Thursday, September 15, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 6:2-18 - Give, Pray, Fast in Secret, The Lords Prayer

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 6:2-4 - Give in Secret

Jesus gives a list of things the Pharisees do to attract attention. He starts off with giving. The Jews used trumpets to announce events, Jesus was saying that giving should be done in secret, not with fanfare. Rewards given at the Bema Judgment will depend upon their attitude in giving. The Pharisees love the praise of man more than praise from God, and so their reward was already given (Joh 12:42-43). The disciples were taught to give in secret, and in so doing, lay up treasure in heaven (Mat 6:19-20).

Matthew 6:5-8 - Pray in Secret

The denial of self gratification in giving and praying brings about a change in character to increased Christ likeness, and there are heavenly rewards for doing so. It is the motivation that is to be questioned, not the act of praying. Jesus was not speaking against group prayers, but rather false motives (Act 1:14, Act 12:5). Jesus also warned against "babbling like pagans". Pagans would pray to the idols using vain repetition.

Matthew 6:9-15 - The Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer is a sample, or example.

vs. 9 - "Our Father in heaven". Our prayer is to be personal and intimate, not empty ritual. We think of the Father as the leader of the family, who protects and provides (Heb 12:7-9).

vs. 10 - "your Kingdom come" speaks to the coming Messianic Kingdom. The kingdom is still "at hand", and ready to be established should the Jewish people accept the King (Mat 4:17). The Jewish people rejected the king, and the kingdom was ultimately put into abeyance (Joh 19:15). Although Jesus has all power and authority to exercise Kingship, His permissive will permits Satan to rule for a while (Joh 19:11). We should always pray that God's will be done. We don't want to be found in a position where we are fighting against God (Act 5:27-39).

vs. 11 - "give us our daily bread". The request to give us daily bread has to do with dependence upon God for daily sustenance to live on a continual basis (Exo 16:14-15).

vs. 12 - "forgive us our debts" refers to moral and religious as well as financial obligations. The forgiveness of our debt to God is conditional upon the our forgiveness of those who are in debt to us. The context is not salvic, rather being cleansed of daily sin that prevents fellowship. It is reasonable to expect that if the Father forgives us from daily sin against Him, then we should also do the same. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant illustrates this passage (Mat 18:23-35).

vs. 13 - "lead us not into temptation". Jas 1:13 states that “no one should say, "God is tempting me"”, so why pray “lead us not into temptation”? The context of (Matt 6:12-15) is forgiveness. As such, our temptation from Satan is to hold on to grudges and unforgiveness.

vs. 14-15 - The concept of forgiving others as the Lord forgives us is brought out here, not as salvic forgiveness, but the daily offenses we commit against God's holiness and to each other. The purpose of this forgiveness accordingly is to restore to relationship to the Holy Spirit. In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Mat 18:23-35) the unforgiving servant is jailed and tortured. Parables are metaphorical, and being jailed and tortured relates to giving ourselves over to Satan to be “jailed and tortured” until we forgive others and restore ourselves to the protection of Christ.

Matthew 6:16-18 - Fast in Secret

Again, God looks to the motivations, not the acts. The Pharisees displayed their fasting with fanfare, they liked the praises of man more than God, so they gained their rewards here, and forfeited their future rewards. When fast we should give the appearance of normal life, not drawing attention to oneself. Remember that it is not the actions rather it is the penitent humble heart, the Holy Spirit's transforming work in our minds, and our personal character that God values. The more Christlike we are, the more rewards we are accrued. We must constantly evaluate our own motives when we are engaged in these activities.

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