Verse 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.
Those who do good deeds to be praised by men, need not seek a reward from God. If the motive for helping others is anything other than for the glory of God, there will be no further reward.
Verse 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.
The word hypocrite as used here, describes people who do good acts for appearances only.
Verse 3 – “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
Verse 4 – “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
These are principles that Jesus taught His disciples, and as disciples of Christ, do the same?
Verse 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.
Verse 6 – “But when you pray, go into your room, and when you shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
The religious leaders of Jesus time, loved to pray in public where they would seem to the people to be more holy. There is a place for public prayer, but to pray where only others will notice, is a good indication the audience is not God.
Verse 7 – “But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Repeating the same words over and over like a magic incantation, is speaking as though God didn’t hear you. Prayer is from he heart and can be very short and very effective.
Verse 8 – “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Verse 9 – “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Verse 10 – Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Verse 11 – Give us this day our daily bread.
Verse 12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Verse 13 – and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
This is often called the Lord’s prayer. (Verse 9) We are to be respectful to honor “Our heavenly Father.” (Verse 10) Christ’s kingdom, reign, is coming and His will is done because He’s our Creator, controls it all. (Verse 11) Those whom belong to Him, place their confidence in Him for protection and daily provision. (Verse 12) God does not lead us into temptations.This is asking God to not lead us into trials or a time of testing where we could be tempted to stray. And help us resist the evil one in these times. God has control of all these things and can so order our deliverance. (Verse 13) Debtors are those who are bound to others for some transaction. The word debt here means “sins,” or offences against God – offences which none but God can forgive. When we can’t or won’t forgive what others have done to us, how can we expect our heavenly Father to forgive us.
Verse 14 – “For if you forgive men their trespasses (offences against you), your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Verse 15 – “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Recognizing our own sin, and truly repenting and asking forgiveness, results in a willingness to forgive others. Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you. Yes, it’s hard to forgive someone who is intentionally doing things to harm you. But our Father says to forgive. That doesn’t mean you have to continue a relationship with those who will not admit they have wronged you and want to continue to do so.
Verse 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.
Verse 17 – “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
Verse 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.
Fasting- to abstain from food and drink. Fasting was mandatory once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Pharisees fasted twice a week to impress the people with their holiness.
This principle has been abused by church leaders, as it was abused by the Pharisees. Jesus said to do it in private. Every time I’ve read about the Jews fasting, it was because of their iniquity and sin and God was about to bring judgment. It is always associated with a deep time of prayer. The Bible refers to it as a religious observance. It is a time of grief or sorrow. It is what every person in sorrow does. This is the foundation applied to religion as a sacred rite. It is because the soul is, when oppressed or burdened by a sense of godly sorrow, of suffering, or some impending calamity coming.
Verse 19 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Verse 20 – “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Verse 21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So many people today put so much value on their cars, houses, jewelry, and clothing, material things; all the while ignoring where they are going to spend eternity. Jesus says that you can know where a person’s heart is by what they place value on.
Verse 22 – “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
When our body is full of light, our conduct is regular and steady. All that is needed to direct the soul and the conduct, is that the eye of faith be fixed on heaven, that the affections be their – spiritual vision. Our heart is fixed on the things of God.
Verse 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!
The eye that is bad has an improper perspective on wealth which results in moral and spiritual blindness that diminishes the ability to see and pursue what is good.
Verse 24 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
We live in a very materialistic world. What we need to ask ourselves is this: What occupies more of our thoughts, time, and efforts, God, or gaining wealth? Jesus says you cannot serve the true God, and at the same time be engaged in obtaining the riches of this world. One will interfere with the other.
Verse 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?
Jesus doesn’t want his disciples to be “anxious” about the supply of their needs. Why not? Being worried will immobilize us, but concern will move us into action. Philippians 4:19 – and my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Verse 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?
Verse 27 – “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Verse 28 – “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin;
Verse 29 – “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of the these.
Verse 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?
Jesus revealed the real cause of worry and anxiety – little faith. Doubt is a faith killer. Doubt in God’s power and willingness to provide for His children, is unbelief.
Verse 31 – “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ ‘What shall we drink?’
Verse 32 – “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Verse 33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
The disciple who seeks God first over this life and diligently pursues righteous living, can trust God that He will supply all our needs.
Verse 34 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Planning for your future, is time well spent, but worrying about the “what if’s” is wasted. Sometimes its difficult to tell the difference. Worry brings fear and fear will cripple us. We can’t let worry and anxiety stop us from trusting in the Lord in all things!