Jesus continues His warnings about practicing righteousness to be noticed. While last week's message focused on giving to be noticed by others, this week's focused on praying to be noticed by others, as well as praying with meaningless repetition.
Our passage reviews the first in a series of life applications based on Jesus' warning not to practice righteousness to be noticed by others (Mat. 6:1).
While so many wanted to be known for how much they did for the Lord, Jesus said that His followers were not to be concerned what others think at all, but to be seeking approval from the Father in heaven (Mat. 6:4).
Jesus calls His followers to a humble righteousness, not a pompous, arrogant, prideful religiosity. Though the scribes and Pharisees lived their good works in such a way as to declare them to the world, for Jesus' followers it was never to be this way.
Nowhere in Scripture are God's people told to hate their enemies, but what we learn from Jesus throughout His ministry is that many of the religious leaders and their followers hated enemies and neighbours alike, if they could accuse them of being outside of their sphere of care and concern.
In our latest message we look at Biblical Restraint and Kindness. The category of law Jesus interpreted was what we know today as lex talonis or the law of retaliation, which stems from the interpretation of "an eye for an eye" (Exodus 21:24).
Jesus elevates marriage in the Sermon on the Mount and in Matthew 5:31-32 we see that clearly. Some might look at His statement in this passage and wonder how He could permit divorce for any reason, but as we look more closely we see how Jesus was really speaking in such a way as to limit divorce dramatically.
Jesus makes clear that the attitudes of our heart are not hidden from a God who is holy, and He will show us, even today, if we have the humility to see it, that all the world’s problems begin with the heart.
Jesus taught that only one with greater righteousness than the scribes and Pharisees could enter the kingdom of heaven. Who then can be saved? Only through the true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, by repentance and faith.