In Chapter 5, verse 48, Matthew closes off this section of the sermon by demonstrating that Jesus was setting forth an ideal. His disciples will never attain to these standards this side of His return, but they are not thereby excused from continuing to strive after these goals.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect
Matthew, in Chapter 6, verses 1 through 18, turns to the theme of true verses hypocritical piety. In three closely paralleled examples, Jesus treated the practice of almsgiving, prayer and fasting. In each case the motive for correct religious behavior must be to please God rather than fellow humans.
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
In the middle of the second of these topics, on prayer, Jesus gave the classic disciples’ prayer, which has come to be known as the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer. In it He models all the elements of proper prayer in an appropriate sequence. He presented elements such as praise and adoration, leaving room for God’s sovereign will to override ours; appeal for kingdom priorities to be manifest on the earth; personal petition and please for forgiveness contingent on our practice of forgiving others; and prayer for strength to avoid the tempter and his snares.
References: Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor and Holy Bible, King James Version.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Wednesday, August 31
- Loretta M. in Cayce
- Garnet Aitchison
- Cherish and Anthony in Columbia
- Kody Oswald
- Tina Bailey
- Oliver Crawford
- Joy Cantrell in Shandon
- Edgar Maxwell
- Laura Lou Roamans
- Elizabeth Adams
- Rootie Pope in Leesville
- Gene Awtrey in Spring Valley
- John Conde
- Millie Husbands
- Clyde Ireland
- Sam King
- Bob Whiteside
- Chuck Witten
- Lindsay Cathcart
- Raven Tarpley
- The family of Jennifer Lee Wilson
- The family of Marion Dunbar Myers
- The family of Nicholas BouFawaz
- All victims of Hurricane Irene
- Mandy and all beloved pets
- Our president and congress
- All who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily as prayers are requested.
A discussion of today’s bible study is encouraged. If you would like to participate, please feel free to write a comment in the space below. There are many different outlooks and interpretations of scripture passages and, the more we share, the more we learn.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure Lane In Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located at in Columbia.
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