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Matthew 6:16-34, December 29, 2019
Your Heart and Your Priorities
Review – The Lord’s Prayer and Your Heart
Can we forgive others? Can we see our sins against God no matter how small we think they are, they are greater than any sin against us. Not sure what this means – look to what Jesus told us in Mark 11:25
and the comments of Spurgeon
6:16-18 Fasting The whole idea here is the question of Where is your heart? The same question we were told to address in giving and in prayer. Where are our hearts?
Fasting had a long history in Israel as well as in other cultures for expressing repentance for sin going back to Nehemiah 9:1-2 and Jonah 3:5
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day fasted twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays (Luke 18:12), more than what was required by the Law where God commanded Israel to fast one day each year, the day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-31. During their Exile the Israelites instituted even more regular fasts, and others were added later. Inevitably there was hypocritical fasting, for those who participated in fasting gained a reputation for piety, thus the need for Jesus’ instructions on fasting. The central idea of fasting is that during a fast our thoughts would turn to God and His will in our lives.
6:19-21 Treasures Story of friends of a man in the casket at a funeral illustrates you cannot take earthly treasures to heaven with you. When Jesus said Do not store up for yourselves it almost sounds like He is saying Do not be like those who store up treasures on earth as the Egyptian kings were know to do.
Consider that the life of many righteous persons have been destroyed because wealth suddenly began to accrue. John Wesley told of the effect of wealth on the spiritual lives of early Methodists, when, as a result of their ceasing heavy drinking combined with having a new attitude to work they began to build up possessions and prosper, with the result that as they became wealthier, so they became more slack in their spiritual activity.
Thus Jesus attacks this problem by stressing the vulnerability of possessions. Men need to/must get the right attitude toward their possessions to enable them to cope with them. Will they own the possessions or will the possessions own them. When you find you have wealth in excess of what you really need, you must give serious thought about what you will do with the excess. Use it to build up earthly treasure where it is vulnerable and you cannot take it with you or to build up Heavenly treasure where there are eternal rewards. Show me a person’s checkbook and you can see where a person’s treasures are … and if not his checkbook then his appointment book – where does he spend his time? What does your time and your checkbook say about where your treasures are found? Will we choose to serve the god of MeMeMe or MoreMoreMore or God and His will? Consider the rich young man in Mark 10:18-22 where Jesus looked on him with love and told him what he had to do to have treasure in heaven.
6:22-23 Your Eyes/Your Heart How can your eyes reveal your heart? Jesus already gave one example in 5:28. What are we looking at, what do we spend our time looking at with our eyes? TV? Movies? Football? Basketball? Or on God’s word, reading it, listening to it, putting it into practice in our lives. What you process through your eyes will determine if you are filled with light or filled with darkness. Recall darkness is not the opposite of light, but simply the absence of light. There is no push/pull of opposites, darkness is where you will not find God’s light.
6:24 Two Masters Here Jesus summarizes what He has said about giving, praying, fasting, and treasures in heaven.
Guzik tells us It can be simply said: Don’t serve your money. Let your money serve the Lord and it will serve you.
It is easy to see that the principle here is one of conflict of interest. An example in earthly matters is having a RE agent represent both the seller and the buyer when they are negotiating or in court having the same lawyer represent both sides in a legal disagreement. Peter Pett tells us there is no compromise possible with God. You cannot serve God and money, but as Guzik said Your money may serve the Lord.
6:25-34 Worry and The Future These verses bring out that the next thing that we have to beware of is being anxious about relatively unimportant matters. We are to consider that there is much more to life than food and clothing and other possessions, that our inner life is much more important than food and clothing. Living as Jesus would have us live will lead to food and clothing being taken care of.
Bottom Line: We are not to be overly focused with concern about our daily needs. Instead we are to make sure our concern, our focus, is truly fixed on seeking God’s Will and seeing His Will done on earth in our lives.