Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Kings 1-2; Matthew 6
Jesus illustrates something for us preachers as He preaches His sermon on the mount. He illustrates the importance of preaching to the heart and not just to conform behavior. When God gets our heart, our behavior and actions will follow. “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
The Bible is clear that all Christians will stand and give an account of themselves to God on judgment day. They will be rewarded for the works that they have done for God and those things done for selfish purposes will burn up. God is very interested in what we do for Him; however, He is just as interested in why we do what we do. We will only be rewarded for things done out of genuine love for God, in faith believing God, and for the glory of God. We can “do” all the right things and end up with nothing on judgment day because of poor motives. God wants our heart! In Matthew 6, Jesus is addressing the issue of doing things for the praise of man, rather than the praise of God. “Alms” is a word that means our good or righteous deeds. Jesus says to be careful that when you do good things, do not do them for the praise of man or there will be no reward of your Father. A person who does good things but wants to get credit and recognition for those good things here on earth, God says, “…they have their reward.” (vs. 2) However, if you are content to just do things for God, whether or not your name is ever mentioned, one day God will reward you openly. (vs. 4) The two areas that Jesus addresses specifically are prayer and fasting. Some people pray to men, even when they have addressed God. They are worried about what man thinks of their prayer. Some memorize, write, or rehearse prayers so that man will think they have a specific type of prayer life. They worry most about what some other person is going to think of their prayer rather than what God knows about their motive. God says, “Don’t be a hypocrite!” Then He addresses the hypocrisy in fasting. He says that man should not do things that draw attention to themselves. They should not do things that gets peoples attention or causes people to ask them questions. Some people are very needy and are constantly doing things that cause people to look at them sympathetically in order that someone might ask them how they are doing. Jesus uses the illustration of distorting the face to make people see how miserably hungry you are, so you can tell them how long you have gone without food for Jesus’ sake. Jesus tells them that they are a hypocrite! They have their reward! Jesus concludes this chapter with an exhortation to do things with an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one. We must not live for the here and now, but in light of the promises and truths relating to eternity. We function in the here and now and how we live now will have an eternal impact. Every decision has a future! Jesus exhorts us to be sure our decisions now are made in light of how they will look on judgment day. We must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
• Lord, please help me to exalt you and never myself. Please help me to live my life so that you are pleased. Help me to see the praise of man as so temporary and ultimately empty. Help me to live only to the praise of your glory.
• Lord, please help me to live graciously, modestly, and faithfully. May people see the fruit of the spirit in me and not the fruit of my own labor.
• Lord, thank you for the promises of eternity. I look forward to seeing you face to face, but I want to stand before you as a faithful steward. Please help me to seek you first in every decision. May you be the main motivator in every decision I make. I want you to be pleased with my life.