- Jesus' general warning (v.1)
- Giving from impure motives (v.2)
- Giving from pure motives (vv.3-4)
Summary: With unique authority, Jesus has resurrected the original intent of God's word from under the rubble of false teaching (vv.16-48), showing us that we display God's character when we radically obey the original intent of God's word (5:9, 45, 48). But just when we are freshly inspired to radically obey God's word and display God's character. Just when we are ready to shine. Jesus hits us with a sobering warning: "Beware of doing the right things from the wrong motives!" People often separate the quality of the act from the quality of the motive, but God does not. Jesus warns us that God will not reward an obedient act if that act was fueled by wrong motives. It’s one thing to do the right thing; it’s another thing to do the right thing for the right reason. Motives matter to God--big time! To illustrate His warning, Jesus gives three common examples of acts of righteousness that can be done out of impure motives: giving, praying, and fasting. Here we consider Jesus' first example--giving. Our giving should be fueled not by a craving to be seen and praised by others, but by a desire to be seen and rewarded by God. Heavenly rewards are for those who desire the Father's gaze more than people's praise.
- How would you paraphrase the general warning given in v.1?
- How does v.1 build a bridge between chapters 5 and 6?
- What is hypocrisy? What is it about the activity described in v.2 that is hypocritical?
- What reward does a hypocrite receive?
- What does it mean to not let "your left hand know what your right hand is doing"?
- What are some strategies for giving discreetly and secretly?
- What dangers may come from focusing solely on these strategies?
- What does it mean to have pure motives? What fuel should drive our acts of obedience?
- Reflect on this statement: "Rewards will be received or revoked depending on the sincerity of the motives fueling the work."
- What motives have been fueling my obedience as of late? What should be fueling me?
- When I get irritated or bitter due to being unappreciated, what might be amiss in my heart?
- How often am I aware of my motives and not just my actions?
- How much do my motives matter to God?
- Confess to God any impure motives that have tainted your good works.
- Praise Jesus for shedding his blood to wash away your bad works and your bad motives
- Praise Jesus for dying on the cross so that His good works and His pure motives would be credited to your account.
- Ask God to purify your motives and help you do the right things for the right reasons.
- Beg the Holy Spirit give you the desire to attract God's gaze more than people's praise.