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Fasting

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“When Ye Fast”

3-18-06 Fellowship Baptist Church

For further study Cf. “God’s Chosen Fast; A Spiritual & Practical Guide to Fasting”  By Arthur Wallis ISBN:0-87508-554-7

INTRO:

1.      What is the first image that comes to your mind when I say the word “fasting?” ____________________________________________

2.      There are over _____ references to fasting in the Bible.  How many of them can you name?  Cf. last few pages of this handout.

3.      God predicts that fasting will be u________________ (2 Tim 3; Phil 3:17-19).

4.      When was the last time you spent a day in fasting, Scripture reading and prayer?  _______  _____, 2005

5.      After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, He said that his c_________ would fast (Matt 6:2,5 w/16-18; 9:14-15).  Are you a c________ of God? We are told that we “ought to be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8).

     Fasting is a way of “h_____________ our soul before God” (Ps 35:13; 69:10) and acknowledging our dependence upon him (Jas 4:9-10;1 Pet 5:5-9).  It helps us to confirm these realities in our own soul and heart. 

     Satan knows that the quickest way to a woman’s (or man’sJ) heart is through her s____________:  Eve, Noah, Isaac, Esau, Israel in 1 Cor 10, Eli, Sodom, Paul, Luther, Phil 3:17-19 “God is appetite” in last days, 1 Cor 9:25-27; Christ’s fast in Matt 4 and at well with Samaritan woman.

     “Let us beware of fancying we merit anything of God by our fasting…. Fasting is only a way which God hath ordained, wherein we wait for His unmerited mercy; and wherein, without any desert of ours, He hath promised freely to give us His blessing.”  (Quote taken from John Wesley.) 

     God’s chosen fast is that which He has appointed; that which is set apart for Him, to minister to Him, to honor and glorify Him; that which is designed to accomplish His sovereign will.  Then we shall find, as though it were heaven’s afterthought, that the fast unto God rebounds in blessing on our heads, and the God who sees in secret is graciously pleased to reward us openly.  In this way we are preserved from ever permitting the blessings to mean more to us than the Blesser.

BODY: 

  1. There are different kinds and forms of fasting. 
    1. P___________, corporate times of fasting.  Nineveh Jonah 3:5ff, USA (below notes); Day of Atonement (Lev 23:27 “afflict souls,”) and other set days of Jewish fasting (Jer 36:6); Suggested to save the nation in Joel 2:15;
    2. P_______________ and normal fasting (Matt 6). Eg of Christ fasting from food and not water.  Describe 40 day fast and people I know who have done it.
    3. Absolute fast from all food and w__________.  Eg of Paul/Esther/Ezra/Moses
    4. Partial fasting from c___________ foods (Daniel/John the Baptist).
    5. There are different d_____________ of fasting.
    6. Fasting in deference of the Lord’s Day.  (example)

 

  1. Why Fast?  (The promises and rewards of fasting.)  Read Isa 58:1-59:1
    1. Fast unto God to h_______ and s_______ Him (Zech 7:5 “did you fast to me?”; Acts 13:2; Lk 2:37; Isa 58).
    2. Personal s­______________ (Ps 69:10 w/35:13; Matt 5:4; Deut 8:2-3, 11-14; Ezra 8:21; Isa 58:3).  Personal example-
    3. To be h_________ on high (Ezra 8:23; Isa 58:4. 9; Joel 2:12).
    4. To “c___________” God’s mind (Jonah 3:5, 10; 1 Kings 21:27-29 Ahab; Joel 2:12-14 God says this will often be the result of a rent heart illustrated through outward fasting etc).
    5. To f_______ captives (Isa 58:6).  (Matt examples)
    6. They fasted for deliverance (cf. above passages).  Helpful in overcoming lust.  Physical desires usually greatly wane during fast.  (1 Cor 7; sin of Sodom Ezek 16:48-49; Israel Jer 5:7)
    7. Private fasting results in our Heavenly Father r______________ o___________ as if it were heaven’s afterthought (Matt 6).  People will often never know blessing came about as a result of our private fasting and prayer.  This way God gets all the glory.
    8. To help in development of s_________-c________ over one’s body and appetite so that one can be as effective as possible in spiritual battle for the Lord (Lev 23:27 fasting one day from evening to evening cannot be so bad even for pregnant woman- you were cut-off if you did not fast!; Phil 3:17-19).  Eg of abnormally high cost of medical care for men employed as pastors.  “Man eats too much.  Thus he lives on only a quarter of what he consumes.  The doctors, however, live on the remaining three-quarters.” –ancient Egyptian doctor
    9. For h___________ and m___________ reasons (Isa 58).  Example of my two cousins with seizure problems and man David found outside camp (1 Sam 30:11-12).
    10. It is conducive to true worship.  In Lk 2:37 we are told that Anna “s____________ G_____ (worshipped) with fasting and prayers.”
    11. A means of communicating a great sense of l____ or m_____________ (Matt 9:14-15; 1 Sam 31:13; 1 Chron 10:12).
    12. For revelation and d_______________ Dan 9:2, 3, 21, 22; 1:12, 17; Acts 10-11 (Cornelius); 27; 14:23 (when choosing church leaders) Isa 58:10-11.  (Pastor Hsi’s example with opium medication) –personal example

 

  1. Who fasted in Bible times and for what reasons?  What was the outcome?
    1. Judges 20:26 Israelites enquire of God before battle
    2. 1 Sam 1:3-7 Hannah prepares for worship and prayer
    3. 1 Sam 31:13; 1 Chron 10:12 Mourning the death of Saul
    4. 2 Sam 12:16 David tries to save his son
    5. 1 Kings 21:27 Ahab humbles himself before God
    6. 2 Chron 20:3 Jehoshaphat enquires of God about advancing enemy
    7. Ezra 8:23 People ask God for protection
    8. Neh 1:4 Nehemiah prepares to pray to God
    9. Neh 9:1 Israel repents
    10. Esther 4:16 On behalf of Esther
    11. Dan 6:18 Darius’s concern for Daniel in lions’ den
    12. Joel 1:14 The nation repents
    13. Jonah 3:5-10 People of Nineveh repent
    14. Acts 13:3 Church in Antioch sends off Saul and Barnabas
    15. Note the many Scriptures on the list below.

  1. Some modern day examples of fasting and answered prayer.
    1. Few comments about my own experience and life.  This is a delicate, intimate and private subject and therefore my sharing with you will be limited.
    2. For three days Edwards had not eaten a mouthful of food: for three nights he had not closed his eyes in sleep. Over and over again, he had been saying to God, “Give me New England! Give me New England!” and when he arose from his knees, and made his way into the pulpit they say that he looked as if he had been gazing straight into the face of God. They say that before he opened his lips to speak, conviction fell upon his audience.  —J. Wilbur Chapman
    3. Friday, February 6, 1756 London was called to “a day of solemn fasting and prayer” in view of a threatened invasion by the French.  Wesley reports “The fast day was a glorious day, such as London has scarce seen since the Restoration.  Every church in the city was more than full, and a solemn seriousness sat on every face.  Surely God heareth prayer, and there will yet be a lengthening of our tranquility.”  Humility was turned into national rejoicing for the threatened invasion by the French was averted. 
    4. In the early spring of 1877 Minnesota farmers surveyed their lands, dreading the first hordes of locusts that had caused such widespread destruction the summer before. Another such plague threatened to destroy Minnesota’s rich wheatlands, spelling ruin for thousands of families.  Suddenly Governor John S. Pillsbury proclaimed April 26 a day of fasting and prayer, urging that every man, woman and child ask divine help. A strange hush fell over the land as Minnesotans solemnly assembled to pray. Next morning the sun rose in cloudless skies. Temperatures soared to mid-summer heat. The people looked up at the skies in wonder, and to their horror, the warm earth began to stir with the dreaded insects.  This was a strange answer! Three days passed. The unseasonable heat hatched out a vast army of locusts that threatened to engulf the entire Northwest! Then, on the fourth day the sun went down in a cold sky and that night frost gripped the earth. Most of the locusts were destroyed as surely as if fire had swept them away! When summer came the wheat waved tall and green. April 26 went down in history as the day on which a people’s prayer had been answered.
    5. U. S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield presented a resolution designating Monday of Thanksgiving week (24th Nov., 1975) as “National Day of Fasting.” He and Stan Mooneyham, President of World Vision International called on all Americans to experience hunger willingly and to reevaluate their own life-styles and habits.  
    6. Abraham Lincoln wrote an address to the nation during the Civil War that was at least as important as the Gettysburg Address.  It was his proclamation for a national fast-day, by which he did designate and set apart Thursday the 30th day of April 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Lincoln wrote: “It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.  “The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people.  “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity, too proud to pray to the God that made us.  “It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
    7. You find fasting with prayer preceding all the great revivals.  You also find when reading about men of God (that have been used greatly in God’s service) that they fasted and diligently sought the Lord on a regular basis. Pastor Hsi’s life biography is a good example.

CONCLUSION:

     Whenever beginning a fast it will help you to ask yourself the following questions:

1)      Am I confident that this desire to fast is God-given?  Would He have me undertake a normal or just a partial fast?  “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness.”

2)      Are my motives right?  Is there any hidden desire to impress others?  “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

3)      What are my spiritual objectives in this fast?

a.       Personal sanctification or consecration?

b.      Intercession?  What special burdens?

c.       Divine intervention, guidance, blessing?

d.      The Spirit’s fullness for self or others?

e.       To loose the captives?

f.       To stay the divine wrath; bring revival?

4)      Do my objectives tend to be self-centered?  Is my desire for personal blessing balanced by genuine concern for others?  “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

5)      Am I determined above all else to minister to the Lord in this fast?  “They were worshipping the Lord and fasting.”

Outline blanks: 85, unpopular, children, humbling, stomach, Public, Private, water, certain, duration, honor and seek, sanctity, heard, change, free, reward openly, self-control, health and medical, served God, loss or morning, direction.

     Begin sermon by asking: How many of you know someone who badly needs the Lord to move in their life?  How many of you can honestly say that you can think of someone right now for whom you have a burden that God would work in their lives (relative, child, co-worker, neighbor or church friend)?  What are your burdens for others?  We are commanded to bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:1).

     Delicate subject.

Man (courtship) attached to stomach.

Girls her on “involuntary fasting”

Show book…none in local family bookstore

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