Jesus says there will be no reward in heaven for the ones who live their lives for earthly motives and the applause of man, for they have already received all they will receive here on earth for their public performances. Today He teaches us not to be all about the show in three areas of life: prayer, fasting, and money.
Prayer – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly… Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Fasting – “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Money – ”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Jesus says, “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus teaches that you will know who belongs to Him, the ones entering through the narrow gate, by their fruits – “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Since the way is difficult and not many find it, Jesus warns that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Only the person who is drawn by God to Jesus (John 6:44), hears His sayings, and does them will enter the kingdom (Luke 11:28, James 1:22-25). Although works don’t save us (Ephesians 2:8-9), they are evidence of our salvation (James 2:24) which is available for anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. Once saved, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we desire to live lives in obedience with the word of God; and it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we grieve our sin when we stumble which leads us to repentance and a closeness with the Lord. And since the Lord knows the hearts and intents of all, He knows the ones who truly belong to Him, versus the ones putting on a public show for approval and personal gain.
Tomorrow, Jesus performs more miracles and He encounters another sinful woman, so keep reading.
(Matthew 6:5-7:6, Luke 6:37-42, Matthew 7:7-20, Luke 6:43-45, Matthew 7:21-29, Luke 6:46-49)