I. TAKE HEED THAT YOU DO NOT YOUR ALMS (RIGHTEOUS ACTS) BEFORE MEN TO BE SEEN OF THEM.
A. Again Jesus is striking at the heart of the matter, and the matter is the heart.
1. A man's attitude is more important than a man's actions.
2. As we have noticed this was the main problem with the Pharisee's. There actions were right, but their attitudes were wrong.
3. Jesus is now going to address the right actions but the wrong motives.
B. The warning is to take heed.
1. This is something you have to watch.
2. It is a very subtle thing.
3. It is a very difficult thing.
a. David said, "You have searched me and known me, you know my downsittings and my uprisings. You understand my thoughts in their origins. There is not a word in my tongue, but you know it completely. Such knowledge is to great for me, I cannot attain it." What knowledge? self knowledge.
b. That is why at the end of the psalm David prayed, "Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts and see if there be some wicked way in me."
c. The Lord said through Jeremiah the prophet:
The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.
d. God said to the prophet Samuel, "God does not see as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart." The question is, "What does God see, when He looks at your heart?"
e. Solomon wrote:
All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
f. That is the whole emphasis of the Sermon on the Mount. Man is always looking on the outward appearance, while God is looking at your heart.
g. In this next portion of the Sermon we are going to see what man sees and thinks and compare it with what God sees and thinks.
Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
C. Jesus is saying that we need to take heed that what we do is not motivated by our desire to receive the praise of man.
1. Look at how much effort the world takes in trying to look good before man.
a. How right Shakespeare was when he wrote, "The whole world is a stage and all men are the players."
b. How hard it is to find the Nathanael's, in this world, men in whom there is no guile.
c. The kids often say to one another, "Be real."
2. John tells us that the Pharisee's loved the praises of man more than the praises of God.
D. To look at the delicate balance, in the last chapter Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that when they see your good works, they will glorify your Father which is in heaven."
1. Good works cannot always be done in secret, many times what is done can only be done publicly, when it is done publicly, seek to do it in such a way God is glorified.
2. I love it when athletes are being interviewed after a winning performance, they give the glory to Jesus Christ.
3. It is so easy to do things so as to draw attention to ourselves. I cannot judge what is in a person's heart, but God can.
4. I know that if when everyone is sitting and singing songs of worship to our Lord, if I were to stand up while everyone else is sitting down, I would be aware that others are noticing me.
5. It is almost impossible to not notice someone who is standing while everyone else is seated, especially if they are swaying with their hands raised.
6. You may feel that it is enhancing your worship, but it is distracting others from worship, their attention is on you and not on the Lord, especially if you are in the way of their seeing the words on the screen.
E. Paul tells us that we should examine ourselves, for if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged by God.
II. YOU HAVE YOUR REWARD.
A. If I do things for the praise of men, then the praise of men is my reward.
B. It is important to distinguish between salvation which is a gift of God, and the works of righteousness that I do.
1. There is no work that I can do that could in any wise persuade God to save me. Salvation is not a reward.
2. Salvation is entirely through faith, and not of works.
3. We are to be rewarded according to our works.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
C. Jesus often spoke of rewards for the believer.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
D. Paul spoke of the coming judgment of the believer and the rewards.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1. When Paul says of our works, "What sort it is," I believe that he is referring to what sort of motivation provoked our work.