Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 6

I am worried that many Christians do not really believe Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  In this sermon Jesus presents a way of living marked by humility, mercy, and service to others.  I am concerned that these Christian character markers have become merely talking points and not living points by many who loudly profess to be followers of the Master.  Such will simply not do.  If Christians are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, there must be something distinctive about our lives – not just what we claim and preach, but what we actually do.  The Sermon on the Mount is an excellent summary statement of the way Christianity is to look in the daily lives of its adherents.  I just wish we truly believed it.

In an attempt to help us (myself included) better understand the Lord’s teaching in this sermon, I am continuing my expanded paraphrase of it.  Hopefully, a better understanding will lead to a better faith and a better practice.

Below you will find the Bible text first in regular type with my thoughts under it in italics.  The text has been divided into sections.  I would like to have your comments as it is important to me that I get this right.  Thanks.

Matthew 6

1 Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

– Don’t just do good things when others are around because you think you will impress them.  This won’t impress God.  When you do something good, don’t make an announcement of it.  Only hypocrites do that.  And when they do, they get what they were seeking: the praise of men.  When you see an opportunity to do good, just do it.  Don’t care if anyone knows about it or not.  Even if your good work or good word is known only to God, He will reward you.  Live to please God, not to please men.

5 And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

– And when you pray, don’t show off.  If the purpose of your prayer is to impress others, then that’s the only reward you will get.  When you pray, it is to be between you and God.  If your prayers come from your personal relationship with God, everyone will see how He blesses you.  Also, in your prayers don’t keep repeating the same phrases over and over.  People who do that are not thinking about God, but themselves and how they think God is impressed with their many words.  Don’t be that way.  God knows perfectly well what you need, even before you ask for it.

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

– Here’s a model of how you should pray.  “Our Father in heaven, we praise your name.  May Your kingdom increase.  May Your will be done as perfectly here on earth as it is in heaven.  Bless us with the material things we need.  Forgive us of our sins, as we remember to forgive those who have sinned against us.  Help us to avoid temptation and give us strength when we have to face it.  The kingdom is Yours, the power is Yours, the glory is Yours – now and forever.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

– You must forgive those who wrong you if you expect God to forgive you, for you have certainly wronged Him.  If you are forgiving, you will be forgiven.  If you are not forgiving, you will not be forgiven.

16 Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

– When you fast, don’t try to look like you are suffering, but clean yourself up.  God knows what you are doing and He will bless you if it is good.

19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;

20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

– Don’t make your main investment in this life, too many things can go wrong here and the things here don’t last very long.  Instead, make your main investment in heaven, where nothing ever goes wrong and nothing ever wears out.

22 The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

– You see with your eyes and go where you wish to go.  If you have good eyes, you will see clearly and successfully move about.  But if your eyes are bad, there is no telling where you will wind up.  You could easily hurt yourself.  If your eyes are poor, it is a terrible thing.  There are two kinds of masters: the world and the Lord.  As your eyes will be either good or bad, with predictable results, you must choose the correct master.  You can’t have it both ways.  If you love the world, you don’t love God.  You cannot serve God while pursuing the world.

25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.   (NKJV)

– Just don’t worry about this life.  Don’t get all caught up in eating and drinking and having.  Your life is more than what you eat and your body is more than what you dress it in.  Look outside at the birds, they neither plant nor harvest; But God takes care of them.  Aren’t you worth a lot more than they?  Does worrying about things change them?  So why do it?  Look at Solomon in all his wealth.  He wasn’t clothed as well as the wild flowers along the side of the road. They are mowed down and left where they fall.   God provides for them and He will for you.  Where is your faith?  Don’t worry yourself about food or drink or clothing.  Those who don’t know God are chasing those things.  Your Father in heaven knows very well what you need.  Here’s what you do:  you chase God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, you pursue that, and let God take care of your worldly needs.  Don’t worry about the future and what trouble it might bring.  Concentrate on today, there are plenty of things that need your attention right now.

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