Monday, April 3, 2017

Personal or Small Group Study of Matthew 6:16-18 --Look I'm Spiritual

For the next few weeks (Monday and Thursday), I am going to present a small class Bible study looking over Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. 


QUESTION: Would you like to have your name on a building? Or be known as someone how gives away lots of money or stuff? 

Does this question sound familiar? It is the same one we used a few weeks back. Though giving money away is one way to be recognized there is another way, being recognized for being spiritual. 

QUESTION: Can you think of anywhere that being considered a spiritual person would be admired?
As this is being written the one place which stands out is in church or with religious leaning people. (if you think of another one please contact me, I want to hear it, CSA) 

QUESTION: Since we know that Jesus didn’t want us to give to be recognized by people what do you think Jesus thinks about doing spiritual things to be recognized by people? (Examples: solitary of public praying, fasting, Bible reading, or other spiritual disciplines)   

READ: Matthew 6:16-18 “And when you fast, 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. 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 teaching on not doing things to be seen of others continues. In Matthew 6:1-6, Jesus warns about pray or giving to be seen of others. Here Jesus talks about another spiritual activity, fasting. 

EXPLANATION: Fasting is giving up something usually food in conjunction with prayer to bring a request to God or to grow closer to God, by giving up something we enjoy. Giving up beef liver and brussel sprouts is not fasting (unless you really like them). Also, Biblical fasting also does not endanger the body. Fasting food for many people is not advisable because it does endanger the body (children, teens and those with medical conditions should not give up food, sorry you have to eat your vegetables).

Jesus warning is the same he gave before If you are doing spiritual activities to be noticed by others or to receive the praise of others you gain nothing spiritual from it. Jesus is not saying we should not participate in what is often referred to as spiritual disciples to be admired by others. If you are unsure what the spiritual disciplines are, ask your pastor/priest. 

What is clear is like, with prayer, Jesus is asking us what our motive is. He is not saying don’t do these things but why?

QUESTION: Let’s review: What motive is Jesus condemning? 

The Question only you can answer in the quiet of your own soul is why are you doing what you are doing? Maybe the other question you may want to ask along with prayer and fasting is why are you here, in this study? What is your real motive?

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