Pastor's Pen
Keeping Our Treasure In Heaven - Matthew 6:19-21
The Pharisees had their priorities backwards in their giving, praying, and fasting. We also see how religious leaders can abuse their power. Scripture warns us to beware of false doctrine and those who pervert God’s Word and make merchandise of us. The news carries stories of corrupt ministers, leaders, and churches who have been guilty of this. Having a lot of money is not a sign of God’s blessings. 2 Peter 2:1-3 is still relevant today: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
 
Matthew 6:19-20: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” This is telling us to not treasure our treasures for ourselves. God is not saying it is wrong to have wealth and things, but that they are not to possess us. Money and things are not the problem. The problem is having wrong priorities for their use. Abraham and Job are examples of wealthy men who honored God.
 
We have a responsibility to work and earn money to provide for our families. It is the love of money that is wrong. 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
 
Two Places to Store Treasures:
• On Earth: In biblical times a lot of clothing consisted of wool, which moths can destroy. Rust destroys and disintegrates, and thieves can break in and steal.  
• In Heaven: Moths, rust, or thieves cannot destroy the treasures we lay up in heaven. Our treasures will be where our heart is focused. When our motives and desires go together, God is honored.
 
Where are we putting our treasures? Our treasures should not be in things. We are to use our lives and treasures to glorify God by serving Him and ministering to others. Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.”
 
“Many millionaires will be heavenly paupers, and many paupers will be heavenly millionaires.” John MacArthur, Jr.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.10/8/2021 2:57:01 PM

Fasting - Matthew 6:16-18
The Pharisees were Jewish spiritual leaders and experts in the law.  They committed large portions of the law to memory and thought that by following the law they were righteous. They believed that being religious made them righteous. They had the wrong motive, wrong method, and wrong message. In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus was teaching His disciples about fasting.
 
The Practice of Fasting: Matthew 6:16: “Moreover when ye fast.” Fasting was commonly practiced in both the Old and New Testaments (not “if,” but “when ye fast”). Fasting means abstaining from food for a specified period of time for God’s purposes. We are not commanded to fast in the New Testament
 
The Problem of Fasting: It can done with the wrong motive, method and message (Matthew 6:16). The Pharisees often had extreme behavior that they might be seen of men. Some would whiten their faces to look gaunt and proclaim their sacrifice of fasting so as to appear and sound spiritual. Jesus condemned their wrong, selfish motives. Christians need to examine their hearts as well. True Christianity is not to be practiced for show or to draw attention to yourself. The Pharisee’s message portrayed that righteousness was obtained by outward acts. Believers receive Christ’s righteousness when they come to Him. It is a matter of the heart (Romans 4:5).
 
The Principle of Fasting: It is to be done in secret (Matthew 6:17-18). Jesus assumes fasting will be done. It is between you and God and is not done as a public spectacle or an attempt to impress others.
 
The Purpose of Fasting is to glorify God: When problems are heavy on your heart and food has no interest, it is a good practice to set time aside for fasting and spending time with God. Colossians 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Philippians 1:27: “Only let your conversation (way of life, conduct) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.” Our purpose is to glorify God.
 
In Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:2-12, he said it was a joy to pray for them. He prayed that their love, knowledge, and judgment would abound, that they would approve things that were excellent until Christ returns, and that they would be filled with the fruits of righteousness for the praise and glory of God. We are to be genuine by living for God and doing things His way. It is being righteous, not religious. In Ephesians 6:10-16, we are also warned that we have an adversary, the devil, who seeks to draw us away and compromise what God says.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.9/24/2021 3:09:53 PM

Guidelines on Prayer - Matthew 6:5-15
There are three basic attitudes of prayer (Matthew 6:5). Sincerity: We desire to sincerely talk with God. Indifference: We may or may not pray. Pride: We pray to impress others, so they will think we are spiritual, or we pray to be seen by others.
 
Prayer is communion or talking with God (Matthew 6:6). It is not trying to convince Him of anything. He knows all about us anyway. Our relationship with Him is built upon talking to Him. The supreme purpose of prayer is to glorify and honor God (Matthew 6:7-8). He desires for us to spend time with Him in prayer and is glorified by our requests when asked in His will. (John 14:13, James 1:6). Beware of vain repetition when praying and praying without thinking. You are addressing the God of the universe.
 
The elements of a righteous prayer found in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-15):
• His Paternity: “Our Father which art in heaven.”
• His Priority: “Hallowed (holy) be thy name.”
• His Program: “Thy kingdom come.”
• His Plan: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
• His Provision: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
• His Pardon: “Forgive us our debts.”
• His Protection: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
• His Preeminence: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
 
“ACTS” makes a good anagram to remember when we pray:
• A - Adoration and praise to God.
• C - Confession of sin and dealing with issues in our lives.
• T - Thanksgiving for what God has done and is doing for us.
• S - Supplication or prayer on behalf of others.
 
There are several things to consider when we feel God does not hear or answer our prayers. We have sin in our lives (Psalm 66:18). We did not bother to pray. (James 4:2). We prayed for the wrong thing or with the wrong motive (James 4:3). There is demonic activity, which will harden our hearts. Ephesians 6:10-12 reminds us we are in a spiritual battle. We grieve over unsaved loved ones or friends, but each person has to respond to Christ for themselves. We have problems in our home (1 Peter 3:1-7).
 
God wants us to be people of prayer. We have a God who cares and hears the requests of His children.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr9/10/2021 2:16:37 PM

Guidelines to Giving - Matthew 6:1-4
1.  Give as unto the Lord - Matthew 6:1, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” We are not to be hypocritical in our giving. The religious are concerned about a list of dos and don'ts. They seek to appease God or others to gain favor out of fear or because of their self-righteousness. The righteous act out of love. Trying to appease God with religious acts does not save us or make us right with God. Sometimes we do religious activities “just-in case” there is some merit gained, but God sees the motive of our hearts.
 
Matthew 6:2: “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” God hates hypocrites (Amos 5:21-24)! 1 Samuel 15 tells how God felt when Saul disobeyed Him and tried to appease the people. The Lord rejected him, and eventually he lost the kingdom. Do not pretend to be obeying God. 1 Samuel 15:22: “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Colossians 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
 
2.  Give Bountifully - 2 Corinthians 9:6, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
 
3.  Give Sacrificially - Mark 12:41-44 tells the story of the widow’s mite. While the rich people gave a lot of money, the widow gave sacrificially. God does not want us to wait until we are wealthy to give. Give sacrificially as the widow did.
 
4.  Give Willingly - The church at Philippi was commended by Paul for meeting his needs (Philippians 4:15-18). 2 Corinthians 9:7 reminds us to give purposefully from the heart.
 
5.  Give Cheerfully - 2 Corinthians 9:7: “God loveth a cheerful giver.” We should willingly give with a happy heart recognizing the many blessings God has given to us.
 
Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where we spend or give our money tells a lot about us. Where is your personal investment? Is it used to glorify God? What we do with our resources should be all about God.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.8/27/2021 1:48:21 PM

Love Your Enemies - Matthew 5:38-48
Matthew 5:38: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” “Ye have heard” refers to the Old Testament where judgments for personal injuries were given (Exodus 21:12-36). Justice was meted out fairly and without extremes in punishment. Punishment was to fit the crime.
 
Jesus turns their attention to the heart of the matter. Matthew 5:39: “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” When rebuked or struck by another, we are to avoid becoming bitter. The heart of the matter is to exercise forgiveness, not vengeance (Romans 12:19-21, Deuteronomy 32:35). God knows all about the matter and can deal with it. We are to have the attitude of Christ at all times.
 
Matthew 5:40-42 explains what to do when others try to take advantage of you. Verse 40 points out that some try to take advantage even through the law. “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” It does not mean we have to roll over and play dead, but we are to have meekness allowing God to deal with the circumstances. Although we want to be in control, we must know our powers are limited. Do not let pride keep you from doing right. Verse 41 says if we are compelled to go a mile, than we are to double that, so we can exhibit Christ in our lives. Perhaps this will give us an opportunity to share Christ and our faith. Verse 42 continues by pointing out an opportunity to show compassion. “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” We are to carry one another’s burdens by meeting needs when possible.
 
Matthew 5:43-44: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” God says we are to exercise agape love to all. Agape love is the kind of love God has for each of us. It is a self-sacrificing love that does the best we can, even for our enemies.
 
As Christians, we are to be Christ-like. Do not just show love to those who love us. Even unbelievers do that. We are to exemplify Christ by living holy lives, exercising love to our neighbors and enemies, and showing mercy to others. (Mathew 5:45-47)
 
Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  Perfect here means complete (Colossians 2:10). Only God can transform our lives and enable us to not only love our neighbors but also our enemies.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr8/13/2021 1:26:33 PM

Do Not Take Oaths But Tell The Truth - Matthew 5:33-37
Jesus was teaching the contrast from the Old Testament Mosaic Law to the heart and spirit in the believer. He wanted them to know the standards of the law and the spirit of the law. Strictly speaking one may follow the standard of the law but still be in sin. Examples:
• “Thou shalt not commit murder” means to not murder or have uncontrolled anger. The heart, or spirit, of the law is to have no hatred toward anyone (Matthew 5:22).
• “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” A person may be physically faithful to their spouse, but Jesus said in Matthew 5:28: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
 
In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus is speaking. “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear (perjure) thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths: (Thou shalt not bear false witness.) But I say unto you, Swear not at all.” As Christians, we are to recognize that Christianity is spiritual living. By the way we speak and act, our Christian character is to be evident at all times. We must always tell the truth. Because the principle of sin besets us, Jesus can forgive our sin and give us strength to be truthful at all times.
 
Christians are to control their tongues and their tempers. We are not to compartmentalize our lives, by living and speaking one way at home and another way at church or work or wherever. We are to always be consistent with our words. Anything we say or promise is sacred. We are always in God’s presence, and He hears what we say. There are no degrees of truth. A half-truth is the same as a lie. Psalm 62:4b: “They delight in lies: they bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly.”  Where do you stand?
 
God never lowers his standards. Christians are to be people of honor and people of the Word. Truth must be spoken without insult or injury to others. We are to be identified as being honest and truthful. Proverbs 6 tells us seven things that God hates and one of them is a lying tongue (Proverbs 6:16-17).
 
Spoken words cannot be taken back. Ephesians 4:29: “Let not corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” James 3 portrays the importance of controlling the tongue.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.7/30/2021 2:07:56 PM

Marriage and Divorce - Matthew 5:31-32
Divorce occurs in both Christian and non-Christian homes. It is not only a great tragedy, but it violates God's standards. Lack of commitment to each other and to the vows taken are a big problem causing great harm to the couple, children, and society. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “It  hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32)
 
God instituted marriage from the very beginning and recognized Adam’s need for companionship (Genesis 2:18-24). Leave, cleave, and weave are words often used to describe and ensure successful marriages. Cleave means to form a firm, permanent attachment to each other. Weave is like forming a tapestry. One flesh is not just physical bonding but also spiritual bonding.
 
The fall of man brought sin into the world and the consequences of sin affected marriage (Genesis 3:16-19). Women today fall prey to Eve’s desire to have control over their husbands. Men find it difficult to take responsible leadership. Divorce is not the answer to solve problems. God is the answer to having a good marriage or to healing a broken one. See what Jesus says about marriage in Matthew 19:3-12. God means marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. The seriousness of marriage fidelity is seen in two of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” In the Old Testament, Moses permitted a bill of divorcement because of the hardness of their hearts. Women who were put away may have been accused of adultery, which was punishable with death.
 
Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28: “Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Sin begins in the heart. A man who puts away his wife, does what God hates (Malachi 2:13-16).
 
God can make a marriage a success. The results on future generations and our nation depend upon strong homes and good marriages. Taking marriage seriously glorifies God.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie, Jr.7/15/2021 5:13:34 PM

Adultery: Sins of the Heart - Matthew 5:27-30
Jesus had taught the multitudes that their righteousness needed to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. Although they strove to follow the requirements of the law, their righteousness in effect was external. Only by receiving Christ and His righteousness could they be righteous. The law clearly spoke against murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting. Even if these sins did not occur physically, one could be guilty of them in their heart. God deals with our hearts, and desires them to be pure. Proverbs 23:7 points out that what we think in our hearts we will become.
 
In Matthew 5:27, Jesus quotes the seventh commandment: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.” This commandment was given to protect the sanctity of marriage. Jesus went to the heart of issue. He helped them understand that it was not only the physical act of adultery that made them guilty, but also what was evoked through lust in their hearts (Matthew 5:28). “Looking” in this sense, means more than just casually seeing something. It means to keep on looking, which implants seeds into the heart that leads to sin.
 
Prohibitions against sexual immorality are throughout the New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 2:22). God designed marriage for three key reasons: companionship, sexual intimacy and fulfillment, and procreation. Jesus used figurative language in Matthew 5:29-30 in saying it was better to pluck out their right eye or to cut off their right hand, so as to avoid the sin of lust or adultery. He wanted them to know nothing is more important than true righteousness and living for God. Job made a covenant with his eyes and had a desire to not have his heart deceived by lusting. He knew if it should occur, God would judge him (Job 31:1-12).
 
The godly heart needs to plan diligently and determine to avoid all possible places of temptation. Psalm 119:37-38: “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.” 2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
 
How important is your righteousness? Paul’s testimony is in 1 Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.7/2/2021 2:55:12 PM