THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-7-05
LESSON TITLE: "GREAT LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: OUR CHARITABLE DEEDS BEFORE MEN"
Paul said in Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith,...!" Praise be to God that we have been saved by His grace, because we have been willing to do our part by believing and demonstrating our faith in Him.
Thanks for joining us this morning for the Living Word Program. It will again be our privilege today to be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. What a blessing we have this day to reverence our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our assembly together is acceptable to God, that we may glorify Him in all things?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
With all that God has done for us today, we no doubt love and appreciate Him as our Father. How blessed we are to have a Creator that truly adores the faithful. So just how do you react to the great love which God extends to you? With that in mind, we would like to begin our songs of praise this day. The first hymn of the morning is entitled, "Christ, We Do All Adore Thee."
(SONG # 1)
Most of us probably have many verses in the Bible which we consider as "favorites." This morning I would like to mention one that I love, which is found in 2 Timothy 2:15. This familiar passage states, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Wow, what a challenge, what an exhortation!
How many want to be "approved of before God?" No doubt we all do! Well, Paul here states that we must first be diligent in our lives for God, if we want to be approved of by Him. The King James Version uses the word "study" instead of "diligence." However, both words show us the need for a focused, committed, diligence necessary by the one who loves God. And for what reason? That he/she might grow in the knowledge of His Will.
Now after we have committed ourselves to diligence, study and growth, notice the responsibility we then bare! Paul says we are, "workers, who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." As God's own children, we have a heavy load to bear if we are to be pleasing in His sight. We must learn and know His will and when we do, we must not be ashamed of it! Furthermore, we must be willing to properly handle it and interpret it, because the salvation of our souls and others depends on how we "divide" the word of truth.
Have you stepped up to the challenge from God to grow and properly handle His laws and commandments? Are you willing to take the time necessary to rightly divide that which He has entrusted to you? May we all understand this awesome responsibility and do whatever it takes to measure up to what God truly wants!
As far as our topic of the day, this morning we will continue our series entitled, "Great Lessons From The Sermon On The Mount." Our specific lesson of the day will deal with, "Our Charitable Deeds Before Men!"
To lead us in this study of the day, we are happy to again have brother Adam Orr with us. Brother Adam is the minister for the Fordland Church of Christ in Fordland, Missouri. So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Orr will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "He Lives."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Adam Orr
Good morning. I want to thank you so much for taking the opportunity this day to be with us, to study God's Word, to join us in singing songs of praise for our Creator, and thank you again so much for taking this opportunity to be with us. What a great pleasure it is to be with you this day. I very much enjoy watching and now being a part of the series that is currently being covered on this program, the series that we have there in Matthew of "The Sermon on the Mount." So many great lessons can be learned there from our Lord, and this morning we're going to continue the study together in Matthew chapter 6 looking at the first four verses.
Please take your Bibles and read with me there in Matthew chapter 6, verses 1-4. "Jesus says, 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. 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 for men. Assuredly I say to you they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be done in secret and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."
I think it's very interesting there the first two words that we find there in Matthew chapter 6 and verse 1, Jesus clearly says, "take heed." Jesus uses these words. I think it's very important that we take a look first to see the importance of Jesus saying these things. This is not something that our Lord wants us to take casually, but it is to be taken very seriously. This is not something where Jesus would tell His audience something that was imaginary or something that He didn't want them to consider. He says, "Take heed. I want you to listen to My Words. I want you to take the things that I am about to say and apply them to our lives," and good people, we have the responsibility of taking the things that Jesus had to say and applying them to our lives. Understand that our Lord and His ministry was only about three years on this earth, and in those three years we have so many things recorded for us in scripture. And this morning, we need to take heed to the things that He had to say.
Charitable deeds, Jesus talks about here. Charitable deeds is the way that the New King James translates it. Perhaps your translation that you see this morning has the word "alms". Either way you look at it, charitable deeds or alms, these are things that are to be righteous, righteous acts before the Lord, things that are done by those who are currently found in the correct state with God, people that have a right relationship with our Lord.
We are not to be doing things out of wrong motives and that's what Jesus is going to be discussing here this morning. And He is not giving us an excuse not to do charitable deeds. In fact, if you look back in Matthew chapter 5, look there at verses 14-16 with me. Jesus says, "You are the light of the world, a city that is set on the hill and cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Jesus here is saying we have a responsibility to let our lights shine, but He is saying we must have the correct motivation in doing so.
One writer has put it this way when he says, "There is a difference between letting your light shine and shining your own light." There is a difference there. We therefore are to be doing charitable deeds. Jesus here again is simply talking about the motive behind our charitable deeds that we do.
You know I like to watch sports very much. In fact, one of my favorites is about to start, that being football. Those of us who have watched football, we see there's a difference in players that we watch. One player when he scores a touchdown, he runs down the field and he does everything correctly. He gets in and he scores the touchdown and he starts dancing in the end zone. He wants everybody to look at him. Look what I've done!! And then we all know the other type of player who does the same great things, has the same great moves. He gets to the end zone and he simply trots off to the sideline, hands the ball to the official or to someone there on the sideline. You see, he's not interested so much in the glory being on himself because he knows that it's simply his job. That's what he is to be doing.
And brethren and friends, it is the same way with us this day. We too, are to be doing our jobs. We're to be doing what God has commanded us to do. We are to be doing charitable deeds, but the glory is not to go to Adam. The glory is not to go to you. The glory is to go to God, and so this day, Jesus asks us to consider what is our motivation for doing good works. Are we doing what He has asked us to do? Jesus says, "Don't do it to be seen by men." It's human nature, isn't it? We want all the pomp. We want people to look at us to see what we're doing. But Jesus says, "No." He says, "If you're going to do righteousness before Me and My Father, if you're going to perform a righteous act or a charitable deed, do not do it with the motivation of being seen by men."
So the question this day is: What is your motivation? Are you doing charitable deeds? What is your motivation behind it?
I want you to look with me at some sad verses in John chapter 12. John chapter 12, the words there recorded by the great apostle. In John chapter 12 verses 42 and 43, he talks about these sad people. Verse 42 says, "Nevertheless, even among the rulers, many believed in Him (that is Jesus), but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess Him lest they should be put out of the synagogue." Why? Verse 43, "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
What is your condition this day? Is it the same with you? Do you love the praise of men more than you love the praise of God? Are you doing as you should? Are you contributing as you should doing things, that Jesus would ask us to do, with the correct motivation.
I'm going to go back and touch on a point that I started to talk about a moment ago, and that is the fact that Jesus has commanded us to do charitable deeds. Some would like to look at this and say, "Well, this gives me an excuse to not have to do a charitable deed because Jesus has said, "Don't do it so that other men can see you," and how can I do a charitable deed and not be seen? Some would like to use that as a motivation but I want you to look with me there in verse 2 in the words of our Lord. He starts off in the first two words we can understand very clearly what He is talking about when He is talking about there, "Therefore when..." a four letter word He uses, "when you do your charitable deeds." He's not even questioning the fact that we're going to do charitable deeds. He's saying, "When you do your charitable deeds." There's no way to get out of it and this is shown throughout scripture.
I want to look at two psalms together this morning talking about the fact that we do need to be doing charitable deeds, righteous acts before God. Go with me to the Old Testament to Psalm 37. There in Psalm 37, we're going to look together at verses 21 and 25. The psalmist there, David there, writing this psalm in psalm 37. He says, "The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives." If we're going to perform a righteous act, we must show mercy and give."
Skip down to verse 25 of the same Psalm. The psalmist again says, "I have been young and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor His descendants begging bread." Being righteous before God, performing these charitable deeds is something that is commanded throughout scripture.
Go with me over a couple pages perhaps to Psalm 41. There in Psalm 41, look at the first two verses together. Again, a Psalm of David. He says, "Blessed is the man who considers the poor. The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive and he will be blessed on all the earth. You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. Blessed is he who considers the poor. Blessed is he who does these charitable deeds before men because he will be repaid."
Good people, in no way is Jesus telling us that we should not be doing righteous acts or charitable deeds. It is simply a part of life that we must be fulfilling that we have been commanded to do. However, in going back to our text in Matthew chapter 6, we see the proper motivation that must be behind every good act that we perform, every charitable deed that we do. The Lord here in this passage, good people, is describing the hypocrite. He says ,don't be like the hypocrite. Don't be like that person who before they do anything charitable, they first sound that trumpet. They first make sure the whole crowd gathers around them and then they perform that charitable deed. He says the Pharisees do something like that. They would sound a trumpet and they would make sure that people could see that they were doing good. How many of us know people who are like that today? Before they want to do anything good, they first want to call the television studio so that they can be on TV. They want to call the radio station and say, "Hey, you better talk about me." Or they want to call maybe the newspaper so that their picture can be on the front page. They want people to know what they're doing and that they're doing a good thing.
Is that your motivation? Is that what drives you? I'll tell you who I prefer. I prefer that person who goes out and does good and doesn't care if anybody knows about it. They go out and they do good because they know that somebody is in need and they can help that person. That should be our motivation this day. Our motivation should be that we are pleasing God when we do good for other people not to bring self glory, not to bring glory to ourselves.
I'm reminded of a story that our Lord told in Luke chapter 18. If you'll look there with me in Luke chapter 18, we see the familiar story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Luke chapter 18 verses 10-14, Jesus says, "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector is standing afar off would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted." This is the attitude that we must possess, the attitude of this tax collector. One cannot help but wonder if this Pharisee did not just go to the temple to pray to God and remind God how good he was. The tax collector understood that he was a sinner and he humbled himself. Jesus says that is the attitude we must have. Brethren, we're not here to exalt ourselves or to bring glory to us. We are only here on this earth to do good for others and to give all the glory where it belongs to God.
Go back with me finally to our text in Matthew chapter 6. I want to end this morning by saying this, Jesus says in these four verses three times, He says the word "reward." The first use of this word "reward" is in verse 1 where it says that "You do not do your charitable deeds to be seen by men. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven." You have no reward if your only motivation is to be seen by other men. In fact, the second time He uses this verse is in verse 2 where He says that "Those who would sound a trumpet, or those who would attract a crowd before they do a charitable deed have no reward. They have their reward on this earth," the Bible says. Jesus says that there is nothing further. It is like a receipt that has been paid in full. They have nothing else to look forward to, no other reward will be given them when the Lord returns. Do you want that? Do I want that? No! I want to do everything I can to receive the reward when our Lord returns which is there found in verse 4. "Look there again that your charitable deed may be done in secret and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you," the Bible says. That reward comes not only on this earth. That reward comes when our Lord returns again. Brethren and friends, that's the reward that we long for. That's the reward that we want. That's the comfort that Jesus finds for us in this passage.
Friends, we have the opportunity to do good to our fellow man. We have an opportunity to be righteous before God. Are you taking that opportunity this day? Do you live your life in such a way that you bring glory to God and not to yourself? I hope so because I want to end this morning in Matthew chapter 25 looking at a passage there together in Matthew chapter 25 verses 34-40. Again Jesus is speaking in this passage and He says there in Matthew chapter 25 beginning in verse 34, He says, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, come you blessed of My Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world for I was hungry and you gave Me food. I was thirsty and you gave Me drink. I was a stranger and you took Me in." It goes on to say, "I was naked and you clothed Me. I was sick and you visited Me. I was in prison and you came to Me." Then the righteous will answer Him saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?" And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these of my brethren, you did it to Me."
Do you want to be found righteous before God? You must be found righteous. You must be performing these charitable deeds in order to be found righteous. You must be doing good to your fellow man, because in doing good to others, you are doing good to God. And He says that "those who are found righteous before Me will inherit the kingdom prepared before the foundations of the world."
Good friends and people, those who are listening this day, take these words to heart. Understand that we must be doing aright in the sight of God in order to obtain that eternal home with Him. There are other things that must be done also, the Bible says. You must believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. You must repent of sin that is in your life. Make the great confession before men that Jesus Christ is the son of God and be buried with Him in baptism, washing away your sin as the apostle Paul did in Acts chapter 22 and verse 16.
I hope you'll take these words to heart this day. I hope you'll understand that we must be doing good in the sight of God. We must understand that our motivation is in giving the glory to God. Please take these things to God and apply them in your lives.
SONG # 3 - "Peace, Perfect Peace!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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How important it is that we remember to do good to others and to help them in every way which we can. However, may we always have the proper attitude in doing so, that God might be truly uplifted and glorified in all things!