Setting

This section continues with the teachings on the mount. Based on the theme of the new order of the Law, the Lord Jesus went on to teach the disciples and the crowd about true worship.

Key Verse

(6:4,6,18)

Did You Know...?

Fast (6:16): As far as general Jewish practice is concerned, the Day of Atonement is the only annual fast referred to in the New Testament (see Acts 27:9). Some strict Pharisees fasted every Monday and Thursday (see Lk. 18:12). Other devout Jews, like Anna, might fast often. [ref]

Outline

  • Avoiding Doing Acts of Righteousness before Men
    (6:1)
  • Giving Alms in Secret
    (6:2-4)
  • Prayer
    (6:5-15)
  • Prayer in secret
    (6:5-6)
  • How we should pray
    (6:7-15)
  • Fasting in Secret
    (6:16-18)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    As in the previous section, record the recurring pattern and summarize the teachings in this section.

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    Each teaching begins with a warning on what not to do and the reward from men. Then the Lord instructs us to do these deeds in secret so that the heavenly Father who sees in secret may reward us openly.

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  • 2.

    Based on the context of this passage, define the term “hypocrites.”

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    Hypocrites are those who like to do good in public in order to receive men’s praise. Their acts are superficial and insincere.

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  • 3.

    If we are to do good deeds, pray, and fast in secret, should we refrain from any of these things when there are people around? Explain your answer.

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    What the Lord condemns is the hypocrisy that lies behind the deeds, not the place where the deeds are performed. The Bible teaches us to take every opportunity to do good (Gal 6:10). As long as we do not deliberately display our generosity or piety to receive men’s praise, the setting where we perform these good deeds should not determine their value.

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Segment Analysis

  • 6:5-15

    1.

    Record the themes in the Lord’s prayer.

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    Honoring of God’s name; establishment of God’s kingdom on earth; daily provision; forgiveness; deliverance.

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  • 2.

    Why is addressing God as “our Father” significant?

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    God is not only a king but also a caring father. He is the father of all men (Eph 4:6). As our father, he will give us good gifts when we ask Him in prayer (7:11).

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  • 3.

    Explain the following: a. Hallowed be your name; b. Your kingdom come; c. Do not lead us into temptation

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    a. Hallowed be your name: Everyone may know God for who He is and honor Him (Ezek 36:23).
    b. Your kingdom come: May everyone submit to God’s authority and carry out His will (Rev 11:15-17). This also means the spreading of the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth (24:14; 28:19,20).
    c. Do not lead us into temptation: Asking God to lead us not into temptation does not suggest that God might lead someone to sin, for God does not tempt anyone (Jas 1:13); Looking at the words that follow, “but deliver us from evil,” we can
    understand that we need to ask God to not give us over to sin lest we be ensnared by it (Mt 26:41; cf. Rom 1:24; Gal 6:1). The word “temptation” also means “trial that results in fall.” We need to ask the Lord to let us not be tempted beyond what we can bear (1Corinthian 10:13; Lk 21:36).

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  • 4.

    How does the teaching that we should not use vain repetitions in our prayers apply to us? Does it mean that we should not make lengthy prayers or pray about the same things more than once?

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    There is a difference between meaningless repetition and persistence in prayer. The Lord Himself made lengthy prayers and repeated Himself in prayer (Lk 6:12; Mt 26:44); He also taught the disciples to always pray and not give up (Lk 18:1). What Jesus wanted to correct was the false assumption that prayer with many words will be heard. A prayer with a sincere and contrite heart means much more to God than one with repetitive words and fancy language (see Lk 18:9-14).

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  • 5.

    Is the Lord teaching us to just recite the Lord’s prayer every time we pray? How should the Lord’s prayer apply to us?

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    The Lord’s instructions have to do with how to pray rather than what to pray (see vs 9). Reciting the Lord’s prayer without understanding what we are praying about would be meaningless. Instead, we ought to make the Lord’s prayer our own and live a life that reflects this attitude.

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  • 6.

    Note the use of the words, “our” and “us” in the Lord’s prayer. What does this teach us?

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    We are to intercede on behalf of everyone (1Tim 2:1). Saints of the past, such as Moses, Samuel, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Paul were known for their intercessory prayers.

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  • 6:16-18

    7.

    What is the purpose of fasting?

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    Personal or group fasting was done usually as self-humiliation before God, often in connection with repentance (Neh 9:1,2; Ps 35:13; Isa 58:3,5 Dan 9:2-10; 10:2,3; Jon 3:5; Acts 9:9) or as special petition to the Lord (Deut 9:18; Judg 20:26; 2Sam 1:12; 2Chr 20:3; Ezra 8:21-23; Est 4:16; Acts 14:23). Fasting was also done in connection with devotion and service to God (Lk 2:36,37; Acts 13:2,3; Mt 4:1-2). Prayer with fasting, if done with sincerity, is powerful; it can even drive out evil spirits (Mt 17:21).

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