Click to enlarge
Matthew 6:2 "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: Hotan oun poies (2SPAS) eleemosunen, me salpises (2SAAS) emprosthen sou, hosper hoi hupokritai poiousin (3PPAI) en tais sunagogais kai en tais rumais, opos doxasthosin (3PAPS) hupo ton anthropon; amen lego (1SPAI) humin apechousin (3PPAI) ton misthon auton.
Amplified: Thus, whenever you give to the poor, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets like to do, that they may be recognized and honored and praised by men. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Take care not to try to demonstrate how good you are in the presence of men, in order to be seen by them. If you do, you have no reward with your Father in heaven.
KJV: Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
NLT: When you give a gift to someone in need, don't shout about it as the hypocrites do--blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: So, when you do good to other people, don't hire a trumpeter to go in front of you - like those play-actors in the synagogues and streets who make sure that men admire them. Believe me, they have had all the reward they are going to get! (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Therefore, whenever you are practicing the virtues of mercy or beneficence, do not sound a trumpet before you as the actors on the stage of life do in the synagogues and in the streets in order that they may be held in honor by men. Assuredly, I am saying to you, they have their reward and the receipt for the same in full. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: whenever, therefore, thou mayest do kindness, thou mayest not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory from men; verily I say to you -- they have their reward!
|SO WHEN YOU GIVE TO THE POOR: Hotan oun poies (2SPAS) eleemosunen (Job 31:16, 17, 18, 19, 20; Psalms 37:21; 112:9; Proverbs 19:17; Ecclesiastes 11:2; Isaiah 58:7,10, 11, 12; Luke 11:41; 12:33; John 13:29; Acts 9:36; 10:2,4,31; 11:29; 24:17; Romans 12:8; 2Corinthians 9:6-15; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 4:28; 1Timothy 6:18; Philemon 1:7; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:15,16; 1Peter 4:11; 1John 3:17, 18, 19)
The cultural context in Jesus' day is important to understand so that you might better appreciate why our Lord emphasizes the topic of righteousness and specifically aid to the poor. In Jesus’ time, the word righteousness was closely linked to the word alms. And thus one can see why the Jewish rabbis laid such great stress upon charity and good deeds in general as a means of attaining righteousness and as a means of pleasing God and of being rewarded by Him. To this present day if you ask a Jewish person how they expect to get into the Kingdom of God, many will answer "By doing good deeds". But their definition of "good deeds" is not the same as God's definition of "good deeds" and so Jesus immediately strikes at the very heart and foundation of the beliefs of Judaism. Imagine for a moment that you were a strictly orthodox Jew or even a member of the party of the Pharisees and you were among the multitude who heard these piercing words calculated to produce a reaction in the heart and minds of the hearers. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost but first He had to show men that they were lost and spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins.
When (whenever not "if ever"!) assumes citizens of the Kingdom of heaven will give to the poor. Giving to the poor is good but the question is how do you do this deed? The question is what is your motivation? Is it to please men or please God? Be honest!
Give to the poor - more literally do or make charity (alms).
Alms (1654) (eleemosune from eleemon = merciful from eleos [word study] = mercy, kindness, compassion) signifies mercy or pity and came to be applied particularly in giving alms (alms = something such as money or food given freely to relieve the poor. Our English word "alms" is from Latin eleemosyna in turn from the Greek word eleemosune). Stated another way alms represents money given out of mercy for the poor.
Giving was an important part of ancient Judaism where even those gleaning the fields were told to leave behind some of the sheaves so that the poor could gather and have food, Moses recording that…
The same practice of giving passed into Christianity. But with every act of giving there is the danger of mixed motives creeping into something that is so necessary.
Vance Havner - Many a Christian, many a church, has everything in the showcase and nothing on the shelves.
Dwight Pentecost adds that…
C H Spurgeon's comments…
DO NOT SOUND A TRUMPET BEFORE YOU, AS THE HYPOCRITES DO IN THE SYNAGOGUES AND IN THE STREETS: me salpises (2SAAS) emprosthen sou, hosper hoi hupokritai poiousin (3PPAI) en tais sunagogais kai en tais rumais (Proverbs 20:6; Hosea 8:1) (Mt 6:5; 7:5; 15:7; 16:3; 22:18; 23:13-29; 24:51; Isaiah 9:17; 10:6; Mark 7:6; Luke 6:42; 12:56; 13:15) (Mt 6:5; 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 11:43; 20:46)
Ron Mattoon has an interesting note on sound a trumpet writing…
John Blanchard rightly says that…
This is the wrong way to give to the poor. If you "toot your own horn" (one wonders if this modern expression is related to Jesus' illustration!) you are a hypocrite or an actor, manifesting a solemn, pious appearance of godliness when in fact on the inside you are not at all what you appear to be. You are doing it all for show and the praise of men.
In the secular world this syndrome is obvious… buildings named for big donors, etc. What if those donors were told that their donations would all be treated anonymously?! The answer doesn't take much imagination does it? Jesus' point is that giving for the express purpose that others honor us and think good of us and our extravagant generosity is hypocrisy, whether it is in the secular world or the church! People man not sound a trumpet to project the image of generosity, but they still know how to call attention to their giving, because the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick (cf Jer 17:9)
Phil Newton - In some church settings, the offering is taken by the members parading to the front and laying their gifts on the table for all to see. In other settings those that give their gifts expect to have certain privileges and even control. One pastor in a southern city refused to violate his convictions of not performing a marriage of a believer and unbeliever. It just happened that the one this affected was a wealthy lady that gave hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to this debt-strapped church. She told the pastor that if he refused to perform this wedding, then she was leaving and her hundreds of thousands with her. He showed her the door. Her entire motive for giving was not out of a desire to honor the Lord but to control. She has already had her “reward in full.”… There was a dear little lady, now deceased, that I had known for many years that followed the progress of our church in its early days. When we came to the time of building a new building and furnishing it, she sent me a sizeable gift to purchase a desk, chairs, and office equipment. I was pretty bowled over by her generosity, especially since she did not even live in our community. But I still remember her note: “This is our little secret.” She wanted no recognition or applause or plaque commemorating her generosity. She just found great joy in being able to give as unto the Lord for the work of ministry. Her left hand did not know what her right hand was doing. (Sermon)
Expositor's Bible - The reference to trumpet announcements is difficult. Many commentators still say this refers to "the practice of blowing trumpets at the time of collecting alms in the Temple for the relief of some signal need" (Hill, Matthew, following Bonnard); but no Jewish sources confirm this, and the idea seems to stem only from early Christian expositors who assumed its correctness. Likewise there is no evidence (contra Calvin) that the almsgivers themselves really blew trumpets on their way to the temple… public fasts were proclaimed by the sounding of trumpets. At such times prayers for rain were recited in the streets (cf. v. 5), and it was widely thought that alms-giving insured the efficacy of the fasts and prayers (e.g., b Sanhedrin 35a; P. Tannith 2:6; Leviticus R 34:14). But these occasions afforded golden opportunities for ostentation. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
Hypocrite (5273) (hupokrisis from from hupó = under, indicating secrecy + krino = to judge) describes one who acts pretentiously, a counterfeit, a man who assumes and speaks or acts under a feigned character. A hypocrite is someone who pretends to be something he or she is not.
Will Durant - The actor – who is always a male – is not disdained as in Rome, but is much honored; he is exempt from military service, and is allowed safe passage through the lines in time of war. He is called hypocrites, but this word means answerer – i.e., to the chorus; only later will the actor’s role as an impersonator lead to the use of the word as meaning hypocrite. (The Story of Civilization II, The Life of Greece, by Will Durant, page 380)
The 1828 Webster's English dictionary says a hypocrite is "One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power (cf 2Ti 3:5-note), or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion (cf Jas 1:27-note for definition of "true religion").
Hupokrites - 17x in 17v - Hupokrites is a "favorite" of Jesus in Matthew!
Hupokrites occurs 2 times in the Septuagint (LXX) = Job 34:30; 36:13
Hypocrite as discussed more below had its origins in Greek theater, in which it described a character who wore a mask. In the theater the "hypocrite" held the painted mask in front of his face to portray a character. Today, hypocrites are those who try to disguise their true identity. They say they are one thing, but their actions prove otherwise.
In the New Testament a hypocrite normally refers to an unregenerate person who is self-deceived. Unless prompted by the right motives, religious activities, including doing good deeds to others, are of no real spiritual value and receive no commendation from God. It does matter greatly why we do what we do. The hypocrite has a duplicitous life – often without realizing it – giving appearance of one motive when in reality there is a hidden motive. Beloved, I don't know about you, but I can state without reservation that the most difficult type of hypocrisy to discern is not that in others but self-hypocrisy! (My wife reminds me of this frequently!) How easy it is to spot improper motives others but make excuses for similar motives in our own heart or even worse (and probably more often) never even see them (that's called self-deception)!
The hypocrite is the man or woman who puts on a mask and pretends to be what he or she is not in the inner person or in modern parlance is not "authentic". A parallel thought is what others see what's on the outside, which we refer to as reputation. God sees what's really present on the inside, which is what we call character. Clearly, God is interested in our character, not our reputation. Who do you seek to please in your various religious activities? Are you "playing the part" like an actor/actress or are you seeking to please only your Father Who art in heaven? (cf passages that speak of pleasing God - Ep 5:10-note, Ro 12:1NIV-note, Php 4:18b-note, He 11:6-note, 1Jn 3:22)
When (not if but when) you give, pray and fast, don't be an "play actor" hiding behind your mask of religious activity trying to convince people (or even yourself) you are someone who is wholly devoted to God and perfectly pious, when you are not. By way of application it would be wise to apply this warning by our Lord to all our "religious activities". Be honest and ask yourself "Why am I doing what I am doing at church?" Remember Jesus is always more interested in "being" than in "doing". The latter should always proceed from the former.
Wuest adds that this Greek word "is made up of hupo “under,” and krino “to judge” and referred originally to “one who judged from under the cover of a mask,” thus, assuming an identity and a character which he was not. This person was the actor on the Greek stage, one who took the part of another. The Pharisees were religious actors, so to speak, in that they pretended to be on the outside, what they were not on the inside… Our word hypocrite comes from this Greek word. It usually referred to the act of concealing wrong feelings or character under the pretence of better ones." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
In another note Wuest explains that ""The Greek word for “hypocrite” was used of an actor on the Greek stage, one who played the part of another. The word means literally, “to judge under,” and was used of someone giving off his judgment from behind a screen or mask… The true identity of the person is covered up. It refers to acts of impersonation or deception. It was used of an actor on the Greek stage. Taken over into the New Testament, it referred to a person we call a hypocrite, one who assumes the mannerisms, speech, and character of someone else, thus hiding his true identity. Christianity requires that believers should be open and above-board. They should be themselves. Their lives should be like an open book, easily read." (Ibid)
Barclay - The word hypocrite began by meaning someone who answers; and hypocrisy originally meant answering. First the words were used of the ordinary flow of question and answer in any talk or in any dialogue; then they began to be connected with question and answer in a play. From that they went on to be connected with acting apart. The hypocrite is never genuine; he is always play-acting. The basis of hypocrisy is insincerity. God would rather have a blunt, honest sinner, than someone who puts on an act of goodness. (Luke 12 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
A hypocrite is like a clean glove which hides a dirty hand. He acts as if he is good but isn't.
A hypocrite preaches by the yard but practices by the inch.
A hypocrite prays on his knees on Sunday and preys on his neighbors on Monday!
A hypocrite is a man who lets his light so shine before men that they can't tell what is going on behind! Contrast Mt 5:16-note
William Barclay adds that "Hupokrites (hypocrite) is a word with a curious history. It is the noun from the verb hupokrinesthai which means to answer; a hupokrites begins by being an answerer. Then it it goes on to mean one who answers in a set dialogue or a set conversation, that is to say an actor, the man who takes part in the question and answer of the stage… It then came to mean an actor in the worse sense of the term, a pretender, one who acts a part, one who wears a mask to cover his true feelings, one who puts on an external show while inwardly his thoughts and feelings are very different… it comes to mean a hypocrite, a man who all the time is acting a part and concealing his real motives… one whose whole life is a piece of acting without any sincerity behind it at all. Anyone to whom religion is a legal thing, anyone to whom religion means carrying out certain external rules and regulations, anyone to whom religion is entirely connected with the observation of a certain ritual and the keeping of a certain number of taboos is in the end bound to be, in this sense, a hypocrite. The reason is this—he believes that he is a good man if he carries out the correct acts and practices, no matter what his heart and his thoughts are like. To take the case of the legalistic Jew in the time of Jesus, he might hate his fellow man with all his heart, he might be full of envy and jealousy and concealed bitterness and pride; that did not matter so long as he carried out the correct handwashings and observed the correct laws about cleanness and uncleanness. Legalism takes account of a man’s outward actions; but it takes no account at all of his inward feelings. He may well be meticulously serving God in outward things, and bluntly disobeying God in inward things—and that is hypocrisy… There is no greater religious peril than that of identifying religion with outward observance. There is no commoner religious mistake than to identify goodness with certain so-called religious acts. Church-going, bible-reading, careful financial giving, even time-tabled prayer do not make a man a good man. The fundamental question is, how is a man’s heart towards God and towards his fellow-men? And if in his heart there are enmity, bitterness, grudges, pride, not all the outward religious observances in the world will make him anything other than a hypocrite… The hypocrite is the man whose alleged Christian profession is for his own profit and prestige and not for the service and glory of Christ." (Barclay, W: The Daily study Bible series)
The world doesn't doubt Christianity as much as it does some who claim to be Christians, so that the hypocritical "Christian" is one of the devil's best workers!
The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery notes that "The Pharisees are the prototypical hypocrites of the Bible. A composite portrait is easy to assemble from Jesus' denunciations of them. They are ostentatious when they give alms with the intent that people will praise them (Mt 6:2). They pray in the synagogues and street corners so people will take note (Mt 6:5). When they fast, they disfigure their faces (Mt 6:16). They tithe their garden produce but neglect “the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23). In Jesus' caricature of them, they clean the outside of a drinking cup but ignore the filth inside it (Mt 23:25). They are self-righteous (Mt 23:29, 30), they teach people false religious beliefs (Mt 23:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22), and they prevent people from entering the kingdom of heaven (Mt 23:13, 14, 15). They try to trap Jesus by pretending to be perplexed about issues (Mt 22:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22). We are not surprised that they have a special place in hell (Mt 24:51). Jesus' climactic exposure of hypocrites is to picture them as “whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Mt 23:27RSV). (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)
Leo Tolstoy - Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.
Thomas Brooks - The hypocrite is a cloud without rain, a blossoming tree without fruit, a star without light, a shell without a kernel.
Richard Glover spared no words when he said that "Hypocrisy not only covers faults, but swiftly eats out of the soul every remnant of truth and honour left in it.
John Mason's spiritual sayings offer some pithy portrayals of a hypocrite "A hypocrite is one who neither is what he seems; nor seems what he is. A hypocrite is the picture of a saint; but his paint shall be washed off and he shall appear in his own colors.
A hypocrite is hated by the world for seeming to be a Christian; and hated by God for not being one. (Grace Gems!)
Thomas Brooks on hypocrite - Many are much in and for church ordinances and activities, whose hearts are very carnal, and whose lives are very vain. It is nothing to be much in those religious duties and performances wherein the worst of sinners may go beyond the best of saints. The most refined hypocrites labor only to be seen by others in their praying, fasting, talking, hearing, giving, etc. Let them have but man's eye to see them, and man's ear to hear them, and man's tongue to commend them, and man's hand to reward them—and they will sit down and bless themselves. They say of the nightingale, that when she is solitary in the woods, she is careless of her melody. But when she perceives that she has any auditors, or is near houses, then she composes herself more harmoniously and elegantly. Truly, this is the frame and temper of the best of hypocrites.
Puritan writer Thomas Watson in his description of trees of righteousness said "Fruitfulness is one of the most distinctive characteristics of a Christian." Pr 12:12: "The root of the righteous yields fruit."
Pumped Up - According to Reuters news agency, on April 28 at the 1992 Galveston County Fair and Rodeo, a steer named Husker, weighing in at 1,190 pounds, was named grand champion. The steer was sold at auction for $13,500 and slaughtered a few days after the competition. When veterinarians examined the carcass, said a contest official, they found something suspicious. They discovered evidence of what is called "airing." To give steers a better appearance, competitors have been known to inject air into their animals' hides with a syringe or a needle attached to a bicycle pump. Pump long enough, and they've got themselves what looks like a grand champion steer, though of course it's against the rules. The Galveston County Fair and Rodeo Association withdrew the championship title and sale money from Husker. A pumped-up steer is like a hypocritical person. Hypocrites appear more virtuous than they are.
Horrible Hypocrisy - According to the Chicago Tribune, a man named Joe from Rock-ford, Illinois, ran a live Internet sex site called Video Fantasy. Joe had a ten-year-old son. On his home computer Joe installed filtering software to limit the surfing that his son could do on the Internet. Joe explained, "It's not that I keep him sheltered, but my wife and I pay close attention to what he reads, what he watches on TV and what he does on the computer because we have a responsibility to him to be the best parents we can." Joe's sense of responsibility to his son is commendable. Joe's sense of responsibility to the children of other parents (and the parents themselves!) is deplorable. Can there be a more stark illustration of hypocrisy? (From 750 Engaging Illustrations)
Thomas Watson in his explanation of spiritual hunger describes…
Thomas Watson in his exposition of Pr 4:23 writes that…
Ron Mattoon - play acting was seen during times of mourning. In New Testament times some people made their living as professional mourners, who were paid to weep, wail, and tear their garments at funerals and on other occasions of sadness. It is said that some mourners were careful to tear their clothing at a seam, so that the material could easily be sewn back together for the next "mourning" opportunity. Both the professional mourners and those who hired them were hypocrites, hiring and being hired to put on a display of mourning that was entirely fake. This word "hypocrite" accurately describes professional mourners, but also those who do their almsgiving or any other deed for the praise of men. They want more praise than their deeds merit. Hypocrites are acting the part of another, for they are trying to act the part of one who has done a great deal more than they are actually doing. Furthermore, in their almsgiving, they are acting the part of one who is concerned about the poor, but in reality they are not interested in the poor at all. Instead, they are interested only in the praise of men. Their efforts to appear interested in the poor are nothing but play-acting. Their almsgiving is mostly a staged act. They are hypocrites and phonies. We always need to be on guard of this ever-present problem of becoming a hypocrite. (Ron Mattoon - Treasures From Proverbs, Volume One)
David Jeremiah recounts the following story…
Lehman Strauss - We live in a world of make-believe. We are actors. It was the custom of Greek and Roman actors to wear large masks with mechanical devices to regulate the inflections and intonations of the voice. The Greek word for a play actor is hupokrites, from which we derive the English word hypocrite, a pretender, one who appears in a false guise and thus does not disclose what he truly is. In Satan's world, where man has his earthly sojourn, men and women apply their make-up almost daily before presenting themselves on the stage of life. This superficial camouflage is applied both physically and morally. Recently (June 21, 1960) in a four-page spread in Look magazine, there appeared an advertisement with the caption, "Skin-Deep Beauty: a $1 Billion Business." It went on to say, "Today, the face a girl wakes up with is rarely revealed in public." And most of us must admit that too frequently the heart we wake up with is rarely revealed in public… Are you guilty of play acting? Did you ever pretend that you were glad to see someone when in reality you were not? (Lehman Strauss - The Book of Revelation).
Hypocrite: Someone who complains that there is too much sex and violence on his VCR.- Current Comedy (Reader’s Digest, October, 1991, page 183)
Hypocrites – Great Methodist preacher Sangster once asked, “Are some people outside the church because you’re inside?"
Ron Mattoon notes that hypocrites hate rejection…
The New Unger's Bible Dictionary definition of "hypocrite"…
Spurgeon gives us..
Six Marks of Hypocrites (Mark 12:38-40):
God knows and detects Isaiah 29:15, 16
Christ knew and detected Matt 22:18
God has no pleasure in Isaiah 9:17
Shall not come before God Job 13:16
Willfully blind Matt 23:17 Matt 23:19 Matt 23:26
Vile Isaiah 32:6
Self-righteous Isaiah 65:5 Luke 18:11
Covetous Ezek 33:31 2Peter 2:3
Ostentatious Matt 5:2 Matt 5:5 Matt 5:16 Matt 23:5
Censorious Matt 7:3, 4, 5 Luke 13:14, 15
Regarding tradition more than the word of God Matt 15:1, 2, 3
Exact in minor, but neglecting important duties Matt 23:23, 24
Having but a form of godliness 2Ti 3:5
Seeking only outward purity Luke 11:39
Professing but not practicing Ezek 33:31, 32 Mt 23:3 Ro 2:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Using but lip-worship Isaiah 29:13 Matt 15:8
Glorying in appearance only 2Cor 5:12
Trusting in privileges Jer 7:4 Matt 3:9
Apparently zealous in the things of God Isaiah 58:2
Zealous in making proselytes Matt 23:15
Devouring widows' houses Matt 23:14
Loving pre-eminence Matt 23:6, 7
Worship of, not acceptable to God Isa 1:11, 12, 13, 14, 15 Isa 58:3, 4, 5 Mt 15:9
Joy of, but for a moment Job 20:5
Hope of perishes Job 8:13 Job 27:8, 9
Heap up wrath Job 36:13
Fearfulness shall surprise Isaiah 33:14
Destroy others by slander Prov 11:9
In power, are a snare Job 34:30
The Apostasy to abound with 1Tim 4:2
Beware the principles of Luke 12:1
Spirit of, hinders growth in grace 1Peter 2:1
Woe to Isaiah 29:15 Matt 23:13
Punishment of Job 15:34 Isaiah 10:6 Jer 42:20 Jer 42:22 Matt 24:51
Illustrated Matt 23:27. 28 Luke 11:44
Cain Gen 4:3
Absalom 2Sa 15:7, 8
The Jews Jer 3:10
Pharisees, etc Matt 16:3
Judas Matt 26:49
Herodians Mark 12:13 Mark 12:15
Ananias Acts 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Simon Acts 8:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH: Woe unto you … hypocrites. Matthew 23:27
Webster defines a hypocrite as "one who feigns to be some-thing he is not." According to this, he is a "counterfeit," a mere pretender. Jesus, in speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, called them "blind guides" and "whited sepulchers," and said they were "full of … all uncleanness." He added that they appeared outwardly righteous, but were "full of iniquity."
One of the weakest excuses offered by Christ-rejecters today, and yet one of the most common, is this: "I'm not interested be-cause there are too many hypocrites in the church." A born-again believer, presenting the Gospel to a certain man, ran into this objection. Mentioning the name- of a prominent person who had been a church member, the unbeliever said, "Look at the awful crime he committed, while parading under the name of religion." The other replied, "Do you suppose that man ever was a true Christian?" "Of course not," said the unbeliever. "Exactly!" answered the saved one. "He was not actually one of us. He was just trying to play along with God's people."
"But," I can hear someone say, "I know of those who really do seem to be what you would call `born again,' and yet they're quite inconsistent. They surely don't `walk' the way they 'talk!'" Much as I dislike it, I must admit this is true. There are some like this in our churches today, but is that an excuse for rejecting Christ? Was He a hypocrite? We are amazed that intelligent people should use such a flimsy argument as this.
Remembering Jesus' words, "Woe unto you, hypocrites," never allow such a one to stand between you and Christ, lest you be included in their condemnation.
SOME opponents of Christianity are not so much against Christ as they are against hypocrisy. Apparently it hasn't occurred to them that no one was more opposed to hypocrisy than Christ Himself.
We've all met scoffers who mindlessly parrot the phrase,
"The church is full of hypocrites!"
But let's not be equally mindless in our response to them by dismissing their pronouncements with-out heeding the part that is true.
Seconds later she greeted the woman at the door with a warm, friendly welcome,
Our lips and our lives often preach conflicting sermons. Jesus described the hypocritical teachers of the law and warned His disciples,
God forbid that some opponent of Christ would be influenced by careless hypocrisy in our lives.—J E Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
You Become What You Are - Max Beerbohm wrote a story entitled, "The Happy Hypocrite." The title sounds like a paradox, doesn't it? The story was about a character whose face personified evil. The man was faced with a dilemma: the woman he loved refused to marry him because he didn't look saintly. To solve the problem, the suitor put on a mask with a kind face. The young woman married him despite the face underneath the mask. Her husband proved to be an attentive, unselfish husband.
One day in a moment of rage, an enemy abruptly tore off her husband's mask before his wife's eyes. Instead of a cruel, grotesque face, the man had become what he had lived for many years. Kindness, not evil, radiated from his face!
The Bible urges us to "keep the faith" because someday we will look like Him in whom we believe (1John 3:2). (A Treasury of Bible Illustrations)
Several customers were waiting in line at a London cheese shop one day when the famous preacher C. H. Spurgeon came in to make a purchase. Not one to stand around calmly, he became a little fidgety as he stood behind the others and waited his turn. Noticing a fine block of cheese in the shop window, he couldn't resist touching it, and gently tapped the cheese with his walking stick. To his surprise, the "cheese" made an empty metallic sound—like the ring of a big bread pan. Spurgeon later recounted, "I came to the conclusion that I had found a very well-got-up hypocrite in the window."
People can be like fake cheese—they look like something they aren't. Many use the name Christian and make a rather pretty display on Sunday morning, yet they have the hollow sound of a hypocrite. A person may look like a Christian but lack genuine faith. When tapped with temptation or spiritual duty, the sham becomes evident. What seemed to be spirituality is a veneer of profession—without the sub-stance of possession. Many give Christianity their countenance but not their heart.
Our society encourages hypocrisy. Even before our children enter school they begin to master the art of artificiality. It isn't long until they become as sophisticated as their adult counterparts at the slick little deceptions of modern life.
This practice is bad enough in social circles, but it is even worse when it occurs in the church. When Sunday morning comes, we adjust our behavior to fit what others expect of a good Christian. We sit piously in our "Sunday best," hiding from everyone that we are selfish, stingy, unforgiving people.
In his book Improving Your Serve, Charles Swindoll tells of speaking at a singles retreat in a Rocky Mountain resort. He had purposely brought along a full-faced rubber mask that his children had given him as a funny present. One evening he wore it as he began to speak on authenticity. As expected, the crowd went wild with laughter. Each new sentence increased the effect. After removing the mask, he observed, "It's a funny thing, when we wear literal masks, nobody is fooled. But how easy it is to wear invisible ones and fake people out by the hundreds… Servants who are `pure in heart' have peeled off their masks. And God places special blessing on their lives."
We all struggle with the problem of hypocrisy. But when our hearts are pure, we will have no reason to cover our faces. —D. C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
A hypocrite is a person who isn't himself on Sunday.
Jesus reminded the hypocrites of His day that God had declared through Isaiah, "These people … honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me" (Is 29:13). He could just as well have cited God's rebuke to Israel through Ezekiel, "They hear Your words, but they do not do them" (Ezek 33:32).
The Christian life is like a coin. One side is belief; the other is behavior. If our behavior isn't consistent with our belief, we are hypocrites. By God's enabling grace, we need to bring practice and profession into alignment. We must walk our talk, then we can talk our walk. -- Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Unless my talk about my faith
SO THAT THEY MAY BE HONORED BY MEN: hopos doxasthosin (3PAPS) hupo ton anthropon (1Samuel 15:30; John 5:41,44; 7:18; 1Thessalonians 2:6) (Mt 6:5,16; 5:18)
So that - “So that” is used as a subordinate clause to show purpose or reason or to give an explanation (This begs several questions the engaged reader should ask, prayerfully trusting their Teacher, the Spirit, to answer [1Cor 2:10-13] = "What is the author explaining?", In Mt 6:2 "Why are men honored by men?", etc). It is used to show an action producing an intended result or a cause producing an effect (and if you are like me, you may need to read that again!). As you read the Bible and spot "so that," pause and practice asking as many relevant questions as you can, and over time, this will become your default mode as you read Scripture. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much better you begin to observe and interpret the Bible! Don't become frustrated at first. Some passages are more difficult to observe than others. I can assure you that with practice you will become proficient! Illustrations: "He must die SO THAT others might live." (You could ask = "Who must die?" and that would force you to examine the context. Why must he die? What is the result of his death?, etc) As an aside, you should encounter plenty of opportunities to practice, as there are 991 occurrences of "so that" in the NAS (1995 Version).
As William Jenkyn said "There are many who are lip-servants but not life-servants." (Woe!)
Honored (1392) (doxazo from doxa = glory) means to render or esteem glorious. The consequential meaning from the opinion which one forms is to recognize, honor, praise, invest with dignity. To give anyone esteem or honor by putting him into an honorable position.
Doxazo - 53v - Matt 5:16; 6:2; 9:8; 15:31; Mark 2:12; Luke 2:20; 4:15; 5:25f; 7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 18:43; 23:47; John 7:39; 8:54; 11:4; 12:16, 23, 28; 13:31f; 14:13; 15:8; 16:14; 17:1, 4f, 10; 21:19; Acts 3:13; 4:21; 11:18; 13:48; 21:20; Rom 1:21; 8:30; 11:13; 15:6, 9; 1 Cor 6:20; 12:26; 2 Cor 3:10; 9:13; Gal 1:24; 2 Thess 3:1; Heb 5:5; 1 Pet 1:8; 2:12; 4:11, 16; Rev 15:4; 18:7.
Translated in the NAS as full of glory(m)(1), glorified(20), glorifies(1), glorify(19), glorifying(12), had glory(1), has glory(1), honor(1), honored(2), magnify(1), praised(1), praising(1).
H A Ironside - Nothing is more objectionable than advertised charity. It is extremely humiliating to the one who receives, and hurtful to the soul of him who gives.
TRULY I SAY TO YOU, THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD IN FULL: amen lego (1SPAI) humin apechousin (3PPAI) ton misthon auton (Mt 6:5,16; 5:18)
As Erwin Lutzer said "We play the game; God keeps the score." That's good, but don't let guilt motivate you. Let the liberating Spirit of Christ and the love of Christ control your thoughts, words and deeds!
Truly (Amen) - Jesus is calling for their strict attention to not miss this conclusion.
Amen (Amen in the NT) (Amen in the OT) - 104v in NAS - Matt 5:18, 26; 6:2, 5, 13, 16; 8:10; 10:15, 23, 42; 11:11; 13:17; 16:28; 17:20; 18:3, 13, 18; 19:23, 28; 21:21, 31; 23:36; 24:2, 34, 47; 25:12, 40, 45; 26:13, 21, 34; Mark 3:28; 8:12; 9:1, 41; 10:15, 29; 11:23; 12:43; 13:30; 14:9, 18, 25, 30; Luke 4:24; 12:37; 18:17, 29; 21:32; 23:43; John 1:51; 3:3, 5, 11; 5:19, 24f; 6:26, 32, 47, 53; 8:34, 51, 58; 10:1, 7; 12:24; 13:16, 20f, 38; 14:12; 16:20, 23; 21:18; Rom 1:25; 9:5; 11:36; 15:33; 16:24, 27; 1 Cor 14:16; 16:24; 2 Cor 1:20; Gal 1:5; 6:18; Eph 3:21; Phil 4:20; 1 Tim 1:17; 6:16; 2 Tim 4:18; Heb 13:21; 1 Pet 4:11; 5:11; 2 Pet 3:18; Jude 1:25; Rev 1:6f; 3:14; 5:14; 7:12; 19:4; 22:20f. Translated Amen(31), truly(99).
Spurgeon commenting on their receipt of full reward adds that…
Have… in full (received… in full) (568) (apecho from apó = from + écho = have) means to receive in full what is due, to be paid in full or to receive in full. Apecho was a technical term in the Greek culture used to describe commercial transactions. The idea is to receive a sum in full and give a receipt for it.
As Ron Mattoon says "The hypocrite has his reward. He is paid in full, but is broke and has nothing. This is a devastating comment. It may not appear that way to the casual reader, but the examination of the language will make it plain that it is a devastating comment. The word "have" comes from the Greek word apecho. The language of Jesus here is emphatic or decisive. Apecho is a technical term for commercial transactions and means to "receive a sum in full and give a receipt for it." Men's praise is all the reward that hypocritical or glory-givers will receive. (Ron Mattoon - Treasures From Proverbs, Volume One)
(2) Apecho can mean to be away, absent, distant or at some distance away from a certain point (Mk 14:24, Lk 15:20 = "off", Lk 7:6 = with negative = not far from , Lk 24:13, 15:8, Mk 7:6, Lxx use in Ge 44:4 Isa 29:13, Joel 4:8 "distant nation")
(3) Apecho can mean to avoid contact with something and so to refrain, abstain or keep away from (Study what one is to abstain from - interesting! 1Ti 4:3, 1Pe 2:11, Acts 15:20, 1Th 4:3, 1Th 5:22 - note that most of these uses are in the middle voice = pictures the subject initiating the action and participating in the results)
(4) Mark 14:41 has an unusual use of apecho which conveys the sense "it is enough", but the meaning is not absolutely clear. Constable says…
Barclay explains that apecho "in the Greek… was the technical business and commercial word for receiving payment in full. It was the word which was used on receipted accounts. For instance, one man signs a receipt given to another man: “I have received (apecho) from you the rent of the olive press which you have on hire.” A tax collector gives a receipt, saying, “I have received (apecho) from you the tax which is due.” A man sells a slave and gives a receipt, saying, “I have received (apecho) the whole price due to me.”(The Gospel of Matthew The Daily Study Bible)
Apecho - 19x in 19v - Mt 6:2-note, Mt 6:5-note, Mt 6:16-note; Mt 14:24; 15:8; Mark 7:6; 14:41; Luke 6:24; 7:6; 15:20; 24:13; Acts 15:20, 29; Phil 4:18-note; 1Th 4:3-note; 1Th 5:22-note; 1Ti 4:3; Philemon 1:15; 1Pe 2:11-note. NAS = abstain(5), abstaining(1), away(1), away*(1), enough(1), have… back(1), have… in full(3), have received(1), have received in full(1), off(1), receiving… in full(1).
Mt 6:2-note "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Mt 6:5-note "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Mt 6:16-note "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Matthew 14:24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.
Matthew 15:8 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
Mark 7:6 And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
Mark 14:41 And He came the third time, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Luke 6:24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.
Luke 7:6 Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof;
Luke 15:20 "So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
Luke 24:13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was (KJV = which was from [apecho] Jerusalem) about seven miles from Jerusalem.
Acts 15:20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood… 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell."
Phil 4:18-note But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
1Th 4:3-note For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality
1Timothy 4:3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
Philemon 1:15 For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,
Apecho - 19x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen 43:23; 44:4; Num 32:19; Deut 12:21; 18:22; 1 Sam 21:5; Job 1:1, 8; 2:3; 13:21; 28:28; Ps 103:12; Pr 3:27; 9:18; 15:29; 22:5; 23:4, 13; Isa 29:13; 54:14; 55:9; Jer 7:10; Ezek 8:6; 11:15; 22:5; Joel 1:13; 2:8; 3:8; Mal 3:6; Below are some interesting, instructive uses of apecho in the Septuagint…
Reward (3408) (misthos [word study]) literally refers to pay which is due for labor performed or dues paid for work. Misthos is used in two general senses in the NT, either to refer to wages or to reward, recognition or recompense. In this latter figurative usage, misthos refers to rewards which God bestows for an action that passes His "eye test" (i.e., the Omniscient God sees the heart motive behind every action), and while there may be some reward in this present life (there is always the "reward" of knowing you have been pleasing to your Father - cf 2Co 5:8; cf profit of disciplining one's self for godliness 1Ti 4:7, 8-note) such rewards most often to be bestowed in eternity future.
Jesus' point is the honor one receives from other men, be it verbal praise, laudatory looks, etc, is the only reward one will ever receive for works that basically are designed to draw attention to self. The implication is these individuals best savor their temporal, passing applause and take all the "curtain calls" they can because that is all they will ever receive for self-centered giving. It is possible to be the most generous member in the church, in amount and proportion of giving, and yet have no reward except what the immediate praise from men. This truth should cause us all to be very sober minded regarding our giving, praying and fasting. Unless we continually abide in the Vine, we can do absolutely nothing of eternal value (Jn 15:5).
Mattoon reminds each of us…
Amplified: But when you give to charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
NLT: But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: No, when you give to charity, don't even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be secret. Your Father who knows all secrets will reward you. (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: But while you are practicing the virtues of mercy or beneficence, do not allow your left hand to know what your right hand is doing (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 'But thou, doing kindness, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth,
|BUT WHEN YOU GIVE TO THE POOR, DO NOT LET YOUR LEFT HAND KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHT HAND IS DOING: sou de poiountos (PAPMSG) eleemosunen me gnoto (3SAAM) e aristera sou ti poiei (3SPAI) e dexia sou (Mt 8:4; 9:30; 12:19; Mark 1:44; John 7:4)
But - (always pause to ponder and query this "change of direction" word = Term of Contrast) Jesus calls for a radical contrast in one's attitude to what He has just described.
When you give to the poor - This passage ("poiountos eleemosunen") is more literally "doing acts of charity or acts of mercy (including giving alms)" and thus Wuest paraphrases it as "practicing the virtues of mercy or beneficence". (See below for more on the Greek word eleemosune.)
Considering the left versus the right hand, a question that arises is "Are you giving God what is right or what is left?" (Gulp!)
Billy Graham also alluded to the left hand and right hand when he said that "God has given us two hands—one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing."
When you give to the poor - Not if but when. Spurgeon writes "Our blessed Lord does not tell His disciples to give alms, but he takes it for granted that they do that. How could they be His disciples if they did not so? But He tells them to take care that they do not do this in order to get honor and credit from it. Oh! how much is done in this world that would be very good, but it is spoilt in the doing through the motive done to be seen of men."… We are to give to the poor out of pity. Not to be seen and applauded, much less to get influence over them; but out of pure sympathy and compassion we must give them help.
Alms (Webster, et al) - something (as money or food) given freely to relieve the poor. Any thing given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing, otherwise called charity. money given out of mercy for the poor. The Israelite was commanded to be generous in opening his hand wide to the poor and needy (Deut. 15:11). Gleanings from vineyards, orchards, olive groves, and fields should be made available to the poor (Lev. 19:9–10; Ruth 2:2, 7–8). Blessings were promised to those who were generous in aiding the poor (Pr. 14:21; 19:17). Eventually, the false notion developed that almsgiving had power to atone for the giver’s sins! "By Jesus’ time, the word “righteousness” was tied closely to the word “alms.” Thus, when Jesus taught about “charitable deeds” (or almsgiving; Matt. 6:2–4), prayer (Mt. 6:5–15), and fasting (Matt. 6:16–18), he prefaced his teachings by saying, “Beware of practicing your piety [literally, righteousness] before men in order to be seen by them” (Mt. 6:1). In this way he taught that the giving of alms to the poor must not become a theatrical display to win people’s applause; the praise that comes from God is more important." (Nelson's illustrated Bible dictionary) "Almsgiving is a pervasive part of the biblical tradition and is practiced to maintain community harmony. In the OT, caring for the poor is associated with living a just life, and kindness to the poor is viewed as the basis for a happy life (Pr 14:21). Isaiah emphasizes giving to the poor as a prerequisite for hearing the voice of God. Almsgiving must involve facing the poor with whom one lives, and sharing one’s food and one’s home; it is not simply the giving of financial resources. Care for the poor must also include the three-year tithing of the produce of the land (Deut. 14:28–29) and the leaving behind of grain in the field (Dt 24:19–22)." (Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible) ". Although no word with the specific meaning of “alms” or “to give alms” occurs in the Old Testament, the practice does seem to have existed. Hebrew tsaddiyq (06662) “righteous deeds” (Ps. 11:5) came to have the more restricted meaning of gifts to the poor. (The Eerdmans Bible dictionary)
Eleemosune - 13v in NAS translated as alms, charity, giving.
When you do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, you are conducting your affairs between yourself and God, unknown to anyone else.
When we are exercising acts of devotion such as giving or other acts of Christian duty such as praying and fasting, we are not to call attention to ourselves or be impressed with ourselves or to think that we are adding merit by our deed.
Note that Jesus is not prohibiting any gift that might be seen by someone else for it would be virtually impossible to make all contributions strictly anonymous. Jesus is simply condemning the showy, ostentatious display when one gives.
As someone once rightly said "Work for the Lord. The pay isn't much, but the retirement benefit is out of this world."
Spurgeon put it this way…
Spurgeon commenting on not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing exhorting us to…
C H Spurgeon's comments…
Phil Newton - While almsgiving relieves human suffering, there is a bigger aim that the Christian keeps in mind. He desires to help others but more than anything, he offers his gift with a sense of gratitude for the great mercy that the Lord has shown him. He keeps the Lord in his eyes – so to speak – as he makes his gift. It is with a view toward pleasing Him that the Christian gives. It is because the believer has so thought upon the character and practice of Jesus Christ that he desires to do as Christ did in giving, and all to the glory of God. (Sermon)
Clearly Jesus is speaking figuratively to emphasize the degree of privacy that one needs to manifest when giving to the church, to missionaries, etc. Simply put, do not tell anyone of your giving! There is a more subtle danger. We refrain from telling anyone and then we feel a sense of self-satisfaction because we are such humble donors. Jesus is saying that our giving is to be in as sense hidden even from ourselves. Don't let your right hand shake your left hand in congratulations. Don’t praise yourself for your giving. Deny your flesh any temptation to pat yourself on the back because you are such a generous giver. This can be very subtle so as Jesus commanded at the outset of this section continually "beware"! You should have such pure motives of concern for the poor that when giving, you have no self-awareness and no self-serving motives at all.
Chip Bell - I heard a story about a little seven-year-old girl that came to church with her parents one Sunday morning. She watched her parents singing songs. She sat and listened through the sermon and the pastor’s prayer. She saw the offering go by, and watched her parents put something in the basket. And then after church, as the family was driving home, the mother commented, "I thought the music this morning was just awful." And the father added, "And the sermon was not only too long. It was boring." Their little daughter in the back seat heard all this and it really made her think. Finally, after a few moments of silence, she said, "Well, Mom and Dad, you've got to admit it was a pretty good show for a dollar." (See his full message Matthew 6:1-4 Clink. Clink. Ta Da!)
Amplified: So that your deeds of charity may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
NLT: Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: so that your giving may be secret. Your Father who knows all secrets will reward you.(New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: in order that your mercy or beneficence may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: that thy kindness may be in secret, and thy Father who is seeing in secret Himself shall reward thee manifestly.
|SO THAT YOUR GIVING WILL BE IN SECRET: hopos e (3SPAS) sou e eleemosune en to krupto; kai o pater sou o blepon (PAPMSN) en to krupto apodosei (3SFAI) soi
So that - “So that” is used as a subordinate clause to show purpose or to give an explanation (This begs several questions the engaged reader should ask, prayerfully trusting their Teacher, the Spirit, to answer [1Cor 2:10-13] = "What is the purpose?" "What is the author explaining?" "What is the explanation?", etc). It is used to show an action producing an intended result or a cause producing an effect. In the format Sentence 1 “so that” Sentence 2, the first sentence is the action/cause and the second is the intended result/effect. In the format “So that” Sentence 1 , Sentence 2 the first subject-verb clause is the intended result/effect and the second is the action/cause
Regarding your giving, if you choose to not give away what God has given you to give away, then you really don't own it… it owns you for as Spurgeon said "Giving is true having"!
There is also another conclusion one can reach for as Oswald Chambers declared, it is not how much we give…
Secret (2927) (kruptos from krupto = keep secret. Eng., “crypt,” “cryptic,” etc) means hidden, concealed, and thus secret or in secret where it cannot be seen by others. Though present and real, in this context kruptos describes that which is spiritual and unknown to most people, unfortunately even to many "professing" believers.
Paul explains a believer's "spiritual vision" writing that "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Cor 4:18-note)
You may ask "I gave 'in secret' and still someone found out about it. Does that disqualify me?" The issue is not whether someone finds out. The primary principle in each of these spiritual disciplines is what is my motive? God sees the heart so that if we give for our personal aggrandizement, it doesn't matter if no one finds out because we will still receive no reward from God. On the other hand if we give for God's glory, it doesn't matter who finds out, because our reward will be from God.
Writing to the Corinthians Paul presented a principle that applies to all believers in the consideration of giving, praying or fasting, explaining that when "the Lord comes (back, He) will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God." (1Cor 4:5)
Charles Hodge spoke to this issue of motive when he declared "Unless we feel it is an honour and a joy to give, God does not accept the offering."
J C Lavater - The manner of giving shows the character of the giver, more than the gift itself.
Andrew Murray - When a man gives, the world still asks, 'What does he give?' Christ asks, 'How does he give?'
Robert Rodemayer - There are three kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving and thanksgiving. Grudge giving says, 'I have to'; duty giving says, 'I ought to'; thanksgiving says, 'I want to'.
Spurgeon has a devotional entitled Giving Without a Whisper…
AND YOUR FATHER WHO SEES WHAT IS DONE IN SECRET WILL REWARD YOU: kai o pater sou o blepon (PAPMSN) en to krupto apodosei (3SFAI) soi. (Mt 6:6,18; Psalms 17:3; 44:21; 139:1, 2, 3,12; Jeremiah 17:10; 23:24; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 2:23) (Mt 6:10:42; Mt 25:34-40; 1Samuel 2:30; Luke 8:17; 14:14; 1Corinthians 4:5; Jude 1:24)
The NAS rendering misses one nuance that is picked up in the Young's literal rendering "thy Father Who is seeing in secret Himself shall reward thee manifestly."
Spurgeon comments on this rendering (Himself is also retained in the KJV) - There is a blessed emphasis upon that word “Himself” for, if God shall reward us, what a reward it will be! Any praise from His lips, any reward from His hands, will be of priceless value. Oh, to live with an eye to that alone! (Amen!)
Our motive for giving is "Sola deo Gloria". We all say this but God sees our heart. Do we really mean what we say? Our desire should be His glory and His words "Well done, good and faithful slave" (Mt 25:21).
Your Father sees (Mt 6:6, 18) - His eye is ever upon His children, and He will reward all that is done for His glory.
Andrew Bonar said it this way "The best part of all Christian work is that part which only God sees."
As Harry Ironside rightly said "To do good secretly, knowing that one has the Lord's approval and that he is imparting happiness to others in their distress, should be reward enough to the true child of God. But God, who takes note of all that is done in His name, will not fail to recognize it when we see Him as He is.
In the OT we see a a vivid anthropomorphism describing the eyes of Jehovah, scrutinizing the entire earth in search of men who will rely on Him (and prayer is one way we demonstrate our dependence) "the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely (wholeheartedly devoted) His. (2Chronicles 16:9)
Will reward (591) (apodidomi from apó = from + dídomi = give) means to pay or give back, implying a debt. This word carries the idea of obligation and responsibility for something that is not optional. The prefixed preposition apo (off, away from) makes the verb mean “to give off” from one’s self. To give back or pay back or to do something necessary in fulfillment of an obligation or expectation.
Apodidomi - 48x in 46v in NAS - Matt 5:26, 33; 6:4, 6, 18; 12:36; 16:27; 18:25f, 28ff, 34; 20:8; 21:41; 22:21; 27:58; Mark 12:17; Luke 4:20; 7:42; 9:42; 10:35; 12:59; 16:2; 19:8; 20:25; Acts 4:33; 5:8; 7:9; 19:40; Rom 2:6; 12:17; 13:7; 1 Cor 7:3; 1 Thess 5:15; 1 Tim 5:4; 2 Tim 4:8, 14; Heb 12:11, 16; 13:17; 1 Pet 3:9; 4:5; Rev 18:6; 22:2, 12.
NAS renders it as account*(1), award(1), fulfill(2), gave back(2), give(3), give back(1), given over(1),giving(1), make(m)(1), paid(2), paid up(1), pay(2), pay back(4), recompense(1), render(7), repay(10), repayment to be made(1), repays(1), returning(1), sold(3), yielding(1), yields(1).
A. W. Tozer - Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will not be judged by how much I have done but by how much of me there is in it.
The novelist Dr. A. J. Cronin was once a practicing physician in a small Welsh mining village. He worked with a nurse who for twenty years had given her patients loving attention and care. Dr. Cronin was greatly impressed with her ability and considered her an exemplary member of her profession.
When he learned how small her salary was, he said, "Nurse, why don't you make them pay you more? It's ridiculous that you should work for so little." She replied that she was getting enough to meet her needs. "But you deserve more," the doctor replied. "God knows you're worth it." The nurse was silent for a moment. Then, with a smile on her face she exclaimed, "Dr. Cronin, if God knows I'm worth it, that's all that matters!"
Are you discouraged today—unrecognized, or unappreciated? Then remember these reassuring words: "God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name" (Heb. 6:10-note). He overlooks nothing that is clone in His name. —R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Reward in eternity
As Christians, we should not display a "cash and carry" attitude of expecting immediate appreciation for the good we do. God wants us to remember that someday He Himself will richly reward us.
As Spurgeon reminds us…
There is no reward from God to those who seek it from men.
You remember the old Romish legend, which contains a great truth. There was a brother who preached very mightily, and who had won many souls to Christ, and it was revealed to him one night in a dream, that in heaven he would have no reward for all he had done. He asked to whom the reward would go, and the angel told him it would go to an old man who used to sit on the pulpit stairs and pray for him. Well, it may be so, but both would most likely share their Master's praise. We shall not be rewarded, however, simply according to our apparent success. (Barbed Arrows)
Occasionally a benevolent action wrought in faith brings with it an instantaneous recompense in kind; therein Providence is seen as smiling upon the deed. The late John Andrew Jones, a poor Baptist minister, whilst walking in Cheapside, was appealed to by some one he knew for help. He had but a shilling (a former British coin and monetary unit equal to one twentieth of a pound) in the world, and poised it in his mind, to give or not to give? The greater distress of his acquaintance prevailed, and he gave his all, walking away with a sweet remembrance of the promise, "He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord, and that which he hath given, will he pay him again." He had not gone a hundred yards further before he met a gentleman who said, "Ah, Mr. Jones, I am glad to see you. I have had this sovereign (a former British gold coin worth one pound sterling) in my waistcoat pocket this week past for some poor minister, and you may as well have it." Mr. Jones was wont to add, when telling the story, "If I had not stopped to give relief I should have missed the gentleman and the sovereign too." (Feathers for Arrows)
I recollect when I was able to journey through the country preaching, I, for several years, stayed occasionally with a fine old English farmer. He used to have a piece of beef upon the table; I do not know how many pounds it weighed, but it was enormous, and I said to him one day, "Why is it that whenever I come here you have such immense joints? Do you think that I can eat like a giant? If so, it is a great mistake. Look at that joint, there," I said, "if I were to take it home, it might last me a month." "Well," he said, "if I could get a bigger bit I would, for I am so glad to see you; and if you could eat it all, you should be heartily welcome. I want everybody who comes here today to feel that I will do my very best for you." He did not measure my necessities to the half ounce, but he provided on a lavish scale. I quote this homely instance of giving heartily, to show you how, on a divine scale, the Lord makes ready for His guests. (Barbed Arrows from the Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon)
There is a way of turning a penny into stone or into gold, according to the way in which you give it to a poor man. You can fling it at him as if he were a dog, and he will be about as grateful to you as a dog, or not so much. But there is a way in which you can say, "I am sorry for your needs; this is all I can afford you now. Take it and do what you can with it." Given with a brotherly look, it will be gratefully received, and made the most of. There is much in the manner, as well as in the matter of the gift. The mannerism of Christ is grandly gracious: He saves us rejoicingly. (Barbed Arrows from the Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon)
When Calvin was banished from ungrateful Geneva, he said, "Most assuredly if I had merely served man, this would have been a poor recompense; but it is my happiness that I have served Him who never fails to reward His servants to the full extent of His promise."
Charles H. Spurgeon once made a trip to Bristol, England, to preach in the three largest Baptist chapels there. He hoped to collect three hundred pounds which were needed immediately for his orphanage. He got the money.
Retiring to bed on the last night of his visit, Spurgeon heard a voice, which to him was the voice of the Lord, saying, "Give those three hundred pounds to George Muller." "But, Lord, I need it for my dear children in London." Again came the words, "Give those three hundred pounds to Mr. Muller." It was only when he had said, "Yes, Lord, I will," that sleep came to him.
The following morning he made his way to Muller's orphanage, and found Mr. Muller on his knees before his open Bible, praying. The famous preacher placed a hand on his shoulder and said, "George, God has told me to give you these three hundred pounds." "Oh," said George Muller, "dear Spurgeon, I have been asking the Lord for that very sum." Then those two prayerful men rejoiced together.
Spurgeon returned to London, and on his desk he found a letter awaiting him. He opened it and found it contained three hundred guineas. "There," he cried with joy, "the Lord has returned my three hundred pounds with three hundred shillings interest."
Kent Hughes has an interesting perspective on the subject of "rewards" writing that
DELAYED RETURNS IN A FUTURE DAY - Have you ever gone out of your way to do something for someone and had it go unnoticed? Almost killed you, didn't it? Perhaps I'd better not speak for you, but I've had the problem. At times I've wondered if doing good to others is worth the effort, especially when I don't receive a thank you in return. And yet, serving without looking for reward is what walking with God is all about. As Christians, we should not display a "cash and carry" attitude that expects immediate appreciation for the good we do. God wants us to remember that someday He Himself will richly reward us.
A newspaper article reminded me of the kind of "delayed returns" we should be living for. A car dealer went out of his way to give a foreign student an honest deal on a new automobile. Fifteen years later, the young man became the sole purchasing agent for the Iranian Contractors Association. He showed his gratitude to the car dealer by placing a multimillion-dollar order with that dealer for 750 heavy dump trucks and 350 pickups. "It's unbelievable!" exclaimed the businessman. The good he had done was rewarded years later beyond his wildest imagination.
Just as that salesman's reward came later, so too God will commend us in Heaven. If we do good to others for the immediate thanks we receive, we already have our reward. But if we do it for God, the future return will be as sure and generous as He is. —M. R. De Haan II (Ibid)
WHO GETS THE CREDIT? - Grand Rapids woman was excited to have a visit from an old college roommate who lived in another part of the country. As she listened to her friend's story, though, she was touched by the problems her guest faced as a single mom struggling to keep things together.
The hostess decided to do something to help. She got on the phone to her friend's home church and told them of her concern. The people in that town 2,000 miles away immediately went to work. They cleaned the woman's house inside and out. They stocked the shelves and filled the refrigerator
with prepared meals.
When the woman got home, she was stunned by what had happened. And not knowing who had taken care of her and why, all she could do was give the glory to God.
That's a great model of how our work for the Lord should be done -- not for us to receive honor and praise but to let God receive the glory. In Matthew 6, Jesus gave guidelines for doing "charitable deeds." They are to be done without fanfare, without calling attention to ourselves.
It's not easy to turn away from the applause after doing something for others. Yet if we want to do God's work His way, we will. Then we'll be sure
who gets the credit. -- J. David Branon
Let others have the honors,