A. Most of this lesson is from Brother Wayne Jackson’s Christian Courier site.
B. On at Least two occasions, Jesus talks about His disciples fasting. (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-15)
1. ”The abstaining from food and drink for spiritual reasons.”
2. It was required under the Law of Moses on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:31)
3. Jesus seems to imply that His disciples will fast.
C. Are we to fast?
1. It is not commanded that we fast in the New Testament.
2. Thus, it is a voluntary observance.
3. But it appears to be understood that there will be times when it will be fitting to do so.
4. When is it appropriate to fast?
II. Biblical occasions of fasting
A. Fasting may be beneficial in times of sorrow.
1. II Samuel 1:12
2. Nehemiah 1:4
3. II Samuel 12:16
B. Fasting often accompanied an attitude of repentance.
1. I Samuel 7:6
2. Jonah 3:5
C. Fasting was observed as part of significant religious events.
1. Exodus 34:28
2. Matthew 4:2
3. Acts 13:3
4. II Corinthians 6:5; 11:27
III. Warnings concerning fasting
A. Fasting does not make one holy in and of itself. (Colossians 2:23)
B. Jesus spoke against practicing fasting in order to appear righteous. (Matthew 6:16-18)
C. Fasting must not lead to self-righteousness. (Luke 18:9-14)
IV. Benefits of voluntary fasting
A. God honors fasting when it reflects sincere dedication.
1. Ahab (I Kings 21:27-29)
2. Jesus says God sees and rewards (Matthew 6:18)
B. Medical benefits
C. Mental sharpness
A. There is a kind of fasting that God does require of us (Isaiah 58:3-8)
1. In speaking through Isaiah, God explained why Israel’s fasting went unnoticed. (3-4)
2. God tells them the kind of fasting that He would have them observe. (58:5-7)
a. Fast from self (5)
b. Fasting from wickedness, oppression (6)
c. Fasting from self-indulgence, self-service (7)
3. Those who so fast will be truly blessed as a result. (8)
B. We must deny ourselves to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23)
April 26, 2009