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- The key to growth I believe in fasting. I have been a faster since I was in college.
- Many different types of fasting, but if you’re not fasting food, you’re not fasting, you’re taking a break from something
- The Hebrew word for fast means to ‘cover the mouth’
- The greek word means to abstain from food
- What we are talking about and what I want you to consider is fasting. I want you to abstain from food for the 21 days of the Daniel Fast.
- 21 days, no meat, dairy, bread, caffeine, alcohol. Just whole grains
- Jesus said- Matthew 6:17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
- Illustration: Richard Foster writes in his book A Celebration of Discipline, “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, out of step with the times. In fact, fasting has been in general disrepute both in and outside the church for many years. For example, in my research I could not find a single book published on the subject of Christian fasting from 1861 to 1954, a period of nearly one hundred years.”
4 types of people in FVC
- Those who avoid this service every year because they know I talk about fasting
Interestingly enough, these people are usually rebellious, discontented, and spiritually stagnant
Merely listening to the word and doing nothing with it gets you no where
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
- Those who reluctantly agree to doing the fast
- Those who refuse to do the fast for a host of reasons
- Those who embrace the fast as a means for spiritual growth
Why the rebellion? Why the refusal?
- I’ve heard every excuse possible of why you cant do it. My Doctor said this- my doctor doctor etc. etc.
- I know there are many people on many different types of eating plans. I eat a certain way- but I’m willing to gain a few pounds even if it means that I am going to be in solidarity with my church
- I don’t know any doctor alive that if you told them you weren’t going to eat any processed foods for 21 days with no meat or dairy they would tell you that you are going to die.
- “how do I get enough protein”. Just so I’m clear, you’re currently a pro athlete or trying out for the summer Olympics and you can’t get off your training regiment?
- I’m giving my kids protein during the fast. They are currently on an athletic team. They are growing
- I work out 5 days a week. My workouts are going to suck for 3 weeks. But I don’t care about my body. I care about my spiritual growth.
- Daniel 1:12 “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.
- That was the beginning of Daniels food issues with the king
- Daniel 10: 2-3 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
- The bottom line is if you are not doing the fast you either have a problem with disobedience, rebellion or believing Gods word. Which is all the more reason to do it.
- Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
- I’m committed- People started talking about it before I did. Now I submit to YOU.
- You cant go without caffeine? You’re addicted and being controlled
- You can’t go without meat? There’s Christians all over the world that can’t even eat and you’re going to tell then to their face that your over processed meat laden diet was too much for you to overcome for 3 weeks, but you’ll be thinking about them while you are eating your delicacies
- WE’re an indulgent over eating society folks! We love our food!
- Reasons to do the fast
- Jesus fasted. The disciples fasted. The OT people fasted. The people of the Bible fasted-
Why should you do the fast? Jesus fasted
- Jesus practiced fasting when He was tempted by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-4).
- During these tumultuous 40 days of loneliness, satanic attack, and the presence of wild beasts, “He ate nothing” (Luke 4:2).
- If Jesus fasted, and you want to be like Jesus- you should fast-
- Some people would say that Jesus fasted prior to his Ascension and that we as NT believers are not bound to fast and take part in the fasts of the Day of Atonement
- But the fact remains- Jesus fasted- he encouraged it- but he encouraged it to be done the RIGHT way- with the right heart- The disciples and Paul and the early church fasted!
- Matthew 6:16“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
- The point Jesus was making was that the religious jews were fasting for everyone else to see them- not for God to see them
- This fast- the Daniel fast- you can still take part in it as a church, have someone know and still bring Glory to God
- IF you have your heart in the right place (don’t use the heart in the wrong place excuse- get your heart right) Today is the day- don’t say “matt convinced me” Im a HS preacher- it was the HS
- I’ve been planning this fast all year- you all know I’m going to fast- but I promise you- I do not go without sweets for 21 days to impress you. Its not worth it.
- I have fasted days without food on only water- Daniel fast many times-
- Its hard- and painful and flesh crucifying- But every time I know it honors God and grows me spiritually- AND HE’S GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU AS WELL
Why Do I want you to do the fast?
- I want you to grow spiritually!
- As your pastor, this is the number one goal that I have for you- for you to grow spiritually!
- Everything that we do around here is centered around trying to get you to grow in your relationship with Jesus and his church
- The songs, sermons, the buildings, the programs, the people, the ministry. All of it is centered around one thing- for you to grow spiritually!
- Ephesians 4:15-16 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
- I want this for you! I want you to experience God’s best! I want you to know this
- Ephesians 3:19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
- I want you to know everything God has for you- the fullness of God-
- But it doesn’t come easy!
- As your pastor, I’m competing with so many conflicting ideas and conflicting schedules that are trying to get you to focus on everything else in this life except CHRIST
- So what fasting does is that it takes you out of your normal routine and forces you to focus on the things of God
- People say they want a different life, but they are unwilling to do anything different!
3.I want you to get through some difficulties!
You never know when you’re going into the fire or the lions den
- – if you read in Daniel 1- 3 young men Shadrach- Meschach and Abed-nego
- There’s a story of these young men in Daniel 3 where King Nebuchadnezzer makes a big golden statue and commands everyone to worship it or they will be thrown into the fiery furnace.
- These three vegetable eating flesh defying young men refused- the King asks tells them, worship the Gold or go in the fire- he even says “what God is going to help you?
- Daniel 3:16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
- Long before they came up on a fiery test of their conviction to serve the one true God- they had purposed in their hearts to not be like the rest of the kings men WILL YOU DO THIS?
- DANIEL- prepared himself BEFORE he went into the LIONS DEN
- America– No emergency fund, no car maintenance, no yearly, Memorize scripture BEFORE u need it
- And when Darius put him in the Lions den to stay over night- Daniel- who refused to bow down to the King- went into the Lions den-
- Daniel 6:21Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”
- Now- I’m not saying if you do the Daniel fast you can go in the fire and live
- What I AM saying- is- there are going to be fiery trials that are going to come at you in this life and if you haven’t learned how to have conviction when that time arrives you are going to fail miserably- So why not prepare yourself to go through something NOW by CHOICE?
- What if worshipping God wasn’t so easy? Would you do it?
- There is a war for your soul going on right now folks- society, at every turn is attempting to get you to not believe in the God of the Bible or follow his ways
- And the modern day Christian is not fully engaged in the process
- We take what the world gives and does what the world does
- And THEN, there will always be a moment that demands a Godly response that may cost you dearly- and you don’t have the courage to stand up for the one True God
- Sure, maybe these young men could have made it without eating vegetables, but maybe they wouldn’t have- If you can’t restrict your diet, you will struggle when it comes to being BOLD
- Maybe it was the CHOICE that they made BEFORE the FIRE that PREPARED them
- BEFORE the time came that they were challenged- they had already experienced the fighting of the flesh and the determination to stand for something
- I’m not trying to scare you- I’m just saying- preparing yourself before the battle is the best time to prepare. I can start a water fast immediately with no preparation.
- Doing the fast BEFORE you go through it- is the TIME to do it!
- Romans 13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
- That’s a true verse! – this world is going to pass away- and if you haven’t ever endured before, when it comes, you’re going to be sunk
- Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.
- If I learned anything from sports its this- practice should always be harder than games
- I wrestled in high school- 4 years- we’d have 3 hour practices where we could barely wrestle because the mats were covered in sweat- 6 mins didn’t seem that long-
- My dad used to say to me when I was a kid- stock up on coffee- because if the end of the world comes, people will do anything for it-
- At the minimum- if the coffee dries up- you at least can tell yourself- I’ve lived without it for 21 days- AND I know that I can control my flesh and it doesn’t control ME
- Luke 21 34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth
- Embrace spiritual growth!
- Do something different!
- Show solidarity with your church
- Few things-
- Don’t post it every day on facebook- don’t tell everyone in the world.
- Plan ahead! Go and buy your food a couple days before. Get rid of all the stuff from your pantry
- Be drastic! I’m not doing social media, or TV besides NFL, no youtube, only internet for sermons
Didn’t work for you? Be more drastic! Cut out more stuff!
- I want a spirit of renewal for myself and for our church! I want us to grow this year!
- Will you commit? Will you fast with your church? Will you commit to grow?