Fasting-Is Kingdom Living Relevant in a Modern World? Week 12
Topic: Fasting Scripture: Matthew 6:16–18, Isaiah 58:6–12
Is Kingdom Living Relevant in a Modern World?
Sunday, April 24, 2022 Matthew 6:16-18
Fasting is denying our flesh, declaring our dependency, delighting and deliverance in our Savior.
- Denying Our Flesh
“Fasting is a voluntary abstinence from food or water for spiritual purposes.”
Fasting can include other things – social media, video games, etc. Something you enjoy and are going to deny yourself and use the time for spiritual growth.
“More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside of us with food and other things.” R. Foster
- Declaring Our Dependency
v.16 – “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.”
We don’t fast to be seen by others, but one of the reason we fast is to declare our dependency on God.
“Fasting is a divine corrective to the pride of the human heart. It is a disciple of the body with a tendency to humble the soul.” Arthur Wallis
“And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Fasting declares our dependence on God for everything. Fasting is not something we do to earn God’s favor or to think that somehow God is pleased with us more when we do.
- Delighting and Deliverance in Our Savior
v.17,18 – “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.”
Jesus is very clear, “When you fast…”
Fasting in the NT is no longer just about mourning over sin and repentance because the Christian KNEW their sins had been forgiven because of Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection.
Fasting for us today is also about delighting in Jesus. Delighting in him for his many blessings to us. Delighting in him about our sins being forgiven, about being a co-heir with him, about giving us the Holy Spirit.
As we commune with Jesus there is deliverance for any and all needs, no matter the hurt or pain or suffering. Jesus has come to deliver us from any type of oppression and bondage.
Luke 4:18,19 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Isaiah 58:6 – “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Guidelines for fasting:
1) Plan and pray over your fast! How many meals or days?
2) Start small, don’t have high expectations
3) Be aware of medical condition? Caffeine?
4) Use the time fasting for spiritual purpose!