The fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of Matthew’s Gospel are known, collectively, as “The Sermon on the Mount!” It has been called “The Greatest Sermon of All Time!” The teaching is very similar to Luke 6:17-49 which is referred to as “The Sermon on the Plain”. Scholars agree that this indicates these were common teachings and themes that Jesus spoke of frequently from place to place. Anything Jesus felt was important enough to repeat clearly deserves some deep study and application on our part. The Sermon on the Mount and The Sermon on the Plain form a short Discipleship 101 course for us. What are the BASICS of what it means to truly be a FULLY DEVOTED follower of Jesus? What should we do? How should we speak? How should we act? How should we treat others? What should our motives be? In November and December, Pastor G will take seven weeks to dig deep into these incredibly important teachings of Jesus in his new message series: MAUNA: Teachings from the Sermon on the Mount.
Here, in Week Three: Giving, Prayer and Fasting, Pastor G takes us through Matthew 6:1-24.
Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 6:1
Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:2-4
The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30
The Story of the Widow’s Mite in Mark 12:41-44
Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates & Warren Buffet
These three people have more wealth than 164,000,000 people combined!
Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. ~ Matthew 6:5-8
So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may Your name be honored, may Your kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ~ Matthew 6:9-13
If you haven’t forgiven those who have sinned against you, Jesus is saying, don’t bother to come asking for forgiveness for your sins against God.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself tempts no one. ~ James 1:13
For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins. ~ Matthew 6:14-15
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:21-35
When you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others when you are fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:16-18
Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21
The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ~ Matthew 6:22-24
The Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-26
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” ~ Matthew 19:23-24
Rule Number One: “No other God’s before Me.”
For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that. Those who long to be rich, however, stumble into temptation and a trap and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For THE LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains. But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith and lay hold of that eternal life you were called for and made your good confession for in the presence of many witnesses. ~ 1 Timothy 6:7-12
ALOHA GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
READ: Matthew 6:1-4, Matthew 25:14-30 and Mark 12:41-44
1) Do you struggle with giving to the church and other local missions? Why or why not? Do you see the money and other possessions you have as yours or as God’s? Why?
2) If it is true that all the possessions you have were entrusted to you by God to invest for His purposes and His kingdom, how well are you doing that? Which of the three servants who received the talents are you most like?
3) When you read the Widow’s Mite story, which of the givers are you more like, the one who gives a small amount out of their abundance or the one who gives everything they have even though it is a small amount? Why?
READ: Matthew 6:5-8
1) Pastor Greg shared that this is not a moratorium against all public prayers. Do you agree or disagree? How is praying an opening or closing public prayer in front of a large group at a dinner, worship service or another event different from what Jesus is talking about here?
2) What is your prayer life like? Do you spend daily quality time alone with God in a private place, sharing a conversation of prayer with Him? How good are you at pausing to listen to His response? Do you spend daily quality time alone with the Bible, reading God’s Word to you?
READ: Matthew 6:9-13 & James 1:13
1) Pastor Greg shared that Jesus never intended the Lord’s Prayer to be a verbatim, stand-alone, prayer, but instead presented it as a general model for prayer. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
2) Pastor Greg shared in depth about his understanding of the deeper meaning of Jesus’ model prayer. What “takeaways” do you have as you read it today?
READ: Matthew 6:14-15 and Matthew 18:21-35
1) When Jesus says we will not be forgiven by the Father unless we have forgiven others do you think He is serious? If so, what does that mean for you? Is there anyone you are still holding a grudge against that you need to forgive?
READ: Matthew 6:16-18
1) Have you ever committed to a period prayer and fasting? Why or why not?
2) When we fast, Jesus wants us to keep it secret from those we encounter. Why do you think that is? If you were fasting, how would you keep that secret from everyone else you would encounter throughout the day?
READ: Matthew 6:19-21
1) If you were explaining this passage to a non-believer friend, how would you differentiate between “treasures on earth” and “treasures in heaven?”
2) What does Jesus mean when He says “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also? “
READ: Matthew 6:22-24, Matthew 19: 16-26 & 1 Timothy 6:7-12
1) Most of us tend to think of “wealth” as something people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet have? Why do we consider them wealthy but do not consider ourselves wealthy?
2) What is the takeaway regarding money and wealth? According to Jesus, as His disciples, should we focus on building up wealth in life? Is that a good thing to do? Why or why not?
3) If Jesus doesn’t want us to build up and hold onto all our wealth and yet He blesses us in business or investing to be able to accumulate a lot of wealth what does He expect us to do with all that wealth? Is it all for us or should we be doing something else with it?
4) Pastor Greg shared that, compared with the rest of the world, even if we have below average income and wealth by American standards, we are very wealthy compared to the majority of the world. Do you agree or disagree? Why? When you hear that do you feel wealthy? Why or why not?
5) If we are wealthy in this way, what does God expect of us? What is our “wealth” for? Is that how you are using your wealth?