Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18 Pure Motivation Towards God

by | Oct 19, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. Motivation Regarding Good Deeds 6:1-4

A. Wrong Motivation Regarding Good Deeds

1. Pride and the desire for recognition motivate us to seek the approval of people

a. Pride runs deeply within each of us. See Mark 7:21-23
b. Desiring man’s approval runs deeply within each of us
c. “Take heed”- We need to be extremely careful re. wanting man’s approval

i. It is a part of the sin nature to desire recognition
ii. It needs to be guarded against through the Holy Spirit

d. Having man’s approval doesn’t mean that we have God’s approval
e. See 2 Corinthians 10:12, 18

2. Seeking to receive man’s applause will disqualify us from God’s rewards
3. The practice during the days of Jesus

a. Sounding a trumpet: literal or allegorical, the motivation is wrong
b. There are clever & seemingly innocent ways we advertise our good deeds

i. The thing that may advertise isn’t necessarily wrong in itself
ii. The reason for that “advertisement” is the issue at hand

4. God’s value system is very different than man’s value system. See Luke 16:15
5. “They have their reward”– literally: “paid in full.” Expect nothing more.

B. Right Motivation Regarding Good Deeds

1. If it were possible, keep this a secret even from yourself. (right hand/left hand)

a. Don’t be applauding and congratulating yourself

2. God sees what is done in secret. Nothing is secret from Him.
3. God will reward us for our good deeds done for the right reasons.
4. This applies only to those who within God’s Kingdom. (born again)
5. This doesn’t mean we should never do good deeds in front of others

a. That would contradict Matthew 5:14-16
b. See Matthew 10:40-42
c. If someone discovers our good deed, we don’t lose our reward
d. It is all a question of motive

6. God will reward us openly.

a. Openly (or privately) in this life, and in heaven
b. Good deeds are still good and right, even when no human sees them

7. God’s rewards are superior to man’s rewards. See 1 Cor. 9:24, 25; 1 Peter 1:3, 4

II. Motivation Regarding Prayer

A. Wrong Motivation Regarding Prayer

1. Don’t be hypocritical: Lit.: actors with masks, stage-players 6:5

a. They were more concerned w/the approval of men than with God
b. Their desires were answered: they were seen and admired by men
c. They used their relationship w/God to impress men. God was a tool
d. Guzik- The Jewish rabbis of Jesus’ day said things like: “Whoever is long in prayer is heard” and “Whenever the righteous make their prayer long, their prayer is heard.” One famous Jewish prayer began like this: “Blessed, praised, and glorified, exalted, and honored, magnified and lauded be the name of the Holy One.”
e. God did not hear their insincere prayers
f. Synagogues & street corners-

i. Prayer time in the synagogue was 9 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m.
ii. Sometimes they were conveniently late, & prayed on the corner

2. Don’t use vain repetition 6:7

a. Jesus is not prohibiting sincere repetition, only vain repetition
b. Mindless, voluminous, emotional praying is not effective
c. Many words are not needed to inform God of our situations
d. Come to God knowing that He knows your situation

B. Right Motivation Regarding Prayer

1. Prayer is to God, not to attract the attention of men. “Pray to your Father”
2. Public prayer isn’t prohibited; Jesus prayed publicly
3. Jesus encourages prayer that is sincere, and only towards God
4. God will openly reward sincere prayer 6:6
5. Room, closet- a place where treasures are kept
6. The prayer closet is a place to discover the treasures of God

III. Motivation Regarding Fasting

A. Wrong Motivation Regarding Fasting 6:16

1. The hypocrites would make themselves look obvious regarding fasting

i. They desired to appear righteous before men
ii. Jesus assured them they would have that reward, but nothing from God

B. Right Motivation Regarding Fasting 6:17, 18

1. Jesus taught that we are to present ourselves as “normal” during a fast
2. Our motivation ought not to be to impress people
3. God knows our desires and efforts in seeking Him; He will reward us openly

IV. Summary

A. Insincere Motivation Towards God

1. Pride in the heart. Self-righteousness, spiritual arrogance, lack of brokenness
2. Pride leads to the desire to be approved of by men
3. Operate mainly in the realm of the flesh. Self gratification very important
4. Their reward is temporary, insignificant, and unfulfilling

B. Sincere Motivation Towards God

1. Humility in the heart. Experiencing the Beatitudes. Spiritual brokenness
2. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Deep desire to please God, not man
3. Willing to deny the flesh, deny instant gratification. Led by the Holy Spirit
4. Clear realization of God’s superior, eternal, and satisfying rewards.