Summary: Spiritual discipline of fasting

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Spiritual Disciplines

An Adult Christian Education Class of RCEFC

Based on Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster


Fasting – fallen into disrepute

Out to step with the times – Fast foods

Disregard for fasting: “…I could not find a single book published on the subject of Christian fasting from 1861-1954…”

Bad reputation –excess from Middle Ages

Propaganda – 3 meals plus snacks

Hunger strike – power

Dieting – health

Superficiality – Other religions do it e.g. Month of Ramadan

Food becomes an obssession

18For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,

19whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. – Philippians 3:18-19 (NASB)

What fills us up?

18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. – Mk.4:18-19 (NLT)

Many great godly people fasted

Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel.

Anna, Paul, Jesus Christ.

Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox

John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, Charles Finney.

Fasting in the Bible

“Biblical fasting always centers on spiritual purposes”

Normal – abstain from food but not water

Luke 4:2 “where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.”

Partial Fast

Restriction of diet but not total abstention.

“I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” – Daniel 10:3

Absolute Fast

"Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." - Esther 4:16

“For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” – Acts 9:9

Supernatural Fast

Moses - “I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water.” (Deut.9:9)

Do not try this!

Corporate/Public Fast

God said to Moses: "The tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly, fast, and offer a Fire-Gift to God. Don’t work on that day because it is a day of atonement to make atonement for you before your God. Anyone who doesn’t fast on that day must be cut off from his people. - Lev.23:26-27 (Message)

National emergency

15 Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. 16 Gather all the people— the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. 17 Let the priests, who minister in the Lord’s presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar. Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord! - Joel 2:15-17 (NLT)

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