The Sermon on the Mount Part 12

by Mike Ratliff

1 “But be careful of demonstrating your righteousness before men with the aim to be seen by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven.” 2 “Therefore, whenever you do give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may be glorified by men. Amen I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, 4 so that your alms may be in secret and your Father, the one seeing in secret, will repay you. ” (Matthew 6:1- 4 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)

We come now to Matthew 6:16-18, which is like the second slice of bread of a sandwich around the meat of our Lord’s teaching on prayer and forgiveness in Matthew 6:5-15 with the top slice of bread being Matthew 6:1-4 (above). Most “Study Bibles” with outline sections will correctly label Matthew 6:16-18 as “Fasting,” but if you read it in the context of what comes before, it is a continuation of our Lord’s teaching against pietistic efforts by the religious to approach God according to their own efforts and, in their hypocrisy, use their visible piety to elevate themselves in the eyes of others. As we saw in Understanding the Basics of Pietism, “There are no extraordinary Christians; but being an ordinary Christian is an extraordinary thing.Continue reading

Understanding the Basics of Pietism

Over the last several weeks we have been taking an in-depth look at genuine Christianity contrasted with man-made “Christianity,” which, no matter what it is called, is another religion. One of the most insidious forms of this is “pietism,” which all of us are susceptible to if we are not mature in our faith yet have a deep hunger to go deeper and there are false teachers available very willing to tell those who don’t know any better that there is indeed a higher form of Christianity and “higher level” of Christian that is attainable, but there is a cost. It sounds “almost” biblical, but it isn’t. Our brother Bob DeWaay went through this himself as a young Christian, as did I, but not to the extent he did. You can read about it by following the link below to his fine article. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

Understanding the Basics of Pietism