The Gospel of Matthew
NEEDED LESSONS FOR DISCIPLES
Currently Under Revision (largely just notes at this time)
6:1 (included in previous chapter)
[Humility in Giving]
"When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full.
"but when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing;
that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Question #1. What Assumption
does Jesus make about the giving of alms to the poor?
A. Giving to the poor - demanded by the Law, (Exodus 23:10-11; 30:15; Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 15:7-11), exhorted by the Prophets (Jeremiah 22:16; Daniel 4:27; Amos 2:6-7), taught by Jesus (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:36-38; 21:1-4; John 13:29; Galatians 6:2).
Jesus has made the assumption that alms giving is the normal way of life!
In Christ's day "relief" for the underprivileged was provided by the "religious" community, each person being taxed according to his ability. Over and above this was VOLUNTARY AND NOT REQUIRED. So Jesus' teaching on this subject was about voluntary giving. Such gifts were publicly announced both in the synagogues and in public places where the poor gathered.
Question #2. Reward - here,
and not there (in full) Is this fraud?
A. People advertising their deeds of benevolence are in the process of doing so while depriving themselves of any real reward, and depriving The Lord of His joy in the rewarding of His saints for their acts of love and kindness.
Reward - there, and not here (in full)
The Father, "The one who sees," is the one who gives the reward; and then only those deeds which are done in secret (so that only He may see them and richly bless the giver).
Question #3. Is there
contradiction between these verses and 5:16 "So let your light shine before
men that they may see your good works?"
A. A problem of PURPOSE
5:16 - secure praise for the "Father who is in heaven"
6:2 - performance of religious acts in order "to attract the people's attention.
Question #4. Compare
verses :2-4 and 1 Corinthians 13:12
A. The reward of the believer must be great!
This life is often likened to a partial experience compared to the true reality which awaits the believer in the heavenlies. All that we see, touch, smell, hear, taste, etc., is but a shadow of what God has in store for us. The Old Testament teaches us that even the temple and the great sacrificial system only pointed the way toward Jesus Christ, and even at that, His earthly ministry is only a glimpse into the eternal perfection that can now only be dreamed of; The Eternal State.
The Hypocrite is the one who pretends to give, but who really intends to receive.
Worksheet for Matthew 6:5-15
6:5 If the Hypocrite is "the one who pretends to give, but who really intends to receive," what is Jesus saying about our relationship to prayer?
6:6 What arrangements do you make to have your time with the Lord in prayer "in secret?" Explain the contrast found in verses :5 and :6.
6:7 Those who pray "Empty" words are praying to what kind of a god?" and Why?
6:8 If your Father indeed knows everything from the end to the beginning, then why are we told to pray?
1 Samuel 25:39
1 Chronicles 4:10
What lessons are learned when compared to the first half of Matthew 6:13 "And do not lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one."
6:14-15 Why is it so important to Jesus that we forgive one another?
All the prayers of the bible:
From the book "Destined for the Throne," Paul Billheimer (Everybody Magazine 1977)
THE ANSWERED PRAYERS
BY WHOM SUBJECT
Abram Childless - asks heir Genesis 15:2
Lot Permission to escape to Zoar Genesis 19:20
Eliezer Success on his errand Genesis 24
Isaac For children Genesis 25:21
Jacob Deliverance from brother Genesis 32:11
Israel Wrestles with God for Blessing Genesis 32:24
Israelites Deliverance from bondage Exodus 2:23
Moses To see the Promised Land Deuteronomy 3:25
Israelites Overcome King of Canaan Judges 4:3
Gideon Signs of success Judges 6:37
Samson Water to quench thirst Judges 15:18
Samson Vengeance on Philistines Judges 16:28
Hannah For a son 1 Samuel 1:11
David Thanks/prayers for continued favor 2 Samuel 7
Solomon For understanding heart (wisdom) 1 Kings 3:9
Elisha Deliverance from Syrian Force 2 Kings 6:17-23
Jehoahaz Deliverance from Syrians 2 Kings 13:4
Hezekiah Protection against Sennacherib 2 Kings 19:15
Hezekiah Recovery from illness 2 Kings 20
Jabez For Divine blessing 1 Chronicles 4:10
Reubenites Victory in battle 1 Chronicles 5:20
Abijah's army Victory over Jeroboam 2 Chronicles 13:15
Asa Aid against Ethiopians 2 Chronicles 14:11
Jehoshaphat Victory over Syrians 2 Chronicles 18:31
Jehoshaphat Protection against enemies 2 Chronicles 20:9
Manasseh Deliverance from Assyrians 2 Chronicles 33:13
Nehemiah Protection against enemies Nehemiah 4
Agur Moderation in his desires Proverbs 29
Jonah Deliverance from fish Jonah 2
Zacharias For a son Luke 1:13
Publican For mercy Luke 18:13
Crucified thief To be remembered by Jesus Luke 23:42
Apostles On choosing an Apostle Acts 1:24
Church Protection against persecution Acts 4:29
Cornelius For divine favor Acts 10:2
THE PRAYERS OF JESUS CHRIST
Where Offered The lesson we should learn Where recorded
The Jordan Don't attempt righteousness W/O Prayer Luke 3:21
Capernaum Begin the day with Prayer Mark 1:35
Chorazin Encourages secret Prayer Luke 5:16
Capernaum Pray about furthering God's work Luke 6:12
Nain Accept and be thankful for God's help Matthew 11:25
Sea of Galilee Give thanks at meals Luke 24:30
Bethsaida Close the day with Prayer John 6:15
Philippi Pray frequently and secretly Luke 9:18
Mt. Tabor Pray with others Luke 9:28
Bethany Recognize God's Power, He hears Prayer John 11:41,42
Gethsemane Learn of Jesus how to pray Luke 11:1
Borders of Judea Children are important to God Matthew 19:13
Jerusalem Temple Seek God's glory in all things John 12:27,28
Jerusalem Jesus prayed for all His disciples John 17
Jerusalem Duty of intercessory prayer Luke 22:32
Gethsemane To desire God's will Matthew 26:36-39
Calvary Pray for our enemies Matthew 5:44
Calvary Love Christ more each day Matthew 27:46
Calvary To give all to Christ Luke 23:46
Bethany We share His glory Luke 24:50,51
By whom offered Subject or nature of petition The record
Abraham For Ishmael Genesis 17:18
Abraham For Sodom and Gomorrah Genesis 18:23
Abraham For Abimelech and family Genesis 20:17
Moses For Pharaoh Exodus 9:33
Moses Children of Israel Exodus 32:31
Moses For Miriam Numbers 12:13
Samuel For the Israelites 1 Samuel 7:9
Solomon God's favor 1 Kings 9:3
A Prophet Cure of king's hand 1 Kings 13:6
Elijah Restore life of widow's son 1 Kings 17:21
Elijah God's triumph over Baal 1 Kings 18:36
Hezekiah Unsanctified partakers of Passover 2 Chronicles 30:18
Levites For the people 2 Chronicles 30:27
Ezra Confession in behalf of the People Ezra 9
Nehemiah For the remnant in captivity Nehemiah 1
Jeremiah Relief of famine Jeremiah 14
Jeremiah For remnant of Judah Jeremiah 42
Daniel Restoration of Jerusalem Daniel 9:19
Habakkuk Revival of God's work Habakkuk 3
Peter Restoration of Dorcas' life Acts 9:40
The Church Peter's deliverance from Prison Acts 12:5
Paul For Publius' father Acts 28:8
[Humility in Prayer]
"And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be more apparent to men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
"But you, when you pray, go into your private room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and you Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Now Scripture nowhere condemns public prayer, nor individual prayer offered in a public place. Neither the Pharisee nor the publican sinned by praying in the temple. What the Lord condemns here is ostentatious praying, that is, having one's private (?) devotions in the most public place, with the intention of being seen and honored by the people. It was this that Jesus condemns. -- From this it appears clearly that in the teaching of Jesus it is the inner disposition that counts. It is the heart truly and humbly devoted to God upon which the divine approval rests (John 4:24).
The idea is not that there must be a separate prayer room. The main emphasis is not even on the place of prayer but on the attitude of mind and heart. Not that secrecy is the real underlying but the sincerity.
The one who prays with the proper disposition of heart and mind is blessed, as in verse four (:4) "and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." The man or woman who so prays will have peace of heart and mind. He will know that the Father, in His infinite love, will give the supplicant whatever is best both for himself and for all concerned. they will also know that this same Father "is able to do infinitely more than wall we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).
"But, when you are praying, do not utter empty words, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
It is not as if a lengthy prayer is always wrong. such a position would immediately condemn the prayers found in 2 Chronicles Nehemiah 9; and Psalm 18, 89, 119. The motive must be kept in mind. Pagans pray on and on because they imagine that the longer and the louder they pray, the greater also will be their chance of success in receiving what they desire. As if the acceptability of prayer depends, at least in part, upon the number of words we use or the number of prayers we rattle off!
"Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.
Omniscience, what then the purpose of prayer? You must not approach your Heavenly Father with the idea that He is uninformed, unaware of your needs, so that you have to explain to him in every detail just what your situation happens to be. On the contrary, before you even begin to pray, your Father already knows your need, and your heart. Some might object, "Then, why pray at all? The objector, however, misses the point. Jesus was not condemning the outpouring of the heart to God, not even when of necessity such an outpouring contains a brief statement of certain facts already known to the Lord. In fact, it is just because an earthly father or mother understands a child so thoroughly knows its needs to him or to her, which is exactly what loving parents want them to do. So, far more so, it is also with our heavenly Father (Psalms 81:10; Matthew 7:7-8; John 15:7; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 4:2). What Christ condemns is the spirit of fear and distrust, which causes pagans, who recognize no heavenly Father, to babble on and on, in the belief that otherwise gods will not be thoroughly informed nor sufficiently placated to grant the requests.
Worksheet on Grammar
ENGLISH VERB TENSES:
Present - Action at the PRESENT TIME, or
Action WHICH IS ALWAYS OCCURRING (repeatedly or habitually).
Present Perfect - Action COMPLETED in the PRESENT, or CONTINUING TO the PRESENT.
Past - Action COMPLETED AT a definite time IN THE PAST.
Past Perfect - Action COMPLETED BEFORE a known or stated time in the PAST.
Future - Action WILL TAKE PLACE in the FUTURE.
Future Perfect - Action COMPLETED BEFORE or AT A STATED TIME in the FUTURE.
SIMILAR GREEK TENSES (not a complete list):
Present - Action at the PRESENT TIME, or Action WHICH IS ALWAYS OCCURRING (repeatedly or habitually).
Historical Present - Action occurred in the PAST but is told as if it were CURRENTLY HAPPENING IN THE PRESENT.
Aorist (1-2) (No difference in meaning, only in word construction) - Action COMPLETED AT a definite time IN THE PAST.
Imperfect - Action that HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE PAST BUT HAS CONSEQUENCES OR RAMIFICATION IN THE PRESENT (or future).
Future - Action WILL TAKE PLACE in the FUTURE.
VERB MOODS (universal, English/Greek) Indicate
the MANNER of the action of the Verb.
INDICATIVE - a STATEMENT or QUESTION
IMPERATIVE - a COMMAND or REQUEST
SUBJUNCTIVE - expresses a DOUBT, a WISH, a PRAYER, or a CONDITION CONTRARY TO FACT.
The Lord's Prayer
"There is no reference to pray "In Christ's Name" in this format for prayer. How could such an omission be harmonized with our Lord's own instruction for praying in this Church age?
Plainly, in Matthew Chapter 6, He was instructing ANTICIPATORS OF HIS KINGDOM, envisioned in the prayer as the next thing in God's program as respecting the earth -- "Thy Kingdom come!"
Church-age believers are not looking for the King, but the Bridegroom; are not praying for the Kingdom to come, but for the CHURCH to be completed so their Lord may come to rapture them to heaven. ONLY AFTER THAT AND AFTER MANY INTERVENING EVENTS will our Lord then return to earth as King and set up His Kingdom, not coming to us, but BRINGING US BACK WITH HIM TO REIGN (Matthew 23:37-39; 25:31-33; Revelation 7).
Inevitably, therefore, the teaching of the prayer, if put against the backdrop of the Great Tribulation (Compare Matthew 24), has a strong dispensational flavor and instructional value." (Mason's Notes, Philadelphia College of Bible)
The Lord's Prayer
"Thus, therefore, Pray you:
'Our Father who art in the heavens,
(Mason - Tribulation: "Our Father in heaven" will be quite significant when all hell breaks loose on earth (Matthew 24:21-22); their only hope in that awful period will be from their Father in heaven! It will be HIS move (Acts 1:7)).
Let Thy name be hallowed.
Recognition of Majesty
(Mason - Tribulation: "Thy Name hallowed," they will say and might well add: "Hallowed ... even if need be by our martyrdom, rather than receive the Mark of the Beast and blaspheme Thy Holy Name! (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:4-5, 15)).
6:9-13 - These verses contain what is
familiarly known as The Lord's Prayer. It is His prayer in that He is its author
(Scofield Reference Bible)
- IN THIS WAY - The Lord's Prayer is a model for our prayers. It begins with adoration of God (:9), acknowledges subjection to His will (:10), asks petitions of Him (:11-13a), and ends with an ascription of praise (13:b, though this may have been added later) (Ryrie Study Bible)
"Let Thy Kingdom come.
The presence of God, on earth, amongst His people.
(Mason - Tribulation: Thy will be done ON EARTH" - Oh, how they will long for this wile under the cruel reign of Satan's Monster, Man of Sin! The Kingdom cannot come, except the KING come back again.
Note the tense of the phrase: "Thy Kingdom come." It is not "Thy Kingdom be coming" (Gradually) but "come!" (That is, come suddenly, catastrophically, and have it done with, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:8)).
Let Thy will come about,
Agreement with God's purposes
As in heaven, also on earth.
Agreement with God's methods
"Give us today our daily bread;
Reliance upon God for the basics first, and then...
(Mason - Tribulation: "Give us THIS day our DAILY bread" - How earnestly the believers of that period of awful suffering will pray for their daily bread. See Revelation 13:17-17, where only those who have "the mark of the beast" will be allowed to buy or sell. (Having seen the absolute authority over life which rationing and the food card held over tens of millions in World War II, we can sense the terrific situation in which those who refuse "the mark of the beast" will find themselves.) Unless God miraculously their food, or those who believe their message risk their lives to provide it, they will starve. (Matthew 25:35, 43, etc.)).
6:11 - BREAD - All necessary food (Ryrie Study Bible)
"And forgive us our debts, as indeed we forgive our debtors.
(Mason - Tribulation: "And forgive us ... as we forgive" (:12) - this petition envisions how difficult it will be for tribulation saints not to hold bitterness and hate against those who are seeking their very lives (revelation 13:7, 15), but rather forgive them. (As per Matthew 5:43-44; compare Romans 12:19-21)).
Forgiveness requested after forgiveness has been bestowed. Forgiveness based upon forgiveness (The Kingdom Age).
Some Principles of Forgiveness
I. Forgiveness is COSTLY (outrageously costly)
The question to be asked: Why Should I Forgive ?
Matthew 6:12 and Matthew 18:21-35
Verses for "The Kingdom," but reveal the essential nature of God where forgiveness is concerned.
A. Repayment is impossible
B. Revenge is impotent
C. Hate is impractical
D. Peaceful co-existence can't be afforded
Basis of Forgiveness by the Christian: What Jesus Christ has accomplished upon the Cross and through Resurrection. Incorporated in this accomplishment is the staggering difference between the debt I owed God and the Price Jesus paid in my behalf. IF GOD HAS FORGIVEN US ... CAN WE DO LESS ?
II. Forgiveness is RARE (extremely rare)
The question to be asked: How Much Should I Forgive ?
Forgiveness involves TOTAL, COMPLETE, forgiveness. It must be part of one's character.
Things that Forgiveness is NOT:
1. Looking The Other Way
2. Trying to Forget
3. Saying, "Oh, It Was Nothing."
Forgiveness for the Christian must be absolute, Again based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. The evil presented in the original act against you, and the resulting hurt are real. The act of forgiveness must first begin with the realization that the offence was real and that the Forgiving Power of Christ is Absolute.
III. Forgiveness is HARD (sometimes very hard)
The question to be asked: Am I Willing To Forgive ?
Are you willing to:
1. Suffer Undeservedly ?
2. Accept Undeserved Suffering (suffering that rightly belongs to the one who wronged you) ?
IV. Forgiveness is COSTLY (Absolutely Costly)
Are you ready to PAY THE PRICE.
The one who chooses to FORGIVE, pays a tremendous price -- The Price Of The Evil That Is Forgiven !
1. You bear YOUR OWN ANGER at the sin of another.
2. You bear YOUR OWN WRATH at the sin of another.
3. You VOLUNTARILY ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY for the HURT SOMEONE ELSE HAS INFLICTED upon you.
V. Forgiveness is SUBSTITUTIONAL (an example of the Work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, for you)
The question to be asked: "Who Really Bears The Cost Of Forgiveness ?"
1. No one has ever forgiven another except he/she bears the penalty of the other's sin against him/her.
2. Jesus Christ Perfectly expresses Substitutional Forgiveness.
3. What must I forgive:
God paid the IMMEASURABLE COST of your forgiveness; how can you hesitate to pay the infinitely smaller cast of forgiving your brother or sister ... or your enemy ?
And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God, In Christ, also has forgiven you.
6:12 - DEBTS - These are obligations
incurred; i.e., Sins of omission and commission. Forgiveness means cancellation
of these debts or obligations.
6:12 - The problem raised by the conditional nature of this petition for forgiveness may be explained as follows: In the fully developed doctrine of Christian salvation there are two areas of divine forgiveness. The first area is that of the forgiveness that comes to the sinner at the time of justification, deals with the guilt of his sins in a total sense (Ephesians 1:78). To this forgiveness there is attached but one condition, i.e., to receive it once for all by faith in Christ (Romans 4:5-8). The second area of forgiveness covers the relation of the divine Father to those who have become His children deals specifically with the matter of fellowship whenever is broken by sin. to obtain such forgiveness we must confess and forsake the sin (1 John 1:9; cp. Psalms 66:18 and Proverbs 28:13). The forgiveness mentioned here in verse 12 belongs in this second area, because it occurs in a prayer given to disciples of Christ (5:2) who could call upon God as their Father (6:9, 26). The ultimate motive for forgiving our debtors is based upon the grace of God, and appears later in the progress of revelation (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13) (Scofield Reference Bible).
"And do not lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
(Mason - Tribulation: "... Deliver us from THE EVIL ONE" - How subtle Satan will be in that day and how the tribulation saints will need protection both from the Evil One's subtlety and his ferocious hate. (Matthew 24:23-24; Revelation 12:9, 11-12; 13:7-10, 13-14, 18)).
The concept that God intercedes on our behalf and directs the flow of history, even our personal lives:
1 Samuel 25:39 "... Blessed be the Lord, ... and hath kept his servant from evil ...."
Deuteronomy 32:9-10 "For the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed He kept him as the apple of His eye."
1 Chronicles 4:10 "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And god granted him that which he requested."
Genesis 20:6 "Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her."
6:13 - This doxology does not appear in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts, and, in those which do include it, there are considerable The account by Luke omits it altogether (Luke 1:2-4). Eminent textual authorities believe that it was added by later hands, probably to make the prayer more suitable for public worship. As the doxology appear in the KJV, however, it is not un-biblical, for its main ideas seem clearly to have been taken from a prayer of David recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:11 - "Thine, O Lord, Is ... the power, and the glory ... thine is the kingdom." (Scofield Reference Bible).
"For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
"But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions."
6:14-15 - Notice that the only point the Lord emphasized in the prayer is the necessity for forgiving one another. Forgiveness with the Father depends on forgiveness among the members of the family of God. This is the forgiveness that affects fellowship within the family of `god, not the forgiveness that leads to salvation (Ryrie Study Bible).
Covenant people's responsibilities under that
covenant relationship VS Salvation.
The beginnings of the recital of the "Lord's Prayer" started with Charlemagne:
"In 768 AD in western Europe Charles the Great, better known as Charlemagne, took the throne after the death of his father, Pepin (the short) Martel. Charlemagne was genuinely religious. He rejoiced in Augustine's "City of God" and set himself to make his realm the embodiment of this ideal. He sought to improve the standards of Christian living of the clergy and through them of the laity: in theory all Christians were required to know the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed. Yet Charlemagne fell far short of Christian standards. He was a semi-literate barbarian who had only partly met the demands of Christ. He attempted to impose the faith and his rule upon the Saxons, and was very cruel in war. He insisted on dominating the Church." Latourette, "Christianity through the ages."
[Humility in Fasting]
"And when you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do; for they disfigure their faces in order to appear as men who are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."
"But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;
so that you do not appear to be fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you."
Prayer and fasting are often combined (1 Samuel 7:5-6; 2 Samuel 12:16, 22-23; 2 Chronicles 20:3, 5 ff; Ezra 8:21-23; Nehemiah 1:4; 9:1 ff; Isaiah 58:6, 9; Jeremiah 14:12; Daniel 9:3; Luke 2:37; Acts 13:2-3; 14:23). Fasting as here meant, refers not to a condition that is forced upon a person (2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:27), but to voluntary abstinence from food as a religious exercise. It served various purposes, either singly or in any combination.
Thus, it might be an expression of
humiliation, that is, sorrow for, and in connection with confession of, sin (Leviticus 16:29-34; 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11; Deuteronomy 9:18; 1 Kings 21:27; Nehemiah 9:1 ff; Daniel 9:3-4; Jonah 3:5), or of
lamentation over ill, either already experienced -- defeat in battle (Judges 20:26), bereavement (1 Samuel 31:13; 1 Chronicles 10:11-12; 2 Samuel 1:12), the arrival of sad tidings (Nehemiah 1:4), a plague (Joel 1:14; 2:12-15) -- or threatened (2 Chronicles 5 ff; Esther 4:3; 9:31). In the case of David, when the threatening death of the child becomes a reality he ceases to fast (2 Samuel 12:16, 21-23). There was a natural basis for the fasts mentioned so far, since overwhelming grief or distress produces loss of appetite (c.f. 1 Samuel 1:7).
Sometimes a fast was ordered and/or observed in order to promote concentration on an important religious act or event, such as the commissioning of missionaries (Acts 13:2-3), or the appointment of elders (Acts 14:23) (also Exodus 34:2, 28; Deuteronomy 9:9, 18). In this connection, what is perhaps the most beautiful chapter on fasting in the entire Bible (Isaiah 58) deserved special mention (Especially verses 6-12). It may well be that here in Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus had that chapter in mind, as a comparison will show. In both cases the wrong kind of fast (cf. 1 Kings 21:9, 11; Zechariah 7:3-5) is condemned and the right kind commended.
The law of God suggests only one fast in an entire year, namely, on the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:29-34; 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11; cf. Acts 27:9). In course of time, however, fasts (not always total; see the text in each instance) began to multiply, so that we read about their occurrence at other times also:
from sunrise to sunset (Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel
14:24; 2 Samuel 1:12, 3:5);
for seven days (1 Samuel 31:13);
three weeks (Daniel 10:3); forty days (Exodus 34:2, 28; Deuteronomy 9:9, 18; 1 Kings 19:8);
in the fifth and seventh month (Zechariah 8:19). The climax was the observance of a fast "twice a week," the boast of the Pharisee 18:12).
As an expression of lamentation over sorrowful circumstances Jesus did not encourage fasting on the part of His disciples. On the contrary, he wanted them to rejoice because of His own presence among them (Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-20; Luke 5:33-35). He Himself, as has been indicated, observed a fast of lengthy duration, probably for the purpose of concentration on the work which the Father had given Him to do, and which He, Jesus Himself, had voluntarily taken upon Himself.
Here in Matthew 6:16-18, however, it is the fast as an expression of humiliation, whether feigned (verse 16) or genuine (verses 17 and 18), that is in view. The hypocrites, that is, the scribes and Pharisees (5:20; 15:1, 7; 23:13), put on a dismal look, making their faces unsightly, perhaps by covering them with ashes (1 Kings 20:38), in order that to the people round about them they might look O so sorry for their sins; hence, O so pious! They were putting on an act.
With the passing of the day of atonement, fasting is no longer a religious requirement (Colossians 2:14). Are there, nevertheless, lessons here that hold today as well as they did yesterday? I suggest the following:
1. Intemperance in eating, as well as in everything else, is warned against in Scripture. The lazy gluttons of Crete, sluggish and sensual gormandizers, do not remain unrebuked (Titus 1:12). A mark of the enemies of the cross is that "their god is their belly (Philippians 3:19; cf. Romans 16:18)." Instead of striving to keep their physical appetites under control (Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 9:27), realizing that our bodies are the Holy Spirit's temple, in which God should be glorified (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), these people surrendered themselves to gluttony and licentiousness. They worshiped sensual nature. The Bible forbids this. In this connection it is interesting to note that the physical advantage in cutting down the intake of animal fats is not a modern medical discovery (Leviticus 7:22-25).
2. Nevertheless, in Scripture it is not the salutary effect which a moderate amount of fasting may have on a person's physical welfare that is especially in view. It is rather the spiritual benefit that is basic. Often fasting was an expression of sorrow for sin or was observed in order that mind and heart might concentrate on material matters but wholly on God and on the tasks which He assigns. That there is a close connection between fasting and spiritual meditation and contemplation is widely recognized.
3. The indispensability of sincerity in worship is, however, the main thrust of this entire section.
Righteousness in relation to God requires not only the sincere devotion of the heart to the heavenly Father (6:1-18) but also unlimited trust in Him under all circumstances.
[Anxiety over Treasures, Earthly VS Heavenly]
"Do not lay up treasures for yourselves, treasures upon earth, where moth and rust remove, and where thieves dig through and steal;"
"But lay up treasures for yourselves, treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust removes, and where thieves do not dig through nor steal;
Jesus is saying: that to "treasure up" for oneself perishable earthly "treasures," is to lose the imperishable heavenly riches! (The Here-and-now VS. The There-and-then)
The Vanity of Earthly Treasure:
In all probability the terms "moth" and "rust" represent all those agencies and processes that cause earthly treasures to diminish in value and finally cease completely to serve their purpose. Thus, bread becomes moldy, garments wear out, fields become weed-infested, walls and fences bread down, roofs cave in so that houses begin to leak, and gold and silver become tarnished perish. Add the havoc brought about by termites, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, earthquakes, plant disease, soil erosion, etc. The list is almost endless.
Thieves break through an steal. Through the clay wall of the houses of which Jesus was thinking the thief rather easily digs an entrance and steals the ill-guarded treasures. Inflation, oppressive taxation which may amount to confiscation, bank failures, stock market slumps and crashes, expenses in connection with prolonged illnesses, these and many similar woes have the same effect. Besides, man's body, including that of the strongest, gradually wears away. When he dies, all the earthly treasures which he had pinned his hopes vanish with him.
Completely different are "the treasures in heaven", that is, those blessings that are reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4), that are heavenly in character, but of which we experience only a foretaste even now. Beginning, as is proper, with the enumeration of some of these as Jesus Himself describes them, one thinks of:
A. our standing with God as being fully pardoned (Matthew 6:14),Colossians Ephesians 1:7
B. answered prayer (Matthew 7:7), John 14:12
C. the enrollment of our names in heaven (Luke 10:20), Philippians 3:20
D. the Father's love (John 16:27), Romans 5:8
E. a welcome not only to the "mansions" of heaven but to the Savior's own heart (John 14:2-3), John 17
F. a full share in Christ's own peace (John 14:27), Colossians 3:15
G. His own joy (John 15:11), Galatians 5:22
H. and His own victory (John 16:33), 1 John 2:2
I. and the Holy Spirit's permanent indwelling (John 14:16,26; 15:26). Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 2:12
About one-third of this chapter is written on the subject of Anxiety.
Naturally, if a person's real treasure, his ultimate aim in all his striving, is something pertaining to this earth -- the acquisition money, fame, popularity, prestige, power --, then his heart, the very center of his life (Proverbs 4:23), will be completely absorbed in that mundane object. All of his activities even the so-called religious, will be subservient to this one goal.
On the other hand, if, out of sincere and humble gratitude to God, he has made God's kingdom, that is, the joyful recognition of God's sovereignty in his own life and in every sphere, his treasure, then there is also where his heart will be. Money, in that case, will be a help, not a hindrance. Something of this nature Jesus must have had in mind when he said "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." the "heart" cannot be in both of these places at the same time.
for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
"The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is single, your whole body will be shining with light.
"But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be dark. If therefore the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
"No one can serve two lords; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon."
"Therefore I say to you, stop being anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?
"Look at the birds of heaven, that they do not sow neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more excellent than they?
"But who of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his stature?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow; they do not labor nor do they spin,
But I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
But if God so clothed the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into an oven, will He not much more do so for you, O ones of little faith?
"Therefore, do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or, 'What shall we drink?' or, 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'
"For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
"But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
"Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day has sufficient enough evil of its own.
HOW TO WIN OVER WORRY
Key Verses: Matthew 6:21-34; Psalm 27; 1 Peter 5:7
The Technique Taught: Identify the specific problems, take them to God's word and find specific promises regarding that problem, commit that problem to Him in prayer and submission His will.
Worry, Three Things To Do:
1. Matthew 7:1-2
Be sympathetic with your enemies, they are under divine discipline.
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them who use you and persecute you.
Turn your critics over to God and forget them.
Worry, Three Things To Know:
(Satan will try to keep you from these truths: 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.")
1. We're generally not aware
of him Luke 22:31-34 (Peter had to be told)
2. Remember, we are no match for him 1 Peter 5:8 (above)
3. Satan can be recognized - he gets us to:
A. Criticize, Revelation 12:9-10
B. Ignore the Word, 1 Chronicles 21:1
C. Keep us from God's Will, 1 Thessalonians 2:18
D. Get us to Worry, 1 Peter 5:7-9
E. Obscure the Issues (self, others, things, - not God), Jeremiah 17:5
F. Satanic By-Pass, Luke 4:5-6
G. Get us to Fear Death, Hebrews 2:14-15
To Handle Satan - Hit The Mark, 1 Peter 5:7
Place yourself in the Promise of God, 1 Peter 9-11
Even though He slay me, I will serve Him, Job 13:15