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A Super Secret Message

Matthew 6:1-18

 

 

Are you a Clark Kent Christian?  Do you have a secret identity?  Do you wear an outward disguise until you come to church and reveal yourself to be a super Christian?

 

Can you keep a secret?  Are you about to bust?  Do you find joy in it?  “I know something you don’t know!”  [spill the beans?]  Secrets can be fun.

        On the other hand, marriages are killed when secrets are kept.

Eccles. 12:14

    For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

 

Our God is the master of secrets, and He knows all about ours!

 

Our text deals with giving in secret [v. 4], praying in secret [6], and fasting in secret [v. 18].

If you do a good deed, whether seen by man or not, God sees it.  Back in Mt. 5:16 He tells us to do things before men, but here in chapter 6 is the balance.  Who gets glorified?  That’s the key.

 

He knows the good we do in secret, and our secret sins, and He keeps most of it secret until judgment day.

Mark 4:22

    For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

 

Confessed sin He remembers no more.  How about unconfessed sins?  Let’s keep short accounts with God!  Will others see my sin at the judgment?  I don’t know.  And who cares on that day, face to face w/ God?  Our judgment is one primarily of rewards, but there will be tears, and we will ‘suffer loss.’

 

Let’s not worry about what others think.  That is Phariseeism. 

Ill.—Many Christians don’t witness, not in rebellion to God’s command…they want to, but are worried about what others would THINK.  They become ‘Super Secret Christians’. 

Romans 2:16

    In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

 

Now to our text:

v. 1  alms=righteous acts

v. 2  alms=giving  [different word]  Like the lame man in Acts who sat at the gate of the city…he asked for alms and instead got legs!

 

First, notice the assumption:  ‘when thou doest thine alms…’  You’ve been brought into the kingdom of God, so you give to the kingdom of God, to further the kingdom of God.  It’s an evidence that you are truly saved…not just that you give the tenth, but above that, but that as a minimum.  [not partial obedience, but all or nothing]. 

 

Now, mankind by nature are not givers, but takers.  The prodigal son said ‘give me what’s comin’ to me!’  God needs to get what’s comin’ to Him.  This is why we make up our offerings after we have been away.

 

We need to practice secrecy in our giving, however.  You see, our sin nature is so devious it can even defile a good thing like giving!

 

It’s all about when you want the reward.  Immediately, from other humans?  Or a better reward in heaven. 

 

v. 2  ‘trumpet as a hypocrite’

ill—hypocrite means ‘to wear a mask’, as the Greeks did in their dramas [smile, frown, angry, etc.]

        When the Pharisees were going to give to the poor, they would sound a trumpet.  They said it was to get the poor to come to them, but Jesus saw thru the mask…the real reason was to call attention to themselves!  [Recognition, prestige, applause of men, honor]

 

v. 3  [use our #’d envelopes]

 

v. 4  secrets will be revealed one day!

Ill.—a mother gives and gives all day w/out realizing it…never appreciated until years later.

 

Give, and w/ the right motive.  Not to prove you’re a Christian, or for the tax write-off, either!

Ill.—Vandals cut down 6 huge royal palms along a major Miami Blvd.  The city wasn’t sure if they could pay to replace palms that large.  But then someone donated 6 more…even bigger ones.  They had them planted even.  The old ones were 15 ft. high and were a nice foreground to a billboard which said, ‘Fly Delta’.  The new ones were 35 ft…completely hiding the sign.  The new donor:  Eastern Airlines!

 

Not only in giving, but in prayer:

 

Secret and sincere prayer is the goal.

v. 5  “when you pray”  … Another assumption.

ill.—little boy saying bedtime prayers w/ mother / ‘bless mommy, daddy, and God, GIVE ME A NEW BICYCLE!!!’ [shouted]  Mom:  God’s not deaf, son. / ‘I know, but Grandma’s in the next room, and she’s hard of hearing!’

 

John Bunyan said, ‘In prayer it is better to have a heart w/out words than words w/out a heart.

 

v. 6  We should pray in secret before we pray in public, and more so.  Not wrong to pray in public, but it’s wrong to pray in public when we’re not praying in private.

Ill.—9/10ths of iceberg is below the waterline and out of sight.

 

Mark 1:35

    And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

 

Daniel had a great private prayer life, which made him a great public man.

 

v. 7  Way to sound real is to be real!  What are vain repetitions?  Memorized prayers, etc.

 

‘often we pray with our minds on hold and our mouths on automatic.’

‘some people’s prayers need to be cut short at both ends and set on fire in the middle!’

 

Don’t pray to the people listening, but to God!  That’s why I love listening to newer believers pray…they haven’t learned all the cliché’s, so they are very real and genuine.

Ill.—Most would say you haven’t prayed for the offering until you say, ‘bless the gift and the giver.’…But a guy back in MO prayed for offering:  ‘bless the giver and the taker’! / another said at end of his prayer, ‘yours truly, Bill Kendall’!

 

Giving, praying, and also in fasting…

 

Got a major problem, big decision, heavy burden?  Try fasting!  And do it in secret.

 

v. 16        Again, it’s assumed that you will fast. 

 

Also, avoid playing the martyr until you actually become one!

 

v. 17-18  I challenge you to strive to be a key to the success of this church, w/out anyone possibly knowing about it.

 

Eccles. 12:14

    For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

 

We’ve talked about the good…what about the evil?

 

Psalm 90:8

    Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

 

Ill.—there is an insect that looks much like a bumblebee, but is actually its enemy.  It sometimes finds its way into a bees’ nest, and deposits its eggs, which hatch and eat the larvae of the bees.  It comes in as a friend but turns out to be a devouring enemy.  That’s what secret sin is like in the heart.

 

Psalm 44:21

    Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Psalm 19:12

    Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Hebrews 4:12-13

    For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

 

Don’t try to keep sin secret from God.  Achan in Joshua 7 is our example.

Proverbs 28:13

    He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

 

There’s nothing super about being a secret sinner.  We aren’t getting away w/ anything.  But there is something truly super about humbling ourselves to bring it to God. 

 

Do you have another secret?  Maybe everyone here thinks you’re saved and you’re not.  

 

 

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