October 3, 2021 – Matthew 6

Lesson Date: October 3, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Matthew 6:1-18, 25-34

AIM: To lead students to discover Jesus’ answer to the problem of worry, and to encourage them to follow His advice for dealing with worry in their lives.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Matthew 6 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the following question on the marker board or chalkboard “What Do I Worry About?”  Ask a volunteer to look up Philippians 4:6-7 and be prepared to read those verses to the class when called upon.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the students that worry is a common problem in our modern world.  Fear, uncertainty, and unstable family relationships cause many people to live with worry.  In fact, experts tell us a large percentage of American health care expenses are the result of worry-related physical problems.  Worry can kill you!

Read aloud the question written on the board.  Ask: “What are some things people worry about?” (responses should come quickly to that question).  Ask: “Are Christians affected by worry?” (yes).  Erase all the words on the board except the word “Worry.”  Underline the word.  Stress the fact that worry is a big problem.  In fact, it is one of the most common sins among God’s people.

Tell the students we worry about many things, but two of the most common are what others think about us and what the future holds.  We want people to think the best of us, so we often worry about what others think.  We also worry about the future because it is unknown and uncertain.  Jesus addressed these two worries, as well as how to overcome them, in Matthew 6.  The title of today’s lesson is The Cure for Worry.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are in the midst of a three-week study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (inward thoughts and attitudes are more important than mere outward actions).
  2. How to Do Good Deeds.
    • Ask: “If someone really wanted people to think they were charitable or compassionate toward others, what might they do?” (do good or charitable deeds out in public where people would see them).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 6:1.
    • Explain the following:
      • The word alms refers to charitable gifts or actions done for others.
      • Alms are not tithes or gifts to God; they are things done for or given to others.
      • Jesus warned His listeners not to do their acts of charity and compassion for the purpose of being seen by others.
      • We shouldn’t do good things to impress others.
    • Ask: “What did He say we will NOT receive if we do good deeds to impress other people?” (we will not receive any reward from God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 6:2-4.
    • Ask: “What did the hypocrites do before they gave charitable gifts or did good deeds?” (blew a trumpet so everyone would notice).
    • Ask: “What reward do they receive?” (the praise of men).
    • Ask: “Do they receive any reward from God?” (no).
    • Tell the students these people were so worried about what others thought that they made a show of their generosity and charity.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus say we should do when we give alms?” (keep it secret).
    • Ask: “What will happen when we do that?” (God will reward us openly).
    • One way to know if you are worried about what others think of you is if you do good deeds to impress other people.
    • Summarize: Jesus said we should do our good deeds quietly, without trying to attract attention.
  3. How to Pray.
    • Ask: “If someone really wanted people to think they were spiritual and had a great prayer life, what might they do?” (pray long flowery prayers in public so people would notice).
    • Read Matthew 6:5-6.
    • Ask: “What were the hypocrites doing?” (praying in public to be sure everyone noticed them).
    • Ask: “Will they receive any reward from God for that?” (no).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus tell us to do when we pray?” (go to a private place).
    • Tell the students there’s nothing wrong about praying in public, but it IS wrong to do it for the purpose of impressing others and making them think you are very spiritual.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 6:7-8.
    • Ask: “What were the heathen doing when they prayed?” (using vain repetitions – memorized prayers and repeating things over and over).
    • Ask: “Why did they do this?” (they thought God would hear them because they made long repetitious prayers).
    • Stress the fact that we don’t need to do that because God knows our needs before we ask.
    • Tell the class in Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus gave His followers a pattern for their prayers. This is not simply a prayer to memorize and repeat.
    • Ask the students to listen for the elements of that pattern as you read those verses.
    • They should identify the following:
      • Verse 9 – Address God and praise
      • Verse 10 – Submit to God’s sovereignty and will.
      • Verse 11 – Ask God to meet your needs
      • Verse 12 – Ask God to forgive your sins.
      • Verse 13 – Ask God to protect
    • One way to know if you are worried about what others think is if you try to impress them with your prayers.
    • Summarize: Jesus said we should pray in private, without trying to attract attention.
  4. How to Fast.
    • Tell the class it was common in the First Century for Jews to fast (go without food for a day) on a regular basis.
    • Ask: “If people thought those who fasted were spiritual and you were worried about what others thought of your spirituality, what might you do?” (make sure everyone knew that you were fasting).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 6:16-18.
    • Tell the students when the hypocrites fasted, they would wear old clothes, mess up their hair, cover themselves with dirt and ashes, and even wear makeup to look pale and sickly.
    • Ask: “What reward did such people get from God?” (nothing).
    • Stress the fact that if you’re going to fast you should keep it a secret.
    • One way to know if you are worried about what others think is if you fast or give up things for God and make sure other people know about it.
    • Summarize: Jesus said we should fast in private, without trying to attract attention.
  5. How to Face the Future.
    • Read Matthew 6:25.
    • Ask: “What worry did Jesus address next?” (food, drink, and clothing: providing for your daily needs).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 6:26-30.
    • Ask: “Why did Jesus say we should not worry about our daily food?” (if God feeds the little birds He will certainly feed us).
    • Ask: “According to verse 27, what will worry change?” (nothing).
    • Ask: “Why did Jesus say we should not worry about having clothes to wear?” (if God clothes the insignificant plants He will certainly clothe us).
    • Tell the students that worries about the future are common. For example:
      • Will we have enough money to meet our needs?
      • Will I be able to work and support my family?
      • Will we be able to afford the food and clothing we need?
      • Jesus told us how to deal with those worries.
    • Read Matthew 6:31-34.
    • Ask: “What were Jesus’ instructions concerning worrying about food, clothing, or what tomorrow will bring?” (He said not to do it; He said God knows we need food and clothing).
    • Ask: “According to verse 33, what should be the focus of our attention and our hearts?” (the kingdom of God and His righteousness).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus promise if we focus on God rather than on our material needs?” (He will give us what we need).
    • One way to know you are not seeking God with all your heart is if you are worried about the future.
    • Summarize: Jesus said we should not worry about the future, but instead we should trust God and focus our thoughts and attention on Him.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention to the word “Worry” on the board.  Remind them that worry is a very common problem.  Most of us worry at some time.

Tell the students we often worry about what others think of us.  Sometimes we even do religious things so that others will see us and have a good opinion of us.  Ask: “What did Jesus say about this?” (He said we should do our religious activities privately, without trying to attract attention to ourselves).  Stress the fact that we can determine if our service to God is sincere by evaluating how we feel when nobody notices what we have done.  If we have done it for God, it won’t matter if we are overlooked; but if we are doing it to impress others, we will probably get our feelings hurt when we are not recognized or praised.

Other common worries concern meeting our material needs and what the future holds.  Ask: “What did Jesus say we should do about such worries?” (He said we should remember that God knows our needs and He has a proven track record of taking care of His children; He said we should focus on God and His righteousness, promising that He will meet our needs when we do).

Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Philippians 4:6-7.  Ask: “Which do you want – worry or peace?  The choice is yours.”  Encourage everyone to follow Jesus’ instructions and advice for dealing with worry in their lives.  Ask them to bow their heads and personally make a commitment to God to reject worry and to trust Him.  Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Matthew 6:33.  Tell them when worry rears its ugly head this week they should remember and apply the things Jesus taught us in Matthew 6.

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