“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The Savior contrasts earthly riches and heavenly riches in this passage. And the contrast is very stark indeed.
Earthly riches are temporary. They only last for a season. Earthly riches are susceptible to decay and can be stolen. Earthly treasures may have a place in our lives but they are terrible foundations on which to build one’s life.
Heavenly riches, by contrast, are eternal and lasting. They cannot be touched by earthly sin, greed, or power. We lay up riches in heaven by serving God, trusting Him, giving to His church, loving others, and through many other acts of worship and service.
Where is your treasure? It is it in heaven or on earth? Remember Jesus Words—“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.29 My Father,who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.30 I and My Father are one.”
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.
Fasting is the practice of denying oneself food for a particular time. It was practiced by Godly Jews in Jesus’ day and by other ancient religion groups of that time. It is still encouraged by religious sects in our day and some are quite radical in their observance of fasting.
Christ’s lesson is similar to His other teaching in this chapter. His disciples were not to make a show of fasting as others did. They were to be quiet and humble in their fasting. And God would reward them for trusting in Him as they sought to serve Him.
What is the purpose of fasting? Let us examine a few reasons for this practice.
To Seek God
We fast in order to seek after God. We deny ourselves the pleasure of eating for a time so that we may hear from God through His Word, His People, and His Spirit.
To Focus on God
Fasting allows us to focus our hearts more fully upon our relationship with God. Getting away from the earthly for a season is often a good way to get in touch with the heavenly.
To Pray to God
This reason may be obvious, but, we need to see it as well. Taking the time to pray when we would be eating is important for Christians. Prayer and the study of the Bible, while fasting, are two ways that God reveals Himself to us.
Fasting does not guarantee that we will receive everything we want. We will not always have all the answers we desire after fasting. But, the goal of fasting is to deepen our relationship with Christ. Our aim is to know Him better and fasting will help accomplish that goal.
“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.
Sin has great power. Because of that power, humans face tragic outcomes due to their disobedience to God. Since Genesis 3, men and women have struggled with sin and its consequences. And even today the battle rages on in the lives of human beings.
Sin dominates our lives every day. There is not a day that goes by where we are not tempted to sin. Satan, the prince of this world, tempts us and seeks to draw us away from God. Even Christians are not immune from the temptations of this world.
Sin devastates everyone in its wake. Sin not only has consequences for the sinner, transgression also affects those who are not directly involved. The great lie of Satan is this—“my sin is private and it will only impact me.” That statement is wrongheaded and fallacious on its face. Our transgressions affect those in our lives as well as us.
Sin ultimately destroys through death. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve are told that death would be the great consequence of disobedience to God’s Word. Every generation since has dealt with the destruction and inevitability of death.
What is the solution to sin? Jesus! Trust in Christ as your Savior today. Jesus died for our sin (Romans 5:8), He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), and He offers us the gift of salvation as we trust the Lord by faith. (Romans 6:23) Christians are then empowered to live for Christ and not for sin.
Sin will be a struggle until we get to heaven. Christian, let us fight against disobedience every day. The struggle is real and lives are at stake.
“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.
Jesus amplifies the need for forgiveness in these verses. Christians are to forgive on the basis of how the Father has forgiven us. We honor God as Kingdom citizens when we extend forgiveness to others.
Jesus also warns that when we withhold pardon from others our Father will not forgive us. Let us interject that Jesus is not speaking of forgiveness as it pertains to salvation. He is speaking of forgiveness as it projects to sanctification and spiritual growth. We will never grow and mature in our Christian faith as long as we hold on to un-forgiveness. It’s just not possible.
To put it succinctly, forgiveness is not optional for the Believer in Christ. Learn to forgive. It’s not always easy, but, you will never regret extending forgiveness.
We should pray according to the pattern Jesus has given us in order to deepen our relationship with the Father. Believer, pray daily, regularly, concisely, and faithfully. What a mighty God we serve!
What is sin? That’s a good question to ask in this age of confusion. The Scriptures describe sin in several different ways. Let’s examine three of those ways for this post. **Sin is missing the mark. Romans 3:23 tells us for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Because of their sinfulness, humans fall short of God’s intentions for His creation which he designed for His glory. Therefore, the sinfulness of people masks the glory of God in humanity. **Sin is breaking God’s law. We are told in 1 John 3:4 that whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. Disobedience to God’s laws and commands is a capital offense in the Heavenly courts. Lawbreakers deserve judgment. **Finally, sin is failing to do good when the opportunity arises. The apostle James teaches therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17) Christians don’t always think of failing to do good as sinfulness. Nonetheless, the Scriptures teach this principle. I am thankful that Jesus paid the price for our sin. Through His sacrifice and resurrection, sins can be forgiven and atoned. Praise to the Lord, great things He has done. Tony French
In this manner, therefore, pray:Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
In this Scripture, Jesus gives us a model for how we are pray. The prayer is called the “Lord’s Prayer” and it is also referred to as the “Model Prayer.” Let’s examine the four aspects of this prayer and how it should be a model for us in our prayer life. Our prayers should contain the following elements.
Our prayers should be overflowing with praise and adoration to God. He is our Father and He rules and reigns. He is our King and we genuflect in praise of His greatness, power, and grace. We await the day His Kingdom is fully revealed in power and might upon this earth. Let us praise God in prayer at every opportunity.
Praying for the needs of others and our own needs has a rightful place in our prayer life. Praying for needs is one of our greatest privileges as a Believer. Pray for needs knowing that God knows us better than we know ourselves.
This component is two-fold. We are to ask for forgiveness and confess our sins when we pray. (1 John 1:8-10) We continually need the cleansing from sin so that we can continue to grow in the faith.
We are also taught to forgive others in this example. As a matter of fact, God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
Jesus ends His model prayer by praying for our holiness. We should be pursue holiness by seeking to become more like Jesus every day. We are not saved by our works, but, we are saved for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
It is not wrong in any sense to recite the Lord’s Prayer as written in Matthew (Luke). However, the point of Jesus’ teaching seems to be more about form and element as opposed to strict recitation. Our prayer-life should contain elements of praise, petition, pardon, and purity.
Every prayer may not contain every element every single time. But as we incorporate these components into our regular prayer time we will grow in knowledge, grace, love, and hope!
God is the Creator of all. He created all we see and all that is unseen. The Lord brought us into existence through His power and might. Let us think of three aspects of God’s creative work in the universe.
**God created the universe out of nothing.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
**God created all there is by His Word. The Lord spoke the cosmos into existence.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
**The Almighty declared His creation very good.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Praise the name of the Lord our God! He is worthy!
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.
Jesus contrasts the prayers of the religious leaders of His day with how we are to pray as Christians who are truly seeking Christ. We will examine this juxtaposition as we study this passage this week. As we study, we find that simple, straightforward prayers are best for God’s people.
Pagan prayers in Jesus day would drone on for hours and hours. People at that time were given to long prayers where the same word or phrase would be repeated again and again. Many thought that the only way to be heard by their “gods” was to make a great show of long praying and even more extreme actions. (1 Kings 18:26-29)
Jesus shows us another way. Our prayer should be concise and simple. There’s no need to speak on and on using the same trite phrases and word combinations. God knows what we need before we even ask. Trust Him and ask in faith. Our prayers ought to be marked by faith and trust—not by showiness and spectacular drama!
Pray well, Child of God. The Lord hears our prayers and answers in His time.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
Let us think today of the decrees of God. The word decree means an “order” that has the force of law. As such, God orders all things that come to pass and His plan never fails.
The Lord has a plan for history and He has a plan for you. And whatever God wills ultimately comes to pass. He chooses, predestines, and works out His calling for every believer and every detail of this universe.
God’s decrees do not remove us from the consequences of our freewill actions. Yet, somehow and in some way, the decrees of the almighty are worked out through the voluntary actions of His creatures. He works all things together for His glory and our ultimate good (Romans 8:28-30)
There is much about God’s decrees that we will never comprehend. We can trust in Him nonetheless. God is immutable, good and holy. Be uplifted Christian friend, God has not forgotten you. Trust Him and His plan for your life.