The Sermon on the Mount, Part 14

Welcome to Timeless Truth with Pastor Jim Thomas. This season, Pastor Jim is leading us in a study of The Sermon on the Mount.

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew, chapters 5-7.

We have learned from Jesus that while our good works/deeds should be public and bring glory to God, our expressions of religious devotion should be private to bring glory to God, not to us.

Fasting, as a religious practice, is often connected throughout scripture with at least three things: 1. prayer. 2. Repentance 3. A focused effort to seek God’s wisdom, guidance and leading on certain matters. 

Jesus Himself fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. Through the Bible we read of people like Moses, Nehemiah, the people of Nineveh, the prophet Daniel, all spent time fasting. In the NT, Saul of Tarsus fasted after his conversion in Acts 9. The early church fasted before sending Paul and Barnabas out on the first missionary journey. So, there are solid biblical examples and reasons for fasting.

There is a vertical benefit to fasting in that it stirs our awareness of our reliance on God and there is a horizontal benefit in that we are reminded that we are here to join God in His mission in this world to alleviate the suffering of others who might not even know where their next meal is coming from. One might also argue there is a moral benefit, in that we exercise the often unused moral muscle of being able to tell our desires “no.” A muscle that seems to have atrophied in many modern and postmodern people.

“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is  seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready  to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” 
Andrew Murray

“Looking back over these verses, it is evident that throughout Jesus has been contrasting two alternative kinds of piety, pharisaic and Christian. Pharisaic piety is ostentatious, motivated by vanity and rewarded by men. Christian piety, motivated by humility and rewarded by God.”
John Stott

Subscribe to our podcasts: 

More resources from The Village Chapel:

Scroll to Top