1.  “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them.  Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2.  “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
3.  “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4.  “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Good and charitable deeds done in our day will be recompensed by God in the future.  In the time of the kingdom, however, good deeds will receive their reward much more quickly and openly than they do in our day or even in the day when Christ was on earth.  Nevertheless, the disciples were to do their charitable deeds in secret, knowing that, although this might not afford them the praise of men, they would receive their reward for it from God in the future.

5.  “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites.  For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Christ was speaking almost directly of the Pharisees and their like.  This was exactly their practice: to pray in the most public place possible, with much fanfare and feigned humility, praying solely for the purpose of impressing the onlookers.  This was not the way Christ wanted His disciples to behave!

6.  “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father Who is in the secret place; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly.

We today should also consider this advice, and should strive to do good in secret with no thought of reward.  We should also keep our prayers quiet and private, a talking with our God, and not some public oration.  Many public prayers that I have heard end up being little more than an oration.  Sometimes, when they follow a sermon, they are merely and extension of what has been said in the sermon, as if the preacher is trying to drive home his point to his audience during the prayer.  I don’t know if this is entirely a bad thing.  After my Sunday school lessons, I will often pray that God will help us apply the lessons I have taught.  In fact, I often use the prayer almost as a way of repeating and reinforcing what I’ve taught in the lesson.  The best communication with God is indeed when we are speaking to Him by ourselves.

7.  “But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.  For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8.  “Therefore do not be like them.  For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

Many today who claim to be “Christians” and to follow Christ’s teachings seem to totally ignore this command.  They do make empty, repetitive prayers.  In fact, the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” given in the very next verses is often one of the prayers they emptily repeat!  I wonder how many who do this actually think about the words they are praying?  How many have ever thought about it?  The Lord is not honored by the empty repeating of words like this!

9.  “In this manner, therefore, pray:

The Lord gives His disciples a pattern prayer. This was not something they were to repeat by rote, but rather something that they were to pattern their prayers after.

Our Father in heaven,

First of all, they were to pray to the Father. Some seem to make a big deal about giving equal time in prayer to the Father, Son, and Spirit. As if one would be jealous of the others if we didn’t give them equal time in prayer. The Lord always addressed His prayers to the Father. I don’t think this is a good thing to spend a lot of time worrying about. Then, they are to acknowledge that the Father is in heaven. God is in an exalted place, higher than us. He has a better perspective on everything than we do!

Hallowed be Your name.

“Hallowed” means the same thing as “made holy” or set apart.  Christ wanted His disciples to desire that the name or reputation of the Father would always be holy and separate from the reputation of any other.  Yet many in our day mix the reputation of the Father with the reputation of a church or organization of men!  The worst part is that these organizations often promote this sort of thinking themselves.  O that the Father’s reputation would be separate from organizations such as these!

10.  Your kingdom come.

The kingdom is God’s government on earth. Someday, God will take over the governments of this world and make them His Own. It is good for all of us if we look forward to that time. I certainly do.

Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

When God’s government comes, this will be a complete reality, for what He wills to happen shall happen on earth, as it does in heaven. Yet even now, we should strive to make His will a reality in our own lives. It is not our job to wait until He forces this to be. We need to pattern our lives as a worthy walk after Him. So again there is an element of speaking to what His disciples should have done in that day, as well as looking forward to the kingdom.  Obviously they will not pray for the kingdom to come once it has come.  Notice that the kingdom is still very much a part of the subject here.

11.  Give us this day our daily bread.

This was a request to meet their daily, physical needs. With Christ taking care of them, the disciples were not to worry about the future.  Thus it was sufficient for them to merely ask for their bread day-by-day.  It would be foolish for us in our day not to take thought for the future, however.

12.  And forgive us our debts,

The debt we owe to God is one we can never repay.

As we forgive our debtors.

This is what I would call a dispensational statement.  This was how God forgave people in the time when Christ was on earth, and this is how He will forgive people in the future kingdom.  In our day, however, this is not at all how He forgives! Ephesians 4:32. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” We are to forgive because we are already forgiven.

13.  And do not lead us into temptation,

Certainly an appropriate prayer for any day and age!

Temptation may not be a good translation here. Tempting someone means testing them and hoping they will fail. When God tests us, He hopes we will succeed.

But deliver us from the evil one.

We need God’s deliverance, for the evil one is much older and more intelligent than we are!

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

Amen, and praise God!

Modern Greek texts erroneously omit this doxology.  Of over FIVE HUNDRED ancient Greek manuscripts, only EIGHT omit this doxology!  Moreover, there are translations of the Bible that are far older than our oldest Greek manuscripts that contain this doxology.  The evidence is all in favor of this passage, and yet the opinions of the so-called scholars are against it!  Much harm has been done to the Scriptures by modern “scholarship” so-called.

14.  “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15.  “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Do not think for a minute that God does not forgive us if we do not forgive others!  This is a law for kingdom times.  The way forgiveness works today in our dispensation of grace is that we are to forgive others the way God has forgiven us.  “And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32).

16.  “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance.  For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
17.  “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18.  “so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Again the hypocrites mentioned here were mainly the religious leaders such as the Pharisees.  They would make a great show out of fasting, and use something that was supposed to be an act of humility before God to increase their own personal glory!  This was not the way the disciples were to fast.

Fasting was a way of religious life for the Israelites.  I see little reason for us to fast today.

19.  “Do no lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20.  “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

When, by serving God, we deny ourselves the good things of this life, we can be assured that we are nevertheless storing up for ourselves treasures.  This is because, as Christ said earlier, God will reward the righteous one day in the future.  The subject of this passage is the kingdom on earth, however, not heaven.  Christ uses heaven here in the same manner as I mentioned before, substituting “heaven” for “God.”  It is with God that they were laying up their treasures, and He it is Who will reward them.  We must not think of some treasure pile up in heaven to which God is literally adding gold and jewels each time we do a good deed.  These treasures may take many forms.  Riches and wealth are certainly not the most important thing even in this life, and they will not be the most important treasure given in God’s kingdom.

Also, do not think that those who do have riches in this life are somehow sinning by having them.  There is nothing wrong with wealth, as long as it is God and not the riches which is a man’s true treasure.  Abraham, for example, was very rich, but he valued his God above all his wealth.

22.  “The lamp of the body is the eye.  If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
23.  “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

These verses are difficult to understand.  We can easily see that if someone is blind, this brings darkness to their whole body.  What spiritual truth Christ is trying to impart by these words…that is a more difficult matter to understand.  Nevertheless we can perhaps get a clue from the “hypocrites” Christ kept speaking against… the unfaithful religious leaders of His day.  These men had the Word of God, and therefore had access to all the light God had given men in that day.  Nevertheless, they had twisted these Scriptures to their own ends, altering them to benefit themselves and interpreting them in ways that God had never intended.  By doing this, they turned this light of God within them into darkness.  This perhaps is what Christ is speaking of here.  No doubt we can think of many examples today of groups or individuals who have turned the light of God’s truth into darkness.  And darkness based falsely on the Word of God is a terrible darkness indeed!

24.  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.

This is very true.  Let us value God and family above all else.  And God above family!  The treasures of this earth, as Christ said in 19-21, will all tarnish eventually.  But the love of God lasts forever!

Christ’s words here were proved true among His disciples indeed.  For we know of one of the disciples who did not take Christ’s warning to heart: the man Judas Ischariot.  He loved money, and he ended up serving money and betraying God.

25.  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

If one tried to follow this advice today, one would find it to be very bad advice indeed.  Christ was calling His disciples to be officers in His kingdom.  As such, they were to concentrate on their God-given duties.  Christ admonishes them not to become distracted by worrying about material needs, for He will care for them as long as they continue to do His work.  This is not a promise which He makes to us today.  A person in our day who takes no thought for his financial future is nothing less than a fool.  Not that that should be the most important thing in our lives, mind you!  That place is and must always be reserved for God.

26.  “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?
27.  “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28.  “So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29.  “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30.  “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more cloth you, O you of little faith?

These men were serving God directly by following Christ.  They didn’t just imagine they were serving Christ by joining some church or missionary organization and serving it.  Rather they left their homes and sometimes their families to serve God in a direct way that no one could possibly serve Him in today.  Thus they were entitled to direct care and compensation by God Himself.  This is a right and a privilege that none of us can claim today.

31.  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

They are not to worry about their basic necessities, like food, drink, and clothing.

32.  “For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

All the people of the nations worry about these things. Yet the heavenly Father is not ignorant of the fact that His disciples do, in fact, need these things, just like everyone else.

33.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Now the Lord gives to them a promise. As long as they are His disciples, they are not to concern themselves with seeking these things. Instead, they are to seek chiefly the kingdom of God. That kingdom was the topic of the Lord’s ministry while He was on earth. It is what He was proclaiming, and it was what He had called these disciples to learn about and grow to understand. As long as they seek this kingdom first of all, He promises them, their needs will be cared for. This was His promise to them as their Master.

34.  “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

They are also not to worry about the future, what they shall do once their discipleship to the Lord is over. When the time comes will be soon enough to worry about that. For now, they are disciples, and that is what they are to focus on. They are to dedicate their energies to learning as much as they can about the kingdom of God, and to helping the Lord in proclaiming it and teaching about it to others. The difficulties they will face in doing this is enough for them to worry about. The Lord will take care of the future when it comes.

Again, this was advice for men serving God directly, and would be most foolish for us to attempt to follow today.  Yet these men were servants of God and the kingdom, and they were to spend all their time and effort in service, knowing that God Himself would care for their material needs.  What a blessed position they had!