Matthew 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.
The motive which leads a man to give, will form the true estimate of
what he does. If he gives to be seen of men then when he is seen of men
he has the reward he sought for, and he will never have any other. Let
us never do our alms before men, to be seen of them.
Matthew 6:2-5. 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 shall 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.
I have heard very great commendation give to certain Easterns, because
at the hour of the rising of the sun, or the hour when the sound is
heard from the summit of the mosque, wherever they may be, they put
themselves in the posture of prayer. God forbid I should rob them of
any credit they deserve, but far be it from us ever to imitate them. We
are not to be ashamed of our prayers, but they are not things for the
public street. They are intended for God's eye, and God's ear.
Matthew 6:6-7, 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 they
shall be heard for their much speaking.
It is not very easy to repeat the same words often without it becoming
a vain repetition. A repetition, however, is not forbidden, but a
"vain" repetition. And how greatly do they err who measure prayers by
the yard. They think they have prayed so much because they have prayed
so long, whereas it is the work of the heart — the true pouring out of
the desire before God — that is the thing to be looked at. Quality not
quantity: truth, not length. Oftentimes the shortest prayers have the
most prayer in them.
Matthew 6:8-9. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth
what thing. ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner
therefore pray ye:
And then he gives us a model of prayer, which never can be excelled,
containing all the parts of devotion. They do well who model their
prayers upon this.
Matthew 6:9-13 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.
Our Saviour now makes a remark upon this prayer, and on one particular part of it which has stumbled a great many.
Matthew 6:14-15. 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.
There are some who have altered this, and pray in this fashion,
"Forgive us our debts as we desire to forgive our debtors." It will not
do. You will have to desire God to forgive you, and desire in vain, if
you pray in that fashion. It must come to this point of literal
immediate, completed forgiveness of every offence committed against you
if you expect God to forgive you. There is no wriggling out of it. The
man who refuses to forgive, refuses to be forgiven. God grant that we
may, none of us, tolerate malice in our hearts. Anger glances in the
bosom of wise men: it only burns in the heart of the foolish. May we
quench it, and feel that we do freely, and fully, and heartily forgive,
knowing that we are forgiven.
Matthew 6:16. 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.
Simpletons praise them — think much of them, and they plume themselves
thereon, and think themselves the very best of men. They have their
Matthew 6:17-18. 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
Yet have I heard persons speak of certain emaciated ecclesiastics as
being such wonderfully holy men. "How they must have fasted! They look
like it. You can see it in their faces." Probably produced by a fault
in their digestion much more likely, than by anything else and if not —
if we are to suppose that the spareness of a person is to be the token
of his holiness — then the living skeleton was a saint to perfection.
But we are not beguiled by such follies as these. The Christian man
fasts but he takes care that no one shall know it. He wears no ring or
token even when his heart is heavy. Full often he puts on a cheerful
air, lest by any means he should communicate unnecessary sorrow to
others, and he will be cheerful and happy, apparently, in the midst of
company, to prevent their being sad, for it is enough for him to be sad
himself, and sad before his Father's face.
Matthew 6:19-21. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth
and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But
lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust
doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
There is many a way of sending your treasure before you to heaven.
God's poor are his money boxes — his exchequer. You can pass your
treasure over to heaven by their means. And the work of evangelizing
the world by the labours of God's servants in the ministry of the
gospel — you can help this also. Thus also ye can pass your treasure
over into the King's exchequer, and your heart will follow it. I have
heard of one who said his religion did not cost him a shilling a year,
and it was remarked that very probably it would have been expensive at
the price. You will find people form a pretty accurate estimate of the
value of their own religion by the proportion which they are prepared
to sacrifice for it.
Matthew 6:22. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single,
If thy motive be single — if thou hast only one motive, and that a
right one — the master one of glorifying God — if thy eye be single.
Matthew 6:22-23. Thy whole body shall be full of light. 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!
When a man's highest motive is himself, what a dark and selfish nature
he has; but when his highest motive is his God, what brightness of
light will shine upon all.
Matthew 6:24. No man can serve two masters:
He can serve two persons very readily. For the matter of that, he can
serve twenty, but not two masters. There cannot be two master
principles in a man's heart, or master passions in a man's soul. "No
man can serve two masters."
Matthew 6:24. 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
Though some men's lives are a long experiment of how far they can serve the two.
This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 6:1-24. 1Co_3:1-16.