130113 sm 14 amen wow - Matthew 6:5-8 (abridged)


Published on

Lesson 14 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount. Adapted from a lesson with the same title by Chip Bell at www.Bible.org. Presented 1/13/13 at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells.

Published in: Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Sometimes when we pray, it’s hard not to wonder what other people are thinking about our prayer. Did I say the right words? Did they notice that I had trouble finding that perfect phrase? Did they think it was too long? Or maybe they thought it wasn’t long enough! Did I “wow” ‘em? Did I embarrass them? Or did I just embarrass myself? All in all, praying in public is a lot of pressure. There are just so many ways you can goof up a prayer—and then what would people think?
  • “The Disciple’s Handbook” – an instruction manual for those who want to follow Jesus. Last week we began a new series about worship.The kind of worship Jesus wants us to experience. For Jesus, it’s not just an issue of what you do to worship God.The reason why you do it that is crucially important. A General Principle found in Matthew 6:1 where Jesus says
  • People worship for many reasons, but those who belong to Jesus need to watch their motives. When you worship, make sure that you’re doing it for God and not just to put on a show for the people around you. In our day, just like in Jesus’ day, there are people who do good religious activities just because they want to look good in front of other people. How can I impress my neighbors or friends? Go to church, give to the poor, say my prayers? Jesus says that if you’re involved in a lot of religious activity just to impress people, then it doesn’t mean anything to God. That’s not what it’s about. If your motive for going to church, or doing some good deed, or helping the poor, or praying to God or performing some religious duty, is to gain the admiration of the people around you, then it doesn’t mean anything to God.
  • To explain the general principle, Jesus gives us three examples to illustrate what he’s talking about. They are giving, praying, and fasting. ^ Last week we talked about giving to people in need. ^ Today and next week, we want to talk about praying. Jesus says, let’s not just talk about what you do to show your devotion to God. Let’s talk about why you do it. Let’s talk about your motives for praying. Have you ever heard a prayer and wondered just who the audience was? Was it intended for God’s ears? Or for human ears?Here’s a prayer from the Nashville Speedway July 23, 2011 by Pastor Joe Nelms of the Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN
  • ostentatious   adjective1. characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others: an ostentatious dresser.2. (of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended to attract notice: Lady Bountiful's ostentatious charity.Have you ever heard a prayer like that? One directed to an audience of many people, rather than to an audience of the one true God?
  • In Jesus’ day there were people whose prayer was nothing more than performance. There were customary times for prayer, and these people made it a point to make sure that when it came time to pray, they were in a public place where everyone would be sure to see them praying and hear them praying. They got a lot of attention and they loved it. So they stood out on the street corners or got up in their house of worship and they prayed a prayer that people would remember. They were prayer champions – prayer warriors is the modern term. And Jesus said, don’t try to be like them. That’s not what prayer is all about. These people may be claiming to talk to God, but in reality, they’re talking to the people around them. Their motive is not to worship God, but to impress people. So God says, they’ll get just what they’re looking for:
  • If you were here last week, you might remember that this is an accounting term. It means “paid in full” and it was the word you used when issuing someone a receipt. Those who pray to impress people get the reward of impressed people. And that’s all. The prayer doesn’t mean anything to God. It wasn’t really a prayer to him or for him and so he doesn’t really have anything to do with it. That is ostentatious prayer, a religious act of worship designed to impress people instead of serving God. Notice the key elements in this type of prayer:
  • ^ Action^ Motive^ ResultHow many of your prayers are ostentatious prayers? Not for God’s ears, but for the ears of the people who are listening? Easy to slip into this kind of prayer. I learned how when I was little. Didn’t pray for meals as a family – unless we had company (who was that for?). Dad would have one of us pray. I’d try to pray like I’d heard him pray. And after the prayer, someone might say, “Great job!” as if I’d just finished a performance – and maybe I had. My parents said that the first time I did this, I clearly had never understood the word “Amen”, because I prayed: ”Lord, bless this food. Dig In!”Prayer can be a performance, saying the right words in the right way, smoothly, loudly and clearly, pausing at just the right moments for effect. For some, it requires a special language to show proper respect. Everyone knows that God speaks Shakespearean English. Otherwise the Bible wouldn’t have all those thee’s, thou’s and shalt not’s. Prayers must begin a certain way and end a certain way. Apparently it’s very important to get the form just right.
  • Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy and Rick Atchley (via John Rice)You might be a member of the Church of Christ if …You know the song when I say 728bYou’ve never been to a revival, but lots of gospel meetingsYou were 18 before you knew “guide, guard and direct us” was not one wordYou pray for God to bring us back at the next appointed timeYou pray for preacher to have have a ready recollection of the things preparedYou reach for wallet when you hear “Separate and apart from the Lord’s Supper”You think tithing is wrong, but every Christian should give at least ten percentYou consider yourself part of the “brotherhood” but not ChristendomYou never visit a sanctuary, but you spend a lot of time in auditoriumsYou believe Jesus turned water into grape juiceYou can read shaped notesYou check out Acts 2:38 before you buy a new BibleFrank McDonald was Chief Justice of the TX Tenth Court of Appeals for 35 years. He attended church Aquilla. He had two prayers (Main & Close) and I can quote them 50 years later: “Dismiss us now, Father, in thy grace and love. And may the peace which passeth all understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.”
  • Nothing wrong with written prayers or with King James English. But we may be too concerned with “getting it right”, and the reason we’re so concerned about that is because other people are listening, and we want our prayers to sound good to them. But Jesus says, that’s not the kind of prayer I want. And by contrast, he tells us in verse 6 how we should pray:
  • When you pray, make it a prayer between just you and God. Go someplace where you can’t be seen – a hidden place – and God, who also can’t be seen, will meet you in that hidden place. The “room" (ταμεῖον) was a storeroom; most people did not have private rooms in their houses, and only that room would have a door on it.Your hidden place doesn’t need to be in a closet. It doesn’t even need to be indoors! Go for a walk and talk to God. You might look a little strange to the neighbors, but so what? Talking out loud helps me have a conversation with a God that I cannot see.
  • I don’t think this verse means that all prayer MUST be done in private. Jesus sometimes prayed out loud with his disciples present. In the book of Acts, there are several examples of public prayer in the early church. He is telling us that prayer is something you say to God. Even if it’s out loud and other people can hear it, remember that you’re not talking to those other people. Prayer is talking to God. You’re just letting them listen in on your conversation. So even if you’re with other people, keep your conversation between you and God. Jesus is not saying that you’ve done something wrong if people hear your prayer. He’s not even saying that it’s wrong if people are impressed by your prayer (Gerald Kendrick, E. W. McMillan, Jim McGuiggan). What he’s saying is that it is wrong to pray for the purpose of impressing people. It’s not an issue of who knows about it or what they think about it. It’s all about your motive. Why did you do it? For people? Or for God? The reason it’s so important to guard our motives in prayer is because the reason WHY we pray will determine the outcome. Jesus urges us to pray in secret, so that our motives will be completely pure. And
  • Those who pray from pure motives will be rewarded by God.
  • What is the reward of prayer? I think that the reward he’s talking about is that God will hear your prayer and answer it. The word “reward” (ἀποδίδωμι) is used elsewhere for “paying back a debt.” That’s the way the Bible describes it. If you pray to God with a pure motive, not for how it will look, but because you love God and want to honor him and obey him, then God will pay you back. That is, he will answer you. It’s important to remember that the answer God gives us may not always be the answer we want.
  • Confederate Soldier's Prayer(Anon - alleged to have been found on a CSA casualty at the Devil's Den, Gettysburg)I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.I asked for health, that I might do greater things.I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.I asked for riches, that I might be happy.I was given poverty, that I might be wise.I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.I am, among all people, most richly blessed.God promises that when we pray to him – not so others will applaud – then he will answer our prayers by giving us whatever answer is the very best for us. Check out this verse:
  • Notice that this verse is talking about those who really mean it when they pray. In other words, they really are talking to God and not to men. And God knows the difference.
  • If you’re seeking human approval, you will find it. But look at this verse. If you are really seeking God, then you will find him. That’s the reward of secret prayer.
  • I Asked The Lord – john Newton 1779 (during a dark time in his life)1. I asked the Lord that I might growIn faith and love and every graceMight more of His salvation knowAnd seek more earnestly His face2. Twas He who taught me thus to prayAnd He I trust has answered prayerBut it has been in such a wayAs almost drove me to despair3. I hoped that in some favored hourAt once He'd answer my requestAnd by His love's constraining powerSubdue my sins and give me rest4. Instead of this He made me feelThe hidden evils of my heartAnd let the angry powers of HellAssault my soul in every part5. Yea more with His own hand He seemedIntent to aggravate my woeCrossed all the fair designs I schemed,Cast out my feelings, laid me low6. Lord why is this, I trembling criedWilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?"Tis in this way" The Lord replied"I answer prayer for grace and faith"7. "These inward trials I employFrom self and pride to set thee freeAnd break thy schemes of earthly joyThat thou mayest seek thy all in me,That thou mayest seek thy all in me."
  • ^ Action: For an exclusive audience ^ Motive: To honor and obey God ^ Result: Reward from God
  • There’s one more thing Jesus adds about prayer:
  • Ancient religions had idea that one could persuade the gods if they said magic words over and over. “Babbling” (βατταλογέω) means “to say ‘batta, batta, batta”. Like a rain dance – repeat magic formula till you get results. People today treat prayer the same way. Joe Nelms ended by saying “In Jesus’ name, boogety, boogety, boogety, Amen!” Prayer can be just a bunch of magic words we say to get God’s attention, to get our desires. Everything we do on a regular basis is in danger of becoming rote and meaningless. We say, “Let’s pray.” and everyone closes eyes and bows heads. Why? Is there some verse that says, “Here’s how you pray” with a diagram next to it? (No!) Or because your mother said, “Bow your head, fold your hands and close your eyes”? Where did Mom learn the “right way” to pray? Bible examples: kneeling, standing, sitting, and lying face down on the ground. No verses about folding hands, but several about lifting their hands. No verses about closing eyes, but several about looking up toward heaven. Yet habits are so engrained that we don’t even think about it at all!Code words to begin and end “prayer mode”. Try it. Say, “Heavenly Father” and watch everyone close their eyes. That’s “prayer mode”. Or try ending a prayer without saying the code word “Amen”. Everyone still have their heads bowed? Prayer mode. Not about posture, or location, or frequency, or eloquence, or using the proper words. It’s talking to God as if you really were talking to God because you ARE talking to God.
  • Sometimes people wonder, “If God already knows what I need, then why should I tell him about it in prayer?” Even though God doesn’t need us to tell him, we need us to tell him. When we talk to God, it reminds us that we depend on God and it demonstrates that we trust him. And we need that. We don’t need to wake God up or get his attention. He never sleeps and he’s already watching us. All we need to do is talk to him, honestly and sincerely. Jesus isn’t saying that there’s anything wrong with repeating yourself in prayer. The Bible records one time when Jesus prayed the same thing three times in a row. And he once told a story about a persistent widow to teach us that we should keep praying for something and never give up. The point is that prayer should not be automatic or a mindless tradition. It should be filled with meaning and significance. We should pray as if we were actually talking to God, because we are. That’s the kind of prayer that God appreciates and God answers.
  • God wants you to pray – not because he needs to know what you want or what you think. It’s because praying to God is an act of worship. And that’s why it’s so important that you pray with the right motive. You can say the longest, most eloquent prayer for the wrong reasons – so that people will praise you – but then that’s all you get – people’s praise. On the other hand, the shortest, simplest prayer, offered sincerely and offered only because you want to honor and obey God – that prayer will bring God’s reward. The question is not just, “Are you praying? The important question is, “Why are you praying?” We’re going to talk about prayer some more next week, so I encourage you to come back. But before we go, let’s lift our eyes and our hands toward heaven and pray. You’re welcome to listen, but what I’m about to say, I’m not saying to you. Let’s all direct our thoughts to the Lord.
  • 130113 sm 14 amen wow - Matthew 6:5-8 (abridged)

    1. 1. AMEN! WOW! Matthew 6:5-8THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKStudies in the Sermon on the Mount
    2. 2. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOK Worship Economy Code RelationshipsCharacter Disciple’s Choices
    3. 3. Matthew 6:1Be careful not to do your acts ofrighteousness before men, to beseen by them. If you do, you willhave no reward from your Father in heaven.
    4. 4. A general principle: If you perform religious acts toimpress other people then you’ll miss God’s reward.
    5. 5. THE DISCIPLE’S WORSHIPClink, Clink, Ta Da! (6:1-4)Amen, Wow! (6:5-8)
    6. 6. OSTENTATIOUS PRAYER Matthew 6:5
    7. 7. Matthew 6:5a "And when you pray, do not belike the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.
    8. 8. Matthew 6:5bI tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
    9. 9. Ostentatious PrayerAction: •Performance artMotive: •Praise of othersResult: •Paid in full
    10. 10. You might be a member of the Church of Christ if … The next Gospel Guide, guard 728b appointed meetings and direct us time Ready Separate and Giving Brotherhood recollection apart Auditorium Grape juice Shaped notes Acts 2:38
    11. 11. SECRET PRAYER Matthew 6:6
    12. 12. Matthew 6:6aBut when you pray, go into yourroom, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.
    13. 13. ALWAYS “IN SECRET”?
    14. 14. Matthew 6:6bThen your Father, who sees whatis done in secret, will reward you.
    15. 15. WHAT “REWARD”?
    16. 16. I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.I was made weak, that I might learn to obey.I asked for health, that I might do greater things.I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.I asked for riches, that I might be happy.I was given poverty, that I might be wise.I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for.Despite myself, my prayers were answered.I am, among all people, most richly blessed.
    17. 17. Psalm 145:18-19 MSGGod’s there, listening for all who pray, for allwho pray and mean it. He does what’s best forthose who fear him—hears them call out, andsaves them.
    18. 18. 1 Chronicles 28:9 MSGGod examines every heart and sees throughevery motive. If you seek him, he’ll make sureyou find him.
    19. 19. I asked the Lord 1. I asked the Lord that I might grow In faith and love and every grace Might more of His salvation know And seek more earnestly His face
    20. 20. I asked the Lord 2. Twas He who taught me thus to pray And He I trust has answered prayer But it has been in such a way As almost drove me to despair
    21. 21. I asked the Lord 3. I hoped that in some favored hour At once Hed answer my request And by His loves constraining power Subdue my sins and give me rest
    22. 22. I asked the Lord 4. Instead of this He made me feel The hidden evils of my heart And let the angry powers of Hell Assault my soul in every part
    23. 23. I asked the Lord 5. Yea more with His own hand He seemed Intent to aggravate my woe Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, Cast out my feelings, laid me low
    24. 24. I asked the Lord 6. Lord why is this, I trembling cried Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death? "Tis in this way" The Lord replied "I answer prayer for grace and faith"
    25. 25. I asked the Lord 7. "These inward trials I employ From self and pride to set thee free And break thy schemes of earthly joy That thou mayest seek thy all in me (Repeat)
    26. 26. Secret PrayerAction: • For an exclusive audienceMotive: • To honor and obey GodResult: • Reward from God
    27. 27. SINCERE PRAYER Matthew 6:7-8
    28. 28. Matthew 6:7And when you pray, do not keepon babbling like pagans, for theythink they will be heard because of their many words.
    29. 29. Matthew 6:8Do not be like them, for yourFather knows what you need before you ask him.
    30. 30. SUMMING UPMotive is more important than mode