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Public vs Private Piety

Sermon Series: The Life of Jesus: From Creation to the Cradle to the Cross to the Crown

Sermon Title: Public vs Private Piety

Sermon Text: Matthew 6 1-4

Sermon Date: January 8, 2017

 “Jesus recognizes how easy it is for sinners to engage in worthy, philanthropic and even religious activities, less in order to do what is right than to be admired for doing what is right. If being thought generous is more important than being generous, if gaining a reputation for prayerfulness is more important to us than praying when no one but God is listening, if fasting is something in which we engage only if we can disingenuously talk about it, then these acts of piety become acts of impiety.

Jesus takes to task outward works without inward motivation.  Prayer, fasting and giving are all good things to do and we should be doing them.  Jesus is giving warning about our hypocrisy in our devotions (when we pray), in our disciplines (when we fast) and in our deeds (when we give).

 “In each of these three traditional acts of piety, genuine Christian living is characterized by a simple yet profound desire to please God, and not by the ostentation that is in reality more interested in generating the impression among our peers that we are pleasing God.”



  1. Some Cautions Regarding Public Piety
  2. Be wary of Wrong Motives

Motives matter.  Proverbs 16:2 says “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LROD weights the spirit.” ESV, also in Proverbs 21:2. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives

Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”

I Samuel 16:7 “the Lord looks at the heart.”

The problem with hypocrisy

  1. Hypocrites believe that outward appearance is all that matters
  2. Hypocrites believe not having problems or trouble means a good-standing with God.
  3. Hypocrites believe delayed judgment means no judgment.
  4. All will be judge by our actions

Matthew 25:40 “ ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

  1. All will be judge by our attitudes
  • All will be judged by our advantages.

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” Luke 12:48

  1. Be aware of Wrong Methods
  2. Some Council Regarding Private Piety
  3. Private Piety should be a Priority
  4. Private Piety should be Personal
  5. At that moment it will be precious
  6. At the moment it will be powerful
  • Some Conditions Regarding Personal Piety
  1. Rest in Your Relationship in Jesus
  2. Rely on His Resources

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