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Monday, October 8, 2012

The Cost of Discipleship Chapter 14

Matt 6:1-4 Sermon on the Mount Con’t

In Matt Ch. 5 we discussed how the disciple should look different from the world. 

“We saw that the hall-mark of Christianity is our separation from the world, our transcendence of it’s standards, and our extraordinariness.” 

In Matt Ch.6 we’re cautioned to check our motives, to reflect upon the nature of our visibility in the world. 

Are we self-righteous?

Are we consumed with following the laws?

Flaunting our grace?

Are we doing good deeds from a servant’s heart or to get noticed?

The better righteousness of the disciples must have a motive which lies beyond itself. Of course it has to be visible, but they must take care that it does not become visible for the sake of becoming visible...the visibility is never an end to itself; and if it becomes so we have lost sight of our primary aim, which is to follow Jesus.” 

Let’s break this down.

We are called to be lights in the world (Matt 5:16), therefore we must be visible to the world. But we must make sure we are doing it as a natural byproduct of following Christ and not for any other reason. 

Essentially our “glory” or our “works” must be hidden from our own consciousness. We mustn’t realize what we do; it should just pour from us. Basically Jesus should just ooze out and we don’t even realize it. The extraordinariness of following God should be second nature, it should be ordinary to us because it’s not from us…it’s from God. The world sees it simply because we are focused on HIM and not on ourselves. 

“If you do good, you must not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, you must be quite unconscious of it. Otherwise you are simply displaying your own virtue, and not that which has its source in Jesus Christ…The genuine work of love is always a hidden work…If we want to know our own goodness or love, it has already ceased to be love.”

And we shouldn’t lose heart or get discouraged while doing good. God, who sees in secret, will reward us openly. However we must make sure our hearts are purely hidden in Christ and not on the rewards.

There’s more than just open praise from men that we can seek in place of God’s reward. There’s also an inner pride we can take in our accomplishments that moves the glory from God and places it on self. 

“…if we become conscious of our hidden virtue, we are forging our own reward, instead of that which God had intended to give us in his own good time. But if we are content to carry on with our life hidden from our eyes, we shall receive our reward openly from God.” 

Again, LOVE is key. 

“Genuine love is always self-forgetful in the true sense of the word…if we are to have it, our old man must die with all his virtues and qualities, and this can only be done where the disciple forgets self and clings solely to Christ.” 

But how can we love like this?

How can we be so focused on Christ that love is automatic, that it oozes out?

“I live; yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me.” Gal 2:20

Questions for self:

1.        Reflect on your heart. What’s hidden inside? Do you seek praise from man? Do like to get credit for your work or are you content with “a job well done”? Do you do the right thing even when no one is watching?
2.       Do you know someone who is selfless? What things do they do that exhibit selflessness? How can you be more like that?
3.       What things or traits get in your way of being selfless? Commit these to God. Pray about them and allow Him to work in you and through you.

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