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Greatest Sermon Ever 15: On Fasting
Richard Root
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Greatest Sermon Ever 15: On Fasting May 17, 2020
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Richard Root Matthew 6:16-18 Sunday Morning
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Sermon -Sunday Online -2020/05/17 11am -Richard Root -"Greatest Sermon Ever 15: On Fasting" -Matthew 6:16-18

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Sermon Notes

The Sermon on the Mount – 15. On Fasting
Matthew 6:16-18

Fasting in the Bible
1. Fasting is associated in the Bible with repentance from sin.
2. Fasting is associated in the Bible with great breakthroughs in prayer and life.
3. Fasting in the Bible is often a part of worship, often accompanies requests for guidance.
Fasting is simply the practice of abstaining from food, possibly drink, possibly other things, for a period of time.
•  You can decide how long that period is. It has to involve a long enough time to experience some hunger.
•  Fasting is a practice God gives that can help you be in charge of your body instead of the other way around

Spiritual Disciplines in the Christian Life
•  Paul wrote once about athletes trying to win a great contest. He said,
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)
•  There is a huge difference between trying to do something versus training to do something. “To train” means I arrange my life around those activities that enable me to do what I cannot now do right even when I try my hardest.
•  We tend to overestimate what we can do by trying really hard and underestimate what we can do by training. As a general rule, transformation involves training, not just trying.
This is why Paul says, “...train yourself to godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7)
This is why Jesus says, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” (Luke 6:40)
The spiritual disciplines are practices or activities that train us or give us power to live in the goodness of the kingdom.
•  For some of us whose bodies are particularly stubborn about having their own way, fasting can be a helpful practice.
•  The most important dynamic about any spiritual discipline that it be practiced in a spirit of humility, freedom, surrender, and grace. The psalmist said, “I humbled myself with fasting.” (Psalm 35:13)

Fasting as Feasting on God
•  When I fast, I’m not just avoiding food. I’m making space to be nourished by God. Jesus makes a fascinating statement about this while he is fasting in the wilderness:
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’” (Matthew 4:4)
•  In fasting, I strategically allocate my attention on to God. I allow my body’s hunger to remind me I’m not in control. Somebody else is, and that’s really good. Fasting is feasting on God.

Fasting as Caring
•  One of the most powerful passages in the bible is Isaiah 58. The people are complaining to God. They are fasting, praying, and crying out, and God doesn’t seem to notice.
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife...
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter...?” (Isaiah 58:3-6)
•  When I do an Isaiah 58 fast, I learn not to be so obsessed with my own appetite. When my body is hungry, I remember my brothers and sisters who are hungry but have no bread and have no money to buy bread.
•  The temporary and very small pain in my body speaks to me of the ongoing and very large pain in theirs. God begins to grow compassion in me. I train for compassion. I remember I have money, and I could be generous with it.

The Challenge

•  Join us this coming Wednesday, May 20, for a day of Prayer and Fasting

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