16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast,anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
How should we fast?
What is the purpose of fasting?
How do we store up treasure in heaven?
What benefit is there to storing up treasure in heaven?
How does where we store our treasures reveal our hearts?
How does the Lent season help me in these areas?
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
What is the theme of this passage?
How does it apply to the Lent season?
How are we to pray, give, and serve?
How have you been hypocritical?
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
What does the author ask God to do?
When we sin, who are we ultimately sinning against?
When we sin, what is affected?
How do we become right with God?
What requests are made in this passage?
Would any of those requests need to be made by you?
As you experience Lent this season, what parts of this passage seem to be relevant to your situation?
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
What do you learn abut sin from this passage?
What do you learn about grace from this passage?
How often do you take grace for granted?
How have often do you show grace to others?
Peter comes to the Lord asking how much he should be willing to forgive his brother for a fault? Jesus astounds him and everyone with his answer that Peter should forgive him limitlessly.
How can Jesus be so free with forgiveness? Isn’t there a limit to the grace and goodness another person deserves?
Jesus tells the story of a slave who owed his master an incredible amount of money. The slave had no way to pay him back and with great sorrow begged his master for give him more time to repay the debt.
The master did better than that; he forgave the debt. He set him free from the worry, the bondage and the servitude.
The man went out and instead of being forgiving himself, found a fellow slave and began choking him, demanding the fellow slave to repay a small amount he owed.
That slave fell before the free man and begged for more time and yet the newly free man would have none of it. He had him thrown into prison for the debt.
The other slaves saw what happened and reported back to the master. The Master summoned the free man back and said: “you wicked slave! how could you do this after all that has been done for you? You should have shown mercy to your fellow slave since you received so much mercy yourself!” The Master handed him over to the jailers and had him tortured until he could repay the initial amount owed. This is how t will be for anyone who doesn’t forgive his brother from the depths of his heart.
Forgiveness is a heart issue. The condition of our hearts determine how much we are willing and able to forgive.
The extent to which we understand how much and how often we have been forgiven is the extent to which we will extend the same to others.
None of us “deserve” to be forgiven at all. Yet, God in his great love and mercy extends forgiveness to the best and worst of us. In return, God expects us to show the same mercy and forgiveness to all who have offended us.
Why does it seem the “little” things are so hard to let go of? The first man owed an incredible amount and yet could not let go of something so small in comparison. Don’t let the little things crop up and become something that steals your joy, causing you to not be willing to forgive another.
An unforgiving heart not only left the man who was set free with an ungrateful heart which led to anger and violence. People dealing with these kind of outbursts need to seek God and ask for grace and mercy and help in dealing with emotions.
God says he will not tolerate someone who does not willingly demonstrate forgiveness.
Forgiveness is something that you extend to others even before they ask for it or admit their wrong.
Forgiveness has little to do with the other person. The other person may not even know they have offended you.
Real forgiveness is allowing someone the freedom to fail and not live up to all you expect.
God, thank you for the forgiveness you have shown toward me. I know that I don’t deserve all I have and that you have given me much. You have allowed me to be free from debt in so many ways: sinful, emotional, physical, financial, etc. Thank you for the way you have provided so much for me. Help me to live in such a way that I demonstrate a forgiving attitude. May the forgiveness you have shown me, continue to shape the way I look at others and live among them.
I was just talking with a friend of mine about how political things are handled. How it’s so sad and frustrating when people of God who are called His children should model forgiveness and yet cannot seem to do so.
What seems to limit us is our minds and inability to forgive and “forget”. Because we can’t get beyond this issue of remembering, truly being able to exercise forgiveness toward some is understandable. But this is also what blows my mind is that the God of the universe, the infinite and almighty omniscient God can somehow forgive me! he knows all things, “remembers” all things and doesn’t hold them against me. I don’t understand how he can cast them into the sea of “forgetfulness”? If we could do that, forgiving would be a breeze, right?
Is that the essence of forgiving, though? Isn’t forgiving more about exercising trust and love while remembering? Isn’t it giving people another chance knowing our own propensity toward failing again? Isn’t forgiveness more about the forgiver than the forgiven? Hmmm…maybe that’s it. Forgiveness is really about my ability to extend grace and compassion as opposed to a person deserving it. In all reality no one would even “deserve” forgiveness unless they somehow failed. It’s all about power, right? We want to exercise the power to extend forgiveness to people we want too or that we feel somehow deserve it and by limiting when and how much (how much?) we hold power over them.
All I can say is that I am certainly glad God doesn’t treat me the way his people do. I’m glad to be forgiven and by the one who really does hold all the power! He has chosen to exercise something toward me that I could never explain, understand or deserve. Perhaps this is the way I would be most measured like Christ on earth, by my forgiveness toward all those who hurt me? Love covers a multitude of sin. Where’s the love?