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Matthew 6:16-24

Talks for Growing Christians

The Lord Discusses Fasting and the Proper Attitude Toward Money

Matthew 6:16-24

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Lesson Number 13

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers should not publicize their spiritual fasting.
  2. Believers should not hoard their material treasure.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t try to serve God and money.

Questions

  1. What is “spiritual fasting”?
  2. What was the only fast commanded in the Old Testament?
  3. “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light…” What does this verse have to do with money?!
  4. What is “mammon”?
  5. What will happen if you try to serve God and money?

Answers

  1. Fasting for spiritual reasons, not weight loss!
  2. The Jews were only commanded to fast on the Day of Atonement. Any additional fasting was optional. Fasting may be appropriate for a special time of prayer or spiritual concern. But the Pharisees loved to fast for show.
  3. This is an illustration about our motives. How well do our priorities line up with the two commands in Matthew 5:19-20?
  4. Mammon is the Aramaic word for riches. We get our English word “money” from this word.
  5. The best you can hope for is that you will only despise the things of the Lord, and not hate them. Your loyalty will be divided, and money will always move up on your priority list, as the things of the Lord move down.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Many Christians say they love the Sermon on the Mount, when really they only like the Beatitudes. When it comes to the difficult sections on money and wealth, some people might prefer they weren’t there! Review some of your favorite highlights from our study of the Sermon on the Mount. Have you allowed these truths to affect your life? If Christians will use the whole Sermon on the Mount as a general guideline for living life and setting priorities, it will make a radical change in their lifestyle and value system.
  2. Suppose you were to lose all your material possessions tonight. How would it affect you? Your response depends on how well you obey the command to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Now discuss what one item you would take with you if your house caught on fire. Do your priorities line up with God’s?

Challenge

  1. Money is a prime focus in our culture. As Christians, we cannot have money as our #1 priority – that position belongs to God. Remember, don’t try to serve God and money.

Key Verses

  • “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matthew 6:19-20
  • “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.” Matthew 6:24

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