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Apr 28, 2019

Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

Passage: Matthew 6:1-6

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: The Highest Good

Sin is a seduction in how it allures us with a false promise. But there is a way of expressing devotion to God that can be just as seductive: when the devotion has more interest in being seen by others. Why, and why does that matter?

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Jeremiah 2:13
Call To Worship: Psalm 95:1-7
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 29:13-14
Sermon Title: Mind the Gap
Central Text: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Benediction: Romans 16:25-27
Post-Service Text: Matthew 6:1

04.28.19 Sermon Notes

Prayer & Fasting Guide

Illustrations

Affirm Me, Montage

The Suit

Scripture & Readings

Pre-Service Text: Jeremiah 2:13
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Call To Worship: Psalm 95:1-7
LEADER: 1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

ALL: 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.

LEADER: 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

ALL: 6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 29:13-14
13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

Central Text: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you..

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Benediction: Romans 16:25-27
25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Post-Service Text: Matthew 6:1
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Related Scripture

  • Isaiah 29:13
  • Jeremiah 2:13

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. Can you remember the first time you knew you were being noticed--and liked the affirmation? What did it feel like? Why did it feel that way, do you think? Did the experience have an effect on your future actions? If so, how?
  2. What is something you do that shows a sign of respect or value for another? How might that be an analogy for “practicing our righteousness?”
  3. Why might expressing our devotion to God in a public setting be a particular temptation? Are you more likely to like the affirmation you might receive in public expressions of devotion, or more likely to conceal those expressions at all cost?
  4. Of what good is giving to the needy, or of prayer, or of fasting?
  5. Is Jesus warning against public expressions of devotion, or against the motives within our public expressions? Justify your answer. How does this passage square with what we heard Him tell us in Matthew 5:16?
  6. How did Jesus let each of those practices of righteousness serve us in His work for us?
  7. Why might joy and thanksgiving for His practice of righteousness on our behalf inspire us to participate in those practices He mentions in this passage?

Quotes:

  • If you do something good, then, after a while, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off. And then you’re not as good anymore. - Holden Caulfield from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye