“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:2-3)

This word hypocrite had its origins in Greek theater, describing a character who wore a mask. The term, as used in the NT, normally described an unregenerate person who was self-deceived. “They have received their reward”. Their reward is that they were seen by men, nothing more. God does not reward hypocrisy, but he does punish it.

John MacArthur commentary

In this passage our Lord pictures a pompous, self-righteous Pharisee on his way to put money into the hands of the poor. In front of him march the trumpeters blowing the fanfare to draw a crowd as he says come and get it, and passes out everything. And he does it all for appearance sake. Now whether it really happened this way or not, Jesus makes His point fairly well, doesn’t he? And we say, “Ugh, disgusting.”

But you want to know something? We all have our own little silver trumpets. Have you noticed? You know, we do something for somebody in need and we – we say now, “I don’t want – I don’t want to be hypocritical about this, so I—I just – I don’t want to say anything.” But inside we can’t wait till somebody brings it up so we can say, “Well, of course, the other day I had the opportunity to be gracious unto another” and we shoot the whole thing. And we all fight that kind of thing.

Trust that your faith in Christ would be unfeigned faith. And that those of us who are Christians would live as David did. David had a right heart in Psalm 57:7, for he said this, “My heart is fixed oh God. My heart is fixed.” An established heart. Is your heart that way? Do you give out of a pure heart? Do you pray out of a pure heart? Do you fast out of a pure heart? If you don’t, then you should echo the prayer of David in Psalm 51. “Create in me” – What? – “a clean heart oh God.”

Excerpt adapted from sermon by John MacArthur “Giving Without Hypocrisy”