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Summary: A study of what to do when all else fails. Looking at the example of the disciples and the lesson of Jesus, this message calls on the church for a day of prayer and fasting.

Series: The Purpose of the Church

1. Luke 14 – “The Cost of Discipleship”

2. Jeremiah 18 – “The Potter, The Clay, and The Church”

3. Today – Matt. 17:1-21 “A Call for God’s Anointing”

4. 9th – Eph 4 – The Internal Role of the Church – How we fit together

5. 16th – Acts 2 – The Church and The Community

FASTING – don’t run!

- Subject misunderstood – not taught by many (I didn’t until it came up in a verse by verse study of the Sermon on the Mount – which is when I changed my belief)

- Only for Biblical Times – I did too until hearing so many testimonies from Godly men

Testimony of Bill Bright: fasted for 40 days 2003

Bill Bright, founder of the famous Campus Crusade for Christ that you see on most of the college campuses in the US was a disbeliever of fasting for most of his life.

Billy Graham said this on Bright’s death: "He has carried a burden in his heart as few men that I’ve ever known - a burden for the evangelization of the world. He is a man whose sincerity and integrity and devotion to our Lord have been an inspiration and blessing to me since the early days of my ministry." His work in the colleges and teens all across the nations is way beyond what we will ever know.

Bright said this in part of his testimony:

“I believe the power of fasting as it relates to prayer is the spiritual atomic bomb that our Lord has given us to destroy the strongholds of evil and usher in a great revival and spiritual harvest around the world.”

DEFINITION - ‘an abstention from food or some types of food for a period of time’

EXAMPLES AND PURPOSE OF FASTING (include…)

- Personal or Corporate Spiritual Renewal

- Victory in one’s life in seeking deliverance over a personal battle

- Deliverance to a Church seeking answers, deliverance, or understanding God’s will!

FASTING IS SPOKEN OF FREQUENTLY (in fact…)

- NIV: 29xs – 14 of which are NT/ NKJV: 21xs – 11 of which are NT

QUESTION CAUSING MUCH DEBATE: Did Jesus intend Fasting for NT Christians?

Matthew 9:15 (NIV)

15 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

TWO ILLUSTRATIONS

1st Illustration: New Horizons

1. We have each felt Called to be a part of the Growth & Development of this Church!

2. Along the way, … many unmet needs have attacked us (from growth, visibility, awareness, finances, relationships, misunderstandings – on and on and on!

3. We have all at times asked so many questions that seem to go unanswered.

4. Though we’ve not understood, we’ve continued to fight the good fight in faith.

2nd Illustration: The Disciples

They too, as we will see, have an unmet need, an unanswered question with an unexpected reply.

MATTHEW 17:1-21

PRAYER

READ VERSES 1-5

- Can you imagine what it must have been like to be in the presence of God? That spiritual high! Vs. 6 says they ‘fell face down to the ground’

- When you sense God’s special blessing, you want to fall face down don’t you!

- Spiritually up on a Mountaintop in the presence of God! We’ve Been there!

BUT THEN WE HAVE TO COME DOWN OFF THE MOUNTAINTOP don’t we! Let’s face it – when we get going so does Satan!

They come off the mountain top to find … (explain)

READ VERSE 14-16

I. AN UNMET NEED

1. There was a NEED THE DISCIPLES COULD NOT MEET

2. READ MATT 10.1 - were enabled – had done exactly this many times before!

3. We Have TOO – READ ACTS 1.4b-5,8 - Church - Baptized in the Spirit

4. We too have been Equipped – READ EPH. 4.7

(a misunderstood verse) – READ 17-18 and explain

Who is Jesus speaking of? It was pretty intense…

- Mark account says they were “arguing”

- The Disciples? (…were being obedient and doing what had been done many times)

- The crowd and teachers of the law did not – they were the ones arguing

It only takes a few to spoil the good attitudes, teamwork, etc. of the dedicated.

Regardless of who Jesus was speaking of, … THEY DEFINITELY HAD…

II. AN UNANSWERED QUESTION

READ VERSE 19

1. Emphasize the question: “Let’s Consider this question”

- WHY COULDN’T WE DRIVE IT OUT?

- Why can’t we grow the church – Why doesn’t our well intended efforts work?

2. Like the disciples, we have felt screaming “WHY?”

3. The disciples are stunned. God has blessed their work before! WHY NOT NOW?

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