by Dr. Samuel Lee   04/15/2000     0 reads



(The Sermon on the Mount II)

Matthew 6:1-34

Key Verse: 6:33

  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these

things will be given to you as well."


1. Read v. 1-8,16-18.  What are "acts of righteousness"?  What are the

three acts of righteousness mentioned by Jesus? Why are they

necessary?  How should we carry them out?  What is a hypocrite?

2. Read v. 9-15.  What is the common theme of the first three prayer

topics in the Lord's prayer? Of the last three prayer topics?  What

does this tell us about the Christian life?  What does it mean to

address God as "Our Father in heaven"?

3. Read v. 9-10. Why should we pray that God's name be hallowed? For

his kingdom to come and his will be done on earth?  Read v. 11-15.

Why should we pray for "our daily bread"?  Why is forgiveness so

important?  Why must we pray for God's leading?

4. Read v. 19-24.  Why must we seek and fix our eyes on heavenly

treasures instead of on earthly ones? Read v. 25-32.  What does

Jesus tell us not to worry about?  How can we not worry about these


5. Read v. 33-34.  What is God's precious promise?  How does accepting

this promise give us victory over our anxiety? What does it mean

to let tomorrow worry about itself?




(The Sermon on the Mount II)

Matthew 6:1-34

Key Verse: 6:33

  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these

things will be given to you as well."

As we know well, human beings are noble because they are made in the

image of God. At the same time, human beings are ignoble because they

are clumps of desires. They have holy desire to be like Jesus, and at

the same time they have worldly desires: The desire to store up earthly

treasures, the desire to show off to others, and the desire to

experience sinful pleasures. What is worse, sinful human beings have

the habit of worrying for nothing. The disciples had left everything to

follow Jesus. Still they had a multiplicity of hidden worldly desires

and worries about the future. In this chapter Jesus taught them what

they must seek first as his disciples instead of worrying and crying.

In verses 1-8, Jesus teaches them that whatever they do they must do in

the sight of God and for the glory of God, not before men, for their

own glory. In verses 9-15, Jesus teaches them the Lord's prayer as a

standard, for they must seek God's help in prayer. In verses 16-34,

Jesus teaches his disciples to seek God for their future security

instead of worrying endlessly.

I.  The way to live for God's glory (1-8)

First, giving to the needy (1-4). Look at verse 1. "Be careful not to

do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you

do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." Here, Jesus

sternly warns that his disciples should not practice hypocrisy, because

hypocrisy does not please God; it is self-glory seeking.  In verse 1,

"acts of righteousness" means the life of faith, especially doing good

deeds. In this chapter, Jesus mentions three acts of righteousness:

giving to the needy, praying and fasting. Giving to the needy is an

essential quality in our lives of faith. God gave his one and only Son

to save us from our sins. How much more we must give something to the

needy. Giving to the needy is really good. Those who give to the needy

have a noble faith. Paul says in Acts 20:35b, "It is more blessed to

give than to receive." Giving to the needy is the imitation of Jesus,

who gave his life for us. Prayer is the measure of faith in God

Almighty. Jesus prayed to God before and after doing the work of God.

But these acts of faith should not be done before the eyes of men, for

the sake of seeking self-glory. If a person does so, he becomes a

hypocrite, meaning "actor." He pretends to be happy when he is not, or

he pretends to be righteous when he is not. We must practice acts of

faith for God's glory. Look at verse 2. "So when you give to the needy,

do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues

and on the streets to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they

have received their reward in full." Jesus tells us that when we give

to the needy, we must give to the needy for the glory of God; we must

not give to the needy to blow our own trumpet and show off to men.

Those who give to the needy for the purpose of seeking self-glory

cannot please God because they have already received their reward from


  What should be our attitude in giving to the needy? Look at verse

3. "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what

your right hand is doing." We must not let our left hand know what our

right hand is doing, so that our giving may be before God and for the

glory of God. Usually fallen men want to blow trumpets to draw people's

attention when they do something for the needy. Hands are the parts of

a body for coordination and cooperation. So it is impossible for the

left hand to do something secretly from the right hand. Here Jesus

tells his people to do good secretly for the glory of God, not for

their own honor. In this allegory, Jesus emphasizes that we must give

to the needy with the compassion which springs up from the compassion

of Jesus because Jesus gave his life for the sin of the world. There is

a beautiful story about a man who served the needy for the glory of

God. Dr. Codington, the director of a Christian hospital, gave away so

much of the foodstuffs of the hospital to the needy that meal service

to the patients in his hospital was almost impossible. He was compelled

to do so out of Jesus' shepherd heart. Humanly speaking, Dr. Codington

was a pointless person. But from God's point of view, he was giving to

the needy selflessly, knowing that he was pleasing to God. He was a man

whose left hand did not know what his right hand was doing. In short,

he was a spiritual man who was eager to feed the needy children of God.

Here we learn that we should not be selfish or hypocritical: We must be

merciful as God is merciful.

Second, the attitude of prayer (5-8). Prayer is the most potent weapon

for Christians. By virtue of prayer, sinful men can come to God. With

prayer we can fight against the evil one. Sometimes we find that we are

helpless to do anything for our sheep. But we can pray to God for them.

Samuel learned through his life-long shepherd life that his supreme

responsibility was to pray for his people more than anything else. 1

Samuel 12:23 says, "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin

against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the

way that is good and right."

  If our attitude of prayer is wrong, we become hypocrites or

self-righteous people. Those who pray before men are hypocrites. Those

who pray too loudly to draw people's attention are hypocrites and magic

artists who want people's praise and attention (5). Look at verse 7.

"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think

they will be heard because of their many words." What is the right

attitude of prayer? We must pray before God. We must pray quietly as if

we are talking to God. We must pray with clear and unselfish prayer

topics. Then God will answer our prayers (6).

II.  The Lord's prayer (9-15)

First, "Our Father in heaven." The Lord's prayer consists of six prayer

topics. The first three are for God's glory, and the second three are

for man's needs. "Our Father in heaven." This one phrase explains the

relationship between God and his children. Jesus tells us to call on

"Our Father..." using the vocative case. It is like a child calling his

father, "Daddy, Daddy," with jubilant and glad emotion. Our God is the

Creator God who made us with a clear purpose. The Creator God is our

Father, and we are his children with his great purpose and high

calling. This one phrase, "Our Father in heaven," gives a great

solution for broken human relationships.  There are all kinds of people

in the world. In the USA more than 100 different nationalities live

together. Because of national and cultural differences, people cannot

maintain proper human relationships. Rather, they live in enmity,

antagonism and animosity. What is worse, on account of the devil's

prank, innumerable families are broken and children from broken

families are crying endlessly. But there is a way we can heal the

broken relationship problem. If all peoples call God, "Our Father,"

they can think of others as "our brothers" and "our sisters." If we

call God, "Our Father," we cannot misuse others. Rather, we see them as

precious brothers and sisters in God. When we call God, "Our Father,"

the broken relationship problem will be healed and restored in God.

Second, "hallowed be your name." "Hallowed be your name," means that

God's name is properly respected and honored among men. God's children

must expect that God's name be respected or honored by all the people

of the world. This aspiration should be our master passion. God's

children's happiness should lie not in our success or achievements, as

it does for pagans. Our happiness should be determined by the degree to

which God's name is honored and respected in our societies. Paul's

motto, "for his name's sake," and John Calvin's motto, "For the glory

of God alone," explain the meaning of "hallowed be your name."

Therefore, when God's name is properly respected and honored we must be

happy. On the other hand, when our God's name is not properly respected

and honored, then we must be furious toward the enemies of God.

Third, "your kingdom come." What does "your kingdom come" mean? It has

the same meaning as "your rule come." Therefore God's people's inmost

desire is to see that God rules each individual person as well as the

peoples of all nations.  We must let our King Jesus rule every sphere

of human life: in education, government, commerce, industry, science,

entertainment, and especially family lives. We must pray especially

that the education field may recognize God as Sovereign Ruler.

  The kingdom of God also implies God's righteousness (Ro 14:17), a

righteousness both imputed and imparted to men. The world is still

under the rule of Satan, and Jesus' people are groaning, living under

the rule of unjust and cruel systems and structures of the world. The

root problem of any nation is not a system, but godlessness. When God's

rule is not fully accepted, God's children must pray earnestly that

God's kingdom come and God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

But there is a problem: God's will is quite contrary to our wishes.

Vulgar people want to satisfy their own desires. But God wants us to

pray for the USA to be a kingdom of priests.

Fourth, "Give us today our daily bread." The fourth, fifth and sixth

prayer topics concern our human needs. Mankind has a slave mentality.

There is no one who says, "I have enough money." Fallen men's

greediness is bottomless. This was the reason God gave his chosen

people Israel daily bread training for forty years in the wilderness

before they went into the promised land. Proverbs 30:8b,9a makes us

think about "daily bread:" "...but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you."

  "Give us today our daily bread." Jesus does not teach us to say,

"Give 'me' today 'my' daily bread." Instead, he tells us to say, "give

'us' today 'our' daily bread." Fallen men are eager to get more bread

for themselves and their children. But they are indifferent to other

people's daily bread. If we ignore our hungry brethren, we are

hypocrites. We cannot call God, "Our Father." There was a rich man who

enjoyed a luxurious and selfish life. But he was indifferent to his

neighbor named Lazarus, who was covered with sores, longing to eat what

fell from the rich man's table. That rich man went to hell because he

did not care for his neighbor's daily bread (Lk 16:19-24). God wants us

to pray for daily bread for all people of the world.

Fifth, "Forgive us our debts." Read verse 12. "Forgive us our debts, as

we also have forgiven our debtors." In this verse, the word "debt" has

the same meaning as "sin." The bread problem is serious. But the sin

problem is more serious than the bread problem. Therefore, we must ask

God's forgiveness of sin; otherwise, we are still in sin. The way to

ask God's forgiveness of sin is to repent of our own sins first, and

next, forgive others who have sinned against us.

  Historically, however, to forgive others' sin has been a most

difficult problem for all men. We must forgive others who have sinned

against us, not conditionally but unconditionally. Then we shall be

called the children of God, and we shall be called forgiven sinners.

Forgiveness is so important that Jesus repeats the same story again.

Read verses 14 and 15. "For if you forgive men when they sin against

you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not

forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Sixth, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil

one." Here, "the evil one" is the devil. There are many who say, "I am

not afraid of the devil." These days there is a strong impression that

young women are not afraid of the devil at all. They think they can

enjoy the devil for a while and dump him anytime. That is a great

mistake. The devil's prank is a sugared poison of sin. No one can run

away from the devil's prank or his pursuit. We must acknowledge that we

are totally helpless, and we must pray earnestly that God may protect

us from the devil. If we don't pray for this, soon we will become the

prisoners of the devil.

III.  Seek first his kingdom and righteousness (19-34)

First, "Do not store up treasures on earth" (19-21). Generally, men

want to overcome worries about the future by storing up for themselves

treasures on earth.  But abundant material things only make men worry;

and next, they burden them until they cannot but sigh every five

minutes. Men worry until they suffer from many kinds of phobias. So

most rich men are men of great worries. We must know that things of the

world all perish, spoil and fade away. Those who have stored up

treasures on earth, ignoring God and others, will discover in the

future that they were not wise, but most foolish. 1 John 2:17 says,

"The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of

God lives forever." Look at verse 20a. "But store up for yourselves

treasures in heaven...." To store up treasures in heaven means to store

up for ourselves something valuable in God's eyes. 1 Timothy 6:18,19

says, "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be

generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure

for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they

may take hold of the life that is truly life."

Second, "You cannot serve both God and Money" (22-32). As the eye is

the lamp of the body, so our spiritual eye is the lamp of our spiritual

body (22,23). We must see with our spiritual eyes treasures which

please God. Earthly treasure is money.  In contrast, heavenly treasure

is God himself and his kingdom. Jesus says in verse 21, "For where your

treasure is, there your heart will be also." Verse 24b says, "You

cannot serve both God and Money." According to this passage, storing up

treasure in heaven is the way to overcome worries. If we are attached

to things of the world, including our children, we are idol worshipers

(Col 3:5).

  Fallen men have the strong habit of worrying for nothing. So Jesus

says in verse 25, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your

life...." What to eat or what to wear is unnecessary worry, because God

provides all our necessary things.  "Who of you by worrying can add a

single hour to his life?" (27) That is true. By worrying we cannot add

a single hour to our lives. Once Abraham worried about his future

security, so he went to Egypt to make some money. It was his sin of

unbelief.  Later, he repented of his anxiety about material things

Finally, he learned a spiritual lesson in his heart: "The Lord will

provide" (Ge 22:14). We must depend on God for our material provisions.

If we do not depend on God for material things, we cannot depend on God

for anything at all.

Third, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness" (33,34). Look

at verse 33.  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and

all these things will be given to you as well." This is God's precious

promise to each of us. Those who have obeyed this promise have been

prosperous and successful in whatever they have done. How can we seek

his kingdom and his righteousness? When we become worried about our

future security, we should not seek the way we can make much money. But

we must seek God first until we find him, and until we find the way to

solve our future security. In making our decisions, we must include God

always.  We must learn to depend on God for our future security.

  There are many things to learn in the world. But we must surely

learn how to seek first his kingdom and righteousness. One young man

learned that his people must seek God instead of seeking the favor of

the US government. The man decided to teach college students the Bible

so as to root out the beggar mentality and plant independent spirit in

the psyche of young Koreans. The man began to teach the Bible to young

students. In the matter of time, he was demoted from church pastor to

student evangelist. He had three children, but his pay was less than

$100 a month. But the man did not worry about his children's hospital

bills and future security. In order to teach students to seek first his

kingdom and righteousness he had to fast as frequently as he ate. In

short, the man held on to the promise of God, "But seek first his

kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to

you as well." God blessed his student evangelism abundantly. Thus, many

students learned the spirit of independence through Bible study. Later

many of them became chapter directors and most of them put up tall

buildings for their Bible houses. In addition God made his student

evangelism work into the biggest and richest in the world. The man

learned that the promise of God is true.

  When American forefathers came to this land, they could hardly eat.

In addition, the persecution of England was so intensive and American

Indians were constantly near. Still, they wanted to seek first his

kingdom and his righteousness.  Sometimes some American families had to

eat only five kernels of corn as their daily ration. Still they kept

seeking God first above all other things. And look, God blessed them so

abundantly that they could feed all peoples of all nations both

spiritually and materially.

  Still, we cannot escape worrying about many things. Jesus says in

verse 34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will

worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." We must

accept today's sufferings with a thankful mind. When suffering comes

again tomorrow, we must accept it with joy (Ro 5:3). But we don't have

to worry about tomorrow's sufferings in advance. Don't worry, seek

Jesus, is Jesus' people's basic faith. Of course, God's people have a

money problem. But we do not worry. We seek God first.

  In this chapter we learn that we must seek first his kingdom and

his righteousness, so that God can help us. We must seek God's kingdom

and his righteousness until we learn that God's promise is true. Let's

read verse 33 again.