The Sermon on the Mount: The King’s Mandate-The Importance of Fasting
Sermon Series: The Life of Jesus: From Creation to the Cradle to the Cross to the Crown
Sermon Title: The Sermon on the Mount: The King’s Mandate-The Importance of Fasting
Sermon Text: Matthew 6: 16-18
Sermon Date: January 29, 2017
Someone well said about prayer. It is not the arithmetic of our prayers that count—how many there are. It is not the rhetoric of our prayers that count—how eloquent it might be. It is not the music of our prayers—how long they are. It’s not the logic of our prayers—how argumentative they may be or the method of our prayers—how methodical they are. According to scripture, God measures the effectiveness of our prayers by two things. By our faith and our fervency. James 5:16 says The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
We need to realize that prayer can do anything God can do, and God can do anything.
Jesus, speaking to His disciples knows they are praying, fasting and giving. God calls us all to do these things.
Jesus in Matthew 9: 14 is confronted and asked why His disciples are not fasting. Jesus replies is verse 15 “ And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
In the history of the church, when mighty men of God was used to start great revivals were men who fasted. John Wesley said “When you seek God with fasting added to prayer, you cannot seek His face in vain.”
John Calvin was a man of prayer and fasting and almost the entire city of Geneva came to Christ. Jonathan Edwards, who God used to start the First Great Awakening, was said to have fasted and prayed until he was almost too weak to stand in the pulpit but when he preached God moved in a mighty way.
- The Meaning of Fasting
Fasting means going without food, or drink, or certain pleasures, for the purpose of seeking God—for a time of spiritual seeking after God.
Now what we’re talking about now is bringing our hearts, and our lives, into such a
burning focus—seeking the heart, the face of God—that we set aside food and other
pleasures to seek God. In the Bible, God links fasting with spiritual purposes. We find
such phrases as prayer and fasting, watching and fasting, worshipping and fasting.
- The Motivation of Fasting Matthew 6: 16-18
- To Avoid Egotism
- To Avoid Legalism
Fasting is not a way to get God indebted to you. Fasting lays hold of God’s grace;
remember, you cannot buy a blessing.
- To Avoid Ritualism
- The Ministry of Fasting
- Fasting Strengthens Your prayer Life
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. Ezra 8: 21-23
- Fasting Subdues Self
Fasting helps discipline our fleshly desire.
1 Corinthians 9:27: But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
- Fasting Stalls the Judgment of God
Jonah 3:5 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
Jonah 3:10- 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it
- Fasting Stops Your Enemies
2 Chronicles 20: 1-4 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites,[a] came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom,[b] from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
- Fasting Brings Wisdom and Guidance
Acts 13: 2-3 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.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
- Fasting Shatters Strongholds in Your Life
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[b] go free,
and to break every yoke?
- The Methods of Fasting
- Be Sure of Motivation Do as unto the Lord
- Prayerfully seek your fast-No rules for fasting in the Bible
- Avoid Extremism-Don’t do anything that will hurt yourself.