Encounter 21: Week #2
Delivered By
Pastor Will Lott
Delivered On
January 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM
Central Passage
Isaiah 58
Subject
Fasting
Description

What is FASTING?

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

 

But fasting is more than skipping a meal, abstaining from certain types of food or activity.  The big question remains, why are you fasting?  What are your motives?

 

Isaiah 58 describes a group of people who were going through all the right motions. They had the religious routine and rituals down to a science.  But somehow, in the midst of all their rituals and routine, they somehow forgot and neglected the heart of the matter.

 

There are two principles that speak directly to the issue of fasting:

PRINCIPLE #1: WHY we do what we do is every bit as important as what we do.

PRINCIPLE #2: If you do the right thing for the wrong reason, you’ll eventually end up doing the wrong thing…

 

Isaiah 58:1-2 (NKJV)

 

Isaiah 58:2 (NLT)

 

Isaiah 58:3-4 (NKJV)

 

The declared fasts of the people Isaiah spoke to failed to do two critical things: to turn their hearts UPWARD to GOD and OUTWARD to other PEOPLE.

 

Isaiah 58:5 (NKJV)

 

In other words, you are going through all the right motions. You’re going through all the ritual and routine, but you haven’t gone to the heart of the issue. 

Here it is: a God-initiated, God-ordained, God-honoring FAST will always turn our hearts UPWARD to God and OUTWARD to other people.

 

John Piper wrote this about fasting:

“The birthplace of Christian fasting is homesickness [or hunger] for God.”

 

It’s critical that we understand that food in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a gift from God that is to be received with a thankful heart.  But far too often we I can numb the hunger and ache in my soul and spirit for God with a bite of food or a can of soda, or any other number of substitutes.

 

Fasting is about falling on your face before God and saying, “Oh God, I want You… I want You this much… I want You more than this…”

 

Psalm 42:1-2 (NKJV)

 

The question then becomes: Why are we so hungry for God? Haven’t we experienced the reality of the being adopted into God’s family, filled with God’s Spirit and made alive in Christ?

 

Christian fasting is a hunger for all the fullness of God.

 

Remember the two principles:

PRINCIPLE #1: WHY we do what we do is every bit as important as what we do.

PRINCIPLE #2: If you do the right thing for the wrong reason, you’ll eventually end up doing the wrong thing.

 

Jeremiah 29:13 (MSG)

 

Not only should a declared fast turn our hearts UPWARD to God. It should turn our hearts OUTWARD to others.

 

Isaiah 58:6-12 (NKJV)

 

Promises to claim as you fast:

1.  The Promise of RELEASE

 

Isaiah 58:6 (NKJV)

 

A God-initiated, God-ordained, God-focused fast can bring FREEDOM from addiction and oppression.

 

2.  The Promise of RESTORATION

 

Isaiah 58:8 (NKJV)

 

Does it feel like your living in a haze? God says, “One of the by products of a God ordained fast is that “the lights will turn on. I will give you revelation and insight.”

 

The word for “healing” actually means that God will “restore you to wholeness.”

 

3.  The Promise of God’s REWARD

 

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)

 

It’s important to remember that the reward of fasting doesn’t usually come during the fast… It comes after.

 

Finally, remember that the ULTIMATE REWARD is GOD…

Isaiah 58:8-9 (NKJV)

 

“The birthplace of Christian fasting is homesickness [or hunger] for God.”

Here’s God’s promise to people who are hungry…

Jeremiah 29:13 (MSG)