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Talk 3.22

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Welcome to this week's edition of Calvary's video blog. We are thinking together about Lent, and some of the activities that we do during Lent. Last time I talked to you, I talked about fasting, and there are still some more about that subject, that I'd like to cover with you. I'd like to begin by asking a question - - an imaginary situation. Imagine that it's Tuesday, and you are invited over to some friend's house from church, for dinner, and they get ready to serve you dessert, and when they give you dessert, you have already decided in your mind, that for Lent you were going to give up sweets, they come and give you dessert, and you say "no thank you, I would not like any" and they want to know why. Why are you not eating. The question is, do you tell them? Do you tell them that you are fasting from desserts for Lent, and if you do so, have you lost your reward for doing it? Have you violated Matthew chapter 6? In Matthew 6, we are given the indication that if we fast, it's something that is supposed to be between us, and the Lord. How does that work when you choose to give something up for Lent, and someone else asks you if you are giving something up for Lent? Should you say, "I'm not going to tell you"? Or should you try to get out of it any way possible? What's the best response? It's a good question, the answer, I think, lies in reading Matthew 6 very carefully, and looking at it in relation to some other passages in scripture. In Matthew 6, there are 2 sections. One is about giving, and one is about fasting. And there is similar language between those two sections, and both have the idea that we're not supposed to be doing what we are doing, for the sake of receiving the praise of other people. But a careful reading of those two sections, you will notice there are some differences between the two. In the section about giving, Jesus goes way out of his way to say things like, don't even let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. So he really emphasizes the secrecy, nature of not telling anybody how much you're giving, and what you're doing with your giving, lest you violate this command and receive honor from humans, instead of honor from God. When he talks about fasting, he doesn't use that same sort of language. He does still say those things which are done in secret will be rewarded by your father, who sees everything done in secret. But the thing Jesus seems to be most concerned with, in the section about fasting, is not telling people that you are, or aren't fasting, He seems to be more concerned with disfiguring your face, and making it look like you're really suffering for how much you're fasting. And that seems to be the thing that he doesn't want us to do. I take it also from the fact that, none of us know, how much money Jesus ever gave in his life. I mean, clearly he made donations to the temple, and clearly he made donations to those who were poor, that he gave freely of the monetary resources that were entrusted to him, but nobody has any clue how much he gave, or to who he them. That's because Jesus was following his own commands, and keeping secret what he was giving. Not letting the right hand know what the left hand was doing. However, we do know that he fasted. For example, when he went away to be tempted, he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. But the only people that were there, were Satan, and himself. So the only way we could have found out that Jesus was fasting, is, is if he told us. I'm pretty sure that Satan wasn't the one who let the gospel writers know. So Jesus obviously told somebody that he fasted. People understood that Jesus fasted. And so that seems to be different than how he treats his giving of money. Same thing seems to be true in Acts chapter 13. We are told that the church was getting together, fasting and praying, when the Lord came and said, "Set apart for me Barnabus and Saul for the work that I have for them". So again, if it was wrong for anyone to even mention the fact that they were fasting, we have to ask, "Well what was happening in Acts Chapter 13"?. So to me, the answer to the question, if somebody asks you,"Why aren't you eating dessert", or somebody asks you, "What are you fasting from for Lent", I think it's a great opportunity to tell them. There's no,... it can't be Christian to lie to them and make up some other reason, but it can be an opportunity to explain why Christ is so important, to be able to explain why you have chosen to do this. I think we violate Matthew 6, if we begin to disfigure our faces, and complain about what a tough burden it is to fast, and how hard it is, and how,...what a great Christian we are for doing this... that's where I think Matthew 6 is really,... Jesus is making his point. So this Lenten season, if somebody asks you what are fasting from, if you decide to brag about it, or complain about it, then I do think that you've done something for the wrong motives. If you simply inform them, and share with them that you've enjoyed being able to do this because it's an oppportunity to join Christ in his suffering, I don't think you've fallen afoul of Matthew chapter 6. I think instead, you are following the pattern of Jesus, and of the apostles, who were willing to share with one another the act of fasting, as a means of encouraging each other towards love and good deeds in Christ Jesus. I hope that helps as you think through that situation, as it might rise in your life. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 21 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 42
Posted by: ccwebguy on Mar 23, 2011

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