense of "secret to
c. "The true Christian cares not how much men hear of his
public charities, nor how little they hear of his private
C. THE REWARD FOR CHARITY THAT PLEASES GOD...
1. "Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you
openly." - Mt 6:4
2. The reward may be experienced to some degree in this life - Psa
3. Without a doubt it will be experienced on the day of judgment
a. For every secret thing will be made known - Ecc 12:14
b. We will experience the benefit of the good we have done
- 2 Co 5:10
1. Christians who have been blessed materially have been given a charge
to be "rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share" - 1 Ti
2. But if we desire that our charity will indeed store up "a good
foundation for the time to come"...
a. We must be sure to practice "Charity That Pleases God"
b. We must learn to give, not to be seen of men, but to glorify God
c. We must learn to give without self-praise for what we are doing
Do our charitable deeds exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees in
Jesus' day, not only in quantity, but in the quality of our giving? May
the Lord keep us free from the giving of hypocrites!
Prayer That Pleases God (6:5-15)
1. A wonderful privilege enjoyed by the children of God is prayer...
a. Through prayer we can receive mercy and grace to help in time of
need - He 4:14-16
b. Through prayer we can find peace that guards our hearts and mind
- Ph 4:6-7
2. But the privilege of prayer assumes God will heed our prayers...
a. Not all prayers are acceptable to God - cf. Pro 28:9
b. Indeed, God does not hear the prayers of all men - cf. Isa 59:
1-2; 1 Pe 3:12
c. Jesus described the prayer of one man which did not please God
- Lk 18:9-14
3. Do we know what qualifies as "Prayer That Pleases God"?
a. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus had much to say about prayer
b. Especially the kind of prayer which finds favor in God's sight
[In this study, let's take a look at Mt 6:5-15, where Jesus taught
His disciples regarding prayer. First, we find Jesus telling us...]
I. WHAT "NOT" TO DO IN REGARDS TO PRAYER
A. DO NOT BE LIKE THE HYPOCRITES...
1. Who love to pray...
a. Standing in the synagogues
b. On the corners of the streets
2. This they do "that they may be seen of men" - Mt 6:5
B. "THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD..."
1. That is, they are indeed seen by men
2. But that is the extent of their reward (the praise of men)
3. They have no reward or blessing from God!
C. JESUS IS NOT CONDEMNING ALL PUBLIC PRAYING...
1. Evident from the fact that He Himself prayed in public - Mt
11:25; Jn 11:41
2. As did Paul - Ac 27:35
[The emphasis is the same as stated in Mt 6:1, "do not do your [deeds
of righteousness] before men, TO BE SEEN BY THEM."
How, then, are we to pray as to be heard by God?]
II. PRAYER THAT PLEASES GOD
A. OFFERED "TO BE SEEN OF GOD," NOT MEN...
1. This is the main idea of "praying in secret" - Mt 6:6
2. "The sincere and humble worshiper, one who is not interested
in making a public display for the sake of enhancing his
prestige, will find the secluded nook or den to be most
appropriate for his devotions." (unknown)
3. The person who prays much in secret is praying to be seen of
God, not men!
B. OFFERED "TO BE HEARD OF GOD," NOT MEN...
1. Avoiding the use of "vain repetitions" - Mt 6:7
a. As was often practiced by the heathen religions
b. "The heathen tried to tire out their gods with such endless
prayers. Mere formulas were repeated over and over again;
the Jews had such prayer formulas, Catholics also have
them in the form of their rosary." (Lenski)
2. This is not condemning all repetition, but "vain" (insincere,
a. Jesus repeated Himself in prayer at Gethsemane - Mt 26:
b. Paul repeated his requests concerning his "thorn in the
flesh" - 2 Co 12:7-8
3. Since "your Father knows the things you have need of before
you ask Him," prayers to be heard by God do not have to be
filled with superfluous words
a. Have you ever noted the brevity of prayers recorded in the
b. God is not swayed the by quantity of words, but by the
quality of the heart!
C. OFFERED ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN...
1. The phrase "in this manner" suggests that this prayer...
a. Is a pattern for praying
b. Not a liturgical exercise as sometimes practiced
2. The pattern of proper prayer:
a. First, simplicity
1) Notice the word "therefore"
a) It connects what follows with what was said before
b) Jesus' pattern for prayer is an "illustration" in
contrast to the "many words" used by the heathen
2) In the prayer itself, note the brevity of words
b. Then, in its content, proper prayer includes...
1) Reverence for God and His "Name" (i.e., His being and
character) - Mt 6:9
2) Prayer for the progress of God's Kingdom and His Will on
the earth - Mt 6:10
3) Asking for physical necessities - Mt 6:11
4) Also, our spiritual needs
a) Forgiveness of sins - Mt 6:12
b) Protection and deliverance from evil - Mt 6:13
5) Praising God - Mt 6:13
D. OFFERED WITH A MERCIFUL SPIRIT...
1. As indicated in the pattern prayer itself - Mt 6:12,14-15
2. Otherwise, we cannot expect mercy for ourselves - cf. Mt 18:
21-23; Ja 2:13
3. This must be very important to Jesus, for this is the only
part of the pattern upon which He elaborates!
1. This is not the only occasion in which Jesus taught on prayer...
a. Later, His disciples would ask Him to teach them to pray - Lk 11:
b. He taught them about the importance of persistence, faith and
humility in prayer - Lk 11:5-13; 18:1-14
2. But in this sermon Jesus sought to stress prayer that is designed...
a. To be seen by God, not man
b. To be heard by God, not man
-- Who knows better what kind of prayer that is, than He who now
sits at the right hand of God!
If we believe that God hears prayer (Psa 65:2) and that He is a
rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (He 11:6), then let's be sure
we offer the kind of "Prayer That Pleases God"!
Fasting That Pleases God (6:16-18)
1. You don't hear much about fasting these days
a. In a culture where the landscape is dotted with shrines to the
"Golden Arches" and an assortment of "Pizza Temples"...
b. ...fasting seems out of place, out of step with the times
2. But the Scriptures have much to say about fasting...
a. There is more teaching in the NT on fasting than repentance and
b. Jesus taught more on fasting than on baptism and the Lord's
-- Yet some question whether fasting is something for Christians
3. In His sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught concerning "Fasting That
a. In connection with other acts of righteousness like charity and
b. In calling His disciples to exceed the righteousness of the
scribes and Pharisees
[In this study, we will examine Mt 6:16-18, and consider what Jesus
had to say about "Fasting That Pleases God." But in so doing, let's
begin by answering a few questions...]
I. SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST TODAY?
A. THE EXAMPLE AND TEACHING OF JESUS...
1. He fasted during his forty day period of temptation in the
wilderness - Lk 4:1-2
2. In His teaching on the subject of fasting:
a. He assumed His disciples would fast -- He said "when" not
"if" - Mt 6:16-17
b. He said they would fast when He was gone - Mt 9:14-15
c. He taught:
1) How to fast so as to incur God's good pleasure - Mt 6:
2) When done properly, fasting would incur God's good
pleasure - Mt 6:18b
3) Fasting should be done only when appropriate - Mt 9:16-
4) There were occasions when prayer needed to be joined
with fasting - Mt 17:20-21
B. THE EXAMPLES OF FASTING IN THE EARLY CHURCH...
1. The brethren at Antioch - Ac 13:1-3
a. Fasting in their service to the Lord
b. Fasting and praying as they send out Paul and Barnabas
2. The churches in Galatia - Ac 14:21-23
a. Done in EVERY church
b. When appointing elders
C. THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL FASTING AS A MINISTER...
1. He listed fasting among things which proved him as a minister
of Christ - cf. 2 Co 11:23-28
2. Are we not commanded to imitate him, even as he imitated
Christ? - 1 Co 11:1 (and both fasted in their service to God!)
[At the very least, we can say that it is not inappropriate for
Christians to fast today. Unless we have medical reasons not to fast,
we have very good examples to motivate us TO fast! But to be sure that
we fast for the right reason, we should answer another question...]
II. WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST?
A. PEOPLE OFTEN FAST TODAY FOR VARIOUS REASONS...
1. Some do it solely for health reasons
2. Others do it only in times of grief and sorrow
3. Still others do it as a way to gain self-control
-- But these are not reasons Christians should fast in their
service to God - cf. Co 2:20-23
B. CHRISTIANS SHOULD FAST WHEN SEEKING DIVINE HELP...
1. In the Old Testament; people of God fasted...
a. In times of war, or at the threat of it (Israel)
b. When loved ones were sick (David)
c. When seeking God's forgiveness (Ahab, Daniel)
d. When seeking God's protection (Ezra)
2. In the New Testament; fasting occurred...
a. When dealing with temptations (Jesus)
b. When serving the Lord (the church at Antioch)
c. When beginning a work for the Lord (again at Antioch)
d. When selecting and appointing elders (in Galatia)
3. Such fasting should be done in conjunction with prayer
a. For fasting, when done properly...
1) Humbles the soul - Psa 35:13
2) Chastens the soul - Psa 69:10
b. The prayers of the humble are more likely to be heard!
- cf. Ezr 8:21-23
[This being true, this should help us to answer the next question
III. WHEN SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST?
A. WHENEVER WE DESIRE GOD'S HELP...
1. These may be occasions on an individual level
a. When faced with difficult temptations
b. When faced with the serious illness of a loved one
2. These occasions might be on a congregational level
a. As when appointing elders
b. As when sending out missionaries
B. WHENEVER SITUATIONS CALL FOR PERSISTENT PRAYER...
1. Such would be an occasion for fasting joined with prayer
2. Are we not taught that God is more likely to answer our
a. If we are persistent? - cf. Lk 18:1-8
b. If we fast in the proper way? - cf. Mt 6:17-18
[So whenever there is a matter requiring much prayer, fasting in
conjunction with such prayer would be appropriate. Finally, let's take
a look at...]
IV. FASTING THAT PLEASES GOD
A. NOT TO BE SEEN OF MEN...
1. As practiced by the hypocrites of Jesus' day, it involved:
a. Doing so with a "sad countenance"
b. Doing so with "disfigured faces" (perhaps by applying
-- The only good such fasting might do them is win the praise
of men, but certainly not of God! - Mt 6:16
2. Rather, our fasting is to be seen of God
a. To be done without any outward appearance of fasting - Mt
1) Therefore, it should include "anointing your head"
2) Also, "washing your face"
-- I.e., what people would normally do to as part of their
b. By doing this, only God will see your fasting and He will
reward you openly (perhaps by answering prayers offered
while fasting) - Mt 6:18
B. NOT AS SOME REGULAR RITUAL...
1. This point Jesus made in Mt 9:14-17
2. It should be done only when the occasion calls for it (such as
situations where you would already be spending much time in
C. NOT WITHOUT TRUE REPENTANCE...
1. Cf. Isa 58:3-9
2. All the praying, all the fasting, is of no avail if it is not
accompanied with penitent obedience on our part
D. SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS...
1. Don't go out and fast just because it sounds like "a neat
thing to do"
a. Take the subject seriously and prayerfully
b. Fast only when the occasion is a serious one
c. One in which you desperately desire God's help
2. If you have never fasted before...
a. Start slow, fast only for brief periods of time
b. End slow, gradually breaking your fast with fresh fruits
and vegetables in small amounts
3. Fast when you have time to spend in prayerful meditation
a. Remember the purpose for fasting
b. To humble oneself in God's sight; to seek a favorable
answer to prayer for some important plea
1. There is much more that could be said on the subject of fasting
2. But I hope this suffices to stimulate our thinking on a subject
which has often been neglected in both study and practice
3. But implied in Jesus' teachings is that His disciples would fast,
and so it is important that we know what is involved in "Fasting
That Pleases God"
Now as useful as fasting might be, praying and fasting alone cannot
save a person who is lost. Paul found this out when he fasted three
days after coming to believe in Jesus as the Lord (Ac 9:3-9; 22:6-16).
Have you heeded what Paul was told to do?
'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' (Ac 22:16)
Gaining Mastery Over Mammon (6:19-24)
1. In writing to Timothy, Paul described the danger of seeking to be
a. The desire to be rich is filled with temptations which have
destroyed many - 1 Ti 6:9
b. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil which have led
many astray - 1 Ti 6:10
2. Jesus also described the difficulty of the rich entering the kingdom
a. When the rich young ruler asked concerning eternal life - Mt 19:
b. Jesus said it was difficult, but not impossible - Mt 19:23-26
3. In Mt 6:19-24, Jesus taught how it was possible...
a. For the rich person to have "treasure in heaven"
b. For us to overcome "mammon", which can easily enslave us
4. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, "mammon" is...
a. A Chaldee or Syriac word meaning "wealth" or "riches" - Lk 16:
b. By personification, the god of riches - Mt 6:24
5. Thus if not careful, wealth and riches can become our "god"...
a. Paul called a covetous person an idolater - Ep 5:5
b. He told the Colossians to put to death "covetousness, which is
idolatry" - Co 3:5
[To prevent Mammon from become our "god", let's examine the teachings
of our Lord as found in His sermon on the mount. Beginning with Mt 6:
19, we find the first of three keys to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"...]
I. LAY UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN (19-21)
A. WHY IN HEAVEN, AND NOT ON EARTH...
1. On earth:
a. Moth and rust destroy (material things are perishable)
b. Thieves break in and steal (material things are subject to
2. In heaven:
a. Neither moth nor rust destroys (our treasures are
imperishable - 1 Pe 1:3-4)
b. Thieves do not break in and steal (our treasures are
securely guarded - 1 Pe 3:4-5)
B. WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR "HEART" (AFFECTIONS, HOPE,
DREAMS) WILL BE ALSO...
1. If your treasure is on earth, your heart will experience much
a. As things for which you have affection decay or are one day
destroyed by fire
b. As things in which you find your primary joy are suddenly
gone through things like theft
2. But if your treasure is in heaven, your heart will not suffer
a. For your treasure is "incorruptible, undefiled, and does
not fade away"
b. Nothing can take your treasure away from you, for it is
1) "reserved in heaven for you"
2) "kept by the power of God through faith"
3. With treasures laid up in heaven, whatever happens on earth
will not devastate you!
- cf. the Hebrew Christians in He 10:32-34
4. When these words of Jesus are taken to heart and applied, how
true His words in Mt 7:24-27 will be!
a. The "storms" of life will not overwhelm us
b. Because we've built our foundation upon the words of Jesus
found in our text!
C. HOW CAN WE LAY UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN?
1. First, by becoming children of God...
a. Thereby becoming "joint-heirs with Christ" - Ro 8:16-17
b. And the recipients of "every spiritual blessing" in
heavenly places - Ep 1:13
2. Then, by using material wealth we may have to bless those
a. As Jesus instructed the rich young ruler - Mt 19:21
b. As He instructed His disciples, in order to have "a
treasure in the heavens that does not fail" - Lk 12:33-34
c. As Paul wrote Timothy to charge those rich in this present
age, that they may be "storing up for themselves a good
foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on
eternal life" - 1 Ti 6:17-19
[Through such generosity and liberality, then, we are well on the way
to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon." At the same time, we need to make
sure that we observe the second key...]
II. KEEP YOUR EYE GOOD (22-23)
A. IN THE METAPHOR USED BY JESUS...
1. The "body" likely represents the "soul" or "inner man"
2. The "eye" likely represents the "gaze of the soul" or the
"heart of man"
3. The word "good" in Greek means "simple, single, uncomplicated"
4. The word "bad" in Greek means "wicked, evil"
5. And in the Scriptures, the expression "evil eye" is used to
mean "envious, covetous" - cf. Pro 23:6; Mt 20:15; Mk 7:22
B. AN EXPLANATION BASED UPON THESE DEFINITIONS...
1. If the heart or gaze of the soul be "good" ("single" in its
love of God and the things of God)...
a. Then one is filled with "light"
b. In other words, goodness, righteousness, and truth - cf.
2. But if the heart or gaze of the soul be "evil" (full of envy,
a. Then one's soul is filled with "darkness"
b. The opposite of light: selfishness, wickedness, and
C. THUS THE NEED FOR THE WARNING...
1. To guard what goes in your eye
a. I.e., what you allow your eyes to dwell upon
b. Remember, there is such a thing as "the lusts of the eyes"
2. To be rich toward God, free from covetousness - Lk 12:13-21
a. Note Jesus' warning - Lk 12:15
b. Also His conclusion - Lk 12:21
[The third and last key to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon" is most
crucial, and will make it impossible for one to serve Mammon...]
III. MAKE GOD YOUR MASTER (24)
A. NO ONE CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS...
1. A "master" by definition demands "total loyalty", and we are
unable to please two masters at the same time
2. Such is certainly true with God - cf. Exo 34:14
3. Mammon is evidently no different
B. WE HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GOD AND MAMMON...
1. When wealth is coveted, and becomes the priority in our lives,
it becomes a "god" - cf. Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
2. So the choice becomes one as to whether we shall worship the
One True God, or be "idolaters" following after a false god!
C. CHOOSE TO SERVE GOD...
1. As Jesus would later say, "Seek first the kingdom of God and
His righteousness" - Mt 6:33
2. Do this, and God becomes our Master
3. Since we can't serve two masters, this effectively eliminates
Mammon from being our "god"!
1. These are the three keys to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"...
a. Lay up treasure in heaven (by helping others)
b. Keep your eye good (guard what you allow to influence your inner
c. Make God your Master (and you will not be able to serve another
2. Why seek to gain mastery over mammon and serve God instead?
a. Because Mammon...
1) Is susceptible to decay and theft
2) Will make us blind, selfish creatures
b. Whereas with God...
1) Our treasures are secure
2) We will be kind, righteous people
3. By gaining mastery over Mammon we will also avoid...
a. Falling into a temptation and a snare
b. Falling into many foolish and harmful lusts
c. Straying from the faith because of greediness
d. Piercing ourselves with many sorrows - cf. 1 Ti 6:9-10
But most importantly, Christians will be "storing up for themselves a
good foundation for the time to come", and "lay hold on eternal life"
(1 Ti 6:17-19). Isn't that what we really want?
Winning The War Over Worry (6:25-34)
1. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus exhorted His disciples to...
a. Lay up treasure in heaven (by helping others)
b. Keep your eye good (guard what you allow to influence your inner
c. Make God your Master (and you will not be able to serve another
-- Which we examined in the lesson "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"
2. But if we do what Jesus says, what about the future here on earth?
a. If we lay up treasure in heaven instead of on earth, how will we
provide for our future?
b. Where will our physical necessities like food and clothing come
c. How can we keep from worrying about such things?
3. Jesus' discussion concerning material riches (i.e., "mammon") did
not end with verse 24...
a. It really continues on to the end of the chapter
b. In which Jesus addresses such concerns regarding the future
[Beginning with verse 25, Jesus gives several reasons why we should not
worry about such things. In so doing, He establishes two important
principles that are crucial to "Winning The War Over Worry". The first
principle might be stated as...]
I. HAVE FAITH IN GOD'S PROVIDENCE
A. JESUS TELLS US NOT TO "WORRY"...
1. The word in the original means "distracted"
2. I.e., don't let anxiety about food and clothing distract you
from more important things in life (like Martha did - Lk 10:
B. JESUS MAKES FOUR ARGUMENTS WHY WE SHOULDN'T WORRY...
1. Is not life and body more important than food and clothing?
- Mt 6:25
a. This is an argument from the GREATER to the LESSER (similar
to Ro 8:32)
b. Life and body are certainly more important than food and
c. Who provides our lives and our bodies? God!
a. If He is powerful enough to create life...
b. Isn't He also able to provide food & clothing to sustain
d. "He who has displayed so great goodness as to form the
body, and breathe into it the breath of life, will surely
follow up the blessing, and confer the smaller favor of
providing that the body be clothed, and that life
2. Look at the birds of the air, are you not more valuable than
they? - Mt 6:26
a. The birds are an example of God's ability to provide
1) Through His providential workings in nature, God
provides for their needs
2) This does not mean they do not work for their needs
(indeed, they are often very busy, gathering food,
preparing nests, caring for their young)
3) But they are not guilty of overdoing a good thing (as
the rich fool was in the parable of Lk 12:16-21)
b. We are certainly more valuable to God than birds!
1) This is an argument from the LESSER to the GREATER (cf.
a) If God through His providence provides for their
needs, will He not for you?
b) A similar argument is found in Mt 10:29-31
2) How are you more valuable than birds?
a) You were created in the image of God!
b) You were redeemed by the blood of His Son!
c. Why, then, let concern over physical needs distract you
from what is really important in life?
3. Can you grow simply by worrying? - Mt 6:27
a. This argument illustrates the helplessness of man
1) There are many things in this life which we cannot
affect by "worrying"
2) For example, worrying will not make our bodies grow any
b. The implication of this argument seems to be:
1) "Worrying" about food and clothing cannot guarantee that
you will have them tomorrow
2) As victims of "Hurricane Hugo", the "Great Quake of '89"
and "Hurricane Andrew" have come to realize
4. Consider the lilies, won't God provide for you also? - Mt 6:
a. Another example of God's ability and willingness to provide
1) Like the argument in verse 26 (the "birds of the air")
2) It is another argument from the LESSER to the GREATER
b. Look at how they grow...
1) Without any "toil" whatever on their part, nor any
"care" bestowed on them by any human agency
2) Yet their glory surpasses Solomon in all his glory! How?
a) Through God's providential care!
b) By so ordering the affairs of this life to assure
that they accomplish what they were designed to
c. Will God not much more clothe you?
1) If God is able to so clothe the grass of the field...
2) Is He not ABLE and WILLING to do so for you?
a) You who are created in the image of God?
b) You who are designed to spend eternity with God?
C. IF WE WORRY, WE ARE OF LITTLE FAITH...
1. If we worry about food and clothing, then we are "little
faith" - Mt 6:30
2. We have "little faith" in God's...
a. Promise to care for us!
b. Power to deliver that promise!
D. JESUS' SUMMARY CONCERNING GOD'S PROVIDENCE...
1. Don't worry about food and clothing - Mt 6:31
2. People without God (e.g., the Gentiles) naturally worry about
these things - Mt 6:32
3. But we have God as our Heavenly Father, and He knows that we
need such things!
[So we need to develop faith in God's providence, both in His ability
and willingness to provide for His children. But the promise of His
providence is conditioned upon our willingness to...]
II. MAKE GOD'S WILL YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY
A. SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD...
1. This is the second key to "Winning The War Over Worry"
2. We must make the will of God the number one priority in your
life - Mt 6:33
3. We do this by:
a. Serving God instead of "mammon"
b. Letting the "lamp" of our body be a "good eye" (i.e.,
focused clearly on that which is good, true, and righteous)
c. Laying up treasure in heaven (by using earthly treasure to
help others - Mt 19:21; Lk 12:33-34; 1 Ti 6:17-19
4. Do this, and God will provide for your physical needs
a. For He is certainly "able"
b. And He is certainly "willing"
B. DON'T WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW...
1. Today has enough trouble with which to concern yourself
- Mt 6:34
a. We are not capable of handling tomorrow's worries
1) We have no control over the future
2) And worrying about the future only distracts us from the
duties of the present
b. Today's problems are all we are capable of handling without
2. Let tomorrow take care of itself
a. By trusting in God!
b. By doing God's will today!
3. Let your undivided attention be given to seeking God's rule in
a. Make His kingdom the number one priority in your life
b. Concern yourself with His righteousness, not your riches
1. The motto of many is "Don't worry, be happy!"; but Jesus qualifies
that motto by saying:
"Don't worry, seek God's will first, and you will be happy!"
2. If we take to heart what Jesus says, then our lives will be like
homes built on a rock (cf. Mt 7:24-25)...
a. No matter what "storms" of life may come our way...
b. ...our treasure is in heaven and our Father will provide for us
during our earthly sojourn!
3. If we don't heed Jesus' teachings, if we allow ourselves to serve
a. Then we must go through life on earth without God's help
b. And we have no hope of eternity with God when we die
That is why we must "Seek first the
..."! kingdomof God