WHY WE READ THE BIBLE? We read for revelation, not just information! We read, as Luke 24 says, to get another glimpse into God’s love for us.
HOW WE READ THE BIBLE FOR REVELATION? (R.E.A.P.) Read Exegete Apply Pray it into your heart! R – Read Just read… Repetitive reading of a book of the Bible helps us learn and get its message into our hearts. E – Exegete What did it mean to the original audience? A – Apply -What does it mean to us now? -How does this passage point us to Jesus, or remind us of the love he showed us (especially on the cross)? P – Pray into your heart -Reveal: Pray that God would warm your heart again with his love for you as demonstrated most profoundly on the cross. -Action: As your heart is warmed with God’s love pray that you would begin to love him back in greater ways than ever before.
READ: Matthew 6:1-8 ACTION #1: READ THESE EIGHT VERSES ACTION #2 The theme of fatherhood runs throughout chapter 6. Underline every occurrence of the word “father” that appears in this section. Also, mark with an A any statements that highlight Jesus’ authoritative tone.
EXEGETE: Background to keep in mind #1 -In chapter 6, Jesus is surrounded by 1) The crowds (those who are interested to hear and observe) and 2) His disciples (those who have answered His call to follow). #2 -He does not address this sermon to the crowds (vs 1). What He has to say on this day, on this mountainside, is for “His disciples,” that are present (e.g. those who have already responded to the Kingdom proclamation). Question: What camp are you in? Are you more like the crowds, or more like the disciples? Why? #3 -Understood in this context, the sermon is not general morals communicated to a general audience (e.g. nominal Christians); rather, it is Kingdom morals communicated to those who are part of his kingdom (e.g. Christians in the heart) #4 In Chapter 6, as He has already done, Jesus will continue to press them toward the deeper obedience that characterizes the citizens of His kingdom—an external righteousness motivated by internal heart change.
Questions to help us hear what the text is saying to us: 1. In 1-2 sentences how would you summarize Jesus’ overall message in this section?
2. How does this section further our understanding of what God’s kingdom is supposed to be like on earth?
3. In 6:1, Jesus summarizes the main point of this section of the sermon. Write the warning of 6:1 in your own words:
4. What motivates the actions of the hypocrites in “practicing their righteousness”?
5. What is the difference between the reward the hypocrites receive versus the one promised to the disciples? What is the reward given by the Father?
6. What frequently repeated phrase does Jesus use in all three illustrations to describe how His disciples should perform their religious acts?
7. How many times does it occur? Why is it important to our understanding of what Jesus is saying?
APPLY: I. Personal Application 1. Where do you most want to be “seen by others” in the way you live your Christian life? 2. Which reward is more attractive to you: the one given by others or the one given by God?
II. Gospel-turn the passage to sense God’s love: In the garden of Gethsemane, when no one was looking, Jesus began to walk into the gates of hell for you and me. Not for the fame of the crowds, or to get what he loved, but for love. Love of you and love of the Father. Though no one knew what it would cost him to bring you back…he knew. The flames licked his soul that night. His right hand knew what the rest of his body was about to endure. Something much worse than momentary physical pain. No, Jesus was about to meet the greatest need of those who deserve God’s judgment. He felt the flames of hell’s terrible wrath, the complete and utter absence of God. And yet still he chose to plunge himself into God’s judgment, the one we deserve, so that you could be given the eternal life only he deserves. And now you are freed! Free through the gift of Jesus. Free to give to those who are needy because he first gave to you your most precious need! The need to be reconciled to God!
PRAY: Pray that you would see your need for him every day, and you would respond in giving to the needy out of love for him, and others.