Sermon on the Mount study notes – Matthew 6:5-18

I have started a small group series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). I am sharing my notes in case anyone else wants to use them with their group. [Reminder that these are only notes!]

Sermon on the Mount – Part 10

Matthew 5:1-2:
Jesus wants to teach the crowds: Who are they? Jewish disciples: People who understand the
Scriptures (at least to a point). Notice from 7:28 the crowds still came along, but this teaching is for His disciples.

What does “blessed” mean?
Based on the first twelve verses, blessed means realizing our own wretchedness and need for a Savior. In other words, it is becoming/being a Christian.

What was discussed last time?
• Giving to the needy
• Love your neighbor as yourself
o We are serving Christ when we serve others.

Matthew 6:1:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people …”
• Jesus is continuing from this point: why do we fast and pray?

What does Jesus repeat throughout the first half of ch. 6?

“They have received their reward … And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6:5,16:
Fasting and Praying:

  • Why do we fast and pray? (Surface-level, observation of people)
    • Because we are supposed to.
    • Because we want something.
      • From God, and this is how we make God see we’re serious
      • From people, and this is how we show them we are holy and serious
  • Why should we fast? (Real, biblical reasons)
    • Prepare
      • Ministry
      • Event/Life-change
    • Seek
      • Wisdom
      • Deliverance (spiritual attack, for loved ones)
      • Victory (over sin, circumstances)
    • Repent
      • Personal sins
      • Corporate sins
        • Family
        • Congregation
        • Community
        • Region
        • Nation – World
    • Grief/Healing
    • Worship

Matthew 6:6,17-18:
Do we only pray private prayers or only fast secretly?

  • No, because what about all of the calls to public, corporate prayer/fasting?
  • It is a matter of the heart: why are we doing it? For show, or to seek God?

Matthew 6:7-8:
Think of what Jesus means (Compare 2 Corinthians 10:5):

  • Pagan meditation:
    • Clearing mind of all thought
    • Focused on a desire (i.e. The Secret)
  • Pagan prayers:
    • Some are “okay”, sure, but Jesus is speaking to the prayers of mindlessly speaking or repeating a specific prayer or chant over and over in the hopes that a god will hear.
      • Stream-of-consciousness
  • Not bad in and of itself, but unfocused and unthinking.
  • The matter of “speaking in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14)
    • Tongues is supposed to be “for the unbeliever” as a sign
      • Repeating a word or phrase repeatedly.

So, what about The Lord’s Prayer?

Matthew 6:9-13:
Seems repetitive to say every day/week:

  • Is this a command to pray this way:
    • Not exactly: Jesus says “Pray in this manner” and not necessarily “Pray these words.”
    • It’s not bad to repeat a good prayer!
  • What is Jesus saying?
    • Compare Luke 11:1-4 (11:5-13 shows up in Matthew 7:7-11)
      • Jesus was specifically asked how to pray (not what to pray)
    • How do we pray?
      • Worship God (hallowed, or holy, be Your name)
        • Do we live in such a way that shows God’s holiness?
      • Help us live out God’s will (Your Kingdom come …)
        • Are we fulfilling the Great Commission?
      • Meet our needs (Give us this day …)
        • Are we trusting in His sovereignty, grace, and mercy?
      • Repentance (forgive us …)
        • We mess up, but also remember one of the reasons for fasting: praying for our lost loved ones
      • Help (lead us not …)
        • To get through each day but also in emergencies
    • Notice these are not numbered nor too specific!
    • If we know the reasoning, it is not bad to recite the prayer. It can help focus us on Christ.
    • It is not a thing to be done as penance/punishment (Yes, this is a jab at the Catholic Church)

Matthew 6:14-15:
Again, focused on our hearts/minds:

  • If we hold grudges, are we showing we don’t understand forgiveness?
    • Malice and hatred are the antithesis of grace and mercy
    • We might not actually be saved.
  • Have you forgiven yourself?
    • This is not to say “If you can’t forgive yourself, God won’t either.”
    • In spite of our sinfulness He saved us!
    • We might not actually be saved if we get too hung up on our sinfulness.
    • Believing we are unforgivable implies God can’t save us (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit)

Fasting and Prayer is to help us communicate with God, to change us.

“Prayer is for us, not God. He knows what we need, and we need Him.”

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