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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

Today we continue our series titled Listening To Heaven’s Infallible Teacher.

The messages for the next couple of weeks will be coming from the Sermon on the Mount.

Today we are talking about When Your Halo Is Too Tight.


Father, blessed be Your holy name to our hearts today.

You have bestowed upon is many gifts.

You have lavished upon us many mysteries of life.

You have required of us obedience by faith.

You have promised guidance when our own sight may fail us.

You have proven yourself to us over and over.

May we, in this offering, express our love in a finite way to you.

In Jesus name we pray.



Matthew 6:16 AMP

Fasting, The True Treasure, Wealth (Mammon)

16 “And whenever you are fasting, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they put on a sad and dismal face [like actors, discoloring their faces with ashes or dirt] so that their fasting may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full.

Scripture Reading

Matthew 6:1-18 AMP

Giving to the Poor and Prayer

1 “Be [very] careful not to do your good deeds publicly, to be seen by men; otherwise you will have no reward [prepared and awaiting you] with your Father who is in heaven.

2 “So whenever you give to the poor and do acts of kindness, do not blow a trumpet before you [to advertise it], as the hypocrites do [like actors acting out a role] in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored and recognized and praised by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. 

3 But when you give to the poor and do acts of kindness, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing [give in complete secrecy], 

4 so that your charitable acts will be done in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.

5 “Also, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray [publicly] standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets so that they may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. 

6 But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 

8 So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father, who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10 ‘Your kingdom come,

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.

12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].

13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 

15 But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.

Fasting, The True Treasure, Wealth (Mammon)

16 “And whenever you are fasting, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they put on a sad and dismal face [like actors, discoloring their faces with ashes or dirt] so that their fasting may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. 

17 But when you fast, put oil on your head [as you normally would to groom your hair] and wash your face 

18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by people, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.


When we suspect that certain individuals have their religion on parade, we can say that they are wearing their halos too tight.

When your halo is too tight, all kinds of complications set in.

When your hat is too tight, you get a headache.

But when your halo is too tight, you give other people a headache.

You turn them off and make Christianity distasteful and Christ unattractive.

When I was in the finance industry there was an old saying, “running a business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what your doing, but she doesn’t.”

The saying is true.

It pays to advertise.

Advertising stimulates sales and increases profits!

There are some things, however, that advertising kills.

One is humility.

Advertise it, and it becomes pride.

Another is unselfish concern for others, altruism.

Advertise it, and it becomes egoism.

Advertise spirituality, and it becomes hypocrisy.

Jesus spoke out against wearing our halos too tight.

He warned of three areas where we must avoid any outward  over the top demonstration of superior piety.

To advertise our spirituality is to destroy it!

  1. Your halo is too tight when you do good deeds to attract attention.

Jesus assumed that we would work and thus did not warn against idleness.

He took our good deeds for granted and in no way was advocating secret discipleship.

He was warning us against wrong motives, against doing our good deeds to attack attention to ourselves.

On the surface it might appear that this teaching conflicts with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:16 that we should do our own work  and live in such a way as to let our light shine before others.

In reality the conflict is only on the surface.

When Jesus encouraged us to let our light shine, it was for the purpose that we glorify God and lead others to become His followers.

But now He dealt with the practice of individuals putting their piety on parade.

The end result of such religion is to glorify oneself and not God.

In Matthew 6:2 when Jesus said they will “have their reward,” He used a word from the business world.

This word signifies the settlement of an account.

Thus He was saying that when we do our deeds before others and receive their applause, our transaction has resulted in our good deeds being paid for by the attention from others.

For instance, the generous giver is called generous, and thus his or her account is paid in full and closed.

Those who do good deeds for the praise of others have received their reward by being acclaimed “truly spiritual people.”

They have received what they really wanted and all they will ever get.

When we do good deeds not to call attention to ourselves but as an expression of our love for God, we are following the precepts of Christ.

To do good deeds for any other reason is to destroy the blessing and joy of having done them.

This happens only when your halo is too tight. 

2. Your halo is too tight when you pray to impress others.

Something dies within us and within our prayer life when we advertise it.

To aid us in keeping our prayer life alive and vibrant, Jesus issued a plea, offered a pattern, and made a promise.

  1. The plea, verses 5-8.

Quite pointedly Jesus’ plea was that we should not pray like the hypocrites do.

Our prayers are to be a sincere matter between ourselves and God.

We are not to get lost in needless waffle.

Definite times of the day were set aside for prayer by committed Jews.

Beyond attending their worship service at set times, they were expected to pray at 9am, 12 noon, and 3pm.

Every day.

From this practice, since the days of Ezra, the prayer life of Israel had become increasingly mechanical and routine.

Jesus contended that our halo is too tight when we pray to impress others.

The specified hour of prayer might overtake a person anywhere.

Hypocrites were pleased if it caught them in a public place.

In fact, they often took a lot of care to arrange such a situation.

Jesus said in verse 5 that they loved to stand in there synagogues and on street corners to be seen by others when they prayed.

Jesus was not condemning public prayer.

On many occasions He attended the synagogue and engaged in public prayer.

His disciple followed the same practice.

Rather, Jesus was asking us to direct our prayer to God instead of to the crowds.

If our public prayer is so directed, it will be as private a prayer as we might offer in the quietness of our home.

Jesus asked that we may not think of prayer as the repetition of many, many words.

Our heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask.

We may like God to a large dam filled with water.

Our prayers do not place water in the dam, they only open the gates and allow the water to flow.

Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but rather is laying hold of His willingness.

B. The pattern verses 8-13.

The best know prayer in history can be repeated in twenty seconds.

It is composed of sixty six words, fifty of which are one syllable words.

This prayer is simple enough to be understood by a child and yet profound enough to express the hearts desires of the most mature.

On one hand, the prayer is personal enough to be prayed in private and, on the other hand, public enough to be prayed by entire congregations in worship services.

Jesus certainly had no intention of stifling spontaneous prayers when He said, in verse 9, “Pray, then, in this way,”

This prayer pattern is not designed as a straight jacket but as a stimulant to meaningful prayer.

Jesus used His favourite term for God when He encouraged us to call God “our Father.”

This expression speaks of the direct access we have to our Father.

Heaven had come to denote the majesty of God.

Therefore, Jesus, in His prayer, spoke of our Father as one who abides in heaven.

Such an invocation opens the way for the requests that follow.

It is significant that the first petition of the prayer is an expression of adoration, “Hallowed be thy name.”

To hallow God’s name is to hold God’s name in respect and reverence.

The reign of God is expressed in these words, “Thy kingdom come.”

In a very real  sense, God’s reign has already begun, but His consummation awaits the future.

As disciples we are to wait and pray.

The kingdom of God is both a future promise and a present possession.

It is open for business in the here and now, and people can enter it today.

But it is our responsibility to work with God in bringing about the realisation of His kingdom.

Therefore we are to pray, “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Jesus directed His attention from the future to the present in the second half of His prayer.

He said that we should pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

It is true that a person does not live by bread alone, but it is equally true that without bread he or she does not live at all.

Jesus is clearly saying that God is vitally interested in our physical needs.

When we go hungry, God cares.

Our present need is also characterised by the requirement for daily forgiveness.

Thus we are to request that our heavenly Father will “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Both sin and hunger are daily occurrences.

Surely the latter part of that request underscores the fact that an unforgiving spirit in us closes the door to God’s forgiveness.

Temptation is an ever-present problem in the Christian’s life.

Our request is that God will “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

The very natural human aversion to difficult encounters is expressed in this prayer, as well as a cry for help when such encounters come our way.

We are to pray that God will spare us trial that will severely test our faith.

When such trials come, we pray that He will give us the ability to live through them victoriously.

C. The promise verses 6, 14-15.

Just how will God reward our secret prayers, we do not know.

But that He will do it, we can be assured, for this is His promise.

After Jesus completed the pattern prayer, He felt it necessary to go back and extract one of the petitions and give it special attention, “as we forgive our debtors.”

Refusing to forgive others is detrimental to the person who refuses to grant such forgiveness.

Unforgiveness can wreck personal health, destroy our sense of well being, spoil our relation to other people, and build a barrier between us and God.

The person who does not forgive thinks more of grudges than grace and more of halos than holiness.

Your halo is too tight when in your prayers to impress others there is no room for forgiving those who have offended you. 

3. Your halo is too tight when you fast to appear spiritual, Matthew 6:16-18.

Just like advertising the prayers we offer and the good deeds we do, advertising our fasting destroys whatever blessings it might bring.

It appears that the fasting prevalent in Jesus’ day had three main purposes.

First, it was designed to draw attention from God to the individual who fasted.

Second, it was an obvious attempt to prove that repentance was genuine.

And third, fasting was often vicarious.

That is, it was not designed for one’s own personal benefit, but rather to move God to save a nation from its problems.

We are encouraged by Jesus not to look dismal like the hypocrites when we fast.

Jesus is saying that we are never to put our piety on parade.

Contemporary “fasting” may operate in a different manner.

For instance, individuals may arrive at church late so that their attendance will be noticed by everyone.

Or they may contribute to good causes with the main intention of being recognised for their generosity.

Beware of those seeking public office who go out of their way to announce that they are an “ordained elder” or a deacon, steward, or minister.

The question is, “What is legitimate fasting?”

Sometimes if we have a sick child, or spouse and they are in hospital, it is possible to not want anything to eat because your focus is on them.

It is possible to centre our mind so much on God that we don’t care for physical food.

In such a case, fasting comes from the heart and soul.

In verses 16-18, Jesus explained the great paradox of the Christian’s reward.

Those who look for rewards and who assume they are deserving never really receive them.

On the other hand, those who diligently work for the kingdom of God and who never think they deserve a reward do in fact receive that reward.


Halos are a figment of the imagination created by medieval artists.

And in spiritual matters they are doubly a figment of the imagination.

Your relation to Christ and to others will become far more meaningful when you not only stop wearing your halo so tight but you stop wearing it at all!

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings.

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us


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Gary Hoban

Refinery Life Church Australia

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