Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 6

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

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Verse 1

This Chapter is a continuation of the former. Most blessedly the LORD JESUS prosecutes the subject of his Sermon through the whole of it.

Verses 1-4

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

The LORD JESUS is here giving instructions concerning the gift of alms. And his directions are so plain that they need no comment. Alms-giving, when given with an eye to the divine glory and the real love of men, is the gift of the heart, therefore there needs no lookers on. What flows from GOD will tend to God. JESUS is then in all, and a respect to him is the aim of all.

Verses 5-8

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Here the LORD speaks of prayer, and which is yet more express in reference to the LORD. Secret it must be between GOD and the soul, even in the public congregation, for what indeed is prayer but immediate communion, in which the only parties are JEHOVAH and his people. No lookers-on, no standers-by, can be supposed to interrupt the conference. But alas! how little understood by the great mass of what the world calls worshippers! Strictly and properly speaking, there can be no prayer, where there is no acquaintance. And until the Child of GOD is brought into an acquaintance with GOD in CHRIST, however he may offer a multitude of words, the heart is not interested, and consequently there is no prayer. But when we have received the spirit of adoption, and the new born child of GOD is brought forth into the spiritual life, instantly the cry of the soul is, Abba, Father! Reader! if the LORD the HOLY GHOST hath awakened your soul, regenerated your nature, and brought you into an heartfelt acquaintance with GOD in CHRIST, your own feelings, under divine teaching, will form the best comment on those precious words of JESUS; for you then know all that the LORD hath here said of secret communion with your Father. But otherwise, in secret or in public, you are a stranger to real prayer. Every graceless person is a prayerless person.

Verses 9-13

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

We have here the pattern of prayer; which the LORD JESUS himself hath given. It were to hold up a small taper to the sun, to attempt an explanation of it, so plain, so evident, and so suited to every capacity. I only desire for myself, and everyone whom God the HOLY GHOST directs in the use of it, that the sweet spiritual sense of it, by his most gracious power, was incorporated in our very heart, for then we should enter into the spiritual enjoyment of it, whenever we thus approach the throne. JEHOVAH in his threefold character of persons, is indeed our FATHER, as JESUS taught, for he said in the moment of his departure, when redemption-work was finished, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my GOD and your GOD. John 20:17 . And as we adore him on his throne in heaven, so we pray that his name may be hallowed on earth, and his kingdom of grace be established here among all his redeemed, as his kingdom of glory is, and will be, established above to all eternity. And the bread we pray for in the daily supply, is not simply the bread of the body which perisheth with using, but the bread of the soul, and which endureth to everlasting life, even JESUS himself, the living bread, of which whosoever eateth shall live forever. As Christ is the gift of God, so the cry of the hungry Soul is, Lord! evermore give us this bread! The pardon of sins the renewed soul needs daily, hourly, as he needs the bread of life. And therefore the petition comes in very sweet for forgiveness to our sins, as we delight to forgive the trespasses of others. And as the LORD alone can keep his people in the hour, and from the power of temptation, So JESUS hath graciously taught us to pray that the LORD would keep us from the evil one who goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And most blessed is the concluding part, in ascribing all glory to the LORD. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory forever. Romans 11:36 . JESUS puts his name to the whole. Amen. And unless Jesus doth so, our Amen is nothing. It were to be devoutly wished, that every individual, in every congregation, would consider this when the Amen is pronounced. It should be done with the greatest reverence and solemnity, and with an eye to Christ. For it is not simply saying, as some have interpreted the word Amen, so be it, or be it so; thereby giving our confirmation to what hath been spoken. But it is calling upon the Lord JESUS by one of his names, even the Amen, to confirm it. We should feel the striking nature of the expression, if at the end of sermons, or prayers, or in any other part of our ordinances, we were solemnly to close all with saying JESUS. But yet in fact we do this when we say Amen. For this is as truly the name of the Lord JESUS as any other. May the Lord give both to Writer and Reader a right understanding in all things!

Verses 14-15

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

We must not suppose from those expressions at the close of the LORD'S prayer, as if the condition of our forgiveness was suspended upon our forgiving of others. Our glorious Lord could not be supposed to mean this, because our pardon and acceptance with GOD is wholly on CHRIST'S account. But it is meant as a blessed evidence of grace. Paul, his servant, marks the feature of a renewed heart as a precious token of Jesus' love reigning there; be ye kind (saith he) one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for CHRIST'S sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 .

Verses 16-18

That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

We have our LORD'S direction in these verses concerning the proper observance of Fasts. In which Jesus doth not condemn seasons of humbling the soul, but he reproves the Pharisaical method of pretending to mortify the body. Perhaps nothing in the Church of CHRIST hath opened to greater evil under the cloak of religion, than Fasts and pretended Fasts. It was the reproach those Pharisees of our LORD'S days presumed to throw upon the SON of GOD himself and his disciples, that they observed them not. Why (say they) do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees, but thine eat and drink? Luke 5:33 . How little do they know the true spirit of the Gospel of Christ, who consider an abstinence from food as a real fast of the soul towards God! Fasts and Festivals, the former to mortify, and the latter to gratify the body, what are these things in the view of the LORD? The kingdom of GOD is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17 . And we may say upon all those things as the Apostle doth upon another occasion; for meat commendeth us not to God, for neither if we eat are we the better, neither if we eat not are we the worse. 1 Corinthians 8:8 . It is astonishing to behold, what the pride and corruption of our poor fallen nature prompts us to do, in substituting anything in the place of real vital godliness. Oh! what would we give or suffer, in respect to the body, to atone for the sin of the soul? And the reason is obvious, could men but see it. For it tends to gratify the pride of our unhumbled nature. Anything but Christ. To rely wholly upon the person, and finished salvation of the LORD JESUS, who but those taught by the Spirit of Jesus can fully do it? But those things which the Apostle saith, have indeed a shew of wisdom in will, worship, and humility, and neglecting the body. Oh! how much they tend to lead the heart from Christ, instead of directing to Christ. Colossians 2:16-23 .

Verses 19-24

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

These directions of our LORD are so very plain that they need no comment. I detain the Reader, however, just to ask, the question, not to decide upon that verse: if therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness? Doth not JESUS allude to that kind of head-knowledge, void of heart-influence, which devils and some men possess; whereby they have a clear apprehension of the great truths of GOD, but no affection towards them. Such was that of Balaam. Numbers 24:3-4 . His eyes (he saith himself) were opened, but no regeneration of heart. He knew the LORD, but felt no love towards him. The devils in the days of our LORD gave the same testimony. We know thee who thou art, the HOLY ONE of GOD! Luke 4:33-34 . But Balaam, in the midst of this knowledge, hired himself out to curse the people of GOD. And devils remain devils with the full conviction of the GODHEAD of CHRIST, and his great salvation upon them. Reader! think what an awful state, to have an historical head-knowledge of the LORD JESUS only; void of a life-giving, soul-renewing grace, from the Spirit of Christ! And what increased sorrows will this very knowledge induce in another world?

Verses 25-34

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Who can add to the beauties, as well as doctrines of those blessed words of JESUS, by any attempted illustration. I have often read the contents of those sweet verses, and always I hope with increasing delight. Oh! who considers the eternal love of God, in Christ, to his church and people, can pause a moment with any doubt of his everlasting watchfulness and care in all the departments of nature, providence, grace, and glory. Chosen in Christ, blessed in Christ, preserved in Christ, and called! Eph 1:3-5 ; 2 Timothy 1:9 ; Jude 1:1 . And in his providential mercies, how constant and unremitting, Isaiah 27:3 ; Job 36:7 , how tender, Isaiah 66:13 ; Zechariah 2:8 ; Isaiah 31:5 , how new and seasonable, Lamentations 3:25 , and how sure and everlasting. Isaiah 54:10 . If I detain the Reader one moment longer over these verses I hope he will pardon me. I beg him to observe, if he hath not before, the very great beauty in the images here made use of to express the love contained in those expressions of JESUS. Behold the fowls of the air! Not the fowls of the barn, not the poultry, fed daily by some appointed hand, but the fowls of the air, who have neither store-house nor barn, and whose lodging of tonight may be taken away before the morrow, and they are obliged to seek a new one. Behold the lilies of the field! Not the cultivated and watered plants of the garden, but the lilies of the field, exposed to be trodden down by the feet of the ox or the ass, and plucked up by every traveler. And doth JESUS give beauty to those, and which perhaps hath no eye but his to see their beauty? Doth JESUS watch them and water them and cause his sun to shine upon them? Oh! then, ye redeemed of the LORD, ye that are the purchase of his blood, yea, if possible, more than even this; part of himself and members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones; can he forget you, overlook you, yea, overlook and forget himself! Precious LORD JESUS! I would say, both for myself and everyone of thy children, give us all grace to leave all our concerns with thee, and anxious only to be found of thy kingdom, regenerated by thy Holy Spirit, adopted into the family of Christ and GOD, and justified in thy all-sufficient righteousness, we may take no thought for the morrow, knowing that whether we live we live to the LORD, or whether we die we die to the Lord, so that living or dying we are the Lord's.


READER! Pause over this part of our REDEEMER's sermon, as over the preceding portion of it, and let us both look up for grace in the teaching of GOD the HOLY GHOST, to gather the many precious instructions it contains. Jesus presupposeth that his redeemed give alms according to the ability he hath given them. And if you and I have received of the upper springs of the Lord's grace, shall we not be ready to give, and glad to distribute of the nether springs of the LORD'S bounty? Not dear LORD to be seen of men, no! nor with the most distant view to recommend ourselves to thee, All we have is thine, and of thine own do we give thee, in imparting of what we have to refresh the bowels of our poorer brethren. Oh! for grace that all may be done from thee, and for thee, and from love to thee.

And in our approaches to thy throne in prayer, oh! grant that all may be in and through the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. For if Lord we have found peace in the blood of thy cross, our access to the Father will be by one Spirit through thee. Not to be seen of men, but graciously accepted of GOD in CHRIST, through CHRIST, and both in the words and works of CHRIST.

In the abstinence of the body, and in the humblings of the soul, in dying daily to the world, and crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts, oh! for grace from CHRIST to be walking daily with CHRIST, casting all our care upon him who careth for us. And while seeking, above all things, the kingdom of GOD and his righteousness, may we be forever on the look-out for the glorious appearing of the great GOD and our SAVIOR Jesus CHRIST. Even so Lord prepare us for thy corning! Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Matthew 6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/matthew-6.html. 1828.
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