Summary: We need to have a biblical understanding of 3 spiritual disciplines giving, prayer and fasting so that we practice these disciplines and attain spiritual changes in our hearts and lives.
Series: Breath of Heaven 2011
Sermon: 21 Days – Taste and See
For many they have started their fast. We are basing our called fast for a fresh Breath of Heaven in 2011 from the Lord.
Scripture Text: Joel 1:14
14Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.
Illustration: Lenten Laughs: A Hypocritical Robber
A priest was coming back to his rectory one evening in the dark when he was accosted by a robber who pulled a gun on him and demanded, "Your money or your life!"
As the priest reached his hand into his coat pocket, the robber saw his Roman collar and said: "I see you’re a priest. Never mind, you can go."
The priest, surprised at this unexpected show of piety, tried to reciprocate by offering the robber a candy bar that he remembered was in his pocket.
The robber replied, "No thank you, Father. I don’t eat candy during Lent."
Harold A. Buetow, Embrace Your Renewal (Alba House, 2004)
The key behind times of giving, prayer and fasting should be centered into developing a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Lord. Giving, prayer and fasting is not meant to change the will or plans of God but to change our wills and our plans for Him.
If you research all the major Biblical characters in the Bible you soon discover that they all practiced the discipline of fasting, prayer and giving.
Thesis: We need to have a biblical understanding of 3 spiritual disciplines giving, prayer and fasting so that we practice these disciplines and attain spiritual changes in our hearts and lives.
Jesus in Matthew 6:1-24 emphasizes the 3 duties of every Christian.
Scripture Text: Matthew 6:1-24: NIV
Giving to the Needy
1“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!