Summary: This sermon looks at the discipline of Fasting.
1) Making the tie to series
Isn’t technology wonderful? We live in a world that can speak instantaneously to every corner of the globe. We can share information from hundreds of satellites to any position on earth. We have access to limitless information, and we can share our knowledge with a limitless number of people. We are all connected in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine. Just look at all the ways we have grown:
• You used to be able to reach an entire family with only one phone… now you have a list of 15 phone numbers for your family of three.
• Your daughter still sells Girl Scout Cookies… but now she does it via her web site.
• We’ve always sent pictures to Grandma… but now we have to explain what a JPEG is.
• Your dining room table used to be a place to eat dinner… now it has been upgraded to your flat filing cabinet and computer desk.
• We still leave our homes… but now if we leave without our cell phone… we panic.
• Java used to be something you drank first thing in the morning… now Java is an operating program you use to check your e-mail first thing in the morning.
My how we’ve grown.
All the while… we are more disconnected than we have ever been. We have become a generation that spends its time in front of a television rather than out in social groups. When we do connect with friends… we do it by e-mail or through Facebook instead of in person. Our toys… our gadgetry… while bringing the world closer than ever… has pushed people farther and farther away. More and more… we are alone.
It should come as no surprise that so many of us feel that same way about our relationship with God. We have lost that feeling of closeness with him. We have retreated into our own sanctuaries so deeply that he feels… such a long way off… impersonal, someone we shoot e-mails at when we need something. That is why we have to be reminded. That is why we need to take time to remember. That is why we are doing this sermon series. We need to be reminded how to get back into direct contact with him… and make our relationship personal again.
Last week, we talked about taking the time to listen. Today… we will discuss our second spiritual discipline… which also happens to be the number one thing we can do to help turn up the volume! Today… we will discuss what it means to fast. Now, as we discuss fasting, I want you to know that fasting is not limited to food… it means doing without something that gets in our way with the Lord. It is a different kind of fasting that we find in our scripture text today. To begin… lets get those bibles open… we are gonna kick this one verse by verse together…
2) (Vs 16) When you fast,
Alright… full stop. I know we believe that Jesus never did anything wrong… but what did Jesus just do wrong there? He forgot IF didn’t he? “If you fast…,” isn’t that what it’s suppose to be? I mean seriously… he is messing with the whole food pyramid thing we’ve got working here. “IF you happen to be in the mood and it’s not too much trouble to fast” is what it’s supposed to say right… NO! He says WHEN you fast. Lets keep pushing it and see where he goes with it.
3) (Pushing from 16 to Vs 19)
16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (and then we have verse 19… are you ready for it.) 19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Did any of the rest of you hear a grinding noise as Jesus just switched gears here? What on earth is going on? We were just getting rolling with Jesus telling us how fine we should look WHEN we fast… and all of a sudden he’s talking about not storing our treasure on earth. Besides being prone to making mistakes… do you suppose Jesus has A.D.D. too? We’re talking about fasting over here one second… and then were talking about not having anywhere to put all of our stuff another second! Right? I mean… if you were in the crowd that day… wouldn’t you speak up? “Alright Jesus… back the bus up… that fasting stuff was starting to get interesting… but where are you going with this whole ‘not having anywhere to put all of my stuff’ bit…” Lets push it a little more…