Palms Baptist Church Bible Study
Matthew 6:16-34: To Live on Bread Alone
October 19, 2021

Matthew 6:16-34: To Live on Bread Alone

October 19, 2021   /   Palms Baptist Church Bible Study

  • Matthew 4:4 – Jesus rebukes Satan with “Man is not to live on Bread Alone”
  • Matthew paints Jesus life as re-living the history and failures of Israel. In this sermon and commentary on the law, Jesus gives the answers as to HOW to succeed where Israel failed.

Matthew structures His Gospel where Christ teaches us by , then by

* We Were Not Created to Live Bread Alone Because We Were Not Created to Live Bread Alone! Israel misunderstood the POINT of the ; so His substantiating point in this literary set is we get distracted in the “pursuit of bread” and forget the POINT of that the Bread and Law enhances!

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

  • Like the Law, the Pharisees missed the point of fasting
    • Like Prayer, Fasting is not for anyone else but a personal commitment between you and God
    • Are you willing to fast (sacrifice) for the praise of others?

*I’ve known many Christian servants who have loudly made known their sacrifice in service to the church/Christ, and sometimes, sought out more opportunities to sacrifice not to faithfully serve, but to pomp up the “selfless” image

Fasting Intends to Remind Us we are more than but also

  • Fasting intends to oneself the pleasures of the flesh to expose the pleasures of the Spirit
    • EXAMPLE: If I fast/deny myself electronics for a week, I gain appreciation for the pleasure of my family
  • Fasting intends to the distraction/priority of the flesh and prioritizes that time for the Spirit
    • If I don’t need to worry about being feeding my body, then I can focus on feeding my Spirit
  • Fasting intends to us the higher importance of the Spirit
    • NOTICE: I can fast for the flesh but I can NEVER fast for the Spirit!
  • Fasting intends to our dependencies
    • Often, people enter a “fast” with what they think is the problem, only to learn that another problem really exists
      • EXAMPLE: Fasting on the Day of Atonement exposes my over-dependency on Caffeine
  • Fasting confidence in our ability to suppress the will of the Body

*Fasting proves we are capable of conquering our fleshly desires

    • The body is meant to be slave to the will of the spirit, but SIN makes the spirit slave to the will of the body
      • EXAMPLE: Being Hangry exposes how dependent we are on comfort to be good people. Remember Anger. Emotion derives from passion, which derives from intent/heart i.e. our bodily will dictates our spiritual will
      • EXAMPLE: Jesus’ testing in the wilderness and on the cross would have failed if Jesus did not make His body slave to the spirit
        • Many in Jesus’ day wanted a “war of the body” against Rome, Jesus waged a war of the Spirit (THE ENTIRE GOSPEL SYSTEM!!!!)
      • EXAMPLE: Paul talks about our wretched state in that we don’t do in the flesh what our spirit wills and we do in the flesh what our spirit doesn’t will (Romans 7:15-20). Thus, he also speaks of waging war against the flesh (Romans 8:13)
        • “If you live according to the body; you die. But if by the spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live”- Romans 8:13

*Note: When you came to faith in Jesus, you received the HOLY SPIRIT not the HOLY BODY

Christ’s central point is that fasting intends to remind us that our created and is on and for God only.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • Jesus starts with a spiritual discipline of fasting to guard against this corruption.
    • If your heart is on bread [money, power, praise of men], then your treasure is in bread [money, power, praise of men]; and that will guide your “religion”
      • Pharisee’s/hypocrites hearts are on the praise of men so their giving, prayer, and fasting is FOR the praise of men
    • If your heart is on God, then your treasure is found in God and your giving, prayer, and fasting will be for God too!

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

  • Christ’s duality here is simple: Either “bread” supports your life purpose (joy, security, hope, dependence) of serving God or your life purpose (joy, security, hope, dependence) becomes obtaining bread. Its impossible for both to be true. One is master and one is slave to the other.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[]?28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Why we Worry or become Anxious

ANSWER: God is no longer our supreme or

  • Notice the logical progression here. First, Fasting is a spiritual discipline to remind us we don’t live ON or FOR bread alone. Jesus reinforces good practice to combat against what comes next. When we forget who our true dependency is on and what life is really about; then our dependencies and purpose gets corrupted. When our dependencies and purpose get corrupted, it ultimately leads to worry because we are dependent on insufficient things and are purpose-driven for unfulfilling things.

We Usurp God with other dependencies because….

  1. We forget God’s over all things (vs. 26) – Birds fall under His purview
  2. We forget God’s (vs. 30) – It is by God’s power the lilies dress the fields
  3. We forget God’s (vs. 26 and vs. 30) – Are you not more valuable than birds/lilly?

Questions for Guided Discussion

  1. Read Vs. 16-18: Jesus again states that intent of fasting is not for anybody else but God. The Pharisees would fast three days a week and make it known to all. How do modern Christians “sacrifice” for other causes outside the purpose of God’s kingdom?
  2. Have you ever fasted? Why did you fast? What was that experience like? What did it teach or expose to you?
  3. Fasting intends to do a few things: 1) deny the pleasures of the flesh to appreciate the pleasure of the spirit 2) Remove fleshly distraction to prioritize your focus on matters of the spirit 3) Teach us the higher importance and role of the spirit in our lives 4) Expose dependencies in our life 5) Build confidence in our ability to combat sin. Are you in need of any of those outcomes? Are you in a place you should fast?
  4. Read Vs. 19-21: Jesus says where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Therefore, if your treasure is not in your faith and relationship with God, then your heart will be elsewhere. Where is your treasure? Does your time, money, and energy go towards the treasure of the gospel, OR is your treasure truly elsewhere?
  5. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 during his testing in the wilderness that “Man should not live by bread alone.” Here, Jesus tells us the reason is because man was not created to live for bread alone. What do you work for? Does your time, money, and energy go towards God’s kingdom; or to furthering your career progression, getting more money, more influence, etc.?
  6. Read Vs. 22-24: If our heart is focused on “bread” i.e. money, power, fame, promotion, etc., then we are living for bread, and our ultimate reward is bread. What are your life’s rewards? Does your NFL team winning the super bowl give you more joy then the repentance of a new believer in faith? Does watching a baptism instill the same joy as when you receive a job promotion?
  7. Does your “bread” support your life purpose of worship and service to Christ, or is your life purpose to gather more bread? For example, does your career opportunities dictate where you live or when you move and you find ministry wherever your career takes you, or does your ministry dictate where you work (i.e. bread supporting ministry or ministry in lieu of bread)
  8. Read Vs. 25-34: Jesus concludes this portion of His sermon with a logical conclusion: If God is

our supreme purpose, and we are solely dependent on Him, then do we have any justification to worry? Share what worries you? Why does it worry you? Should it worry you?

  1. If God is not our sole purpose, and He is not our supreme dependency, then we become dependent on insufficient things or live for unfulfilling/empty/temporal things. What experiences do you have proving this true? Of all your life’s pursuits, how much of them only matter for your time on this earth?
  2. Jesus highlights that if we remember God’s sovereignty, God’s Power, and God’s love for us, then we have no need to worry. What elements worry you in life now? Does reflecting and remembering God’s sovereignty, power, and love alleviate your current worries?


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