The Sermon on the Mount – 4

Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV (43) “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ (44) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (47) And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? (48) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

  • When we do what Jesus said in verses 43 and 44, notice in verse 45 it says that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. These things do not make us children of God but rather show that we are children of God.

Matthew 5:45 AMP (45) To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike].

Matthew 5:45 CEV (45) Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.

Notice in this section that Jesus makes another reference to a reward. God desires to reward His children. The implication is that when we love the unlovely and are friendly to those who are not our brethren, then God will reward us. Jesus refers to reward 9 times in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 6:1-3 NKJV (1) “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. (2) Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (3) But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

  • Your translation may read “alms” and it is more accurately translated “righteous acts.”
  • This chapter covers three primary righteous acts that we need to do: give (v2), pray (5), and fast (v16).
  • Beware that you do not your righteous acts before men. We need to note that it is OK to do righteous acts in front of men, but it is wrong to do your righteous acts to be seen of men.
    • For example, if you get asked to say the blessing over a meal at a family gathering, you must do that righteous act in front of other people. But it something entirely different if you do that to be seen by everybody there.
  • You give offerings in front of other people in a church service, but we don’t do it making a big deal about our giving.
  • Note the last two words in this verse, “in heaven” in verse 1.

Matthew 6:4 NKJV (4) that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

  • The word “secret” is a reference to Heaven as mentioned in verse 1 and could be accurately translated, “hidden realm.” Notice though the reward will be given “openly” or “manifested in plain sight.”
  • God can see from the heavenly realm into this realm but we cannot see into that realm without a manifestation of the Holy Spirit being in operation.
  • Why does He reward us openly? It is because we do it with the right heart motivation.
  • We need to always remember that we are not out to try and please and impress the world. We are only responsible to please God in all that we do. The world gets its standard from unbelieving religion. The world is not the standard. The Word of God is the standard.
  • Lets’ take a moment and talk about carnality. What is being carnal?

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NKJV (1) And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. (2) I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; (3) for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

    • A definition of carnality is when we try to live by the world’s standard or in other words, acting like mere men. Carnality is when the believer imitates the unbeliever. The motive is not to imitate Christ as Ephesians 5:1 says, but to imitate the world.
    • Some try and see how close they can live to the things of the world, like mere men instead of seeing how close they can get to Jesus.
    • Remember, the God Who sees into your heart and into your motivations will reward you openly so that it can be seen of men.

Matthew 6:5-6 NKJV (5) “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (6) But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

“synagogues” = during religious gatherings or among church members.

“on the corners of the streets” = out in public among sinners

There is prosperity to be received for your giving when you give it with the right heart motivation.

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 NKJV (7) So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (8) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

    • They are not doing these things to please God because they love Him; they are doing these things to impress people.
    • Notice that there are open rewards from the Father when we give and pray with the right heart motivations.
    • The word “closet” does not mean closet it all. It means your bedroom, but it can be anywhere that you can be alone with the Lord. Go into that private place so the world cannot see you and then shut the door so your family cannot see you.

Matthew 6:7 NKJV (7) And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

  • Jesus is simply saying to keep your prayers short.
  • If you are praying in the Spirit, pray long. If you are in intercessory prayer, pray long.
  • But if you are praying the prayer of faith, then keep your prayers concise and in line with the Word of God.
  • This is especially applicable with you are getting ready to eat!

Matthew 6:8 NKJV (8) “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

  • This is an awesome promise that Jesus gave us. How many times have had our children approach us and we knew what they wanted but we still wanted them to ask.
  • It is OK to ask, just ask in faith.

Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV (9) In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. (13) And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

  • This is not actually a prayer but rather a model for prayer.

Luke 11:1 | NKJV (1) Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

Luke 11:1 | TPT (1) One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of his disciples came over to him as he finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?”

This is a general outline for prayer. A good place to start and build from there.

      1. Connect with God relationally.

“Our Father in Heaven”

Romans 8:15 | NLT (15) So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.”

      1. Worship His Name.

“Hallowed be Your Name” – greatly revered, honored

Proverbs 18:10 | MSG (10) GOD’s name is a place of protection– good people can run there and be safe.

Philippians 2:9-11 | NKJV (9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      1. Pray His agenda first.

“Your Kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Matthew 26:39 | NKJV (26) He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

      1. Depend on Him for everything.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Psalms 121:1-2 | NKJV  (1) I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?  (2)  My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

Psalms 68:26 | NLT (26) Praise God, all you people of Israel; praise the LORD, the source of Israel’s life.

Acts 17:28 | NLT (28) For in Him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’

      1. Get your heart right with God and people.

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”

Matthew 6:12 | TPT (12) Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.

1 John 1:9 | NKJV (9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Mark 11:25 | NKJV (25) “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

      1. Engage in spiritual warfare.

“And do not lead us into temptations but deliver us from the evil one.”

Better translation: “And when we are tempted, deliver us from the evil one…”

James 1:13 | TPT (13) When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation.

Ephesians 6:12 | NKJV (12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

James 4:7 | NKJV (7) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 | MSG (7) So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.

      1. Express faith in God’s ability.

“For yours is the Kingdom and Power and Glory forever.”

Jeremiah 32:17 | NIV (17) “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

Mark 10:27 | NKJV (27) But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Revelation 5:13 | NIV (13) Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

          • We come to the Lord and realize that He is the Lord and He is holy. We should never forget that He is the holy Creator of the Universe.
          • Jesus was also revealing to the disciples that God desires to be their Father.
          • You are in the Kingdom of God right now! The Kingdom of God is here now, and the Kingdom of Heaven is being made available to all men.
          • It is the will of God to answer prayer and make earth a little piece of Heaven. That has always been God’s plan for the earth to be a duplicate of Heaven.
          • Give us “today” our bread for today. We believe God for today and the provision for today. Remember the manna in the wilderness and the fact that they Children of Israel were not allowed to gather up more than what they needed for that day.
          • Human nature is to move in fear and hoard up for tomorrow because we may not have enough. When God can trust us with more than the provision for today is when we begin to give out of our abundance and not hoard up.
          • One thing to note is that in the Greek, all of these phrases are in the imperative sense, almost a demand, said in a respectful way.

Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV (14) “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15 MSG (14) “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. (15) If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

Matthew 6:16-18 NKJV (16) “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (17) But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, (18) so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

  • Notice Jesus said in this chapter, “when you give, when you pray and when you fast…” He did not use the word “if.”
  • The exciting part of this is that when we fast before God with the right heart motivation and not to be seen of men, Jesus has promised that God would reward us openly.