We had a lovely gathering with some quiche, warm apple pie, and fruit, vegetable and cheese platter. After we ate, we studied Matthew 6:1-18.
First of all, we did an etymological study of the word hypocrite. Merriam-Webster had a very nice overview. Another thing we noted was that several commentators mentioned that the righteous deeds in Matthew Chapter 6 are simply examples of how to do God’s work. “Charitable deeds” from verse 1, prayer from verse 5, fasting from verse 16, are just three of the ways righteous deeds should be done for the Lord alone and not for the attention of men. Though this seems in contrast to Matthew 5:13-16, it is not a contradiction. He is calling us to serve Him in this world. That will enable us to let His light shine through us.
We took note of “vain repetitions” in Matthew 6:7. In light of the prayer Jesus modeled for us, we reasoned that He wants us to talk to Him like we would talk to anyone else, with the exception of acknowledging who He is–our Father in heaven. We would not repeat the same thing over and over in a conversation. God is just asking us to have a conversation with Him.
We briefly talked about the structure of the Lord’s Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
Matthew 6:9 — Emphasis on “our” in verse 9. This a very personal, possessive pronoun. His is a caring, loving Father to us, and He is OURS. (Of course, since this is still the Sermon on the Mount, it has been established that “you” refers to those who are followers, fitting the description of Matthew 5:3-10)
God’s name is special. Acknowledging that throughout our day is important to Him. It is so important that in Exodus 20:7, He made it the third of the Ten Commandments.
Matthew 6:10 — Acknowledging that we desire His kingdom to come and that His will would be accomplished here on earth just like it is in heaven helps us to align ourselves with His agenda. It reminds us that we are here serving Him in His kingdom. Someone asked what “Your kingdom come” means. It refers to “a desire to see the Lord completely reign on earth.” (Pastor Bill)
Matthew 6:11 — He wants us to ask Him to meet our material and physical needs. God wants to provide for us, and He wants us to understand that He will take care of us.
Matthew 6:12 — Forgiveness is something He freely gives us (1 John 1:9), but He requires that we forgive those who have wronged us. Jesus further elaborates in Matthew 6:14-15, emphasizing the urgent need we have to forgive others. This command to forgive is repeated in the epistles, as well.
Matthew 6:13 — We need to ask Him to help us overcome temptations, to help us through trials, and to keep us safe from the evil one. Ephesians 6:10-18 provides more insight into our need for this prayer.
We had a sweet time of prayer and reflection before we said goodnight for the evening.