Encounter 21: Fasting Kick-Off
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Delivered By
Pastor Will Lott
Delivered On
January 8, 2017 at 6:00 PM
Central Passage
Matthew 6:16
Subject
Fasting
Description

Encounter 21:  21 Days of Fasting and Prayer

 

Richard Foster writes:

“In a culture where the landscape is dotted with shrines to the Golden Arches and an assortment of Pizza Temples, fasting seems out of place and out of step with the times.”

 

The Bible has a lot to say about fasting. There are more than 74 separate references to fasting and it is never associated as a method of weight loss.

 

I.  What is FASTING?

DEFINITION: Fasting is abstaining from food or bypassing the opportunity to eat with a specific spiritual goal in mind.

The Greek word in the New Testament for “fast,” simply means “to abstain from food, or not to eat.”  In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “fast” means “…to cover or close your mouth.”

 

One of the reasons fasting is so important is because Jesus assumed believers would fast.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:16 – “when you fast…” not if you fast.

 

II.  Type of Fast

Fasting is something that is between you and God. The type of fast you go on is between you and God:

  • A NORMAL (Full) Fast – Abstaining from food, drinking only liquids (water and / or specific juices)
  • An ABSOLUTE Fast – Abstain from food and liquids
  • The DANIEL (Partial) Fast – Abstain from meats and sweets, drink only water.

 

Other things to fast or give up:

  • Sodas, candy, sweets, desserts, chips, and snacks
  • Give up ipods, mp3 players, Cd players, radios, and phone
  • TV, video games, movies

 

Whatever you do, it is between you and God.

For maximum spiritual benefit, it is important that the time normally devoted to eating/activity be given to PRAYER, Bible study and being ALONE with God.

 

In the Bible, there were specific occasions when the people of God observed a CORPORATE or a public fast such as on the Day of Atonement.  A corporate fast can be a powerful and unifying experience.

 

III.  THE PURPOSE OF FASTING

1. The PASSIONATE PURSUIT of the HEART of GOD.

It’s interesting that the first statement Jesus made about fasting dealt with the question of motive

Matthew 6:16  NKJV

Matthew 6:16  MSG

Matthew 6:17-18

 

Here’s the point: 

God is not just simply concerned with what we do… but why we do it.

 

Fasting needs to be CENTERED on GOD! It needs to be God initiated and God ordained if it’s going to be effective.  There was a time when Israel had the wrong idea of fasting…

 

Isaiah 58:3-4 (NLT)

 

In Luke 2:37, the senior citizen named Anna, worshipped God with “fasting and prayer.” Fasting became a way for her to connect with the heart of the Father.

 

In John 4:31 the disciples were concerned that Jesus hadn’t eaten for some period of time. Maybe Jesus had been fasting... So, the disciples looked at Jesus and said, “Rabbi, aren’t you going to eat?” 

Jesus said, “My food and nourishment comes from doing the will of God, the One who sent Me.”

This wasn’t a clever metaphor; it was a genuine reality! Jesus was being sustained and nourished by the power of God.

 

Fasting reveals a heart that longs for God and the will of God more than anything else.


QUESTION:

How desperate for God are you?


 

2. The Need for Understanding, Revelation and Insight and the Need for Spiritual Breakthrough.

Example: Daniel Chapter 9-10

This is where the idea for a 21 day fast originates. During this period of prayer and fasting the Bible describes Daniel like this, “I ate no pleasant bread… No meat or wine came into my mouth…” (Daniel 10:3)

After 21 days of prayer and fasting there was a breakthrough!

 

Daniel 10:12-14 (NLT)

 

This angel had evidently been engaged in spiritual warfare and it was Daniel’s persistence in prayer and fasting that ultimately brought a spiritual breakthrough.

 


QUESTION:

How desperate for a breakthrough are you?