Summary: Here in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us some more important lessons for life. 1. Fast for our Heavenly Father (vs. 16-18). 2. Store more eternal treasure than earthly treasure (vs. 19-21). 3. Live in the light of the Lord (vs. 22-23). 4. Make the Messiah our Master (vs. 24).
Life Lessons from the Lord
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 26, 2013
(Revised March 27, 2021)
*It's getting close to summer, and little kids everywhere are learning how to swim. Did you ever try to teach your children how to swim? That was a lot of fun wasn't it? The lesson I learned was this: Never try to teach your own children how to swim, unless you absolutely have to. That is a job best left to the professionals.
*The best person to teach you about plumbing is a plumber. The best person to teach you about brain surgery is a brain surgeon. And the best person to teach us about life is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
*Here in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us more important lessons for life.
1. AND THE FIRST LESSON IS THAT WE SHOULD FAST FOR OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
*The Lord spoke about fasting in vs. 16-18, where He said:
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."
 WHEN IT COMES TO FASTING, NOTICE THAT THE LORD CARES ABOUT OUR HABITS.
*Most of us need to change our eating habits. Many of us, including me, tend to eat too much. We get addicted to things, and one of those things is food. For example, I love coffee. I have no problem going without coffee, as long as I can drink 3 or 4 cups a day.
*I like what Charles Lowry once said about being addicted to coffee: "You know you are drinking too much coffee:
-When you answer the door before people knock.
-When you convert your car's radiator so you can brew a pot on the way to work.
-When you can play ping-pong without a partner.
-And when you chew on other people's fingernails." (1)
*Most of us have bad habits when it comes to food. But here Jesus mentioned a good habit regarding food, and that is fasting. In vs. 16-17, Jesus didn't say "IF you fast." He said, "WHEN you fast."
*The three most important personal, spiritual disciplines I can think of are prayer, Bible study and fasting. Many people neglect all of these, but fasting is the most neglected of all. As the Lord leads, and as our health allows, all believers should get in the habit of fasting.
 BUT FASTING IS NOT JUST ABOUT OUR HABITS. IT'S ABOUT OUR HEARTS.
*God promises here to richly reward us, if we will fast. But we have to fast with the right attitude. So, in vs. 17-18 Jesus said, "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 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."
*Fasting then, is not just about skipping meals. It is not just about our habits. It's about our heart. Fasting is not for other people to see. It's for our Heavenly Father. It's for seeking God, with the desire to please our Heavenly Father. Fasting is about our hunger for God, and this is the kind of hunger we need.
*John Piper wrote about our hunger for God and said: "The more deeply you walk with Christ, the hungrier you get for Christ. . .
-The more homesick you get for heaven. . .
-The more you want 'all the fullness of God'. . .
-The more you want to be done with sin. . .
-The more you want the Bridegroom to come again. . .
-The more you want the Church revived and purified with the beauty of Jesus. . .
-The more you want to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ penetrate the darkness of all the unreached peoples of the world. . .
-The more you want to see false worldviews yield to the force of Truth. . .
-The more you want to see pain relieved, tears wiped away and death destroyed. . .
-The more you long for every wrong to be made right and the justice and grace of God to fill the earth like the waters cover the sea." (2)
*Fasting is about our hunger for God, so we should fast for our Heavenly Father.