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Summary: God has given us three keys to receiving heavenly rewards in our lives: Generous giving, powerful praying, and faithful fasting. Let’s give, pray and fast for spiritual breakthrough in our lives. (Matt. 6:1-18).

THE BLESSED LIFE #5: THREE KEYS TO HEAVENLY REWARDS

THE BIG IDEA: God has given us three keys to receiving heavenly rewards in our lives: Generous giving, powerful praying, and faithful fasting. Let’s give, pray and fast for spiritual breakthrough in our lives. (Matt. 6:1-18).

OPENING TEXT:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1, NASB).

I. GENEROUS GIVING:

“Therefore, when you give to the poor, 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 give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” (Matt. 6:2-4, NASB).

• When we give with the right heart attitude, God rewards us.

• When we give just to be seen by others, their approval is our only reward.

WHAT IS GIVING? Two different kinds:

(1) giving to the poor &

(2) giving tithes & offerings

• Giving to the poor: “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed” (Proverbs 19:17).

• Giving to the Lord in tithes and offerings: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ’How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation {of you!} Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” (Malachi 3:8-10).

II. POWERFUL PRAYING:

“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.” (Matthew 6:5-8).

• “When you pray” – note the assumption that all Christians will pray.

• Go to your room, shut the door to distractions, and open the door to Jesus (Rev. 3:20).

• What is prayer? Developing a personal relationship with Jesus. “The secret place.”

• Heavenly reward: “Prayer is the detonator to the dynamite of God.” (Dave Koop).

WHAT IS PRAYER – HOW DO WE PRAY?

In this manner, therefore, pray:

• Person: Our Father in heaven, (we are praying to a person)

We would do well to meditate long on our Father’s heart of love.

• Praise: Hallowed be Your name. (we give God praise for who He is)

• Priorities: Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

• Provision: Give us this day our daily bread. (we ask God to meet our needs)

• Pardon: And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. (ask for forgiveness)

• Protection: And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.

• Praise: For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:9-15).

• Note one of the roadblocks to answered prayer: unforgiveness!

III. FAITHFUL FASTING:

“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. 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.” (Matthew 6:16-18).

WHAT IS FASTING? Richard Foster defined fasting as “the voluntary denial of a normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”

• You can fast food, yes, but you can also fast TV or movies for extended periods of time.

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