THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


HERE.

Bro. Bruce's commentaries for the books of Genesis through Obadiah are
now available in hard copy for $17.50. (Smaller books are only $9:50) Just mail your request for COMMENTARY ON (BOOK NAME) to:

Bruce McGee
P.O. Box 1627
Columbia, LA 71418

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 6

1 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. 2 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. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

GIVING
ALMS refers to charitable giving. The pharisees in those days made a big "show" of how much they were giving. They would have a trumpet sound, then walk up to the vase designated for giving, and would drop in coins so they would sound loudly. That did not necessarily mean they were giving a lot, it just meant they wanted to be SEEN.

Jesus teaches that our giving should be a very private matter, between us and God alone. It should be based upon heart-searching prayer, seeking to know what God would have us to give in relation to how much He has blessed us.

Paul taught, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him..." (1 Cor 16:2)

If we put God first in our lives, He should be the first line in our budget. And we should remember that giving is not tithing only. Giving includes, but is above and beyond tithing; and relates to sharing when God calls upon us for special purposes.

5 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. 6 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. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in 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 lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

PRAYER
First, let us establish there is nothing wrong with public prayer. And when we are called on to pray, we shouldn't be embarrassed. We should just speak simply and in a straight-forward manner to our Lord.

Secondly, let us establish that public prayer should not be used as a forum for our pet peeves. Neither should it be used as a platform for bragging on ourselves. That's what the hypocrites Jesus spoke about did. Their desire was to be noticed by others. Jesus said they had already received that reward!

But, for the disciple of Christ, prayer is genuinely between him/her and their Lord. If one genuinely prays "secretly," he/she will know how to pray publicly.

((Twins were born in a town. They grew up, went off to college and returned. One was a preacher, the other was a medical doctor. One day, an old friend recognized one of the twins at a business meeting. He approached, and said, "Sir, I remember you from high school, but it's been awhile, and I can't tell which twin you are. Are you the preacher?" The twin answered, "No, sir. I'm the one who practices what he preaches."))

Well, that's a cute little story. And it relates the fact that we should practice prayer. If we are praying diligently in our own homes, we will not be embarrassed to pray publicly when called upon.

Remember, God ALREADY KNOWS your need! Then, "Why," one might ask, "does God want us to pray?" God wants us to VOICE our prayer in an intimate relationship with Him, showing our dependence upon His will in our lives.

Jesus taught the simple prayer in verses 9-13 as "The Disciple's Prayer." Some people call it "The Lord'S Prayer." However, this prayer is instruction about HOW to pray, and is directed to the DISCIPLES. It is a MODEL prayer in that it gives us fundamentals.

First, there is the "address" of God. He is "Our Father," and He is "in heaven." He is Creator of all, and resides, in essence of holiness, far above and beyond what we presently are. Address Him with awesome reverence and respect.

Secondly, there are three petitions which agree with God's plan and program in this earth.
A) "Hallowed be Thy Name," reflects submission to an awesome God of perfection and holiness.
B) "Thy kingdom come," reflects the fact that we desire the END of God's plan. We desire to see the time when all God's children will be gathered to Him in eternal heaven.
C) "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," reflects the fact that we are submissive to Him in this present day. And we desire His will to be done in our lives.

Thirdly, there are four petitions which plead with God as our Providor.
A) "Give us this day our daily bread." The true disciple realizes that it is God Who gives us the phyisical ability to earn food. And it is God Who feeds us spiritual food. Without Him, we would have neither!
B) "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." The disciple realizes he/she has a continual debt of transgression against God, and needs daily forgiveness. The disciple also realizes that others transgress against us, and we need to be forgiving in attitude toward them. To beg forgiveness without giving it is hypocritical.
C) "And lead us not into temptation." God would NEVER lead us to be tempted. The Bible says, "13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." (James 1:13-14) Therefore, this is a plea for God to help us in resisiting day-to-day temptations.
D) "But deliver us from evil." This is the disciple pleading that God will protect him/her from the continual onslaughts of the devil against them. There are constant attempts by the devil to destroy the witness of a believer. We need to be aware of that, and always ask God to protect us.

Fourthly, there is a "doxology." A doxology is an expression of praise. "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever!" EVERYTHING belongs to God! I, you, we all belong to God. We are His to do with as He pleases. He pleases to forgive and save those who willingly acknowledge Him as LORD OF ALL! Let us praise Him! 1 Chron 29:11 says, "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Finally, there is the "AMEN!" Amen actually means truly, or so let it be. The practice of the disciple should be to AGREE with all that God IS and SAYS!

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgiveness is the manner in which God expressed His love for us. And forgiveness is the manner in which we express heavenly love toward others. It is the attitude for the disciple.

Notice Jesus says, "If you forgive...if ye forgive not." If we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, the way God instructs us in Leviticus 19:18, & Matthew 22:37-39 , we will express that love through forgiveness and genuine concern.

And Jesus is saying that if we do NOT forgive, then the love of the Father is not IN us (See 1John 2:10-11).

16 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. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 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.

Fasting is a wonderful thing to do in order to draw closer to our Lord. But it is not for SHOW. It is intended to be a very private thing, simply between us and God.

When we are fasting, the hunger pains are intentional. They are for the purpose of making us remember to pray and be more focused on a personal relationship with God.

Fasting is not a way to show or express our religiosity, for that is hypocrisy. In all other activities, while fasting, appear normal and just enjoy that intimate closeness with God.

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

These verses are all about FOCUS, and placing God's work as the CENTER of your life.

What is it that you spend the MOST time on? Is it self? Is it money, or things? If it is, you have an IDOL which you worship more than God!

YOU will die, and you cannot save yourself from earth to heaven.
MONEY and THINGS will corrupt and/or fade away - they cannot help you get to heaven.

Your GREATEST TREASURE should be Jesus Himself, and His will in your life. That should be your FOCAL POINT of life. He should be placed at the CENTER, and all other things planned around Him. Too often, we plan God around our lives.

To put your focus on an idol leaves the soul in "darkness"!
To put your focus on Christ leaves the soul in "Light"!

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

This is really a strong statement to believers! In order to put this into perspective, let me use an example.

A man was a Christian, and had a family. He wanted to be a good Christian, but he also wanted to make sure his family had the best. The only job he could find that gave his family the things he wanted to provide was selling beer. This created a constant conflict in his soul. He knew it was wrong, but felt that it was the only thing he could do. However, one day, he walked down the aisle, told his pastor he wanted to recommit his life to Christ. The next day he just quit his job! Within a week, God had provided him a BETTER job, with BETTER pay, and BETTER benefits!

"Ye cannot SERVE God AND mammon!"
It is an impossibility. If you really love God, and want to serve Him, then "Take no thought for YOUR life..." Take thought only for God's PURPOSES in your life.

Remember, God wants the BEST for you!

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

To emphasize the point, Jesus used a great illustration: the BIRDS. The birds have no self-imposed focal point. They exist simply to give God pleasure. But they do not lack in anything! They have clothes for the season. They have sense to move from harsh weather by migration. They always find food AS they live to serve God.

Can we make ourselves BETTER than the birds? Can we add anything to our age or well-being more than God? NO! You can diet and exercise all you want (and we should), but that will not add one day to your age (stature). GOD controls your age! You can work all you want to control your well-being. But it is God Who controls your HEALTH, and THAT is what gives you well-being (stature).

When Jesus referred to the "Gentiles" (vs 32), He was speaking of the LOST! Those without salvation. Their focus is SELF.

But for the Christian, the focus of life should be "..the kingdom of GOD."

When we focus our lives upon God and plan our lives around His will, He adds His BLESSINGS to our lives (vs 33). None of us can do more for ourselves than THAT!

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

And what about TOMORROW? Should we PLAN for tomorrow? Of course! If God grants tomorrow in our lives, we should have a plan to serve Him. Yes, we should live making plans. However our plans should be around God and His will in our lives.

James says, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow . For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14)

We should PLAN for tomorrow, but we should live TODAY! Let us not be overanxious for those things which may or may not happen in the future. Let us plan to live TODAY focusing on God.

And let us plan to live TOMORROW focusing on God!
PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.