I. The birds of the air (Matthew 6:25-27)
A. This does not discourage work (1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:10)
B. We are created to work, not worry (Genesis 1:28; 2:15; 3:17-19)
II. The lilies of the field (Matthew 6:28-30)
A. More beautiful than Solomon’s glory (1 Kings 10:23)
B. Needless worry is an indicator of “little faith”
III. The kingdom of God (Matthew 6:31-34)
A. The worry of the Gentiles vs. the provision of God
B. Our priority: seeking His kingdom and His righteousness (Colossians 3:1-2; Hebrews 11:6)
C. We are not always sure what circumstances we will face from day to day. While we should be prepared, we should not be anxious.
I. Man’s heart, desire, and focus will follow his treasure (6:19-21)
A. Warnings against greed (Luke 12:13-21; Matthew 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Psalm 52:6-7; Proverbs 11:28)
B. Our goal: serve God with whatever we have whenever it is needed (Matthew 19:16-22)
II. Good eye vs. bad eye (6:22-23)
A. Where is our focus? (Colossians 3:1-3)
B. The good eye sees the eternal benefits of using one’s material goods for God; he is “full of light”
C. But the bad eye focuses on the here and now; short-sighted; “full of darkness…how great is that darkness!”
III. The decision: God or mammon? (6:24)
A. Mammon = wealth personified
B. Careful stewardship and contentment are in harmony with the Lord’s teaching (Luke 16:1-13; Hebrews 13:5)
C. The decision is ours to make (Romans 6:16-18)
I. Giving (Matthew 6:1-4)
A. Do not seek publicity
B. Others may cite your deeds to motivate others, but we should not publicize them for ourselves (Mark 12:41-44; Acts 4:36-37)
C. God is the rewarder
II. Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15)
A. Our personal prayers should be private petitions, not public proclamations (Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 18:10-14)
B. The model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; 1 John 1:8-9)
C. The condition of forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15)
III. Fasting (Matthew 6:16-18)
A. Denying oneself food to focus on spiritual matters
B. Practiced by the early church (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23)
C. Jesus’ point: whatever you do, do it for God, not to draw attention to yourself!
Day 131/260: Read Matthew 6
Motivations are important, aren’t they? In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks a lot about motivations. In the sixth chapter, He tells His followers that if their motivations are not proper, their reward will be non-existent.
You want to do good by giving to charity? Don’t seek praise for doing it. You want to pray to God? Don’t do it so everyone else can hear you. You want to fast? Don’t make a show of it. If you do these things to glorify God, that’s good; if you do these things to receive the praise of men and to show how holy you are, then that is all you will get out of it. God will not reward you because your motivations are misguided.
A lot of people are motivated by money. Paul warns against the love of money, calling it “a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus warns against making money a priority in one’s life.
Yes, we need money to live, to provide shelter and food for our families, and God approves of such proper use of money. But there is a warning against hoarding riches. Jesus says that we must focus on spiritual treasures rather than earthly treasures, and promises that God will take care of His faithful children.
The bottom line is this: be motivated by God; be motivated by eternity. Don’t worry about the things of this life to the point that you take your eyes off Jesus.
Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)
Matthew 10:39. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Pray for a sharper focus on the things of God.
I. Degrees of Reward in Heaven
A. All who remain faithful will receive an eternal reward (Revelation 2:7, 10; 3:5, 21; Philippians 3:12-14)
B. We cannot earn entrance to heaven, but we will be rewarded for what we have done (Luke 19:12-26)
C. The teacher is rewarded for the faithfulness of converts (1 Corinthians 3:5-15)
D. Wayne Jackson: “The implication is plain – the more of our converts who endure and finally arrive in heaven, the greater our joy and reward will be.”
II. Degrees of Punishment in Hell
A. “More tolerable for Tyre and Sidon” (Matthew 11:20-24)
B. Guy N. Woods: “The greater the responsibility, the greater the guilt; the greater the guilt, the greater the punishment, in the day of final accounting.”
C. “Of how much worse punishment” (Hebrews 10:24-29; 2:1-4)
D. “The latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20)
E. Many stripes vs. few stripes (Luke 12:41-48)
I consider it a privilege to teach God’s Word and I am grateful for the opportunities that are presented to me by the Point Pleasant church of Christ. This past Sunday, I wrapped up an 11-lesson study of the Sermon on the Mount with the middle school class. There are many rich lessons to be found in Christ’s masterpiece.
Throughout my preparation, I made use of the commentaries of several scholars in the Lord’s church. Their works are available online at the following links:
My notes are presented here for your use as an aid in personal or class studies. Use them as you see fit.
Minor updates were made to pages 33-35 to correct typographical errors and make a statement clearer. If you have already downloaded a copy, please delete and re-download below. If you come across any typos or if anything needs further clarification, please let me know.
Click here to download A Study of The Sermon on the Mount: Class notes compiled by Jason T. Carter (PDF format).