Matthew 6:5-18 – “Living the Righteous Life – Our Praying and Fasting”

My sermon notes for Sunday morning, Feb. 21st. Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon.  They are provided to help you follow the sermon as you listen each week. The church provides a live stream of the service each Sunday at 10:45 on Facebook at  We also provide the services through our website by Sunday afternoon at

Matthew 6:5-18


  • FYI – These week we are looking at the big picture of prayer and fasting. Feb 28 and March 7 we will take 2 weeks and walk through the Lord’s Prayer.
  • REMEMBER….Matthew 6:1-18 is dealing with hypocritical acts of piety.
  • The so called “religious” leaders wanted everyone to think they were righteous…this was demonstrated by their GIVING to the poor, their public PRAYING, and their FASTING
  • In this context their acts were done publicly for others to see.
  • Jesus is teaching the importance of living a righteous life….. the key is checking one’s heart.  What is my motive?
  • A righteous life is a devoted life.  Devoted TO HIM.  No other motive but my Walk with Him and My Worship unto Him.

Fasting is the voluntary denial of food for the purpose of seeking God.  A fast is only commanded in Leviticus in reference to the day of the atonement.  There is not a biblical mandate to fast, but we do see examples of fasting in the Bible

  • David when full of sorrow – 2 Sam. 12:16
  • Jehoshaphat when he was in grave danger – 2 Chron. 20:3
  • Acts of repentance – David over his sin with Bathsheba.  The Ninevites when Jonah shared God’s Message.
  • Daniel seeking the will of God – Daniel 9:2-3
  • Jesus entering his physical journey to the cross – Matthew 4 (40 days)
  • The early church seeking to send out the first missionaries – Acts 13 (Paul and Barnabas)


The Unrighteous – Focused on Self

Do not be like the hypocrite – v. 5

  • Wearing a mask
  • Amos 5:21-24

Seen by others – vv. 5, 16

  • Fasted the 2 days that the cities were the most populous (market days)

Empty phrases/many words – v. 7

  • Meaningless words, repetition, babble

Looking gloomy – v. 16

  • Literally, tried to look the part of suffering, doing without


  • Satan loves to take the religious and the church

Luke 18:9–14 – The danger of Pride

The Righteous – Focused on God

Righteous – Up right

The Righteous life – A desire that leads to change

The Father in secret m- v. 6, 18

  • Secret – Intimacy.
    • Just me and God.  The real me before a Holy God.
  • The first place to start is one on one, then the public takes care of itself

Father knows the need – v. 8

  • A life of trust
  • 1 John 5:14–15
  • Faith in His Sovereignty and Care

Anointed and Clean – v. 17

  • Looking fresh and full of joy…drawing no attention
  • My seeking him is not one of suffering and despair, but of joy and purpose.


  • Because they desire to
  • The focus is on knowing the Lord in a more intimate way
    • To strengthen our Love for Him and our Walk with Him

The Rewards

The unrighteous – Their reward…all that man can provide – vv. 5, 16

The righteous – Their reward… all that God can provide – vv. 6. 18

A hypocrite is trying to be someone they are not.

The righteous man will become the man he truly desires to be.

Psalm 37:3–4

[3] Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
[4] Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. (ESV)


Amos 5:21–24 – [21] “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. [22] Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. [23] Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. [24] But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (ESV)

Luke 18:9–14 – [9] He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: [10] “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ [13] But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)

1 John 5:14–15 – [14] And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. [15] And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (ESV)

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