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Authentic Piety- Matthew 6:1-18

June 7, 2020 | by

Next in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his followers that doing the right thing for the wrong reason won’t impress God. So Jesus compares the piety of the Pharisees with his kingdom ideal. The Pharisees show off their piety. By contrast, Jesus tells people to display authentic piety. He says that It’s only as people serve God for his praise that God will reward them. In Matthew 6:1-8, Jesus lays out three examples of hypocritical spirituality: giving, prayer and fasting. While these are good, doing them for the wrong reasons is self-serving.

In churches today, we’re tempted to be spiritual phonies by doing things that others admire. Maybe it’s praying flowery prayers or serving in front of people. Jesus challenges believers to practice secret piety, where only God sees our acts of devotion. If we are still willing to serve, then that’s a good sign that we are practicing authentic piety.

Questions for Reflection

  1. What sorts of things do you think people do that make them seem ‘more spiritual’?
  2. What harm can result from pretending to be more spiritual than we are?
  3. Why is God’s approval sometimes not enough for us?
  4. Have you had any success at learning to hear God’s approval? What did you find helpful?

Other Sermons In This Series

  1. The Beatitudes
  2. Salt & Light
  3. Fulfilling the Law
  4. Anger & Reconciliation
  5. Adultery & Lust
  6. Keeping Your Promises
  7. Loving Your Enemies

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