A Better Way Series Part 4 | A Better Piety

A Better Way Series Part 4 | A Better Piety
July 8, 2018
Passage: Matthew 6:1-21
Service Type:

A Better Piety

  • Jesus came on the scene and found a corrupt Jewish Religion.
    • Their leaders were hypocritical and corrupt.
    • They were self-righteous and self-centered.
    • They were more interested in the praise of men than anything else. Mark 12:38-40.
    • Some of these were even believers in Christ. John 12:42-43
  • Even their piety and acts of righteousness were a sham.
    • Their alms-giving was hypocritical.
    • Their public prayers were hypocritical.
    • Their hypocritical fasting was practiced openly.
  • Everything they did was for show. Matthew 23:5-7, 12, 25-27
  • That’s not the reason we should do the works of God!
    • Your good works glorify God – not self. Matthew 5:16

“Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them…” -Matthew 6:1 ASV*

A Better Alms-Giving

Matthew 6:1-4

  • The Pharisaic Motive
    • Alms-giving” = benevolence, compassion
    • To be seen of men…
      • In order to be seen…
      • Here’s the motive of the “Righteous Act.”
      • Gotta live stream it on Facebook!
    • No reward of your Father…
      • No payment for service or work rendered…
      • It’s a question of, “Who are you working for?”
      • You’re not working for Him, if what you’re doing is to be seen of men!
  • The Pharisaic Method
    • They “Sound the trumpet…
      • Figuratively speaking, they make sure that everybody is watching…
      • Similar expression “They toot their own horn!”
    • In the synagogues and in the streets...
      • Publicizing their giving.
      • Tweet it our and Facebook it!
  • The Pharisaic Reward
    • That they may have glory of men…
      • Men glorified them – referred to them as Rabbi, master (Matthew 23:7-8)
      • They were respected by all they encountered.
      • They were viewed as more deeply religious and pious than regular men.
    • They have their reward…
      • They sought to be paid with the glory of men.
      • That’s the payment they receive as a hireling.
      • This is presence tense, meaning they currently have all the reward they will ever receive!
      • Earthly, worldly, perishable.
    • Like modern TV “evangelists” their reward was earthly wealth and fame.
      • Multi-million $$$ mansions
      • Yachts and jets
      • Those things may make them feel like “heaven on earth” but as with all things earthly, they’ll burn!

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."Matthew 6:19-21

  • A Better Motive
    • Compassion and love of fellow man
    • To bring glory to God Matthew 5:16
  • A Better Method
    • Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth…
    • That thine alms may be in secret…
    • The proverbial expression meaning “keep it as secret as possible.”
    • The opposite of what the Pharisees did!
  • A Better Reward
    • The Father which seeth in secret…
      • God knows our works and our motive.
      • I know thy works…” Revelation 2:19
      • Romans 2:16
      • Hebrews 4:12-13
    • Will reward thee…
      • Different word for reward.
      • Recompense, reimbursement even.
      • Future tense – perhaps not in this lifetime.
    • The Lord rewards with spiritual riches. Revelation 3:18
    • His reward is eternal, but you have to patiently wait for it!

A Better Prayer Life

 Matthew 6:5-15

  • The Pharisaic Motive = same as before to be seen and glorified by men!
  • The Pharisaic Method
    • Standing in the synagogues…
      • Standing = abiding, always being present.
    • And in the corners of the streets
      • The most prominently public locations possible.
      • They wanted to ensure they had the widest audience possible.
    • Vain repetitions…” Gr: Battlologeo 
      • Heap up empty phrases…” ESV*
      • Emphasis on “vain” or “empty
      • To prate tediously. Strong's*
    • Much speaking…” Wordy, worldly prayers made long because of vain repetitions.
    • It’s not wrong to say a long prayer, so long as it is 100% sincere!
  • The Pharisaic Reward = same earthly, worldly recognition.
  • A Better Motive
    • Without hypocrisy.
    • A desire for a closer walk with God.
    • James 4:3-6
  • A Better Method
    • Personal prayers in secret.
      • Go to a private place.
      • Close the door.
    • Public prayers with humility and reverence.
    • All prayer must come from the heart!
  • A Better Model
    • After this manner…” – not with these exact words! See Matthew 6:7
    • Our father…” prayers addressed to the Father in Jesus’ name, by His authority.
    • Hallowed by thy name…” Psalm 111:9
    • Thy kingdom come…” His kingdom, the church is here. Pray for it!
    • Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Pray that the will of God be done everywhere, at all times, by all beings. In praying that we commit ourselves to doing and teaching his will…” Guy N. Woods

    • Our daily bread…” – we recognize our dependence upon Him.
    • Forgive us our debts…” Lay aside our debts or sins. 1 John 1:9
    • As we forgive our debtors…” Blessed are the merciful!
      • See Matthew 5:14-15
    • Lead us not into temptation…
      • James 1:13
      • Do not allow us to be led into temptation.” RWP*
      • Luke 22:40
    • Deliver us from evil…” He does and will. 1 Cor 10:13
    • For thine is the kingdom, power and glory forever, Amen…
  • A Better Reward
    • The Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee…” See: Matthew: 6:4, 18.
    • The Prayers of the righteous will be answered. 1 Peter 3:12
      • God will not answer the prayers of the insincere,
      • Or the disobedient, 1 John 3:21-22
      • Or the one lacking faith. - Matthew 21:22
    • Your father knows what you need…
      • The “reward” will be what you need of…
      • It may not be the thing I want, or what I think I need…
      • He knows what I need! Better than I do.

A Better Fasting

Mathew 5:16-18

  • The Pharisaic Motive
    • To be seen of men…
    • Fasting is a way to “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord…” - James 4:10
    • Yet they were using it for the opposite reason!
    • Too bad no one else is as humble as me!
  • The Pharisaic Method
    • Sad countenance…
      • A gloomy expression.
      • Making themselves appear to be very sad.
    • Disfigure their faces
      • Cover their faces with ash.
      • Leave their hair and beard untrimmed or ungroomed.
    • They wanted everyone to know that they were humbling themselves with fasting!
  • The Pharisaic Reward. = same earthly, worldly recognition.
  • A Better Motive
    • The Poor in Spirit are humble.
    • Fasting, along with prayer, prepares the heart for greater service to God!
  • A Better Method
    • “When thou fasteth…” Not a command, but Jesus assumes His disciples would fast.
    • “Anoint thine head and wash thy face…” clean yourself up. Like normal.
    • “Appear not to fast…” no reason to broadcast what you are doing, unless that is your desire is to be seen of men!
  • A Better Reward
    • "He will lift you up." - James 4:10
    • "Exalt you in due time." - 1 Peter 5:6


  • All religious worship and service must come from the heart.
    • Draweth nigh to be with their mouth… Mat 15:8
    • John 4:23-24
  • Without sincere love, no religious service, no form of piety is pleasing to God! 1 Cor 13:1-3
  • Our Piety or Righteousness must exceed mere Phariseeism!
    • We must draw nigh to God with a pure heart and serve him with sincerity!
    • The eternal reward for serving God with faithfulness is laid up for us in Heaven.
  • A Better Treasure. Mat 6:19-21.
    • The Pharisaic Treasure. Mat 6:19
    • Heavenly Treasure. Mat 6:20-21

Jack McNiel, Evangelist, Oak Grove Church of Christ

*Resources Consulted

  • Gospel Advocate Commentary
  • Linguistic Key to the NT
  • American Standard Version
  • English Standard Version
  • Roberts Word Pictures
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