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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 4 - OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN (MATTHEW 6 & 7)

INTRODUCTION: LAST WEEK WHEN WE LOOKED AT THE BEATITUDES, WE STUDIED
TRAITS OF CHARACTER.  THIS WEEK WE, IN MATT. 6&7 JESUS DEALS WITH THE
OUTWARD ACTIONS THAT SPRING FROM THE CHARACTER: THE PRACTICAL WAY
WE LIVE.  SO LETS GO TO IT.

I. PUBLIC PIETY
      A. READ MATT. 6: 1-4.
      B. WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN A PROPER PUBLIC EXAMPLE
AND WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
            1. DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS ANY ROOM FOR PUBLIC EXAMPLES?
            2. NORMALLY, I NEVER GIVE MONEY TO THE CHURCH.  MARGIE MAKES
OUT THE CHECKS AND SENDS THEM IN.  BUT WHEN I'M ON THE PLATFORM, I DO
NOT LIKE THE WAY IT LOOKS IF I PUT NOTHING IN THE PLATE.  SO I PUT IN A
DOLLAR.
      C. WHAT IS THE REWARD FOR PUBLIC GIVING? (PRAISE OF MEN)
            1. DOES GOD REWARD THEM? (SEEMS NOT, FOR SAYS, "THEY HAVE
THEIR REWARD IN FULL."
      D. WHAT IS THE REWARD THAT THOSE GET WHO HELP THE NEEDY IN A 
PRIVATE WAY? (DOESN'T SAY)
      E. TELL ME, WHY IS IT NECESSARY THAT THEY GET AN AWARD AT ALL FOR
HELPING THE NEEDY?
      F. DOES ALL THIS DICUSSION OF REWARDS MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE? 
(SHOULDN'T. REMEMBER IN THE PAST WHEN WE HAVE DISCUSSED WHETHER WE
GET OUR MARCHING ORDERS FROM GOD OR FROM MAN? THE IDEA IS THAT THOSE
THAT ARE CONCERNED ABOUT MAN HAVE THEIR REWARD IN MAN'S PRAISE. 
THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT GOD HAVE THEIR REWARD FROM HIM--GOD'S
PRAISE.)

II. PRAYER.
      A. THE NEXT SECTION DEALS WITH PRAYER.  IN V.5-6 WE SEE THE SAME
THING DONE WITH PRAYERS THAT WE SAW WITH GIVING OFFERRINGS-DONE FOR
PUBLIC ACCLAIM.  LETS MOVE TO V.7-8. READ.
      B. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS CONDEMNED HERE?
            1. SHOULD WE NOT REPEAT OURSELVES?
            2. READ MATT 26:44.
            3. IN THIS EXAMPLE JESUS OBVIOUSLY REPEATED HIMSELF.
            4. THE TEXT SEEMS TO SUGGEST REPETITION BECAUSE IT SAYS A
REASON WHY YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE ALL THIS BABBLING IS THAT GOD
ALREADY KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED BEFORE YOU ASK!
            5. LETS ASSUME THAT YOU ARE ASKING YOUR FRIEND FOR
SOMETHING, AND YOUR FRIEND ALREADY KNOWS THAT YOU NEED IT.  HOW
WOULD YOU ASK?
            6. WHAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF FRIEND DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW
ABOUT IT?
 (IF LIKE ME IT IS EASY TO SLIP INTO A GROOVE.  SAY THE SAME OLD THINGS, SAME
OLD WAYS.  JESUS IS LOOKING FOR A DISCUSSION, NOT A MEMORY LIST.)

III. FASTING
      A. READ 6:16-18.
      B. WHEN YOU ARE REALLY UPSET AND WORRIED ABOUT SOMETHING, HOW
DO YOU EAT? (NOT WELL)
      C. DO YOU SUSPECT THAT IS HOW THE WHOLE IDEA OF FASTING BEGAN?
      D. IS IT A BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE TO PUNISH YOUR BODY TO REMOVE SIN? (NOT
SURE HOW FASTING BEGAN. ON DAY OF ATONEMENT THE JEWS WERE TO FAST "TO
AFFLICT THE SOUL." BUT THE IDEA OF PUNISHING THE BODY BECAUSE OF A SIN OF
THE MIND IS NOT SCRIPTURAL.)
      E. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH MESSING UP YOUR FACE SO YOU LOOKED LIKE
YOU WERE FASTING? (IF YOU FAST WHEN YOU ARE SO UPSET ABOUT SOMETHING
THAT YOU TURN TO GOD IN PRAYER, HAVING TO MAKE YOURSELF LOOK UPSET
SEEMS SO HYPOCRITCAL AND FALSE.)

IV. MONEY
      A. READ 6:19-21 AND 24-27.
      B. HERE WE HAVE A SERIES OF INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT MONEY.
      C. DO YOU THINK THAT ALL OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS GO TOGETHER, OR DO
THEY REFER TO SEPARATE PROBLEMS/ISSUES?(THINK THAT V.19-21 ARE DIRECTED
PRIMARILY TO THOSE WITH MONEY WHILE V. 25-27 IS DIRECTED TO THOSE WITH
LITTLE MONEY.)
      D. DOES V. 19 TELL US NOT TO SAVE MONEY?
            1. WHY DOES A PERSON SAVE MONEY? (SECURITY)
            2. IF SECURITY IS THE REASON, THEN SHOULDN'T WE TRUST GOD
INSTEAD? (IT IS REAL EASY TO GET THIS IDEA.  AND NOT SURE THAT I KNOW OF A
SCRIPTURE FROM JESUS TO REFUTE THIS IDEA.  PAUL TALKS ABOUT PROVIDING
FOR YOUR FAMILY IN 1 TIM. 5:8.)(WHAT SEEMS TO TEMPER THIS IDEA IS THAT WAY
THAT IT APPEARS IN LUKE 12:16-21.  LUKE SEEMS NOT TO COMDEMN SAVINGS, BUT
SAVING WITH NO CONSIDERATION TOWARD GOD.
      E. NOTE THAT THE ALTERNATIVES ARE SAVINGS V. GIVING TO OTHERS AS
OPPOSED TO SAVINGS V. SPENDING ON OURSELVES--WHICH IS PROBABLY THE REAL
PROBLEM THAT WE FACE.

      F. DOES HAVING MONEY MAKE US WORRY, SO THAT WE WOULD BE BETTER
OFF WITHOUT IT? (AT A CERTAIN POINT.  WHENEVER A NEW CAR, WORRIED ABOUT
DINGES.  MAYBE THAT IS THE GUIDING LIGHT TO THIS WHOLE DISCUSSION.  IF YOU
HAVE ENOUGH MONEY SAVED THAT YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT IT, (OR SOMETHING
OF SUCH VALUE THAT YOU WORRY ABOUT IT) YOU HAVE TOO MUCH.)

V. SALVATION
      A. READ MATT 7: 15-20. HOW DO WE KNOW GOOD PEOPLE FROM BAD PEOPLE?
(WORKS)
      B. CAN A BAD PERSON FOOL YOU BY HAVING GOOD WORKS? (SEEMS "NO."
V.18B "A BAD TREE CANNOT BEAR GOOD FRUIT.")
      C. NOW READ 7:21-23. HOW CAN THESE PEOPLE BE REJECTED WHEN THEY
HAVE THE GOOD WORKS (EVEN CASTING OUT DEMONS-WHICH ACCORDING TO
LUKE 10:17 IS TOUGH).
            1. AND HOW CAN JESUS CALL THEM EVILDOERS?
(IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THESE PEOPLE NEVER REALLY DID THESE THINGS,
ALTHOUGH WHAT GUTS IT TAKES TO SAY THAT THEY DID, WHEN THEY DID NOT,
TO GOD.  PERHAPS THEY DELUDED THEMSELVES INTO THINKING THAT THEY DID. 
CONSIDER, IF THESE PEOPLE CAN DECEIVE THEMSELVES, WHAT ABOUT US?)

VI. NEXT WEEK: MATT. 8-10.  LESSON SAYS WE WILL LEARN SOME OF THE "BIG
IDEAS OF SCRIPTURE."