Elements City Church
Sermon on the Mount - Week 8 - Fasting and Reward
The Sermon on the Mount is the most famous sermon Jesus ever preached. It derives its name from the place where Jesus preached it; a mountainside that acted as a natural amphitheater along the shores of Galilee. The Sermon on the Mount, preached to ordinary people, covers a wide range of topics like prayer, fasting, money, worry, forgiveness, anger, lust, judging others, and more. But the theme that unites it all is Jesus explaining the heart of God behind His given Law. It is one of the most challenging biblical texts to interpret properly because the Sermon goes far deeper than promoting external obedience to God’s moral imperatives or simple behavior modification. Every line of the Sermon goes to the heart of discipleship. The Sermon offers a clear understanding of what a blessed life that is pleasing to God looks like from the inside out. What Jesus taught often runs counter to mainstream thinking, but every lesson is brimming with heavenly wisdom and practical instruction that leads us into a flourishing life.
Locations & Times
  • Elements City Church
    1825 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712, USA
    Sunday 5:00 PM

Thanks for joining us!

Whether you're on-site or online, we are praying that tonight will be an encouragement to your soul. May God whisper to you and help you in taking your next steps in a journey with Him. If you're new, we'd love to have you fill out our connection card.

It's here in the Sermon on the Mount -- found in Matthew 5-7 -- that King Jesus gives us a radical picture of what life in His Kingdom looks like. And it’s our hope that, as we meditate on Jesus’s words, we might become people who more closely follow His Way and experience a life that truly flourishes in the process.
“I think the Sermon is a piece of wisdom teaching from Jesus that invites people into true human flourishing through wholeness centered on God and his coming kingdom. Jesus’s Sermon invites us to see the world in a certain way and to be in the world in a certain way that accords with God’s nature, will, and coming reign upon the earth; in short, “righteousness” (cf. Matt 5:20). It is a call to faith‐based discipleship in Jesus, the Son of God.”
- Jonathan T. Pennington
The Sermon so far:
Beatitudes (Matt 5:1-12)
Salt and Light (vs. 13-16)
How to Have Kingdom Righteousness in Following the Law (vs. 17-48)
How to Have Kingdom Righteousness in Practicing Your Faith (Matt 6:1-21)
From Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible:

Fasting - setting aside activities, as well as reducing the intake of food, and replacing these activities with the exercise of prayer and preoccupation with spiritual concerns

Types of Fasts:
Normal - no food, liquid ok
Partial - some food and liquid
Absolute/Total - no food, no liquid
5-Minute Nerd-Out:
Fasting in the Old Testament

The only fast commanded by God is the Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur (see Leviticus 23:27).

Zechariah 7 and 8 notes four fasts for remembrance:
1. The anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans
2. Tisha b’Av - to remember the burning of the city and the temple
3. To remember the murder of Gedaliah, which caused the Jews in Judah to flee, leaving the area without any Jews and completing the destruction of the First Temple
4. To remember the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar
Fasting eventually became associated with mourning.
Jesus changes the paradigm.

Fasting is no longer meant to be a gloomy occasion of mourning.
Isaiah 58 shows us true and false ways of fasting.

The Israelites would fast to show their piety, yet God wouldn't respond to them because their motivation was wrong. Their fasts were self-serving.
“People in Jerusalem were particularly interested in the spiritual practice of fasting and were puzzled as to why it didn’t work . . . There was a mismatch between people’s spiritual practice and the rest of their lives . . .People want to acknowledge God’s ways and want to draw near to God, but on their fast day and on the Sabbath they’re doing what they want . . .

“If you’re seeking Yahweh in a way that involves serious self-discipline but you’re behaving in the way the prophecy describes, you’re again showing that you don’t understand who Yahweh is. It’s as if you are fasting before some God other than Yahweh.”
- John Goldingay, Isaiah for Everyone
Fasting without any concern for the rest of our behavior is ultimately useless before God.
No longer do we fast in mourning, awaiting our deliverance.

Salvation is already here through Jesus Christ!
Reasons to Fast:
1. Obedience and Consecration (Leviticus 23:27)

Consecration - "association with the sacred"
People had to cleanse themselves to approach God in holiness.
3. Intense Supplication/Intercession

See Nehemiah 1
4. Worship

See Anna the Prophetess in Luke 2:26-36
Benefits of Fasting:
(From Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology)

1. Fasting increases our sense of humility and dependence on the Lord

2. Fasting frees up time for prayer.

3. It is a continual reminder that, just as we sacrifice some personal comfort to the Lord by not eating, so we must continually sacrifice all of ourselves to him.

4. Fasting is a good exercise in self-discipline — as we refrain from eating food, which we would ordinarily desire, it also strengthens our ability to refrain from sin.

5. Fasting also heightens spiritual and mental alertness, and a sense of God’s presence.

6. Fasting expresses earnestness and urgency in our prayers.
Jesus wants your heart.

Jesus wants us to lay up our treasures in heaven. He’s telling us to motivated by the eternal — not the temporal.
Has our culture provided so much for us that we don’t live with the deep desire for Heaven?
To live is Christ, to die is gain.

Western culture:
To live is gain, to die is Christ?

Thanks for partnering with us!

Thank you for enabling us to be the Church in our city! Your gifts help fuel the mission of Elements City Church, as well as our capacity to share His love with as many as we can. You help us bring the HOPE and LIGHT of Jesus to our city! You can give online at the link below or through the Elements app.

Happy Father's Day!

Whether you joined us on-site or online, thanks for being with us tonight!
May you have a blessed week ahead!

Join us next week as we continue our series in the Sermon on the Mount.

Be sure to check the Elements app for upcoming events.

We look forward to gathering again next weekend!