Matthew 6 Questions and Answers
1. Read Matthew 6:1. What is the difference between Matthew 5:16 and Matthew 6:1?
- Matthew 5 talks about our good deeds glorifying God
- Matthew 6 talks about doing good deeds to be seen by others and getting the honor for it yourself. Good works are being done simply to get praise from people, gain respect and admiration and to show the world how good they are.
2. It appears that Jesus is tying Matthew 6:1-18 with Matthew 5:20 showing what the Pharisees righteousness is like and the kind of righteous God wants from us. What are the 3 examples Jesus gives us?
Pharisees acts of righteousness The righteousness God desires from us
- wanting others to know how much they are giving Giving in secret
- praying in public to be seen by people Praying in secret
- making it noticeable that they were fasting Fasting in secret
3. Do you think Christians can still have a problem with being Pharisaical? How about you?
- It is so easy to want to feed our pride and be noticed
4. What does Jesus say will happen if we follow His instructions on how to do acts of righteousness?
5. The Bible often talks about rewards. Have you ever wondered what kind of rewards we will get - or when?
- If we give, pray and fast in secret - we will be rewarded
- Rewards are both now and forever
- "No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age(homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields - and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life" ( Mark 10:28-30). God will reward us generously - but he also warns us that this life is not a life of physical luxury. We will have persecutions, trials and sufferings in this life. But the blessings outweigh the difficulties by a hundred-to-one margin! Whatever sacrifices we make will be richly compensated. The Christian life is certainly "worth it."
- Even our trials have spiritual value - they develop character qualities ( Romans 5:3-4; James 1:2-4), and this is of greater value than gold ( 1 Peter 1:7). God sometimes gives us gold and other temporary rewards (perhaps as an indication of better things to come), but the rewards that count most are those that last forever.
- In the parable of the virgins, the reward is a marriage banquet ( Matthew 25:10). In the parable of talents, the reward is described in general terms: being put "in charge of many things" and being able to "share your master's happiness" (vv. 20-23).
- In the parable of sheep and goats, the blessed disciples are allowed to inherit a kingdom ( Matthew 25:34).
- In the parables of the pounds, the trustworthy servants were given rulership over cities ( Luke 19:16-19).
- Jesus advised his disciples to "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven" ( Matthew 6:19-21). By this, he implied that what we do in this life will be rewarded in the future - but what sort of reward is it? What good is a treasure when there is nothing to buy? When streets are made of gold, what will be the value of gold?
- When we have spiritual bodies, we will not need physical things. I think that this fact suggests that when we think of eternal rewards, we should think primarily about spiritual rewards, not physical things that will pass away. But the problem is that we do not have the vocabulary to describe details of an existence we have never experienced. So we need to use words based on the physical when we even attempt to describe what the spiritual is like.
- Our spiritual blessings will be far better than the physical things we know in this life. Our eternity in God's presence will be much more glorious and joyful than physical rewards. All physical things, no matter how beautiful, enjoyable or valuable, are only weak shadows of infinitely better heavenly rewards.
- David said, "You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" ( Psalm 16:11).
- John described it as a time when "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" ( Revelation 20:4). Everyone will be fully happy. There will be no dissatisfaction of any kind. No one will be able to think of even a tiny way in which things could be better. We will have reached the purpose for which God has made us.
- "The Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does" ( Ephesians 6:8). "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward" ( Colossians 3:23-24). "Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully" ( 2 John 8).
- 1 Peter 1:3-9: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, ...are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
- Accepting and going through persecution and insults without bitterness - Matthew 5:12 (reward will be in heaven) Revelation 2:10 says it will be a crown of life.
- Giving a cup of water to someone who is a disciple will be rewarded - Matthew 10:42:
- The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. 1 Samuel 26:23
- God rewards those who earnestly seek him.- Hebrews 11:6
- When Jesus returns He is bringing His rewards with Him and He will give to each person according to what they have done. Revelation 22:12
- 2 Timothy 4:8 - if I wait eagerly for Christ's return I will receive a crown of righteousness
If a person's one aim is to get for themselves the world's rewards, no doubt they would get that, but then they shouldn't look for the rewards that only God can give. It would be very short-sighted to go after temporary rewards and let the rewards of eternity go.
6. Read Matthew 6:2-4.When we give to the needy, how are we not to give? Why?
- We are not to announce it in public to be honoured and admired by others because that would then be the extent of the reward they would be getting. That would be their payment in full.
- With wrong motives - ie. We are not giving to help someone but to show off our generosity and soak up other people's gratitude and praise. We try to gratify our own pride and sense of power. Or we give out of a sense of duty but not give of ourselves and so the giving is incomplete.
- It is hypocritical to put on an act of giving but the motive is to glorify themselves
7. How are we to give? Why?
- Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving will be in secret.
- Genuine giving from the heart because you love and care about people in need
- If your giving is in secret then God will reward you.
8. What ways can we personally help needy people? Should we get involved personally or just let agencies do that kind of work? What are the drawbacks and what are the rewards?
- Financially we can support the Salvation Army - the poor people, Crisis Pregnancy Resource Center, MCC, Church, Missions/missionaries, filling shoe boxes, giving Christmas hampers. Instead of supporting secular agencies, support Christian ones.
- We can also give of our time, our expertise - financial counsel, how to cook reasonable & healthy meals, encourage those with relational struggles
- If we are involved personally, we will take ownership and experience the joy that comes with serving. We can also see the joy of the person receiving our help.
- A drawback could be, that we might be taken advantage of or deceived.
If you are married, should you talk this kind of thing over with your spouse?
9. Dave Ramsey suggests that we should set up a fund that we use to give a "random act of kindness" so someone who the Lord might lay on our heart. What do you think of this suggestion?
10. Do you think it's okay to have your name listed as a donor on the wall or to be publically honoured verbally or in writing of a donation you made? Why?
- Individuals want to be seen by men as people who are generous. Pride can be played upon (or preyed upon) by organizations to fund raise. We shouldn't give to get our name in the gold, silver, platinum givers list. Some organizations do it to get adversizing which is somewhat different but still often plays on pride.
- If giving is to get recognition you have already received your reward which is only temporary and won't get the reward God wants to give Eg. On arena wall, camp flyer Because then you have already received your reward which is only temporary and won't get the reward God wants to give Eg. On arena wall, camp flyer
11. Read Matthew 6:5-8. How are we not to pray? Why?
- Like the hypocrites do - they love to stand and pray in public places where people can see them. Their prayer is not really addressed to God but to people. They want people to see how pious they really are. They have received their reward in full.
- Bragging how good we are - comparing ourselves with others who are not as good as us. Luke 18
- We are not to keep on babbling like the heathen do, thinking our many words will cause God to hear us. We don't need to do that for God knows what we need even before we ask Him.
12. From Matthew 6:8, if God knows what we need, why do you think He wants us to pray for these things that we need? Why doesn't He just give it to us?
- Just like parents don't always give children everything they need before they ask, because if they know they have a need and request it, when they receive it, it will be more meaningful and valuable to them. They will then see the parent as a loving provider as well.
- God wants us to depend on Him and trust Him to meet our needs.
13. How are we to pray?
- We are to go into our room, close the door, and pray to our Heavenly Father who is unseen. If we pray in secret God will reward us.
- Without hypocrisy - asking God for mercy
- All true prayer must be offered to God (not men). We need to remember that the God to whom we pray is a God of love who is more ready to answer than we are to pray.
14. What is prayer? What is the purpose of prayer?
- Prayer is not a formal duty. It is not an attempt to bend the will of God to our desires.
- It is an act of humility in which to receive the mercy of God.
- Communicating with God - talking and listening
- Prayer is attempting to submit our will to the will of God.
- Intercession, giving thanks, confession, praise
15. Read Matthew 6:9-15. The Lord's Prayer - What was the purpose of the Lord's prayer?
- For Jesus to teach His disciples how to pray and those who were listening in around him.
16. Who is prayer to be addressed to?
- Our Heavenly Father who is in Heaven - that makes Him approachable for us, and also shows His holiness
17. Notice the order of the Petitions. What are the first 3 petitions? What do they mean?
These first 3 petitions have to do with _________________________.
18. What are the next three petitions?
- 4. Give us today our daily bread - Asking God to supply us with what we need for the coming day - this is bringing our present needs to God
- This teaches us to live one day at a time, trusting God to meet our needs
- Our food is a direct gift from God.
- Without God we can do nothing. Without our effort and cooperation, God can do nothing for us.
- The problem in the world is not that there isn't enough of life's essentials, but it is the distribution of them.
- 5. Forgive us as we forgive others - brings the past hurts and violations into God's presence
- What does the word debt mean in this verse? A failure to pay that which is due towards others.
- The literal translation means "Forgive us in proportion as we forgive those who have sinned against us."
- In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says that if we forgive others, God will forgive us; but if we refuse to forgive others, God will refuse to forgive us until we make things right. So if we pray this prayer with choosing to become bitter not to forgive someone, we are asking God not to forgive us.
What are some of the steps in helping you to forgive someone?
- Try to understand why we were offended or why the person hurt us.
- Then we need to learn to forget and not keep rehearsing what someone did to us.
- Then we need to learn to love (agape love) which seeks the highest good of others no matter what they have done to us.
- That kind of love can only come to us when Christ who is that love, comes to live in us.
Is there anyone you haven't forgiven yet, but need to, so God can forgive you when you sin?
- 6. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one - commits all the future into the hands of God.
- Lead us not to experience evil or adversity that comes from the evil one.
- Satan is an adversary or opponent who pleads a case against someone. The Devil is a slanderer. He tries to frustrate the purposes of God and ruin mankind. It is from that ruining power that Jesus tells us to pray to be delivered.
a. Where do our temptations come from?
- From people whose influence is bad
- From those who love us - eg Job's wife
- A desire to not look like a soft, pious, holy person - desire to be popular or fit in with the group
- From our weak spot/blind spot, a flaw in our temperament
- From our strongest point which leads to pride - and pride leads to our downfall
- From our own evil desires (James 1:13-15)
b. What are some defences against temptation?
- Self-respect - you have to live with yourself and your memories. Nehemiah said in Nehemiah 6:11 "Is a man like me going to do a thing like that?" We want a good name.
- The power of tradition is helpful if we don't want to betray the ones we belong to.
- Not wanting to hurt someone we love or someone who loves us
- Wanting Jesus to be pleased with us
- Want to be a good example to others
c. These last 3 requests have to do with our needs and necessities
- All of these requests are valid, but when God is given His proper place, all other things fall into their proper place
- We can bring all of our past, present and future requests and lay them before God
19. Pray the Lord's Prayer, stopping at each phrase and expanding on it to reflect your own prayer from your heart.
Are you experiencing a dynamic prayer life? Is there something that God is teaching you about prayer that He wants you to do?
20. Read Matthew 6:16-18. To the Jews, was fasting important? What are some times when they fasted?
- For the Jew, in the time of Jesus, there was only one compulsory fast - the fast on the Day of Atonement where from morning to evening all men were forbidden to eat, drink, bathe, etc. "On the tenth day of the seventh month (September or October) you must deny yourselves and not do any work-whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you- 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance".
- There was a fasting which was connected with mourning between the time of death and burial - must keep away from all meat and wine.
- Some fasted from certain kinds of food or drink to make amends for some sin. To show repentance. Eg. Nineveh in the story of Jonah
- Sometimes there was national fasting.
- Samuel made the people fast because they had were following Baal ( 1 Samuel 7:6).
- Nehemiah asked the people to fast and confess their sins ( Nehemiah 9:1)
- Sometimes fasting was a preparation for a revelation.
- Moses fasted for 40 days and nights ( Exodus 24:15-18).
- Daniel fasted as he waited for God's Word ( Daniel 9:3).
- Jesus fasted for 40 days as he waited for Satan's temptations. ( Matthew 4:2)
- Sometimes fasting was an appeal to God. If the rains failed and the crops were in jeopardy, a national fast would be called to appeal to God.
21. What was the purpose of a fast in the minds of Jewish people? ( Isaiah 58:6-11)
- To attract God's attention to the person who was fasting
- To prove that they were repentant. However sometimes fasting became the substitute for repentance.
- When individuals fasted, it was often on behalf of a whole nation - to move God to liberate the nation from it's distresses.
- Isaiah 58:6-11 The kind of fasting God has chosen is for us to undo the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and break every yoke. It is to share your food with the hungry, provide the poor wanderer with shelter, clothe the naked, taking care of your family members. Then God will answer your prayers and help you. If you get rid of the malicious talk and pointing fingers at others and inside feed the hungry and help the oppressed, then God will guide you and satisfy your needs.
22. When we fast, what are we not to do? Why? ( Isaiah 58:3)
- Let others know that we are fasting by the way we look - then we are not doing it for God but to make it look like we are so pious. Jewish market days were Monday and Thursday so that would be the day the religious leaders would choose to fast to get a larger audience to admire them. That's being hypocritical and spiritually proud (not humble). Then the only reward they'll get is attention and admiration from others.
- If we fast we are not to think that we are superior and more religious than others
- Isaiah 58:3 - on the day of fasting you do as you please, exploiting your workers. You end your fast in quarrelling and fighting
23. When we fast, what are we to do? Why?
- Freshen up so that no one knows that we are fasting except God.
- God will reward us if our fasting is done in secret.
24. Have you ever taken time to fast? What kind of rewards could we expect when we fast? What are the benefits of fasting?
- God will answer our prayers and help us - "This kind comes out only by prayer and fasting" ( Mark 9:29)
- While the church leaders were praying and fasting the Holy Spirit gave them direction - set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. After they fasted and prayed they place their hand on them and sent them off. ( Acts 13:2-3)
- God will satisfy our needs and strengthen us ( Isaiah 58:11)
- Be able to resist temptation - Jesus in the desert ( Matthew 4)
- Good for our health -many of us live to eat instead of eating to live.
- Good for self-discipline - it is easy to become self-indulgent and deny ourselves nothing. It would do us good to master our desires and exercise some self-discipline
- Fasting will keep us from being slaves of a habit and help us to become masters of our pleasures.
- Fasting shows us that we can do without many things which we thought were essential
- Fasting makes us appreciate things more - it heightens the pleasures we do have
25. Read Matthew 6:19-21. What is a treasure? What treasures do we store up here on earth or invest in? What kind of things should we not treasure?
- Anything that I think is valuable or precious
- Material things - material things are not bad in themselves but they become bad when we place more importance on them than on our relationship with God.
- Our treasure should not be things that can be destroyed by moths (clothes). Even the finest garment in the world will at some point lose its appeal and disintegrate. Clothes offer diminishing returns.
- Our treasure should not be things that rust can destroy. Rust in this verse means to be consumed, made to disappear, corrupted, disfigured, or perish by eating. (metal, corn or wheat eaten or polluted by mice, worms or rats). Jesus is warning about the pleasures that can be eroded away.
- Our treasure should not be things that could be stolen because the house was broken into. No material blessings are secure. If we build our happiness on them, we are building on a very insecure basis.
- Any person whose happiness depends on things will experience disappointment, and will probably lose his treasure for there is no permanence in things - no things last forever.
26. Do you think we collect too much here on earth?
Probably, We can get to where we want to have more and better things. Do we really need them in light of eternity?
How can we keep material things from becoming more important than spiritual things?
- Keep our focus on God and the needs of others around us. Store up treasure in heaven.
- When Jesus counselled us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20), he was not against investing - he was against bad investments. Do not invest in temporary rewards, but invest in heavenly rewards that will last forever.
27. How do we store up treasures in heaven? Who do we store up treasures for in heaven?
- We store up treasures for ourselves in heaven
- The Jews said that deeds of kindness that a person did on earth became his treasure in heaven.
- That which is generously given away brings treasure in heaven
- The Jews always connected the phrase treasure in heaven with character. The only thing which a person can take out of this world into the world beyond is himself; and the better character he has, the greater his treasure in heaven will be.
- Bringing people into the Kingdom of God - 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
28. Where is your treasure? How will that affect how you live on earth and how you will feel about leaving this earth?
- Where your treasure is, that is where your heart is (Matthew 6:21)
- If I value and set my heart on this earth, then I will have no interest in eternity and will leave the earth reluctantly and grudgingly
- If my eyes are on eternity, I will hold lightly the things of this world and leave this world gladly because I long to be with God
29. Read Matthew 6:22-23. From the context what do you think Jesus is referring to?
- These verses are between 2 teachings on materialism. So the context is materialism and serving Money vs spiritual treasure and serving God.
30. What does it mean that the eye is the lamp of the body?
- Our eyes can be focused on material things or spiritual things which affects whether we are living in darkness or in the light.
- Focusing on materialism brings darkness and focusing on spiritual things brings light. Material things are necessary for this life, but if they take our focus away from our relationship to God - then that creates darkness
31. How can we fill our body with light from God?
- By spending time with God, He fills us with His light and we can become radiant. Since God is light, He brings light, brightness, joy, radiance into our life. Eg. Moses. When he spent time with God his countenance shone. ( Exodus 34:29-35)
32. What does it mean to have good eyes? Evil/bad eyes? What are the consequences of each?
- Having good eyes means being focused and generous - If we are focused on God and spiritual things we will be generous and have a lose hand on our material possessions.
- If we have good eyes we will have God's perspective on material possessions and people.
- Having bad eyes means having a wicked or selfish outlook - We hold onto everything we can get for ourselves (stinginess) and use it for our own pleasure. Focus is on self instead of God and that creates darkness.
33. Read Matthew 6:24. How does a person serve God? How does a person serve Money? Why can we not serve both? ( 1 Timothy 6:9-10)
- You cannot serve two masters is better translated, you cannot be a slave to 2 owners. In the ancient world a slave had no rights of his own and every moment of his life belonged to his master. Realistically you cannot be controlled by two competing owners.
- In regard to God, if we belong to Him, we have no rights of our own. We have no time which is our own. We have no time off from being a Christian, where we can relax our standards as if we were off duty. Being a Christian is a 24/7 job. But the rewards are out of this world. :
- We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and only wants our best - that makes it a joy to serve Him.
- Money in this verse is a god, something in which a person puts their trust. If Money is our master, all we live for is how to make more money, how to use it and how to keep it for ourselves. We are controlled every moment by the fear of losing it, figuring out how to make more of it. It won't let us sleep, or be relaxed.
- When there is a love of money, it leads to all kinds of evil. "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10. This is why we should not let Money be our master.
- If money is a person's master - then that person will be willing to obtain their money or possessions through dishonest means, gambling/lottery, through getting rid of a competitor, or at the expense of another person's misfortune.
- God is definitely the better master. He is the one that is worth loving and being devoted to.
34. Read Matthew 6:25-34. What should our life focus be? What should it not be on? ( Hebrews 13:5)
- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and God will give you everything you need.eg. seminary
- We should not focus on material things or on things that God promises to give us - eg. Food, drink, clothes
- We are to keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5) Focus should not be on money or possessions but it should be on gratefulness and contentment with what God has given us.
- We are acting like a pagan if we do run after material things. God already promised to supply those things if we first seek His Kingdom.
35. What happens when we are focused on the wrong things?
- Start worrying if we focus on what we are going to eat and drink or what we are going to wear, money problems
36. Do you ever worry? What do you worry about? Does worrying do any good?
- It's easy to worry about Children, grandchildren, relationships, safety, finances, our countries leaders, health, the future, etc.
- Worry doesn't do anyone any good - so why do we do it? Worrying doesn't put food on the table, or give us any more time to live or change our future. We are not to worry about tomorrow - focus on the present. God doesn't give us grace to handle the next day - only today.
37. Why shouldn't we worry?
- God gave us life, so surely we can trust him to give us food to sustain that life.
- God gave us bodies, so surely we can trust him to give us clothes to cover our bodies.
- Worrying is pointless - in fact God forbids us to worry because it takes the joy out of life.
- Worrying can be dangerous to your health - stomach ulcers and heart problems are often the result of worry.
- Worry affects a person's judgment and decision making ability, and eventually makes him incapable of dealing with life. Worry is a very disabling sin.
- Worry does not come from circumstances but from a heart that is not trusting in God.
- God is so generous, He even clothes flowers that are only around for a day, so wouldn't He take care of us?
38. What should we do if we do start to worry? How can we defeat worry?
- Seek first God's Kingdom - develop a great love for doing God's will. Worry leaves when God becomes the dominant power in our lives
- Acquire the art of living one day at a time.
- Remember that God loves us, promises to give us our needs ( Philippians 4:19), He is always with us ( Hebrews 13:5), taking care of us ( I Peter 5:7). Therefore we can cast all our anxiety on God. We can present our petitions & requests with thanksgiving when we are anxious and God's peace which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus ( Philippians 4:6-7)
39. Do you think that our children can become obsessed with the right clothes, vehicles, class of home?
- Especially if parents or relatives are or their classmates or neighbours are.
40. How can we teach them to value helping others and being willing to sacrifice wealth and pleasure for the kingdom's sake?
- Do a Samaritan's shoe box together, Redekopp ministry's box
- Gospel for Asia gifts, MCC gifts
Support our church missionaries
41. Have you ever experienced God supplying all your needs when you were focused on seeking God's Kingdom - seeking to do God's will?
- We personally experienced God's abundance when we went to Seminary for three years and God supplied everything including tuition. (Phil worked in the summer months.)
42. What promises are there for people obsessed with God?
- God knows what we need and He will give us all those things that we need
43. What has been meaningful to you from this chapter that requires a response from you?