Fasting | Week 8 | This Present Kingdom
Week 8 of This Present Kingdom sees Donna Gaines examining Matthew 6 to share how we are to practice fasting as believers. Whether you choose to forgo food, social media, or something else, fasting is all about keeping God first. Join Donna for this exciting edition of This Present Kingdom, the Women's Ministry study at Bellevue Baptist Church.
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This Present Kingdom Week 8 – Kingdom Seekers
We seek first what we treasure most!
“We may as well realize at the outset that this chapter 6 is again a very searching one; indeed, we can go further and say that it is a very painful one. I sometimes think that it is one of the most uncomfortable chapters to read in the entire Scriptures. It probes and examines and holds a mirror up before us and it will not allow us to escape” (D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 291).
In Matthew 5, Jesus dealt with our inner man. He dealt with our hearts and the character of Christ to which we are to be conformed. As we move into chapter 6, He reveals what having the character of Christ looks like in our life - in the world and with our Father. Jesus addresses giving, prayer, and fasting.
We are not to live our lives for the applause of man, but of God. We have a tendency to either err on the side of living to please man or going to the other extreme of living as a monk or a hermit to avoid it. The Christian life is a delicate balance. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” Yet, in chapter 6 He tells us not to do our works to be seen by men. They are not contradictory. Once again, it is a matter of the heart.
“The ultimate choice is always the choice between pleasing self and pleasing God” (D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 293). How are we to do this? Lloyd- Jones goes on to say, “Do things as you are moved by God and led by the Holy Spirit, and then forget about them. How is this to be done? There is only one answer, and that is that we should have such a love for God that we have no time to think about ourselves. We shall never get rid of self by concentrating on self. The only hope is to be so consumed by love that we have no time to think about ourselves” (p. 298). Consider Calvary each time you are tempted to put the focus back on self.
Resource – If by Amy Carmichael
I. Fasting – Matthew 6:16-18
Definition – Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is taught in the Bible. Jesus expected His followers to fast, and He said that God rewards fasting. Fasting, according to the Bible, means to voluntarily reduce or eliminate your intake of food for a specific time and purpose (https://assets.speakcdn.com/assets/1927/prayer_fasting5.pdf).
Resource - Campus Crusade for Christ - https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and- grow/spiritual-growth/fasting/how-to-do-a-biblical-fast.html
Bellevue has designated the 3rd of each month as a day of fasting and prayer. You can sign up to pray at a certain time or to receive the email with prayer requests for the month at www.bellevue.org/pray.
II. Where is your treasure? – Matthew 6:19-21
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who
sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
“God gives back lavishly to generous, cheerful givers, not so they may satisfy selfish, nonessential desires, but so they may meet the variety of needs others have” (John MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1746).
This is not the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. The Old Testament equated material wealth with God’s blessing. The Old Testament grants us physical pictures of spiritual realities. As followers of Christ, we are to work for His Kingdom, not the kingdom of this world. Jesus warns us about how material wealth can capture our hearts. We are to lay up treasure in Heaven.
1 Timothy 6:9-10; 17-19
III. How is your eye? – Matthew 6:22-24
“Once your soul treasures something you will pay any price to get it” (Tim Keller, Sermon - Treasure vs. Money)
How do you know if money has a hold on you?
How do you react to rich people? If you disdain or resent them, money still has power over you. If you envy them, money has power over you.
How do you respond to poor people? The gospel humbles you.
When money has no hold over you, you get really generous. If your eyes are good (generous), you will be always looking for ways to give.
“The Gospel says, you are more sinful that you ever believed and more loved than you ever dared hope...Practice sexual integrity and financial promiscuity” (Tim Keller, Treasure vs. Money).
The Cross is the standard!
Only when you treasure Jesus, will you be free from the love of money.
IV. Do not worry – Matthew 6:25-32
V. The Solution – Seek First His Kingdom – Matthew 6:33-34
Mary of Bethany chose the one thing. Have you?
Hold everything open-handed before the Lord – it ALL belongs to Jesus!
We seek first what we treasure most!