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Fasting

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Romans 12:1–2 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
It’s not common to sacrifice for our faith in our culture
Bible speaks about a specific type of sacrifice
Fasting… good he will preach quickly today
Fasting is not easy
fun
IT IS POWERFUL
Fasting is for ordinary people who desperately seek God
not for us to enter into thinking that we will earn God’s blessings
but it puts us into a place of humility and obedience before God
Fasting is not forced but it’s an invitation
Like Salvation
call to holiness
call to obedience
Fasting is not forcing or demanding from God yet it is asking and trusting
2 Samuel 12:22–23 NLT
David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.”
Matthew 6:16–18 ESV
“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. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 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.
“When you fast” not “if you fast”
I wouldn’t tell you to pray for your meal if you eat… as if to say that I am not sure that you will be eating but WHEN YOU EAT
Disfigured face
to be seen by men
have recieved their full reward
ISN’T THIS LIKE ALL ASPECTS OF OUR FAITH?
if you are serving, praying, reading, speaking, being a Christian to be seen by others then you will receive what you are looking for but that’ll be it
God hates hypocrisy...
why is it hyocrisy to
wouldn’t it be more to look good but be hungry inside?
shouldn’t we be real?
Yes but a heart that is fasting the right way has a hunger for God and in that we may be physically hungry but our spirit is satisfied so we display that
not a heart for human attention or admiration
FASTING MEANS LOVE FOR GOD OR HUNGER FOR GOD
Jesus is so clear
Matthew 6:17–18 ESV
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 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.
Matthew
there are public fastings in the Bible
so it’s not a sin for someone to know that you are fasting
Being seen fasting and fasting to be seen are not the same
sometimes I tell people that I am fasting
to keep me accountable, to join me
Make an effort to be not seen
fix your hair, wash your face, brush your teeth
sometimes I tell people that I am fasting
sometimes
to keep me accountable, to join me
This is a horizontal spiritual act
if my kids see me pray over my food it will do them good as an example
if my young brother in Christ sees me reading my Bible it will do him good
SO there is some positive horizontal effects of serving
BUT if we are doing this for the horizontal effect only then we are missing the point
BCG leaders… not study for others only but for personal growth
Quote: "So Jesus tests our hearts to see if God himself will be our sufficiency—when nobody else knows what we are doing. When no one is saying, "How are you getting on with the fast?" No one even knows—no one but God! Jesus is calling for a radical orientation on God himself. He is pushing us to have a real, utterly authentic, personal relationship with God. If God is not real to you, it will be miserable to endure something difficult with God as the only one who knows. It will all seem very pointless, very inefficient because the whole range of horizontal possibilities will be nullified because no one knows what you are experiencing. All that matters is God and who he is and what he thinks and what he will do.”
Which brings us to the last part of verse 18 and the promise Jesus makes about what God will do for those who focus vertically on him and do not need the praise of other people to make their devotion worthwhile. He says, "And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."
sometimes repay means that we earned something - give back or make a return
other places it a a gracious response to an act of faith and prayer
THAT IS IT HERE
GOD desires for us to move to Him not in our strength but in our weakness:
people hard to the Gospel becoming soft
lukewarm and indifferent people awakening
bondage of sin being broken
marriages beyond compare being restored
helpless situations, helpless people, seeking help from THE HELPER
SO what is the reward?
Might it be money?
v.19 warns against laying up treasures on earth and says to lay up treasures in heaven
I think the reward will be an answer to what we call the Lords prayer
His Name will be lifted high
His will will be done
on earth as it is in heaven
That He would be our daily bread
that we would have forgiveness towards others
INVITATION
We fast so for our souls and in response to Jesus, to advance His Kingdom
so wash your face & fix your hair and let the Father see you in secret and reward you
Maybe someone needed this as they give themselves in serving, loving, giving, praying, Bible reading, fasting, for their faith
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