Today Adam Tarnow taught from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. In particular, Adam shared from Matthew 6:1-18, where Jesus warns against the hypocrisy of performance, giving alternatives so that we might instead genuinely live in response to God’s love.
- What are some things you did in younger years trying to impress your friends? If “fans are fickle,” why do we care so much about what others think? Is there something you are doing in your life now in an attempt to impress others? Are some of these attempts to impress others even considered good things?
- What does Jesus mean in Matthew 6:1 when He warns that practicing righteousness in order to be seen by others will result in loss of reward? Do you believe this loss of reward is in both the eternal and the present? Adam mentioned a perceived tension between Jesus telling us to let our good deeds be seen (Matthew 5:16) and not seen (Matthew 6:1). Would you agree or disagree that this tension points to the motive behind our deeds? Regarding your own good deeds, ask yourself, “What’s the ‘why’ behind my action?” and share the answer with your group.
- In Matthew 6:2, 6:5, and 6:16, we see examples of hypocrisy Jesus used as they relate to our giving, prayer, and fasting. Can you share an example from your own life of how you might struggle with hypocrisy in these specific areas? Or, if your hypocrisy is more subtle than these examples, will you share that particular need to impress with your group?
- For each one of these three examples of hypocrisy, Jesus also offers alternatives in Matthew 6:3, 6:6, and 6:17. Adam stated that these alternatives remind us that the only “applause that matters is the applause of God.” Do you believe these alternative approaches, which are known fully by our sovereign God, can alter the motive behind your own actions? If so, how exactly would you say your motives are influenced by this passage? What other passages of Scripture related to God’s sovereignty and our deeds can you and your group draw upon?
- Do you truly believe that our loving God, who sees all you do, delights in showing you mercy? If so, where can you turn away from the worldly pressure to perform and impress others, and simply live in response to the grace and love He has shown you? How will you take a step today to “live for an audience of One?”