Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Help us seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness—for the glory of Your name. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Matthew 6-7
Matthew 6:1–18 God’s children must practice righteousness—not for our own glory but for God’s glory alone, which leads to reward from God our Father. Put simply, believers should live all of life for God’s glory and honor.
Giving, praying, and fasting are three common examples where believers are prone to draw attention to themselves in order to get praise from men. But Matthew reminds us God sees what is done in secret, and He will reward us. This is not the same as earning our salvation, but is rather a normal overflow in response to having already received salvation, by God’s grace.
Matthew 6:19–34 Believers shouldn’t allow themselves to be anxious about this current life. Instead, they should focus on living in accord with God’s kingdom values. The heavenly Father takes care of all His children. Matthew warns us that our heart will follow our treasure, so we need to be careful where our treasure is.
Matthew 7:1–12 Kingdom living results in kingdom community and kingdom power. Life in kingdom community is humble, not characterized by self-righteous judging. Life in kingdom community is helpful, desiring all of God’s people to accurately reflect the King. To do any of this we need kingdom power, which comes through prayers in faith.
POWER TO BLESS
Notice that Jesus uses His strength, power, and authority to bless His followers, not to use, crush, or take advantage of them.
Matthew 7:13–29 There are only two ways to live. Believers should stick close to Jesus’ teachings and beware of false prophets and false professions. False prophets and professions are characterized by a crown without a cross, productivity without purity, gifts without godliness, and hearing without doing. The Sermon on the Mount concludes with people recognizing the unique authority of Jesus’ teaching.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Do you feel the need to tell others about ways you’re giving, praying, or fasting in hopes they will give you affirmation or recognition? Think about cultural ways this has become acceptable despite Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 6; pay special attention to social media. How can you choose to live differently?
- Have you ever thought about how to store up treasure in heaven? Watch The Treasure Principle. Read and reflect on these 6 Treasure Principles Keys.
- Jesus explains the way we judge others can be turned on us. What do you need to do to become more aware of the critical tendencies you have? What are some situations where you need to give the same grace to others that you would want to receive yourself?
- Reflect on how each member of your inner circle is doing. Where are they struggling? Talk with each family member and close friends. Listen for 10 minutes without interrupting. Ask for specific things to pray for and then pray for them. [Healthy Relationships]