The Kingdom, by Witness Lee

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Now we come to Matthew 6 where we find the fourth aspect of the reality of the kingdom—the purity of the children of the kingdom in their good deeds. The children of the kingdom do good deeds, and in their deeds there is no mixture, falsehood, hypocrisy, or pretension. Rather, there is purity, singleness, and simplicity. In the kingdom life, there is nothing pretentious, nothing false, and nothing hypocritical.

Here again we see the wisdom of the Lord Jesus. The purity of the children of the kingdom operates in three directions: toward others in the giving of alms, toward God in prayer, and toward ourselves in fasting. Concerning others, we need to give alms to take care of their needs. Concerning God, we need to pray, not for our interests and affairs, but to pray, "Let Your kingdom come; let Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth" (6:10). This prayer is for God. In principle, the prayer of the children of the kingdom should be something for God, to God, and with God. Concerning fasting, we must deal with the self. Fasting is not related to sins or sinful things, but to lawful things. It is lawful for us to eat and drink. These are our rights. Everyone who is born has the right to eat and drink. When we fast, we deal with ourselves by renouncing our rights. This does not mean we deal with ourselves because we are wrong, worldly, sinful, or fleshly. No! We simply want to be dealt with by sacrificing our rights. Toward others we give alms, toward God we pray, and toward ourselves we fast. These are the three categories of the good deeds of the children of the kingdom.

When we do these things, we need to be pure and sincere, not hypocritical. What is hypocrisy? The word "hypocrite" comes from the Greek word which means an actor who is assuming another character. According to the ancient custom among both the Greeks and the Romans, stage actors spoke through a large mask in order to increase the force of their voice. So hypocrisy is an outward falseness. It indicates something exaggerated and unreal. It also implies to propagate with publicity. Both in the world and also in Christianity, nearly all of the money is raised in the way of propagation.

When I was in a certain city, the brothers who lived there told me about the way a so-called church took to raise money. They would call a general meeting and present the need to the congregation. They would then ask for whoever could afford to give the largest amount to stand. The rich members, grasping an opportunity to display their wealth and generosity, would stand and offer a large amount of money. This method was very successful because it suited the fallen human nature.

In Matthew 6:3 the Lord said that when we give alms we should not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. This means we need to give in a secret way. This is absolutely contrary to the practice of Christianity. Some Christian groups even print reports showing the names of those who contributed the "love offerings."

(The Kingdom, Chapter 33, by Witness Lee)