Saturday, February 13, 2021

Sermon On The Mount - Part 4: 'Attention Seekers'

Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Matthew 6 opens with several lessons in humility, and selflessness. This is a lesson that is contrary to the natural man. This is a lesson that comes up in the face of a salvation based in works. It is also a teaching that brings into question the ministry of Jesus as He traveled around the Galilee Sea, teaching, healing, and feeding throngs of people and innumerable crowds.

A few weeks ago in Matthew 4:23-25 that we read that His ministry touched many, and His fame went throughout Syria, and huge crowds followed Him from the Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond Jordan. In the modern world, these people would be fans, or “groupies.” It doesn’t sound very humble, does it? Yet...

Philippians 2:7 says, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” The passage goes on further to say, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Jesus continues in ministry even today, allowing His Words to be spread abroad in the hearts of mankind by those that love Him. He still does not bolster His own reputation, but believers exalt Him anyways because of the reputation garnered from His followers. Movie stars and music artists, small companies and large corporations all have Public Relations agents or departments. 

Jesus needs none of them; His message and His works strike deep in the hearts of His own creation. Those that are His believers and His children laud His greatness, even as He Himself continues to be the humble servant He was when He walked this Earth with us.

When we speak of Jesus to others, who receives the attention? Who gets the glory? To whom are people drawn to? Unless it’s Jesus, there is something wrong with our message. There are many who follow Jesus’ teachings, but in reality do not follow Him in their faith-walk. These are false professors and teachers, gleaning from the wisdom of God, and ignoring Jesus’ true message which applies to them as well as those that hear them.

Personal pride is one of the pitfalls we share in this life. To humble ourselves is contrary to our human nature, but Jesus overcame His human side, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. He has shown us the way.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ~ John 14:6

Today's Audio MessageMatthew 6:1-24

The Sermon On The Mount - Part 4:  "Attention Seekers"

Most believers want to serve God, but many of them do so for the wrong reasons. As we begin chapter 6 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus addresses these particular issues directly. He warns his disciples about the pitfalls of the flesh. There is a way that seems right (to us), but it is the wrong way. We must be on guard against the temptation to show off our spiritual abilities or accomplishments, or desire the praise of man. The Lord does not want us to be like the Pharisees who were self righteous, full of pride, and concerned only with the outward show of ritual and appearances of holiness. God is concerned with our hearts. He desires transformed lives that mirror Jesus - this is a true disciple.

Whatever we do, we do fully and wholeheartedly for the Lord, bringing Him the glory and honor that is due His name. God’s standards are higher than ours, and once again Jesus raises the bar.

By contrasting true spiritual service against hypocrisy and false piety, our Lord instructs His disciples about the motivation of the heart in giving, prayer, fasting, and what our true focus is, what we value or treasure most.

The title of today’s message, “Attention Seekers” is heart provoking causing us to question why we do the things we do? Our motivation and attitude become fundamental tests for us. God desires our whole heart. He wants us to serve Him with a pure heart - not for our own vain glory, but for His glory. He is preparing His children for His kingdom.

This is a great lesson to gauge where we are in our relationship with Him.

How and why do we give? What kind of a prayer life do we have? What is it that we treasure most? What we are focused on truly dictates our every action. We are to treasure our Lord above all else, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

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