Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Worry

I took a little hiatus from the Sermon on the Mount but it’s time to get back into the word and dive deep into his truths. In this post, Jesus teaches about worry. I think we can all relate to this topic and how we want to control each situation we are in. But that’s not what Jesus intends for us to do! Let’s drink from the truth of His Word.

Matthew 6:25-34

(v. 25)“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

  • If as believers we trust Christ to give us life and to save us from our sins, shouldn’t we trust him with the lesser things in life? Jesus didn’t save us and then leave us to fend for ourselves. He wants us to completely trust him in every aspect of our lives – from the biggest thing to the smallest thing. When Jesus gave the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he said to pray for every day things – Matthew 6:11 says, “Give us today the food we need.” Jesus wants to be Lord of our lives and that means every single thing – from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the gas we put in our cars, to the large bills we have to pay – everything. If God gave us life, we can trust him for the things which are necessary to support life. -William Barclay

(v. 26) Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

  • Birds are hard workers. The average sparrow works hard to make a living. However, birds do not work hard to build up a storehouse or to pile up goods for the unforeseen future. And yet the Lord provides for them by feeding them and sheltering them. If God richly provides for the birds, how much more will he provide for his children? The birds have no worries about their needs being met because they completely trust in their Creator to provide for them. That should be a lesson to us – when the chaos and worries of life come about, we should be looking to our Creator and trusting him to provide for us. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” We may not understand the things we go through, but we do have a God that sees our needs and provides for us in the toughest times. Let the birds be an example to you – simply trust Him.

(v. 27) Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

  • What are the effects of worry in your life? It can damage your health, make you unproductive, it can give you a negative attitude toward others, it reduces your ability to trust God, it can steal your joy. There are no good effects of allowing worry to be in the center of your life. Charles Spurgeon says that “worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” When we worry, we are taking the situation into our own hands and we are not trusting in God who wants to take the situation from us. However, there is a difference between worry and genuine concern. The NLT Study Bible says that, “worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.” What if that action was taking our worries and turning them into prayers? Philippians 4:6-7 is written so beautifully in the Message – “ Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Just like it says, it’s so wonderful and freeing when Christ replaces the worry in the center of your life!

(v. 28-31)“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’

  • Jesus is reiterating here that if he clothes the flowers so beautifully, and if he cares so much for wildflowers, won’t he care for his children? What is it that keeps us from trusting in him completely? It is our lack of faith that we have and not completely trusting in his provision. Warren Wiersbe says that, “God feeds the birds and clothes the lilies. He will feed and clothe us. It is our ‘little faith’ that hinders Him from working as He would. He has great blessings for us if only we will yield to Him and live for the riches that last forever.”

(v. 32) These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

  • Worrying about material things is what unbelievers are consumed with. Jesus wants us to be concerned with eternal things, things that will not perish. Matthew 6:20 says, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” When we worry about the things of this earth, we are trusting in things that will pass away. When we trust in God, he has an eternal reward waiting for us in Heaven.

(v. 33) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

  • What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God? It means that we are to put Jesus first in every single thing in our lives. From our relationships, job, finances, children, the plans and decisions we make. Put God at the top! He wants to take control of every single aspect of your life. He wants to be Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who provides. When we concentrate on God and his Kingdom, the worry in our lives vanishes. It was Jesus’ conviction that worry is banished when God becomes the dominating power of our lives. – William Barclay

(v. 34) “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

  • So how can we defeat worry? By seeking God first, trusting him completely, and living one day at a time. We can plan for tomorrow, but when we worry about tomorrow, that is time wasted. Worrying about tomorrow robs us of our joy and it puts a heavy burden on our shoulders. Jesus did not intend for us to carry that burden. He wants to take that burden from us. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” If you are worrying about tomorrow or the future, put it on the shoulders of our Lord and Savior that took the burden of sin from us. If he can carry our sin and our shame, he can carry our worries and cares for tomorrow. Here is a great prescription for worry from Corrie Ten Boom, “Look around and be distressed, Look inside and be depressed, Look at Jesus and be at rest.” Amen.
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Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Money & Materialism

Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV)

Money, materialism, wealth, riches, possessions –  it’s all around us. Money makes the world go ’round. People live for it – people die for it. Some people will do anything for it. “Get Rich Quick” books are sitting on every bookshelf. The latest fashions and trends are at the front of every magazine. The iPhone has just come out with a new phone and is set to come out with a new one in 6 months. The world is always offering something new and exciting to keep it’s victims chomping at the bit. This may be the “norm” for today’s world, but Jesus gives us some insight on what materialism will do to us if we let it become a stronghold in our lives.

This topic of money and materialism is so important that out of the 38 parables that Jesus spoke, 16 are about money and possessions. God is making it clear to us that money is his chief competition.

The word mammon comes from the word mammonas which is a transliteration from an Aramaic word to mean money, wealth or materialism.  In the present context, it is used to personify wealth or riches but Jesus personifies mammon, wealth, or materialism as if it were one’s master or lord. Jesus is literally saying here that you cannot have the best of both worlds. You cannot serve God and money, God and wealth, God and materialism. There is no room on the throne of your heart for 2 masters to sit. Either God or the thing you serve will sit on the throne.

Money in itself is not inherently evil, but it is the love of money and wealth that sucks people in. 1 Timothy 6:10a, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” How does the love of money lead to evil? The love of money leads to Greed > Greed leads to Anger > Anger leads to Hate. 1 Timothy 6:9 describes a person who lets the love of riches rule them. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” If the love of money leads to hate then this love will lead to ended relationships, backstabbing, scheming, thievery, prostitution, murder and countless other things.

In Luke 12:15-21, the Rich fool is very blessed with money and possessions and he keeps building bigger barns to store all of his grain. He is looking to his earthly possessions as his value and identity and as his source of security, satisfaction and significance. The same with the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-25). He didn’t want to give up all he had to follow Christ. They gave their money and possessions divine attributes, the things that God so desperately wants to do for us. When we look to money as our security, it becomes a god or an idol. We start to put our hope in it then we start to depend on it. When we look to money as our satisfaction, we will never be fulfilled. Money only increases our appetite to have more but it will leave us empty. When we look to money as our significance, we are trying to find our worth in it. Money will never lead us to love, worth, or value. God wants us to find our identity and value in Him. He wants to be the source of security, satisfaction and significance in our lives. He is Jehovah Jireh – God our Provider. And he wants to be just that.

It all comes down to a heart issue. Who do you love more? God or money? God or wealth? God or possessions? God or materialism?

How can we change our money-hungry hearts to godly-fulfilled hearts? When we realize that everything we have is God’s, we will be grateful and thankful for it. Money will be a part of our lives but it will not rule over our it. One of my favorite authors, Kyle Idleman says in his book gods at war, “When we start to see all of our resources as God’s it helps us develop an attitude of gratitude that leads to a heart of worship.”When God sits on the thrones of our hearts, He will be our satisfaction, He will meet our needs, He will be our security, He will be our significance. What could be better?

Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” 

Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Spiritual Vision

In verses 19-21, Jesus starts talking about wealth and materialism and how it affects the heart, mind, and the will. Jesus explains that where you store up your treasure – either in this world or the next – that’s where your heart will be. In these 2 verses, Jesus talks about how wealth and materialism can distort your spiritual vision. If we allow “stuff” to creep in our lives, it will corrupt the way we see things therefore leading us down a destructive path.

Matthew 6:22-23, “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”

  • Think of your eye as the spiritual window to your soul. If your window is clean, your soul will see clearly. If your window is dirty, you will see things distorted. You will won’t be able to see things clearly and will not receive the full benefit of the light. This will lead to double vision. If the eyes into our souls become distorted, then our minds and eventually our hearts will become distorted as well. Wiersbe explains that, “God’s Word often uses the eye to represent the attitudes of the mind. If the eye is properly focused on the light, the body can function properly in its movements. But if the eye is out of focus and seeing double, it results in unsteady movements.”
  • Keeping our focus on anything but God will cause our minds to wander.  James 1:8 says that a “double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Many times we try to have the best of both worlds by trying to serve both God and the world at the same time. This cannot be done without leading to destruction. We cannot walk in the Spirit and walk in the flesh. We cannot live for God and live for self. There is no compromise. C.H. Spurgeon explains that, “Two leading principles cannot rule in one heart; they cannot both be master. Either sin or grace will engross the whole heart; neither will submit to compromise.” Only one thing can sit on the throne of your heart. God or the world. Grace or sin. Spirit or flesh. A man who’s mind is divided will always lead to a divided heart.
  • When the windows of our souls become bad, we will be filled with darkness. We will become blind and numb to things that are good or spiritual. Our desires will become selfish. Our hearts will become hardened. Our minds consumed with the lust of the flesh. Our will becomes our own. We live in the darkness of our own little worlds and sin begins to eat away at our souls. “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22). What good is it if we gain the whole world but lose our own soul? (Mt. 16:26)
  • So how do we become men and women with singleness of mind and heart? God can take our blind, numb, dark, and stubborn hearts and turn them into responding, spiritual hearts that are alive in Him. “And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart” (Ez. 11:19). A single eye, mind and heart means one that is fixed on the spiritual. Here are 3 things we can do to fix ourselves on the spiritual.
  1. Ask in prayer – Jesus says that whatever we ask for in His name we will receive. If we desire a singleness of mind and heart, all we have to do is ask Him for it. John 14:13, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.”
  2. Fix our thoughts – We can become single-minded by fixing our thoughts on the good and pure things of Christ. “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Phil. 4:8)
  3. The Word – Being intentional in the Word will keep our focus solely on Christ. God’s written Word is His living Word and when we study and obey, our minds and hearts become single to Christ. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Heb. 4:12)
  • It’s time for a spiritual vision assessment. How are the windows of your soul? Are they clean or dirty? Are you seeing clearly or is your vision distorted? Is your eye good or bad? Are you single-minded or double-minded? Are you filled with light or darkness? Jesus says in John 8:12, ” “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” Only He can bring you out of the darkness and into the light of His truth. Allow Christ to become that light within you. Amen.

Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Treasure

In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus addresses the issue of materialism. Materialism can and will enslave the heart (19-21), the mind (22-23), and the will (24). When a person allows materialism to creep into their lives, it becomes an idol.  Anything that takes the throne of your heart instead of God will become what you serve. The Old Testament is full of examples of God’s people turning toward idolatry. Money, possessions, and materialistic things are among the top things that would turn them away and it is the same way in this day in age. For the next 3 posts, we will study how Jesus tells us to rid ourselves of these idols and keep our focus on Him.

TEMPORARY TREASURE 

Matthew 6:19, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.” 

  • In order to turn from our materialistic ways, we have to address how to get rid of the issue. Jesus describes earthly treasures with 3 things that are temporal – moths, rust, and thieves.
  1. Moths –  What do moths do? If they get in your closet they will eat holes in your clothes. In Jesus’ day, clothing was highly valued and it represented your wealth. Some of the best clothing would be made of wool and that is one of moths’ favorite entrees. So what good are clothes if they have holes? They will just be thrown away. The same goes with earthly possessions and treasures. They waste away. Earthly treasures cannot be taken past this earth so what’s the use in putting all of your time and effort into attaining more? “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.” (James 5:1-2) Jesus’ warning:  Stay away from pleasures that will wear out like an old suit of clothes.
  2. Rust – Rust is a corrosion of metal. In this case, the word rust translated is brosis. It figuratively means to corrode but it literally means to “eat away.” When Jesus used the word brosis, he was referring to diseases that attack wheat, grain, grapes, crops, etc. Examples of things that “eat away” are fungi, worms, and other various agents. Barclay explains that, “In the east many a man’s wealth consisted in the corn and the grain that he had stored away in his great barns. But into that corn and grain there could come the worms and the rats and the mice, until the store was polluted and destroyed.”  Once again, man-made wealth would waste away. There was nothing permanent about possessions like that.  John 6:27 says, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Jesus’ warning:  Stay away from pleasures that can be eroded away.
  3. Thieves –  Thieves are those who steal something that is not theirs on purpose. They will dig through others’ possessions until they find something of value or worth to take. D.A. Carson explains that, “Many ‘treasures on earth’ are the delight of thieves, who break in and steal. Actually they ‘dig through’ and steal; for most homes in ancient Palestine were made of mud brick which easily succumbed to any thief with a sharp tool.” It was easy for a thief to find valuables in homes in that day. It’s still easy today for people to steal our prized possessions.  That’s why we shouldn’t depend on our wealth or possessions because they can easily be taken away from us. Nothing on this earth is permanent so we need to keep a loose grip on the things that could easily distract us from our true purpose. “Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.” (Psalm 62:10) Jesus’ warning:  Stay away from pleasures that can be stolen away.

ETERNAL TREASURE

Matthew 6:20-21, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

  • Jesus gave 3 warnings when it comes to storing up treasure. These things are earthly, temporal, and can easily be snatched away from us. But there is hope. When we store our treasures in heaven, the moths will not be able to eat it, the rust can not corrode it, and the thieves will not be able to steal it.
  • What does it mean to store up treasures in heaven? Storing up our treasures is not just limited to tithing but when we give for God’s purposes, we are furthering the work of His kingdom. Jesus told the rich young ruler how to store treasures in heaven in Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” He’s not commanding that we give everything that we have away, but he is telling us that our hearts need to be focused on Him only and not our possessions.
  • Another way to store up treasures is to “use all we have for the glory of God” (Wiersbe). Whether that be the material things we are blessed with or the spiritual gifts that God has given us, it should all be used for God’s glory. How will you use your money, time, talents and gifts that the Lord has given you? Ask the Lord how you can use these things to bring glory to His Kingdom.
  • It is often said that “the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” We should examine our hearts to see what desires are controlling us. What we treasure the most is what we will serve. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts because “everything you do flows from it.” Does your heart desire the materialistic, temporal things of this world? Or does it desire the eternal, everlasting things of heaven? “As always, the heart must be right first. In fact, if the heart is right, everything else in life falls into its proper place. The person who is right with the Lord will be generous and happy in his giving to the Lord’s work” (John MacArthur). 
  • Your heart will always follow your treasure. Make sure you know what and where your treasure is before you start to pursue it. If you invest and set your heart on treasures of this world, you will only gain this world. But if you invest and set your heart on treasures in heaven, you will gain a life in eternity. An eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Amen.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Colossian 3:1

Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Fasting

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches about 3 spiritual disciplines. The first 2 are about giving and prayer. The 3rd one is about is fasting and is the most difficult of the three because it has to do with denying the body of its natural cravings. But it is essential in our walk with God because it puts us more in tune to his will. Father, teach us to fast in a way that would please and glorify only you!

WHAT IS FASTING?

Matthew 6:16a – “And when you fast…”

  • As with the spiritual disciplines of giving and prayer, Jesus does not say “if” we fast, but “when” we fast.  He expects and assumes that his disciples will fast. Fasting by definition means to  abstain from food for a certain length of time. Fasting consisted of abstinence from food to express dependence on God and submission to His will (Precept-Austin). It is denying the body of food for sustenance to tune your heart and your will to God and relying on God to be your sustenance. This spiritual discipline can be so enthralling and fulfilling because you are relying on no one but God and his power and strength to fulfill your cravings and hunger.
  • Sometimes fasting is not just giving up food for a day. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that, “Fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not…be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. There are many bodily functions which are right and normal and perfectly legitimate, but which for special peculiar reasons in certain circumstances should be controlled. That is fasting.” There are things in this life that take up our time such as entertainment, family, careers, exercise, fine dining, shopping, etc. These things can become idols or gods in our lives that take up our time and attention away from God. Are there some things in your life that are sitting on the throne of your life instead of God? Take a step back and see where the desires of your heart lie. I challenge you to fast in an area that takes a lot of your time away from God and use that time to fully seek and know him.
  • In Isaiah 58, God gives us a different kind of fasting that he wants from us. The Israelites were fasting the same way as the Pharisees, only for themselves and not for God. He tells them that that kind of fasting is not what he wants. The kind of fasting he wants is,

                                             No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
                                             Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
                                             lighten the burden of those who work for you.
                                             Let the oppressed go free,
                                             and remove the chains that bind people

                                             Share your food with the hungry,
                                             and give shelter to the homeless.
                                             Give clothes to those who need them,
                                             and do not hide from relatives who need your help

                                            Feed the hungry,
                                            and help those in trouble.
                                            Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
                                            and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

                                            The LORD will guide you continually,
                                            giving you water when you are dry
                                            and restoring your strength.
                                            You will be like a well-watered garden,
                                            like an ever-flowing spring. (v. 7-8, 10-11)

  • God wants our humility and devotion when we fast. When we fast for ourselves, what good will that do? “True fasting will lead to humility before God and ministry to others.” -Wiersbe

HOW TO NOT FAST

Matthew 6:16b – “…don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.”

  • In this day, Jewish people were expected to fast one day a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:21). However, the Pharisees of that day would fast 2 days a week (usually Monday & Thursday) and go to places in which people would see them and they would act as though they were suffering greatly. They would fast so people would see their misery and think they were holy. Their fasting sought after the praise of men and not the praise of God. Spiritual fasting tunes in our hearts to God’s, but their hearts were full of deceit. John MacArthur explains that, “when they fasted, they ‘put on a gloomy face’ and neglected their ‘appearance in order to be seen fasting by men’. They did not see religion as a matter of humility, repentance, or forgiveness, but as a matter of ceremony and proud display. And therefore the external rituals which they paraded as badges of godly righteousness actually marked them as ungodly hypocrites.” Their fasting was not an act of humility but of pride. God hates pride and if left unchecked, it will result to destruction“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.– Proverbs 16:18
  • Jesus accuses the Pharisees many time of being “Hypocrites.” He tells those listening to him that if they follow what the Pharisees are doing, that they will become a hypocrite and would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The Pharisees only wanted the praise of men and that’s all they would ever receive as a reward.  Jesus explains in Matthew 23 what will happen to the Pharisees and those who follow after them if they don’t repent, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.” (v. 13)
  • If you are a regular faster or if you fast rarely, what is your heart motive behind it? Is it to tune your heart into God’s will or is it so you will look “spiritual” to those around you. Seek God and his wisdom and strength through this difficult spiritual discipline.

TRUE FASTING

Matthew 6:17-18 – “But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

  • Jesus gives an example of the kind of fasting he requires of his disciples. When we fast, we are to look normal, act normal as no one will know what is going on. The Father will see your suffering and your motive for your fasting and he will reward you for it whether that be an earthly reward or a heavenly reward.
  • There are many factors in which God calls us into a fast. Fasting can be a way of asking God for deliverance or protection, a way of repentance or confession, an act of humility, connected with mourning, or even just to devote more fully to seek and know God better. There are many examples in the Bible of these kinds of fasting such as Esther, Daniel, David and even the Early Church.
  • When we fast, this gives us more time to pray and study the Word, teaches us discipline, reminds us that we can live with a lot less, and helps us to appreciate God’s gifts. Fasting is a great way to experience the Lord more fully through our suffering. Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness and was even tempted by Satan. His purpose was to identify with us through our human flesh. He knows what we feel when we are hungry and hurting! If the God of all creation can identify with us in our sufferings, then we can depend on him to help us through our cravings and desires. Instead of filling up on the things of this world, fill up on the Bread of Life!
  • I recently did a fast and it was painful yet fulfilling experience. Instead of eating and digesting physical food, I chewed on the food of the Spirit. It made me realize that God will fulfill all of the needs and desires and that this world can not satisfy me. He is my living water, the bubbling spring that fills my well (John 4). He is my true bread and spiritual nourishment. He is the manna that satisfies my soul (John 6). He will fill my longings and my cravings forevermore.  He is the Provider and Sustainer of Life and he richly satisfies me. “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” – Psalm 73:26 (NKJV)
  • If you have never fasted, I challenge you to one. You will experience God in a new and real way. If you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

“I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never me hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  – John 6:35

Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Prayer (Pt. 3) – The Disciple’s Prayer (Pt. 2)

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day.
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray
. –Reitz

Prayer is a powerful tool that we can use to communicate with God. When we come to him with a sincere heart, he will always hear our petitions. In the previous post, we studied the first 3 petitions of the Model Prayer or the Disciples’ Prayer. In this post, we will study the last 3 petitions.

While studying for this Bible study, God revealed to me an amazing way to view this text. William Barclay explains the last 3 petitions in an extraordinary way and I want to expand on those. “In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to bring the whole of life to the whole of God, and to bring the whole of God to the whole of life.” (Barclay) Let me explain further.

Matthew 6:11 – “Give us this day our daily bread.”

  • When we ask God for our daily bread, we are asking for daily provision. These are the needs of the present. This is simply asking God to take care of our daily maintenance of life. Things such as the food we eat, the money to be able to buy the food at the grocery store, the money to pay the next bill, the gas in our cars, etc. All of these are things that are a part of life and by asking God to help us with our daily routines means that we trust him with not only the big things but the little things. This simple prayer guides our hearts into the place of knowing that God will supply the needs for the coming day.
  • This petition teaches us to live one day at a time. What good is it to worry and be anxious about the future and the unknown? Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Worrying about tomorrow’s, next week’s, or next month’s needs will only bring stress and unnecessary worry to your life. Ask God to provide for you for the day. Seek him and trust him because he cares about you.
  • This petition also represents Jesus himself. In John 6:33-35, Jesus calls himself the “Bread of Life.” What an amazing thing to think that Jesus Christ is our living bread! We can be spiritually fed on Jesus every single day. Instead of “give us this day our daily bread,” we can say, “Lord, feed my heart with You!”

“Give me, Lord, both the bread of heaven, and of earth: that which feeds my soul, and sustains my body. For all I look to thee, my Father.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Matthew 6:12,14-15 – “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

  • When we ask God to forgive our sins, we are asking for the past to be brought into God’s presence. To ask for forgiveness, you must come to a place in your life where you realize you are a sinner and need a Savior to redeem you of those sins. Jesus can do just that. 1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Jesus came to this world to save us from our sins and an eternity in hell. All you have to do is repent or ask for forgiveness of your sins and believe and follow Him.
  • However, in order for God to forgive us, we must forgive others. How can God forgive you if you don’t forgive those who have done you wrong? Colossians 3:13 says that we should, “make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” There’s no limit on how many times we should forgive someone. In Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus if he should forgive a man of his transgressions 7 times. Jesus responds, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (v. 22) In other words, keep on forgiving. Life is not worth being angry and bitter towards one another. Jesus said we should love one another, and to love each other means to forgive each other. God has forgiven us for so many things, therefore we should offer that same mercy to our fellow man.
  • When forgiving another, we should understand the reason behind why someone did what they did. It’s easy for us to condemn others before we know the whole story. Jesus explains in Matthew 5:5 that if you show mercy towards someone, you will also receive mercy. We should also learn to forget as well as forgive. We can say that we forgive but if we do not forget, we could harbor feelings of bitterness. When God forgives our sins, he has forgiven them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). But, we must learn to love. When we understand the motive and learn to forget as well as forgive, we can learn to love that person the way that Christ loves us. When we love, we seek the highest good-will of others, no matter what they do to us. And this can only be done through the power of Christ in our hearts.
  • Who in your life are you withholding forgiveness from? Seek the guidance and wisdom of God and ask him to give you the strength to forgive those who have mistreated and offended you. Make amends, forget their wrongs, and love them unconditionally.

“To be forgiven we must forgive, and that is a condition of forgiveness which only the power of Christ can enable us to fulfill.” – Wm. Barclay

Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

  • When we ask God to help us in temptation, we are committing our future into the hands of God. The word temptation comes from the Greek word peirasmos which simply means putting one to the test. This word does not mean to seduce into sin but to be put into a situation to test loyalty and obedience. James 1:2-3 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” God does not use temptation to lead us into sin, but to test our faith. In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham by telling him to sacrifice Isaac, his promised son. God asked him to do this to see where his loyalties lied. Abraham almost sacrificed his son until an angel stopped him. He obeyed God even though it was a painful situation. The same thing happens today. God will often use temptation and trials to test our faith. When you are going through a hard time in your life, do you complain and groan about the misery you’re experiencing or do you see it as an opportunity for God to strengthen your faith in him? (Heart check for me!)
  • Even Jesus was led away into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. God did not lead him there to sin but to be tested. Satan tempted Jesus in 3 areas: Physicals needs and desires; possessions and power; and pride (see Matthew 4:1-11). Satan still uses these areas to tempt us. If we are vulnerable in any of these areas, Satan will use them against us. 1 John 2:16 tells us, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” Satan used these areas to tempt Eve. He told her she could have all the power she wanted if she ate of the forbidden tree. Sin entered the world because she failed the test and gave in to temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted, but if we give in to the temptation, it becomes a sin and allows evil to enter our lives. When God leads you into a test or when Satan tempts you, turn to Jesus Christ for strength. He endured severe temptation, yet he did not sin. He did this so that he could identify with mankind and he knows firsthand what we are experiencing. Lord, keep us from being tested. But if we are, lead us through and strengthen our faith by your mighty power!
  • JC Ryle explains that “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever,” we are declaring that, “he alone deserves to receive all ‘glory.’ And we conclude by offering to him our hearts, giving him all honor and praise, and rejoicing that he is King of kings, and Lord of lords.” This verse should be the words of our hearts and the motto of our lives.

This prayer brings the whole of God to our lives. When we ask for the daily bread of our present lives, this thought directs us to God the Father, the Creator & Sustainer of Life. When we ask for forgiveness, this directs our thoughts to Jesus Christ, the Savior & Redeemer. When we ask for help with future temptation, this directs our thoughts to the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Strengthener. (Barclay) “In the most amazing way this brief second part of the Lord’s Prayer takes the present, the past, and the future, the whole of man’s life, and presents them to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, to God in all his fullness.” (Barclay) This prayer, brings our hearts to a place of wholeness with God and it brings the wholeness of God to our lives.

May we use the Disciple’s Prayer as an example in our lives so that we will glorify God’s name and accomplish his will on earth.

Sermon on the Mount: Jesus Teaches about Prayer (Pt. 2) – The Disciple’s Prayer

“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1

In part 1 of our study about prayer, Jesus tells us and gives us examples of ways that we should not pray. In this study, Jesus teaches how to pray and gives us an example or a prayer model that we should follow. This prayer is a pattern that His disciples should follow and should not be taken lightly. Wiersbe explains that, “Jesus did not give this prayer to us to be memorized and recited a given number of times, but to keep us from using vain repetitions.” As Disciples of Christ, we should not use this prayer as a substitute but as a pattern for our lives. There are 6 petitions in this “Model Prayer.” The first 3 have to do with God’s glory, and the last 3 have to do with our needs. This study will focus on the first 3 petitions.

1.       Matthew 6:9, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”

  • First of all, we should note that Jesus says “Our Father.” We should always remember that He is the Father and we are a part of a worldwide family of believers. (Wiersbe)
  • When we bring our attention to the Father at the beginning of our prayer, we take the focus from ourselves and place it onto Him. Our prayer will become centered on Him and His holiness.
  • “Hallowed” means honor, revere, sanctify, or holy. Jesus is saying that we should always keep God’s name holy, and we should not use it in a derogatory or offensive way. Exodus 20:7 says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Our Father has done so much for us, and we should always respect His name and use it to bring honor and glory to Him. We can hallow God’s name not only through our mouths but through the lives we live. When we live out of love for Him, we can glorify His name. How are you revering God’s name?
  • “To know that God is, to know what kind of a God he is, to be constantly aware of God, and to be constantly obedient to him – that is reverence and that is what we pray for when we pray: ‘Hallowed be thy name.’” – Wm. Barclay

2.       Matthew 6:10a, “Your kingdom come.”

Kent Hughes explains this beautifully. He says that when we pray “your kingdom come,” we pray 3 things:

  1. First, we pray for the final and ultimate establishment of God’s kingdom. We pray for the day when all creation will freely call Him “Dearest Father” – “Abba.” There is an almost martial, triumphant ring to “your kingdom come.” Come, O Lord!
  2. Second, we pray “your kingdom come” so we will be conformed to His will in this world. As we pray this, we hand ourselves over to the grace of God so He may do with us as He pleases. Your kingdom come in my life. Use me for Your kingdom. 
  3. Third, “your kingdom come” is a prayer that God’s rule will come to others through us. It is a prayer for Christ to work His revolutionary power in a fallen world. Your kingdom come in my family, my job, my city, my nation.
  • When we pray this, we depend on a big God. Are our lives big enough to pray “Your kingdom come?”
  • “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20) Maranatha! Are your eyes turned toward the coming of His Kingdom?

 3.       Matthew 6:10b, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

  • Jesus explains that we should fully and completely direct our obedience to Him just as the angels do. John Piper explains that in Heaven, there is nothing but obedience to the will of God and that we should pray that earth will be filled with those who do the will of God the same way the angels do in Heaven. Praise the LORD, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will!” (Psalm 103:20-21) How much more could we accomplish for the Kingdom if all believers prayed and obeyed in this way!
  • Even Jesus carried out the will of the Father when he went to Calvary for us. “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42) Through His mortal flesh, He dreaded what was going to happen to Him, yet He wanted to carry out the will of the Father. Sometimes, it may seem that what God wants us to do is hard. But God has a purpose for what He asks of us. The path may seem rough and rocky, but God wants to accomplish His will and purposes through you. We don’t have to do it alone. He will be standing there to guide us and lead us through. Will you lay aside your plans and purposes and allow God to lead you to greater things through His will?

As you study these verses, take a deep look at how you revere God when you pray. Don’t just ask Him for things, but praise Him just for who He is! He is worthy of our deepest praise, worship, and love.

Lord, may our lives and prayers reflect you in a way that we are always seeking your will, awaiting your Kingdom, and praising and revering your holy and wonderful name!