Jesus and Fasting

Fasting. What is it? What isn’t it? What is it’s purpose? How should we go about fasting as 21st century believers of Jesus Christ? Open your Bible to Matthew 6:16-18 and join us as we see what Jesus has to say about fasting in our series, Jesus Uncensored: a study in the sermon on the mount.
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Date: November 5, 2017
Speaker:  Jason Jordan
Series: Jesus Uncensored

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Pastor’s Comment

Thank you so much for listening in here at West Side. We often say that we love the word of God because it points us to the son of God. We hope these messages encourage you and equip you to love Jesus more. We also want you to be apart of a local church, we believe these messages are only supplemental, being apart of a local church is essential. Blessings.

Jason G Jordan

Lead Pastor, West Side Church

Sermon Notes

Jesus & Fasting Matthew 6:16-18: Jesus Uncensored

INTRO> One of my great heroes of the faith is a man by the name of George Whitfield, he is known for being one of the greatest preacher of the English language. It has been said that he preached 18,000 times to over 10 million people. He taught the “new birth” and Christian conversion. He was troubled in his early years and thought his “righteous” act would gain him entrance into heaven. In 1769 he wrote in his own journal, “ I began to fast twice a week for thirty-six hours all together, prayed many times a day and received the sacrament every Lord’s Day. I fasted myself almost to death all the forty days of Lent, during which I made it a point of duty never to go less than three times a day to public worship, besides seven times a day to my private prayers. Yet, I knew no more that I was to be born a new creature in Christ Jesus than if I had never been born at all.” George Whitfield, V1, pg 60, Dallimore

Big Idea > In my relationship with Jesus what I do is not as important as why I do it.

CONTEXT> We are in the section where Jesus is challenging us as to the motivation behind the behavior in our lives, especially when it comes to spiritual disciplines, in the areas of giving, praying and today fasting. Fasting is something that is a bit odd, tricky but also biblical.

OT Background:

“The Lord said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:26-27 – They where only commanded one day a year, but added to God’s Command.

NT Background: (30 Times in NT)

      • Jesus – Matt 4:1-11
      • Paul – Acts 9:8-11
      • Antioch Church– Acts 13:1-3
      • Elders of Lystra– Acts 14:23

Turn to Matthew 9:14-17

      • Jesus changes things. The gospel is not an addition to something old but the creation of something new. Jesus assumed we would fast.

1) What Fasting isn’t :

      • Harming of the body to please God.
      • Magic to make God move.
      • A Guarantee to answered prayers.

2) What Fasting is:

      • Fasting is the voluntary denying of physical needs in order to fully devote ourselves to God.
      • Fasting is left to the discretion of an individual believer.

“We do not therefore, object to fasting itself, but to the fact that it is represented as as necessary duty and that specific days have been fixed for it’s performance.” Martin Luther.

3) Why Fast?

      • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

APP> Fasting is a spiritual discipline that aids in increasing our appetite for God. 

*IlL> I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

— Wilbur Rees

3 areas of appetite increased:

    • An urgency for God.
    • A clarity of God.
    • An intimacy with God.

4) How to Fast.v16-17

    1. Forget about other people. “do not look gloomy” Remember Jesus teaching about the Hypocrites? Jesus is saying, don’t be like them. “[O]ne of the greatest fallacies of Christian faith, and actually one of the greatest acts of unbelief, is the thought that spiritual acts and virtues need to be advertised to be known… [S]ecrecy, rightly practiced enables one to place the public relations department entirely in the hands of God… [W]e allow God to decide when deeds will be known and when light will be noticed.” Dallas Willard, The Spirit of Disciplines
    2. Forget about yourself. “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.” Jesus is telling them to be normal! Fasting isn’t about you or the food you are giving up, it’s about God!

Fasting Fundamentals:

  • Plan it.
  • Prepare for it.
  • Pray through it.

Big Idea > In my relationship with Jesus what I do is not as important as why I do it.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good;

    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8

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