Sunday Morning Worship
May 20, 2012
Scripture: Joel 2:12 ‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’
Matthew 6:16-18 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
I. JESUS EXPECTED HIS FOLLOWERS TO PRACTICE FASTING.
A. One of the first references came when Jesus was confronted with a question about His disciples not fasting:
Mark 2:18-20 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
II. THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH PRACTICED FASTING.
A. In the church at Antioch we read:
Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
B. The churches’ leaders fasted:
Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
III. BIBLICAL PURPOSES FOR FASTING.
A. When you need direction :
Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
B. When you need courage :
Esther 4:15-16 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:
16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
C. When a mighty battle is raging around you and in you:
Daniel 10:2-3 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
Daniel 10:12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.
Daniel 10:19 “Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”
Conclusion: Methods of fasting.
1. One meal fast.
2. One day fast.
3. Twenty-one day fast – is normally called the Daniel fast.
4. A fast can be complete or partial .