unit 1 LESSON 2
December 10, 2023
STUDY TEXT: Matthew 6:1-34
CENTRAL TRUTH: A life governed by Christ requires undivided loyalty to Him.
Key Verse: Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will hold to the one and despise the other (KJV).
"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other" (NLT).
LET'S GET STARTED
Have you ever known anyone who did the right thing for the wrong reasons? When we exercise spiritual disciplines to impress others, we may be doing right things, but our motivations are wrong. people may look at what we are doing and be impressed, but God looks deep within us. he knows the state of our hearts and the reasons behind our outward actions. Jesus taught His disciples to have the right motivations for their good deeds. When we internalize and follow His teachings and give the Holy Spirit room to work in our lives, we will find freedom and joy we can't explain. The Christian life is authentic life. People often reject God because they see the hollowness of some who claim to be Christians. Authentic Christians should be filled with joy even life is difficult. They should be honest about their struggles, facing them without anxiety and fear. Today we will continue to look at Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, specifically His teachings in Matthew 6 abut serving God with the right motives, making God our true mater, and trusting God to meet all our needs.
PART1 ---Give, Pray, and Fast
Motivation Matters Matthew 6:1-8,16-18.
In Jesus' day, a Pharisee's identity was tied to his religious practices. These religious leaders wanted to ensure people knew how devoted they were to God, so their so-called piety was on full display. When they gave money, they announced it publicly so everyone would admire their generosity (Matthew 6:2). When they prayed, they did it on the corner of the street so everyone could hear their lofty words (verse 5). When they fasted, they tried to "look miserable and disheveled, " so everyone would know they are doing their religious duty (verse 16). Giving, prayer, and fasting are important, but they must be done with the right motive. If we do any good Work to receive recognition from others, then that approval is our full reward. another selfish motive might be doing a good deed to improve one's own life. God-honoring giving does not ask, "what will I get in return?" God--honoring prayer should include others' needs as we trust Him to care for us. And God-honoring fasting is never an attempt to manipulate God. If we obey God to receive people's applause, our motives are compromised, and our rewards are temporary. God has promised eternal rewards to those who selflessly channel His love and do their good deeds in secret.
REACT? What practical steps can believers take to give, pray, and fast the right way?
The Right Way to Pray Matthew 6:9-15
Our prayers often reveal a great deal about our contentment. Sometimes prayers are little more than a laundry list of wants and wishes. However, effective prayer focusses on kingdom expansion. Jesus dd not say we should never pray for personal needs, but we must keep our priorities in order. The opening words of the Lord's prayer--"Our Father in heaven" (Matthew 6:9) --establish our relationship with God, which lays the foundation for the conversation to come. The next phrase shows reverence to God: "May your name be kept holy" (verse 9). We often approach God as the Giver of gifts or the Solver of problems (which He is), but first and foremost He is the one true God. He deserves our worship for that reason alone. In verse 10, Jesus prayed that God's kingdom would come to earth and His will would be done on earth. Then the prayer shifts into petitions. He expects us to ask Him for provision, but our needs and desires often change as we recognize who He is and submit to Him. That new house or car may seem less important when we begin to pray for the expansion of His Kingdom.
REACT? How do your typical prayers compare to the model prayer Jesus gave?
PART 2- Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
Wise Investments Matthew 6:19-23
Jesus warned, "Don't store up treasures here on earth" (Matthew 6:19). Christians should manage finances wisely, keeping in mind that if our security is based on our wealth, we are fooling ourselves. Possessions depreciate and can be stolen. No matter how safe our investments seem to be, they can disappear in a moment. However, Jesus offered an investment that always yields a return. When we use our finances to help bring people into the kingdom, we accumulate an eternal reward. The places peoples choose to invest their resources reveal the condition of their hearts (verse 21). Jesus illustrates this by describing healthy and unhealthy eyes *verses 22-23). Those with healthy eyes are filled with light and see opportunities to expand the kingdom and invest wisely. Those with unhealthy eyes are consumed by darkness and do not see the neds around them. Sadly, some Christians are so busy accumulating personal wealth that their eyes are blind to spiritual needs.
REACT? Some Christians are offended when a pastor talks about money the way Jesus did in Matthew 6. What does our attitude about money reveal about us?
Servant of God or Money Matthew 6:24
Christians often refer to Jesus as Lord and Savior, but if Jesus is truly our Lord, we will choose to obey and serve Him alone. Claiming loyalty to Jesus means nothing if our choices reveal we serve a different master. today's consumer mentality stands in opposition to kingdom values., and we are called to leave behind the pursuit of temporary treasures. if we base our choices on what we can afford, we are likely allowing money to control us. God is not limited by our bank accounts. He will show us the best path forward as we obey Him. Jesus used the phrase "enslaved to money" (Matthew 6:24) to show the powerful draw of wealth. If we don't allow God to guide us in this area, we will become consumed with money. Jesus' use of the words love and hate shows the incompatibility between a kingdom mindset and a materialistic one.
REACT? Is it possible for Jesus to be our Savior without also being our Lord?
Part 3--Trust God's Providence
Faith in God Matthew 6:25-32
Jesus instructed us to not worry about food, drink, or clothing. Part of the spiritual battle between desiring material things and eternal things is related to our view of God. If we believe God cares for us, knows what we need, and will supply those needs, there is no need to worry. The Father feeds the birds and clothes the lilies. If animals and plants are so well care for, can we not trust the Father to provide for us too? Our answer is linked to our faith. When we worry about God providing the things we need to survive, we reveal how little faith we truly have in Him. Jesus wasn't saying His followers should not work hard or make plans. Instead, He was addressing the anxiety that comes from not fully trusting God. Worry shows we do not really believe our Heavenly father will give us what we need. Spending time and energy worrying about basic needs is the behavior of people who do not know God. Jesus called us to have confidence in our Heavenly Father. He knows what we need, has the power to provide it, and loves us enough to do so.
REACT? How do we balance Jesus' teachings about worry with the wisdom of planning and prepare for the future?
Put God First Matthew 6:33-34
Believers are to (1) "seek the kingdom of God above all else" and (2) "live righteously" (Matthew 6:33). "Kingdom" points to God's will being fulfilled. "Righteously" emphasizes an inner commitment to holiness that affects every thought, motive, and action. Jesus enunciated the principle that had been established in the Garden of Eden: If human beings seek God's priorities and live in righteous obedience, He will provide for all their needs. Seeking God's kingdom and righteousness draws our attention away from the endless worry Jesus warned against, so we are freed to serve God and people as we trust Him to supply our needs. Matthew 6 closes with Jesus' instruction to let go of the past and not worry about the future (verse 34). There is nothing wrong with planning for the future, but Jesus told us, "Don't worry about tomorrow." Our God created and sustains everything, so he is able to take care of those who humbly follow Him one day at a time.
REACT? How would you respond if your children spoke to you same way you speak to God during prayer?
WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
Faithfully following God means trusting Him and serving Him with the right motives. Spiritual disciplines like giving, praying, and fasting are not for impressing others, earning God's favor, or getting whatever we want. Instead, they equip us to serve God better and expand the kingdom of heaven. When we fully recognize the greatness of God, we can learn to trust Him and submit to Him as Lord.
LIVING IT OUT
evaluate your motivations for praying, fasting, and giving.
Assess the role of money in your life and make necessary changes.
DAILY BIBLE READING
Monday: A Learner Succeeds His Mentor. Deuteronomy 31:1-8
Tuesday: A Young Disciple Hears God. 1 Samuel 3:1-10
Wednesday: A Determined Disciple Follows. 1 Kings 2:5-15
Thursday: The Disciples and His Master. 10:22-26
Friday: The Disciple and His Master. Matthew 10:22-26
Saturday: The Secret Disciple. John 19:38-42
Gospel Publishing House. 1445 N. Boonville Ave. Springfield, Missouri 65802 Volume 105 Number 2. Dec. Jan. Feb. 2023-24