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January 6: Fasting is Feasting (Matthew 6:16-18)

Prepare for Sunday worship by using the guide below.

Matthew 6:16-18

[16] “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. [17] But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, [18] that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)

Sermon Summary

Most know that Jesus calls for his people to pray. Did you know Jesus expects his people to fast for spiritual direction and power to do his work in this world? For some, fasting terrifies us with the threat of headaches and irritability. Others see it as a nasty hangover of medieval times. For most, fasting is simply an unknown, other than the fast we regularly break in the morning called 'breakfast.' What does Jesus say about fasting? What is it? How do we fast? What is the purpose? There is a feast that awaits those who fast, a great reward promised by Jesus. It is ultimately not a giving but a getting, a getting more of God as we will see in Matthew 6:16-18.

Review and Apply

Explain your experience with fasting: good, bad or non-existent.

What has prevented you in the past from fasting?

What is Jesus' warning regarding fasting? What reward do these hypocrites receive?

What is the point in anointing our head and washing our face in fasting?

How does the Father reward those who fast for God's pleasure?

What is the next step for you regarding fasting?