Sermon on the Mount: Give, Pray, Fast

Sermon on the Mount:
Give, Pray, Fast
Stephen "Red" Shumate
Oct 15th, 2017
Image courtesy of Paul Gooddy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Sermon on the Mount: Give, Pray, Fast

Matthew 6:1-18

Today we are talking about the part of the Sermon on the mount where Jesus talks about Giving, Praying, and Fasting. And once again, Jesus approaches these topics from a spiritual point of view and talks about them in terms of our motivations. 

If we read this part of the sermon from a physical point of view then what we see is instruction on how we should give, pray and fast… which is to say, we do these things privately. However, if we read it from a spiritual point of view, what we see is that Jesus is giving us instruction on our motivations or the heart behind the actions.

Notice that Jesus’ main point is don’t do these things the way that hypocrites do them.  Hypocrites do them to be seen by men and to be praised for their righteousness.   Jesus says, if you do it for those reasons, then you’ve got your reward…you will be praised by men.  But if you do it for the right reasons, then your reward is in heaven.  So, Jesus says, don’t practice your righteousness in front of people.  Which seems to contradict what we read last week, when Jesus said to let your light shine before men.  

So, what is the difference? I believe there are two differences.

1. In this scripture it says, don’t practice your righteousness in front of men to be seen by them.  In other words, don’t do this in front of people to glorify yourself.  But in last week’s scripture Jesus said let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.  So the first difference is our motivation.  Don’t do these things to glorify yourself, but let your light shine so God is glorified.

2. The second difference, I believe, has to do with the difference between our light shining and personal righteousness.  What I mean is that praying and fasting and sometimes giving, is personal obedience to God.  And in those times when it is personal obedience, it should be done in private, because, if we do private things in public then we are seeking praise from men for them. 
However, we HAVE to remember we are also a part of the body of Christ.  And the works of the body of Christ (not the individuals) SHOULD be seen by men.  They should shine like a light in a dark world. 

So, the second difference, I believe, is the difference between knowing the difference between personal acts of righteousness and the Body of Christ acts of righteousness.

The primary point Jesus has in this part of His message is that our faith and our acts of faith, should be done with the right motivations.  They should never be done to glorify ourselves, but as a part of the Body of Christ our light should shine before men. 

There is one more thing that I want to note in this scripture today.  In this part of the sermon, Jesus gives us an example of how to pray.  Many people will recognize this as the Lord’ Prayer.  And if we look at this from a strictly physical point of view, then Jesus gives us a great prayer that we can recite.  However, if we look at this from a spiritual point of view, then Jesus is giving us a model that we can follow when we pray.

To wrap up this blog, see how the Lord’s Prayer can be a model for how we should pray.

Our Father in heaven,
(Our vs My…  We come to God in prayer as a part of the Body of Christ)
Holy is Your name.
(We pray with respect, acknowledging God’s holiness)
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
(our desire is His perfectness not our brokenness)
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
 (acknowledge our reliance on him – by presenting prayer requests)
12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 
(We go to prayer in humbleness.  We humbly ask for forgiveness and we humbly offer forgiveness)
13 And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. 
(we ask for guidance – also help with sins in life)
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
(acknowledge power, authority and eternity of God)
Amen.
(Lit - Let this be so or so be it…)

The Lord’s prayer is an amazing prayer that we can use either as a model of how to pray or we can even recite directly. 


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