Summary: Fasting isn’t a tool to strong arm God into aligning with our will and prayers, but a discipline to strengthen us whereby we become more aligned with God’s will and power as we pray.
I. INTRODUCTION - Turn To Matthew 17:14-21
A. I Want To Preach On Subject Of Fasting: Its Problems & Possibilities
1. Don’t like fasting? I don’t either
2. Don’t fast much? I don’t either
3. Sounds boring, but I want to preach it in a way you’ve never heard before
B. Google Search: “Fasting”
1. “Vibrant health starts with a clean bowel”
2. Lose 9 lbs every 11 days
3. Food fasting, juice fasting, water fasting – Caution/Use Common Sense
4. Church bulletin - National Prayer and Fasting Conference announcement: “The cost to attend the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.”
D. Matthew 17:20-21 from other versions
King James Version - 20 … If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
New International Version - 20 … if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (there is no verse 21)
American Standard Version - 20 … If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21(But this kind goeth not out save by prayer and fasting.)
Amplified Bible - 20 … if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
Living Bible - 20 … if you had faith even as small as a tiny mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ’Move!’ and it would go far away. Nothing would be impossible. 21 But this kind of demon won’t leave unless you have prayed and gone without food." (Small reference numbers)
New American Standard Bible - 20 …if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you. 21["But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."]
Revised Standard Version - 20 … if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." (No verse 21)
II. CONFUSING PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE
A. On This Verse About Fasting
1. Some bibles have verse 21 and some don’t
2. Some have it, but it’s in parentheses – set off as if it’s an afterthought
3. Some have squiggly numbers and symbols before and after
B. Same Is True For Two Other Passages About Fasting In Bible
1. Mark 9:17-29 – same demon story
2. 1 Corinthians 7:5-6 “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to (fasting and) prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
C. What Gives?
1. Parentheses or symbols added by Biblical historians because There is no actual word in the Greek text. The word may be displayed in italics, or in parentheses or other brackets, to indicate that it is not in the original text.
2. Somehow these are absent from the most ancient of Greek manuscripts
3. Added sometime later – interpolations – inserting something into something else
4. Growing asceticism (lifestyle of extreme self-denial) in post-apostolic times accounts for interpolations.
5. Does this mean we’re off the hook (break out the donuts – fasting not in the bible—yippee)?
a. NO – it’s very biblical
b. so biblical – on the hook more than we could ever imagine
III. WHAT DOES THE REST OF THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FASTING
A. Old Testament
1. Only Fast Required By Law Of Moses = Day of Atonement fast -- Lev 23:27-32 The LORD said to Moses, 27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people . . .
2. Other Fasts to Commemorate Special Occasions (Feasts & Fasts)
3. Old Testament spent more time talking about the abuse of fasting