Matthew Chapter 6 Sermon on the Mount: Alms, prayer, fasting, money, worry


Most believers want to serve God, but only in a advisory capacity. Jesus addresses this and other problems in Matthew chapter 6. Chapter 6 emphasizes spiritual service and instructs about giving, prayer, fasting (the time set aside for intense spiritual thought and prayer), money, and worry. All of these are activities that we regularly must consider. Our motivation and attitude become fundamental tests for us. How and why we give; what kind of a prayer life do we have; do we ever take serious time to think and prayer; where does money fit into our lives and does it rule us; and then of course, worry is the little gremlin that chases all of us. Jesus knew that his disciples would face these same attitude and motivation tests, and so he instructed them in the biblical viewpoint.

The key verse of Matthew 6 is Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

  1. Chapter 6 teaches about the practice of righteousness and spiritual service (1) and this refers to the application of Bible doctrine in life, and especially in the areas of giving (2-4), prayer (5-15), fasting (16-18), details of life (19-24), and worry about needs for living (25-34). Is our service self-righteous service and focused on ourselves and praise for ourselves, or is our service to please God instead of men? Self righteous and self focused service is not divine service.
  2. Outline of Matthew 5 Characteristics of The practice of kingdom of heaven life
    • Spiritual production of divine good: motivation, service, and reward, 1
    • Giving, 2-4.
    • Prayer, 5-15.
    • Fasting, 16-18.
    • Money, 19-24.
    • Worry, 25-34.

Matthew 6:1, The principle for the practice of righteousness in life: motivation, spiritual service, and rewards.

  1. Motivation for spiritual service or divine good service: Jesus warns his disciples.
    • Beware (Prosecw  Pres active imperative). This immediately alerts us that that is a right way and a wrong way. The motivation often makes the difference.
      • That you do not attempt to serve God live like the Pharisees try to serve him.  The word means to have something and comes to mean to hold the mind or ear to something. As a shipping term, it means to keep the ship on course, and therefore means to pay close attention.
    • This tells us that believers and especially those in public service have to be on guard against the temptation to show off our spiritual abilities, accomplishments, and production.
    • The disciples were to face many temptations and the Pharisees were the illustration of how not to live.
      • One temptation would be pride.
      • Another would be the desire for praise and honor.
    • The desire for praise and honor resides in all of us. When we live for the Lord, we are not to do so to bring attention to ourselves, but instead to the Lord. God causes many beautiful flowers to bloom where no one every sees them. They are under his eye; he sees them; he blesses them for the beauty of earth and for the unseen life of birds and animals. We are often blessed and used in the same way.
  2. Spiritual service is practicing righteousness day to day. It is doing the activities of life so that God is served and receives honor. So we can see some principles for spiritual or divine good service.
    • “Practicing righteous,” Critical text reads righteousness, δικαιοσύνη; “do your charitable deeds,” Majority text reads ἐλεημοσύνη, exercise of benevolent goodwill, alms, charitable giving 1. w. focus on attitude and action as such 2. that which is benevolently given to meet a need, alms w. focus on material as such. (BAGD3). With the critical text if forms a heading. With Maj T it is part of the first area. Sense would favor the critical text.
    • Spiritual service, or religious service if you prefer, that is done with a motive for public notice and credit does not count before God or heavenly father; he will not reward you for that kind of service.
    • Conversely, God the father will only reward service done to please him and serve him.
  3. Reward  for service: notice the warning. God the Father will not reward those who parade their service before people so they will gain notice and praise. We learn some things about our life from this verse.
    • God the Father rewards believers for right service.
    • That reward comes when we are in heaven.
    • He with holds reward from those who serve in order to impress people. The service done under that motive is lost on God. He is not impressed.
  4. Other Scripture that speaks to spiritual service and rewards are Colossians 3:17 and 24-25; 1:9-10; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 also speak to this point for church age believes.
  5. Doctrines related to this Matthew 6:1
    1. Doctrine of Good Works
    2. Doctrine of Motivation
    3. Doctrine of Rewards

Matthew 6:2-4, Giving

  1. Spiritual service (giving money), Motivation (why one gives), and rewards (the return on the spiritual investment) in reference to giving alms (2-4).
  2. The spiritual service: giving alms is from the words poih~ (pres act subj, 2 sing, doing) and elehmosunhn (fem accus sing, mercy, pity, alms).
    • a.    This means giving to the poor in this context. Whenever you do it, there is a wrong way and a right way. As we have seen there is a human good works way and a divine good works way. There were no local churches at that time. This giving seems to be individual giving at the temple.
    • b.    The poor are those in such circumstances that they need some outside help.
  3. The wrong motivation and the wrong execution of one’s giving is to give with publicity and fanfare so that people will honor you and congratulate you. The motive here is to please self.
  4. The reward for human good works is the immediate personal approval by people. This is the only reward for human good works and it is very short lived. Jesus warns the disciples against that kind of reward.
  5. Verse 3, the right way to give aid. The phrase right hand, left hand is a figure of speech that means that they are not to do what they do publicly and for personal honor by others.”
    • There is not much hard evidence for literally blowing a trumpet before giving, though it could have been in association with the trumpet sounds during a festival. Vincent writes that it may refer to the 13 trumpet shaped chests in the temple treasury.
    • AT Robertson records in his Word Pictures that he talked with a missionary during a Winona Lake conference. The missionary said that he had personally seen Hindu priest blow horns to call crowds together to see the Hindu priests give money.
    • So it means to give without public notice; to give without calling attention to yourself.
  6. Verse 4, God the Father knows why we give, when we give, and what we give. He is the one who will reward genuine giving.
  7. Doctrine of biblical giving.

Matthew 6:5-8, prayer

  1. Spiritual service, motivation, and rewards in reference to prayer. Spiritual service (prayer), Motivation (why one prays), and rewards (the return on the spiritual investment of prayer).
  2. Matthew 6:5-15 outline and introductory comments on this passage.
    • Warning about bad motivation for prayer, 6:5. Why do we pray? Why do we pray at the time we pray? Why do we pray where we pray?
    • Instructions about private prayer between you and your heavenly Father, Matthew 6:6. He is our heavenly Father.  Interesting that Jesus teaches them to address him as such. John 13-17 uses Father 50 times.
    • Warning about what you say in prayer—it should have genuine meaning and purpose, Matthew 6:7-8.
    • Jesus gives his disciples a model prayer specific for their ministry. Matthew 6:9 is a prayer for due honor to the Father (first request). Matthew 6:10 is a prayer that the Messianic kingdom will come soon (second requests). Matthew 6:11-13 is prayer for the disciples themselves as they proclaim the Messianic kingdom (third requests).
      • This prayer has six different requests: the first three are that the kingdom will come, and the second three are about the disciples as they proclaim the coming kingdom.
      • Read through used of kingdom in Matthew and review doctrine of kingdom of heaven.
    • Clarification about forgiveness among people. This is not judicial forgiveness granted upon faith in Christ as savior, as in Acts 10:43. This is day to day forgiveness of others, without which they sin themselves and remain forgiven, Matthew 6:14-15.
  3. Other things to note from this passage.
    • Note the use of the word “Father.” This emphasizes his responsible care for his own.
      • Read through uses of father in Matthew and comment on relationship to this prayer and to believers today.
    • Note the commands, either imperative or subjunctive: “Do not be as the hypocrites (Matthew 6:5),…go into your inner room (Matthew 6:6),…pray (Matthew 6:6),…do not use meaningless repetition (Matthew 6:7),…do not be like them (Matthew 6:8),…pray, then, in this way (Matthew 6:9).”
    • Jesus did not give this prayer to be repeated. It was a model for the disciples to think about. To repeat this prayer as a ritual is doing just what Jesus said not to do in this passage (Matthew 6:7).
    • Warren Wiersbe has said that this prayer indicates what is of interest to God, not necessarily to man: God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. Robert Law has said, “Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done in earth.”
  4. Matthew 6:5.  “Do not be as the hypocrites” (future middle indicative, imperatival future).
  5. Matthew 6:6.
    • “Go into your inner room” (aorist active imperative of command stressing a summary command). What is the inner room?
      • Tameion warehouse, storehouse, closet, private room, where one cannot be seen. For concentrated prayer do not do as the Pharisees. Do not show off. All prayer does not have to be in private, e.g. Acts Acts 16:13; Jesus’ prayer in John 17. It is a matter of perspective and emphasis.
    • “Pray to your Father” (aorist middle imperative of command stressing a summary command). He is the father of all believers. Recall the doctrine of God the Father.
      • Pray to our Father (John 15:16; Ephesians 3:14; 6:20).
      • Pray in the name of the Son (John 16:23-27; Ephesians 5:20).
      • Pray under the direction of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).
  6. Matthew 6:7.
    • “Do not use meaningless repetition” (aorist active subjunctive with the negative and used to indicate and prohibition).
      • Religious phrases repeated over and over again.
      • Worshippers of idols, Muslims, and even Roman Catholics fall into this.
      • The Pagans thought that by endless repetitions and many words they would inform their gods as to their needs and weary them (‘fatigare deos’) into granting their requests” (Bruce)
      • Practically for us, this means that we should not use standardized prayers without thinking about the meaning.
  7. Matthew 6:8.
    • “Therefore do not be like them” (aorist passive subjunctive with the negative and used to indicate prohibition).
      • Do not be like the Pharisees and Scribes.
      • Do not pray like the Pharisees and Scribes.
      • The pray to show off. Some of the reasons that we should pray are for the purpose of honoring our heavenly father, to intercede for other believers, to gain insight into our Father’s will, and to better serve him.

Matthew 6:9-15, The Disciples’ Prayer. See the previous lessons for the introduction, setting, and purpose for this prayer.

Introduction to Jesus’ lesson in Matthew 6:9-15

Jesus gives his disciples a model prayer specific for their ministry. There are three sections or parts to this prayer.

  1. Matthew 6:9 is a prayer for due honor to the Father (first request).
  2. Matthew 6:10 is a prayer that the Messianic kingdom will come soon (second requests).
  3. Matthew 6:11-13 is prayer for the disciples themselves as they proclaim the Messianic kingdom (third requests).

Matthew 6:9, Honor the Father

  1. A quick glance at Matthew 6:9
    • God is the heavenly Father of Jesus’ disciples and of every believer.
    • God the Father’s seat of glory, authority, and power is in the third heaven.
    • God the Father always possesses the highest glory, authority, and power. He deserves the highest honor and praise from man and angels. He will in the future demonstrate to all creation his right to receive all glory, honor, and praise.
    • Do we understand the character of our heavenly Father—what he is really like?
    • Do we pray to our heavenly Father?
    • Do we honor our heavenly Father by what we think and what we say and what we do.
  2. Matthew 6:9 begins the prayer with honor to God our Father. Then verse 10 begins the prayer with the request that the Messianic kingdom, which the disciples will be proclaiming, will soon come. Verse 11 begins requests for the disciples’ ministry.
    • “Pray, then in this way” (present middle imperative stressing an ongoing process).
      • This is a model or pattern prayer to keep their minds focused during their ministry of preaching the kingdom of heaven.
    •  “Our Father who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9) teaches them to address God the Father in prayer. We church age believers are to address the Father (John 14:13-14; 16:23-27; Ephesians 5:20).
    • God our Father.
      • God is our heavenly father. Though he is invisible and absolute holiness (John 1:18; 1 Timothy 1:17), our Father he thinks and acts in certain ways toward those who accept his son. He also is the pattern for earthly fathers to think and act. Note that he does not instruct to say “our God.” Jesus wants his disciples to think of God as their Father.
        • Central passages in Matthew that form part of the Doctrine of God our Father, Paterology, include Matthew 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 4, 8, 9, 14, 15, 18, 26, 32; 7:11, 21; 10:20; 29, 32, 33; 11:27; 12:50; 13:43; 16:17, 27; 18:10, 14, 19, 35; 20:23; 21:31; 23:9; 24:36; 25:34; 26:39, 42, 53; 28:19.
        • Central passages in the other gospels that form the doctrine of God our Father include Luke 6:36; Mark 13:32; 14:36; John 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
        • Central passages outside the gospels that form the doctrine of God our Father Acts 2:32; Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 15:24; Galatians 1:1-4; 4:6;  Ephesians 1:1-3, 17; 2:18; 3:14; 4:6; 5:20; Colossians 1:12; 1 Peter 1:1-3; 1 John 3:1; 4:14; Jude 1; Revelation 1:6.
        • There are many other verses in this study.
      • A brief summary of God the Father.
        • The Father has planned the course of world history (Acts 1.6-8; 17.24-27).
        •  He has planned wonderful blessing for believers (Ephesians 1.3-11; 3.10; Romans 8.28-30; Romans 16.20).
        • He is our spiritual father and each of us is his spiritual child. Sons should be like their fathers; sons depend upon their fathers (1 John 3.1-2; Galatians 4.6).
        • Our Father takes personal responsibility for us and our lives. Our spiritual lives depend upon him, not upon ourselves (Romans 8.28, 31-32, 38-39).
        • Our Father cares for us and comforts us. He cares for us more than we care for our loved ones. He comforts us in suffering and from this we learn how to comfort others (1 Peter 5.7; 2 Corinthians 1.3-4; Luke 15.11-32; Philippians 4.19).
        • Our Father is a pattern for human fathers. We learn how a father treats his children by how he treats believers—his spiritual children (Ephesians 5.1; Luke 15.11-32).
      • Some specific works of God the Father for believers include
        • He foreknew who would believe in Christ (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:1, 2) and chose them for blessing and privilege (Ephesians 1:4).
        • He predestined all believers to become conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:11).
        • He blesses believers with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).
        • Those who believe in Christ, the Father gives to His Son (John 10:29).
        • He called, justified, and glorified the believer (Romans 8:30).
        • He loves and comforts the believer through grace (II Thessalonians 2:16).
        • He sanctifies the believer (Jude 1).
        • He reveals truth to the believer (Matthew 16:17; Ephesians 1:17),
        • He supplies the believer’s needs (Matthew 6:32, 33; Philippians 4:19).
        • He seeks the worship of the believer (John 4:23).
        • He disciplines the believer (Hebrews 12:5-10).
        • In the future He will gather all believers in Christ (Ephesians 1:10).
        • He rewards the believer (Hebrews 11:6).
    • “in heaven.” This refers to the third heaven, God’s home and seat of his authority. For a fuller treatment of heaven, see the Doctrine of Heaven notes.
      • In heaven,” heaven is a distinct place and our Father lives there. Paul calls this “the third heaven” and “Paradise” in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. Do not confuse this biblical terminology with cultic terminology for various heavens (e.g. Mormonism). Though God is omnipresent he has a throne or place in which he localizes his glory, authority, and power.
      • The word is “heaven” used 222 times, many of which refer to the kingdom of heaven, some to the atmospheric heavens, some to interstellar space, and some to the highest heaven—Paradise—also called the third heaven by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:2. All are names for God’s seat of authority and rule.
      • There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible. The third is specified. We assume the first and second by reasoning; if there is a third, there must be a first and second.
        • The atmospheric heaven is apparently what some call the first heaven. This is the sky above us, and the residence of birds (I Kings 21:24; Hosea 2:18), clouds (Daniel 7:13), rain (Acts 14:17), snow (Isaiah. 55:10), dew (Daniel 4:23), frost (Job 38:29), wind (Psalm 135:7), thunder (1 Samuel 2:10), and hail (Job 38:22).
        • Stellar space (Genesis 1:14-18; Nahum 3:16) is apparently that which Moses called the firmament (Genesis 1:8) and the home for angelic beings. Some call this the second heaven.
        • Paradise is God’s seat of authority and rule and the future home of believers. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:2, also called it the third heaven. It is mentioned many times in the New Testament. Examples include Matthew 6:10, Mark 11:30, John 3:13, John 14:1-3, Acts 1:11, Acts 7:55-56, 2 Corinthians 12:2, Ephesians 4:10, Hebrews 12:23, and Revelation 4:1.
      • The bottom line about heaven for believers:
        • Heaven is our future home. Be glad about that. We can anticipate great things in the near future and these will last forever.
        • Who gets to live in heaven forever? Only those who have trusted God’s Son, the Messiah and our Savior, for eternal life are qualified to live in heaven (John 3:16-18; John 14:1-6; John 20:31).
    • “Hallowed be thy name.”
      • The Greek verb hagiazw in the aorist passive imperative, third singular. The aorist imperative stresses a summary command, but when spoken to a superior it expresses a serious request. The word means to make holy, to sanctify, to consecrate. Also see Luke 11:2.
      • The word “name” does, of course, recognize that special name, but more than that it refers to the Father himself as a person.
      • Jesus teaches his disciples two things when they are to pray “hallowed be thy name.
        • They pray that God will vindicate his holiness. This picks up the thought of Ezekiel 36:16-38. Israel profaned God’s name by their disobedience to the Law. The nations mocked God because of Israel (Ezekiel 36:20). There will come a time, the Lord says to Ezekiel, when God will change all of this “and I will vindicate the holiness my great name” (Ezekiel 36:23). See also Isaiah 29:23.
        • This phrase also teaches them to fully recognize the sanctity of God the Father. The disciples were taught to honor God the Father by ascribing holiness to him.
      • This prayer also reminds us that God is unique. His character or attributes characterize him and describe him to us. The attributes of God include his sovereignty, holiness, justice, love, eternality, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, immutability, and veracity.
      • We believers who live in the church ought also to pray that our heavenly Father—name and person—will be shown to be true and righteous in the world.
      • Scripture is full of comments that believers are to demonstrate God’s glory and to glorify him (Matthew 5:16; Romans 15:6, 9; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Peter 2:12; 4:16; and others).
  3. Here are some reminders for our prayer life (John 15:7; Ephesians 5:20; 6:18; 1 John 5:14-15).
    • Each believer is a child of the heavenly father and may confidently pray.
    • Pray to the Father.
    • Pray in the name of the Son.
    • Pray while walking by the Holy Spirit.
    • Pray for others and self.
  4. We can summarize Matthew 3:9 in the following way.
    • God is the heavenly Father of the Jesus’ disciples and of every believer.
    • God the Father’s seat of glory, authority, and power is in the third heaven.
    • God the Father always possesses the highest glory, authority, and power. He deserves the highest honor and praise from man and angels. He will in the future demonstrate to all creation his right to receive all glory, honor, and praise.
    • Do we understand the character of our heavenly Father—what he is really like?
    • Do we pray to our heavenly Father?
    • Do we honor our heavenly Father by what we think and what we say and what we do?

Matthew 6:10, The Father’s Kingdom, Thy kingdom come. Jesus now turns to the kingdom.

  1. A quick glance at Matthew 6:10
    • The disciples were to pray that the kingdom promised through the prophets would finally come into existence on earth. Therefore, pray for faith acceptance of the Messiah, which must happen before Messiah takes his throne.
    • They were also to pray that God’s will be done, not only in heaven but on earth as well. This requires God’s king to rule on earth, and then biblical thinking and lifestyle become the normal thinking and lifestyle. Therefore, pray for faith acceptance of the teachings of God’s word.
  2. “Thy kingdom come” refers, of course, to the kingdom that Jesus was preaching and the prophets had predicted and the disciples were soon to proclaim. This was the Jewish golden age messianic kingdom that they anticipated. Also see 2 Samuel 7:12-17; 1 Kings 9:5; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; Isaiah 9:7; Mark 15:43 and Luke 11:2.
    • “Come” is 3rd singular, aorist active imperative. The aorist imperative stresses a summary command, but when spoken to a superior is expresses a serious request. They are to pray that it will soon come to them. It will only come if and when the Israeli nation accepts Jesus their Messiah. He is the king, the priest, the savior. Without him there is no kingdom.
    • Truly, this was a prayer that the Jews would receive their message about the Messiah and would respond with repentance (Matthew 3:2, John the Baptist; Matthew 4:17, Jesus) and faith because of  the OT commands and promises about God’s blessing or cursing on Israel (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 11:20). Repentance in context meant that they would change their thinking about God’s word, the OT, and pattern their earthy lives around that. This was required for national blessing. Faith, of course, means to believe in Messiah as redeemer.
    • John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17 and 4:23) placed the OT kingdom as the central theme of their message. Acts 1:6-11 shows us that at the time of Christ’s ascension, the disciples expected him to restore Israel’s kingdom on earth. Matthew 6:10 precedes the Acts context by 3 years, but it does indicate how the kingdom was understood by the disciples.
  3. What must be true of a kingdom? 1. a kingdom must have an authority vested in one who rules; 2. it must have a realm or people who make up the kingdom; and 3. someone must exercise rule. Compare Isaiah 9:6-7 and  Isaiah 11, two Scriptures that illustrate these points.
    • Authority vested in one who can rule and that one is Jesus. The king has the right to rule. Luke 19:11-27 demonstrates this. In history Archelaus, the son of Herod, went to Rome so that Augustus could confer upon him the rulership of Judea. Jesus is the rightful king of this kingdom.
    • There must be people to make up the domain over whom the king will rule. Matthew 21:43 and Acts 1:6 demonstrate that people make up the kingdom. Israel will in the future promised people of the kingdom.
    • Not only is there authority vested in a king and a people to be ruled, but there must be the exercise of power. Daniel 6:1-3 illustrate this. Daniel as his subordinates exercised rule. In the kingdom Jesus is teaching about, he will exercise rule.
  4. Jesus was teaching about the kingdom for Israel. It will be temporal and geographical on earth. It is a Jewish kingdom that was promised in the Old Testament. Jesus will be the king. Jerusalem will be the capital. The first phase will last 1000 years.
    • This kingdom is a part the eternal kingdom of God. The eternal kingdom is universal and timeless. It often governs through representatives. Of that eternal or universal kingdom there is the believing group and the unbelieving group. We in the church are not part of that prophesied OT kingdom, but church age believers are the believing part of God’s larger universal kingdom during this church economy or dispensation.
    • The disciples were taught to pray that this Israeli kingdom will soon come.
    • We also pray that it will soon come. But it will be the Jewish kingdom promised in the Old Testament.
  5. How do we as church age believers relate to this prayer?
    • Jesus was teaching about the kingdom for Israel. It will be temporal and geographical on earth. It is a Jewish kingdom that was promised in the Old Testament. Jesus will be the king. Jerusalem will be the capital. The first phase will last 1000 years in length. We can pray that Israel will turn to the Word of God and accept Jesus as the Messiah-Redeemer. Paul, in Romans 11, wrote that a remnant of Israel will be saved before the kingdom will come on earth. We pray for the salvation of Jewish people.
    • Before the Messianic kingdom comes, Daniel’s 70th week for Israel must come and wrath will be associated with that week of 7 years. Near the end of the 70th week the gospel of the Kingdom will have been preached throughout the world. Gentiles and many Jews will believe on the Messiah and be saved (Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 24:14 and 31).
    • We in the church are not part of that prophesied OT kingdom, but church age believers are the believing part of God’s larger universal kingdom during this church economy or dispensation. Furthermore, the church has no part of Daniel’s 70th week. The church will be in heaven. But, we can now pray for Israel’s salvation and that the kingdom will come.
    • In summary, Jesus taught his disciples to pray that the prophesied kingdom will soon come. We also pray that it will soon come. But it will be the Jewish kingdom promised in the Old Testament.
  6. Besides praying for the kingdom promised in the Old Testament and offered by Jesus to the Jewish nation, how do we now relate to God’s kingdom? We are in God’s eternal kingdom.
    • Romans 14:17 says it is about “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
    • 1 Corinthians 4:20 says it “does not consist in words, but in power.”
    • 1 Thessalonians 2:12 says “so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
    • Colossians 1:13 says “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
  7. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” can only happen with God ruling his kingdom on earth in the person of Christ. This is another prayer for the rule of Christ on earth. Jesus will execute the Father’s plan for earth and mankind. This will take place during the kingdom period predicted in the OT. The NT identifies the first part of this as the 1000 year reign of Christ in Revelation 20.
    • “Be done” is the 3rd singular aorist passive imperative of erchomai. The aorist imperative stresses a summary command, but when spoken to a superior ii expresses a serious request. Satan ruled when Jesus was on earth and he rules now during the church. The request can only be partially fulfilled during the time before the Messianic kingdom.
    • Earth is now the location for mankind’s present part in the great spiritual battle that we may call “the angelic conflict.” “In heaven” refers to the paradise or the third heaven of 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, where God lives; it is his seat of authority. Refer to the study of Matthew 6:9 and the doctrine of heaven for a discussion of heaven.
  8. What about the nature of this coming kingdom where God’s will is done? I refer you to the more detailed doctrine of the Millennial Kingdom.
    • Israel is in the land, Ezekiel 46-48.
    • The Lord’s prince (Messiah) is ruling, Ezekiel 34.
    • The New Covenant is operational (Ezekiel 36 and others).
    • Israel will worship with a sanctuary, priesthood, feasts, and sacrifices and offerings.
    • Nations of the world will recognize Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple (Zechariah 14, Ezekiel 27:38, and Ezekiel 36:36).
    • The Church and Old Testament believers in resurrection bodies will participate in the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:4).
  9. Quote from Things to Come, J. Dwight Pentecost, page 494. “By the establishment of the theocracy on earth for a thousand years, under the Messianic theocratic king, God has accomplished His purpose of demonstrating His rule in the sphere in which that authority was first challenged. By merging this earthly theocracy with the eternal kingdom God’s eternal sovereignty is established. Such was the purpose of God in planning the theocratic kingdom and developing it through successive stages throughout history until it reaches the climax of the program in the theocracy under the enthroned Christ in the millennium. That authority, which Satan first challenged, Christ has now demonstrated belongs solely to God. God’s right to rule is eternally vindicated.”
  10. Satan, demons, unbelievers, and even believers operating under their sinful natures hinder God’s will being done on earth—not just now, but even when Jesus was present on earth 2000 years ago.
    • Satan was ruling during Jesus time on earth (Matthew 4:5-11; Luke 4:3-13; 8:12; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
    • Satan is ruling now during the church age (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8).
    • Satan will be imprisoned (jailed) at the second coming of Christ to earth (Revelation 20:1-3), and he will be released at the end of the Messianic kingdom to lead a rebellion against Christ and his kingdom (Revelation 20:3, 7-9).
    • Satan will be defeated by the Messiah and sent to the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented for every (Revelation 20:10).
    • Unbelievers operate according to the world view of Satan (Ephesians 2:1-3).
  11. At the present time on earth, God’s will is done
    1. When He overrules Satan’s will and man’s will (Matthew 16:22-23, Jesus told Satan to leave Peter alone; Acts 12, Peter released from prison and Herod Agrippa I painfully died);
    2. When the disciples obey him throughout their ministry (Matthew 10 and others).
    3. When the God’s kingdom is extended through evangelism and  Bible teaching (Matthew 28:19-29);
    4. Today, when believers are being equipped and serve and build up the church (Ephesians 4:11-16).
    5. Today, when believers obey him (see the many command Scripture passages, e.g. Galatians 5:1, 16, 25; Ephesians 4:25-5:2; 5:15-6:19; Colossians 3:17-23; and many others).
  12. In summary, this part of the prayer is the request that God’s physical kingdom and God’s will shall be accomplished on planet earth. That will take a lot of changes within people and on the earth.
    • While Psalm 8 charts the position of man in God’s creation, Hebrews 2:8 recognizes that all authority has not yet been returned to God’s ruler, Jesus.
    • 1 Corinthians 15.24-28 also recognizes that the judgment and restoration of creation is yet future. That time will occur at the conclusion of the promised OT kingdom, otherwise known as the millennium kingdom.
  13. Liberalism’s social gospel does nothing to further God’s will. The social gospel of good works rejects Jesus’ saving gospel and replaces it with social action works. These often take the political form of regressive taxes, government welfare programs, disarmament and peace programs, redistribution of wealth from the producers to the consumers. For individual and local communities the emphasis is often on local needs of food, shelter, clothes, jobs, health care—which are good things, if they do not force people to contribute, and if they do not replace the saving gospel and the biblical Christian way of life.
  14. Summary of Matthew 6:10
    • The disciples were taught to pray that the promised OT kingdom would soon come. For this to happen, the Jews would have to accept Jesus as the Messiah and his kingdom as the one promised by the prophets.
      • Church age believers can pray for the same thing—the Jews as a people to trust the Messiah and then the kingdom can come. Pray for Israel.
    • The disciples were also to pray for God’s will to be done on earth. This means that Israel would return to their biblical roots and to their priest nation function and to receive Jesus as the Messiah.
    • Through them, the knowledge of God and obedience to God would spread over the world.
      • God’s will is seldom done on earth at the present time due to rejection of him and his son, the savior.
      • Furthermore, the angelic conflict rages on earth. Satan is the dethroned present day ruler.
    • This prayer is a request for the promised kingdom to finally come into existence on earth.
  15. So What about this verse?
    • God has his plan for the future of human history and Jesus and the Jewish people are the center of that plan. Human history is moving toward a wonderful goal. Knowing this gives us stability and confidence during our lifetime.
    • We can pray that history will unfold in God’s timing and so participate in what God is doing in history.
    • At the present time we, believers in Christ, are a part of God’s larger kingdom and have the privilege to live as his citizens and enjoy his spiritual and material blessings. We can practice God’s will now on earth.
  16. Pray for Israel: that she turn in faith to her Messiah; and that she come into her promised blessings.

Matthew Matthew 6:11-13 is prayer for the disciples themselves as they proclaim the Messianic kingdom (third requests).

According to Warren Wiersbe “We have three essentials for effective praying.

  1. First there is relationship: “Our Father, who art in heaven” (v. 9).
  2. Then there is responsibility: “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done” (vv. 9, 10).
  3. Finally, there are requests: “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (vv. 11–13).” Something Happens When Churches Pray, W. Wiersbe, p.118

Matthew 6:11-15, Daily Bread and Forgiveness

A quick glance at Matthew 6:11-15

  1. The disciples were to pray for day to day food.
  2. They were also to pray for forgiveness, but must forgive others also.
  3. They were to pray that God would keep them from areas of temptation that would be too strong for them and they might fail and sin.

Matthew 6:11-15, The Disciples’ Prayer

  1. This section begins with a request for their daily needs while they travel and proclaim the kingdom message (6:11), and by application as we serve God we can also request God to supply our daily needs.
    • “Give us” is again an aorist active imperative 2nd singular of didomi, which is the normal word meaning “to give.” The aorist imperative stresses a summary command, but when spoken to a superior is expresses a serious request.
    • This “daily bread” Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον, literally is bread for being or bread for our substance for today. This is bread for living and this is a  daily necessity. It refers to food in particular, but also to daily need for clothing and shelter.
      • Epiousion has the meaning of what one needs that day. It is only used in the this prayer, here and Luke 11:3. Jesus taught them to pray each day for the needs of that day.
      • Just as Israel was not able to hord manna, but could only take that for the present day, so we should pray for the daily supply of God’s provision. Daily, daily, daily. Tomorrow can take care of itself.
        • Jesus taught those believers to pray for the daily needs.
        • We are to do the same.
      • Matthew 10:9-14 instructs the disciples to seek their provisions as they travel from city to city.
      • This same principle is illustrated and taught in Matthew 6.25-34. Matthew 6:31-32 in this same context has to do with daily provision. They, of course, would need their food, clothing, and shelter met while on the road proclaiming the kingdom message.
    • What are requests that we can make to God?
  2. We can depend upon God to supply that which we need as we trust him and apply is word.
    • 2 Corinthians 9:8 teaches us that God will provide everything that we need so that we may have plenty to supply Christian service.
    • Philippians 4:19 teaches that when we rightly give to God’s work He will supply all our needs. We cannot out-give God.
    • 1 Peter 5:7 teaches us that God cares for us and so we can really cast our cares upon him.
    • Hebrews 13:5-6 teaches us that we do not need to have a love of money and we should be content with what we have because God will never desert or forsake us. He continually has each of us in mind. After all, Jesus is the good shepherd in John 10 and the chief shepherd in 1 Peter 5. The shepherd cares for the sheep, and we are his sheep.
    • Romans 8 also promises that God works things in our lives for good.
    • What Scripture passages come to mind that are personally helpful to you.
  3. “And forgive us our debts” refers to sins in the day to day life of believing disciples. This refers to God’s forgiveness as they forgive other people. This is day to day in the family forgiveness of others.
    • This is not judicial forgiveness granted upon faith in Christ as savior, as in Acts 10:43. That forgiveness was granted once and for all which was based on the work of Christ (Ephesians 4:32). This forgiveness was most likely for sins committed against others that disrupted the fellowship and service. If the disciple would not forgive another believer, then this attitude blocks God’s family fellowship forgiveness.
    • Jesus gave this statement while under the rule of the Mosaic Law. If the disciples would not forgive others, God will not forgive them. This does not affect the disciples’ eternal salvation.
    • The practical application for the disciples is for good relations in the service of Christ. Forgiveness was a visible part of the disciples’ ministry
      • Because forgiveness reflected what Christ came to offer mankind,
      • And because the Pharisees were so unforgiving.
    • In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus answers Peter’s question about how many times one needs to forgive another. Jesus answered that he (and all believers) must forgive as many times as necessary (seventy times seven).
    • Now under grace in the church, If we do not forgive others, we harbor mental attitude sins. If we do not forgive others, we deny others the grace of God that we want for ourselves. If we do not forgive others, we are just like the Pharisees. And, If we do not forgive others we are rejecting Ephesians 4:31-32.
    • And, of course, if we in the church do not forgive others we are sinning and remaining out of fellowship with God and at the same time cutting off the power of the Holy Spirit and therefore undermining our service (John 15; 1 John 1).
  4. “And do not lead us into temptation” means to keep us from the kinds of test that we will fail. God does not tempt to sin (James 1:13). So it cannot mean God can lead us into temptation to sin. Temptation comes from our sinful natures, from the world system, and from Satan’s system. All tests and temptations must travel through our volition and the sinful nature gets a chance to cause us to sin.
    • James 1:2 and 1 Peter 1:6 use the word peirasmos in the sense of a test to strengthen and bless.
    • Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38 use the word for an area of possible failure.
    • The request is that God our Father will direct the disciples away from areas of likely failure and sin.
  5.  “But deliver us from evil” in context refers to deliverance from specific areas and people who would cause the disciples to fail and to sin.
    • We might say from our areas of weakness and people who cause us problems. The phrase translated evil is tou pornerou. It could refer to Satan himself, but in context seems to be linked to “lead us not into temptation” as explained above.
  6. The doxology recognizes why prayer and why we can be confident in prayer. God the Father is supreme. Prayer to him is prayer to the king, the omnipotent God, the one for whom all creation exist.
    • God has the kingdom.
    • God has the power and authority.
    • God has the glory.
  7. Matthew 6:14-15 further explain the forgiveness sentence.
    • This statement was given under the rule of the Mosaic Law.
    • God will withhold temporal forgiveness from those disciples who insist on not forgiving other believers. This was a matter of day to day life and affects their fellowship and service. This was not a reference to eternal life forgiveness.

Some final applications from the Disciples prayer.

  1. Address our heavenly father in a reverent manner.
  2. Recognize and ascribe to him praise.
  3. Pray that the Father’s plan for Israel—the promised kingdom will soon be realized and with it pray that God’s will shall be done on earth.
  4. Pray for physical sustenance while serving God.
  5. Forgive other believers and seek God’s family forgiveness when needed by confession of personal sins.
  6. Pray for preventative guidance by God the Father so that we shall not be in a condition or place of likely failure, but instead may experience spiritual deliverance from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Matthew 6:16-18, Fasting and kingdom righteousness

A quick glance at Matthew 6:16-18

  1. Fasting to please God was acceptable.
  2. Fasting to please men was not acceptable.
  3. Fasting is worship in the form of humility, concentrated prayer, and seeking to know God’s will.

Matthew 6:16-18, Fasting and kingdom righteousness

  1. The Pharisees love the praise of other people. One way that they called attention to themselves was by public fasting. The Pharisees often fasted twice each week (Luke 18:12).
  2. What is fasting? Fasting is the deliberate and voluntary going without food in order to concentrate on God and prayer to God. It was recognized and practiced through out the OT world and the early part of the church age.
  3. In this passage of Matthew, the Pharisees falsely made themselves look like weary, persecuted, and suffering people in order to call attention to themselves (16). Jesus said that fasting was something that you prepare for by being clean and dressing in a respectable manner so that they would not call attention to themselves and try to gain sympathy and praise (17-18).
  4. Fasting was never forbidden to the church. Paul, in Galatians 4:10, warns the Galatians against substituting ritual days and months and seasons and years in place of the freedom in Christ, but he does not forbid biblical fasting. In fact, fasting is not mentioned in the New Testament outside of the gospels and Acts.
  5. Jesus warned against this public and man-pleasing fasting in Matthew 6:16-18. Paul warns against any attempt to impress and please men in 2 Corinthians 5:9, Galatians 1:10, Ephesians 5:10, Philippians 4:18, Colossians 1:10 and 3:22, and 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
  6. So What? applications from Jesus’ lesson.
    • Fasting to please God was acceptable. It is not emphasized in the church age Scripture, but neither is there a prohibition.
    • If you want to fast, then do it for the right reasons: as a method of worship during which you concentrate on God and prayer to God, and you do this for any number of reasons.
    • Fasting to please men was not acceptable. Therefore if someone fasts, that person is not to call attention to himself and the fact that he is fasting.
    • Fasting is also worship, both in formal worship in a church group setting or informal worship done moment by moment in ones life.
    • See the doctrine of fasting.

Matthew 6:19-24, The Disciples’ Investments and Values

A quick glance at Matthew 6:19-24

  1. Do we make heavenly investments?
  2. What is of most value to me?
  3. Do I have a true perspective of reality so that I can make the best decisions about personal treasures?
  4. Whom do I serve, God or money?


  1. The Challenge: Matthew 6:19-21 teaches us that only heavenly investments are guaranteed investments.
    • Verse 19 is a negative statement or a warning of what not to do.
    • Do not make bad investments with your life. Bad investments are investments that ignore God’s eternal values. Bad investments are short term and guaranteed to fail. The Bible text says “do not treasure up treasures.” The verb is θησαυρίζω, (present active imperative for a command) and the noun is θησαυρός. It is a place for storing valuables. This is like our English word thesaurus, a word treasury.
    • Moth, rust, and thieves are three common destroyers of ancient world material wealth. In the ancient world fabric and coins were standard sources of value. Moths destroy fabric, rust destroys metal, and thieves steal both fabric and coins.
    • Verse 20 gives the positive investment strategy. Invest in guaranteed heavenly investments. Neither moths, rust, nor thieves can get to this investment. It is a sure investment.
    • Verse 21 goes to the core of the issue. Man’s heart will always follow the treasure. In other words, what is of most value to the disciples and to us is where we put our energy, love, thinking, and time. If earthly treasures are of most value to us, then we will spend our energy, love thinking, and time on earthly treasures.
    • Money and the making of money is not bad. The value or emphasis in one’s life is the determining factor.
    • Money is not bad (Proverbs 6:6-8; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 Timothy 4:3-4; 1 Timothy 5:8.
    • The supreme love of money or materialism is bad (1 Timothy 6:10; James 5:2-3)
  2. Getting the right perspective: Matthew 6:22-23 explains how one’s heart and therefore one’s values become good and please God or bad and displease God. The person that values earthly treasures above heavenly treasures is spiritually unhealthy.
    • The eye is the gate or doorway to the inner person. Perspective about life generally begins through the eye. The eye brings images—ideas—into the heart (the center of volition, thinking, conscience, self-consciousness, emotion).
    • The clear eye is the healthy eye. It allows light and clear images to reach the person’s heart, and one can gain a better perspective of reality and therefore make better choices in life. The bad eye is the diseased eye. It prevents clear images from reaching the heart. Instead, bad images and ideas get into the heart. See Proverbs 28:22.
    • In this context, the choices which man’s heart makes are between heavenly treasure and earthly treasure, and between God and money.
    • If the eye, and therefore the person, focuses his main attention on money and earthly treasures as most important, his perspective of reality is skewed, he is living in darkness, and his life will displease God.
  3. The Principle: Matthew 6:24 says that we can have only one master. That master may be God or it may be earthly treasures—money.
    • If we accept God and creator and king, we will gain the correct perspective of reality and make lasting spiritual investments—treasures in heaven.
    • If our loyalties become divided, we will gain a skewed perspective of reality and then make short term and bad investments.
    • God must be the believer’s foundational value. All else builds upon that.
  4. So What?
    • What place does God have in my life? Creator, king, savior or simply someone I go to when I need something?
    • Where does my perspective of reality originate? God’s word or the world’s worldview?
    • Does my biblical perspective of reality actually drive my life?
    • Does my biblical worldview determine what kind of treasure I store up and what kind of spiritual investments I make?

Matthew 6:25-34
Don’t Worry: Pursue your ministry for
God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness

A quick glance at Matthew 6:25-34

  1. The interpretation has Christian service in mind.
  2. The disciples were a little anxious about what lay ahead: anxious, 25, 27, 31, 34; little faith, 30.
  3. Christian service is more important than food and clothing.
  4. God values and provides for all his creation. Yet, he especially values and provides for believers who serve him.
  5. God will take care of his servants. Don’t worry about necessities for life?
  6. Live one day at a time.

1. Matthew 6:25, The challenge

  • Matthew 6:25 introduces Jesus’ message about service, attitude, and what is important. This is spoken in a context of heavenly investments and service to God.
  • Anxious is merimnaw to be anxious, to be unduly concerned, to worry. It is 2nd plural present active imperative. Jesus is giving a general command for them as they go out. It does not imply that they are anxious at the time he spoke.
  • Anxious about what? Life—food, drink, clothes.

2. Matthew 6:26-30, Illustrations of lesser to greater. God greatly values His servants.

  • Birds (26). They do not plant, harvest, nor store like people do. As God takes care of them, so they live.
  • Our lifespan (27). We cannot add one day to our lives by worrying about how long we live.
  • Lilies (28). The flowers do not fret about what they wear or look like. They do not even provide their own clothes. God takes care of them and they are beautiful.
  • King Solomon (29). King Solomon had everything, and more than that. God clothed the lilies better that Solomon clothed himself.
  • Grass (30). Field grass does nothing but grow and quickly dies. God created the grass and provides for its life cycle. He will do much more for his servants. “Little faith.”

3. Matthew 6:31-32, Our Father knows

  • Jesus commands the disciples no to worry about food, drink, and clothes.
  • The construction is me + the aorist subjunctive. It expresses prohibition.
  • Jesus is simply saying “don’t worry about these things because the heavenly Father (32) is omniscient and cares for you.
  • Here again we are taken back to the character of God.

4. Matthew 6.33-34, God’s kingdom

  • Jesus sent the disciples out to preach the kingdom—the prophetic messianic kingdom. To seek God’s kingdom meant for them to do their job so people would accept the Messiah and his kingdom and the kingdom would then come to earth.
  • To seek God’s kingdom means to pursue the will of God for the ministry he has given you.
  • Seek is the verb zhtew zeteo in the present active imperative.
  • To seek, to look for, to try to obtain, to strive for
  • Today, we also can seek God’s kingdom by carrying out our God given ministries so that people will accept the king-prophet-priest-savior and become a part of God’s greater kingdom.
  • Our God given ministries (1 Peter 4:10) require at the least following God’s plan (Ephesians 2:10), spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12), and God’s love in and through us (1 Corinthians 13).
  • We in the church have spiritual gifts, ministries, and results (1 Corinthians 12:4-7), and it helps us to know where we fit in God’s plan.
  • 1 Peter 4:10-11 gives us a good practical application overview of services or ministry. Key words are gift, serving, stewards, grace, utterances, strength, God glorified through Christ.

5. Matthew 6:33-34, God’s righteousness

  • In context for the disciples, God’s righteousness was explained in Matthew 5-7. Righteousness is used 5 times (5:6, 10, 20; 6:1, 33).
  • To seek God’s righteousness means to pursue God’s kind of righteousness as Jesus explained it. This righteousness contrasts with the external religious righteousness of the Pharisees.
  • Church Scripture for practical righteousness are many. Good examples are Eph 4:24; 5:9; 6:14; Philippians 1:11; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; 3:16; Titus 2:12; Hebrews 12:11; 1 Peter 1:13-15; 1 John 2:29; 3:7, 10).
  • Practical righteousness only comes through the proper application of God’s word while living by the Holy Spirit, in fellowship with God, living by faith.

6. Summary of Matthew 6:25-35

  • God is the creator and king over all creation.
  • He values believers who are in his service more than any other creation.
  • God provides for believers in his service.
  • Govern your ministry by these two principles—pursue God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness—will result in God providing “all these things” (33). All these things refer in context to food, drink, and clothing.
  • Live by faith, in the word, by the Spirit, in fellowship one day at a time.

7. Matthew 6.31-33, Questions and Applications

  • Do I know that I have eternal life and that I am therefore in his service?
  • God values me above all his other creation. Right? Does he provide perfectly for his lesser creation? If he does that, will he provide better than that for me? Am I convinced of this?
  • God knows everything. Okay? He knows the end and the beginning and everything in between. He even knows all the possibilities. So, he knows about me and what I need in order to do what he asks of me. Am I convinced of this?
  • Do I know what God wants me to do at this time in my life? Do I know what spiritual gift he gave me? What has God accomplished through me up to today? What is God doing through me right now?
  • Am I pursuing God’s kingdom right now? If I am pursuing his will for me at this time, then I am pursuing or seeking God’s kingdom.
  • Am I pursuing God’s righteousness right now? This is a righteousness in thought and deed. This righteousness is genuine in contrast to the righteousness of the Pharisees. It is produced by the Holy Spirit and not by myself. If I walk in the Spirit, in fellowship, by faith, and in the Word, and …, then I am pursuing God’s righteousness.
  • Will I trust him to keep his promises to me and provide what is necessary for me to serve him?
  • What are my priorities in life and service? The Bible tells me that family, food, shelter, clothing are important. Where does seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness fit in my priorities?
  • Am I anxious and worried about my life? If I serve myself, I will be anxious about day to day things. If I serve God I will trust my heavenly Father for day to day needs and be free to pursue God’s ministry of God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.
  • Given the biblical principles of planning and organization, am I taking one day at a time in my Christian life and service?