• Matt Beaney

#346 - YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN (10/5/21)

Updated: May 10




On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding generosity that’s pleasing to the Father.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)

Throughout this chapter, we see that the truly righteous person relates to God as Father. ‘Father’ (Patér) is used 12 times in chapter 6. Healthy Christians know God as a Father. Knowing God as Father give us a healthy relationship to giving (6:1-4), prayer (6:5-14), fasting (6:16-18), storing ‘treasure’ (6:19-24) and fear (6:25-34).


I love the often overlooked but profound truth that our praying is to address God as “our Father…” What a difference it would make if we simply followed Jesus’ model of addressing God!


Lloyd-Jones wrote,

‘The theme of this section of the Sermon on the Mount is, you remember, the relationship of the Christian to God as his Father. There is nothing more important than this. The great secret of life according to our Lord is to see ourselves and to conceive of ourselves always as children of our heavenly Father. If only we do that we shall be delivered immediately from two of the main temptations (Pride and fear) that attack us all in this life.’

Take a moment to read through Matthew chapter six, paying special attention to how knowing God as Father transforms our outlook.


Spiritual adoption is at the heart of Christianity. God doesn’t just justify us. He doesn’t just give us new life in regeneration. He, in His grace, adopts us into His family. We are to relate to Him as a Father. John wrote,

‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John 3:1)

J.I. Packer wrote in his book, Knowing God,

'What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as a Father.’

RESPONSE

Meditation on truth is vital if we are to know it as we should. Meditation is prayerfully thinking about scriptural truth. In the morning, I like to take a short phrase and silently think about and pray out of it. Why not take 10 minutes to meditate on this wonderful text.

‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.’ (Romans 6:15-16)

A helpful book on biblical generosity is,

The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving ...by Randy Alcorn.




COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - USE MONEY LIKE GOD IS YOUR FATHER

Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Have you had any experience of someone giving you an unexpected gift?


Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding generosity that’s pleasing to the Father.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (Matthew 6:1-2)

Jesus warns us to be "Be careful". Like the religious leaders in Jesus' day, our spiritual lives can become external - for a show.


Throughout this chapter, we see that the truly righteous person relates to God as Father. ‘Father’ (Patér) is used 12 times in chapter 6. Healthy Christians know God as a Father. Knowing God as Father give us a healthy relationship to giving (6:1-4), prayer (6:5-14), fasting (6:16-18), storing ‘treasure’ (6:19-24) and fear (6:25-34).


I love the often overlooked but profound truth that our praying is to address God as “our Father…” What a difference it would make if we simply followed Jesus’ model of addressing God!


Lloyd-Jones wrote,

‘The theme of this section of the Sermon on the Mount is, you remember, the relationship of the Christian to God as his Father. There is nothing more important than this. The great secret of life according to our Lord is to see ourselves and to conceive of ourselves always as children of our heavenly Father. If only we do that we shall be delivered immediately from two of the main temptations (Pride and fear) that attack us all in this life.’

Knowing God as Father transforms the way that we give. Through knowing His love and power, we are released into generosity.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:2-4)

Jesus is teaching us that our giving is to be in love and obedience to the Father. We are to give in response to His love and revealed will. In so doing there is great reward.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?

2. How often do you reflect on God being your Father and how does this affect your life?

3. How does knowing God as Father free us to be generous?

4. Jesus promises that the Father will reward those who give out of genuine love. What do you think these rewards are?

5. Have you learned any lessons about giving that might help others in the group?



Serving, Investing and inviting

1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?

2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?




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