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Lesson # Matt. 6:1
Study Material - Matt. 6:1
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
1 'Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Alms, prayer, and fasting are the three great productions of the spiritual life. Though some religions treat these functions as the basics or foundations of the spiritual life, they are in fact the 'result' of attaining a spiritual life, prior to their actions.
Alms is giving of what God has blessed us with. It is the charity, the charitable attitude with which we share our blessings with others who are not so blessed. This covers a wide range of giving, including your giving to the church or to whatever you deem fitting for the support of the teaching of the Word of God, it includes ones time in charitable activities, to the giving of money or assets as may be appropriate in any given situation. The purpose of which is to provide help or relief to someone in need. Having the attitude of wanting to give comes from already having some spiritual growth, wherein you wish to give freely and without strings, and without expecting any form of recognition in return.
Fasting is the refraining of actions from our physical being, the refraining from sin. Where is the fasting definition today? Most speak of it as stop eating, or the refraining of foods for a time, and this is a total distortion of the principle of what fasting teaches. Certainly fasting is the stoppage of eating for a time. Just as washing of the hands is obviously just a matter of hygiene. But just as washing teaches the principle of washing of the soul (confession and therefore fellowship), so too fasting teaches the principle of the refraining of the soul of the activities of the sin nature. The spiritual life is what you think, not what you do.
Prayer is the direct communication with God from the position of being in sinless perfection - fellowship. Bible doctrine in the soul is the foundation on which you base your knowledge. That, when applied to your life, is your production from your spiritual life. You cannot do or act on that which you do not know.
Note that all three of these activities are from your spiritual life which is a private matter between you and God. The foundations of your spiritual life are in your soul - out of sight from the public view. God alone sees your spiritual life, and what people think is irrelevant. Therefore trying to impress people, in order to gain their approbation, in order to gain the approval of people, in order to advance in life in some fashion, like socially, or politically, or in business, all of these and more, are out of line and a waste of time.
The spiritual life applies to believers only, by the way. Unbelievers by definition are not saved, do not have a human spirit, have no relationship with God, and therefore have no spiritual life. Unbelievers receive zero. They will not even go to heaven.
So the 'no reward' principle when applied to believers is a reference to those additional rewards that are available in heaven which we 'might' receive if we pursue our spiritual growth to the point of maturity. Everyone who is saved will go to heaven, of course. Everyone who is saved will receive a resurrection body, of course. Everyone who is saved will receive many, many blessings .... But only those who advance to spiritual maturity will be eligible for far more (beyond imagine) additional blessings in heaven. Review the first three chapters in Revelation.
Hypocrisy is a distortion of a spiritual principle. Where is mans righteousness? There are two righteousnesses in existence. First is Gods righteousness - a state of sinless of perfection. Gods righteousness is perfect, unchanging, eternal, and cannot be modified in any way. Mans righteousness is the second righteousness category. Isaiah describes mans righteousness as no better than filthy menstrual rags. Man is neither perfect, nor unchangeable, but man is a deteriorating being, subject to changes, easily influenced and persuaded to do anything and everything imaginable. Man is in the process of dying from the moment of his birth and man has no power to change or control his own environment. Man is from the dust and has nothing to offer creation.
Therefore, beware of pursuing mans righteousness with the intention of gaining the notice of people. People can do nothing for you with respect to your eternal life, with respect to your spiritual life. People seek the approbation of other people with the intention of improving their status in life, whether by recognition, therefore their ego's are exercised, whether by advancement in some social circle, or in politics, or in business, etc. And these things are all temporary states of your physical life. When you die, you can not take any of it with you. What people think of you. What may be written in the history books. What wealth or social status you might gain in this life, are all empty pursuits. Why?
Because your life is not, repeat, is not the sum total of what you do or accomplish between the dates of your birth and your death. Life continues into eternity and that is a much greater period of time than any life span any of us could possibly have. Whether we live a second or a hundred years, our accomplishments whether great or small all equate to zero. Our spiritual assets are the key to our future, for God pays dividends on those assets not on worldly assets.
You all have a choice. You can pursue our rewards from this world and therefore you will have no rewards in heaven (that is, these are the rewards beyond the basic blessings that all believers receive in heaven). Therefore you have a lose, lose situation. You lose in life and you lose in eternity. Or you can pursue your heavenly rewards during this life (this is the only time in which you can pursue them), and you will then receive them (those above and beyond rewards) from God when you get into your eternal state. In addition, God blesses you in time, so you have a win, win situation.
To seek the approval of man, means that, that approval will last only as long as man lasts, or as long as you last. And you will eventually die, thus terminating your reward. To seek the approval of God means that, that approval will last as long as God lasts - forever. Which is the better deal?
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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