The words of the Lord Jesus

Fasting to Be Seen Only by God

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew chapter 6 verses 16-18

 

The Sermon on the Mount

In this series I’m outlining pure foundational truths about the Kingdom of Heaven, a spiritual kingdom.

The teachings of Jesus as found in the Sermon on the Mount, in the synoptic gospel of Matthew chapters 5 to 7, are part of the True Christian Gospel.

These amazing teachings of Jesus, recorded in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, are the anti-thesis of the Prosperity Gospel of American Prosperity Gospel so-called pastors and tele-evangelists such as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Paula White, and Australians Brian Houston of Hillsong, Phil Pringle of C3 Church, and many other so-called Pentecostal churches throughout the world- who are not really Pentecostal churches at all but Mammon (Money) and Property-Seeking churches.

They have had their reward in full on this earth.

 

Lesson 20 from the Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is recorded in the gospel of Matthew chapters 5 to 7.

I’ve been to the gently sloping hill above Capernaum, near the shores of Lake Galilee in Northern Israel, where the Lord Jesus taught his disciples and the gathered large crowds and gave lessons about the true nature of the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 6 

New King James Version (NKJV)

Do Good to Please God

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

The Model Prayer

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. ] And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.[c]

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Fasting to Be Seen Only by God

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Lamp of the Body

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

You Cannot Serve God and Riches

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.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

 

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew chapter 6 verses 16-18

Here in today’s lesson from the Lord Jesus, we have another reminder about “motives”.

I first came across open boasting and parading about righteous deeds back in New Zealand when I was young.

The Pacific Island churches in Auckland would write the names of givers to the church on a blackboard at the front of the church, in order of merit, with the amount given alongside their name, and leave it there for all to see. My father, a leading New Zealand Presbyterian clergy, told me about this practice after I observed the blackboard when I attended a service with him. It was done in the Pacific Islander Presbyterian Churches in Auckland and in other denominations. It was related to tribal customs of eldership, honour and prestige. A cultural thing. But it was a breach of the teachings of the Lord Jesus and fuel for the pride of life.

I came across this practice of flaunting giving, and publicly displayed holiness at C3 Church at Oxford Falls in Sydney, Australia. Phil Pringle, head pastor of C3 Church, a New Zealander from Christchurch by origin, has no qualms about extolling people who give big to his church. He has a special group of business people and big givers who meet together regularly and boast about their deeds. Phil Pringle uses these meeting to ply people’s egos and extoll the big givers, to encourage all to sacrifice and give big to his church. This practice is a direct breach of the teachings of Jesus.

Frank Houston, the secret pedophile founder of Hillsong, used to boast from the pulpit that he’d shave twice on Sunday morning to make himself “more holy” and “more pleasing to his Holy God”. He forgot to mention that he’d been doing homosexual acts and kinky sexual experiments, using accessories like Coke bottles, with his young 20 year old worship leader Peter Laughton all week.

So, Jesus said, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting”.

In other words, refrain from all the shenanigans and hypocrisies, like the kinds of things described above, that the Prosperity Gospel crowd and others do. Practice your righteousness before God, to please God, and not as a parade before men.

When you fast don’t look haggard and moan about how hungry you are. If you choose to fast or make any sacrifice for God, don’t “blow your trumpet” about it.

God’s chosen fast is a spiritual practice done in humility, secretly, unto Almighty God.