Last night (1/6) I preached Matthew 6:16-18, a message entitled “Hypocritical Fasting.” Since last September I’ve taken a break from this Gospel, so I was excited about getting back to this first book of the NT.
As many of you know chapters 5-7 of Matthew is the Sermon on the Mount. It is perhaps the most famous sermon that Jesus ever preached. The overarching theme of the sermon is about the king, his kingdom, and how his kingdom citizens ought to conduct themselves in the kingdom of God. Hence this sermon is full of the kingdom-living principles.
Jesus opens this sermon with various beatitudes, which are criteria and characteristics as to who are the true kingdom citizens. He then gives definitive explanation to various interpretive issues such as murder, adultery, divorce, etc. He then opens chapter 6 with a strong warning not to become and behave self-righteous and hypocrites like the Pharisees. He then points out three areas of hypocritical dangers: giving (vv. 1-4), praying (vv. 5-15), and fasting (vv. 16-18).
From the text I addressed three aspects of fasting: expected exercise, erroneous exercise, and example exercise. However, unlike the previous two (giving and praying), I made a biblical argument that fasting is not a normative practice for Christians today.
If you want to hear how those points flesh-out you can listen here.