Summary: Some spiritual breakthroughs only come through prayer and fasting.
Fasting For Spiritual Breakthroughs
Mark 9:17-29 1/5/03 am
Then one of the crowd answered and said, "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever he seizes him, he throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to your disciples, that they should cast him out, but they could not."
He answered him and said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me."
Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
So He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."
Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!"
Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast him out?" So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."
INTRO: Jesus’ disciples were able to do many miraculous things by the authority they had in His Name but when they came to this demon-possessed man they couldn’t set him free. Jesus told them the reason they couldn’t set him free was because some spiritual breakthroughs only come through prayer and fasting.
Why is fasting so important?
God expects fasting to be a regular part of the Believer’s life.
TRANSITIONAL SENTENCE: There are several reasons that fasting is important and in my estimation of Scripture, so critical in the life of the Believer.
I. FASTING IS A MEANS OF HUMBLING OURSELVES (why should we do it?)
A. TRUE HUMILITY GETS GOD’S ATTENTION
1.) 1 Pet 5:5-6 "be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
a- I believe this is one of the most important verses in the Bible
b- God resists or opposes those who do not walk in humility.
c- The only way to get any where with God is through true humility
2.) He gives grace to the humble
a- Fasting is a supernatural means of truly humbling ourselves
b- I’m sure we all would agree that it takes a lot of grace to make it through life.
c- Sometimes when our back is against the wall and life is extremely hard, we need an even greater measure of God’s grace.
d- That’s exactly what had happened in Ezra ch. 8 when Ezra called the people of God to a fast.
B. TRUE HUMILITY MOVES GOD TO ACTION.
1.) Ezra realized their desperate need and he knew where to find the answer
a- He also knew that the only way to get God’s full attention and assistance was through true humility.
b- "then I proclaimed a fast...that we might humble ourselves before God." Ezra 8:21
2.) We don’t fast to get God’s attention like twisting someone’s arm until they scream out in pain and give us what we want
a- However; fasting (from a sincere heart) most definitely does get God’s attention!
3.) When we face hardship and attacks in our lives, instead of crying, whining and complaining to everyone
a- why not fast and see God work on our behalf like He did for Ezra and the Israelites?
C. TRUE HUMILITY IS THE PATHWAY TO GOD’S BLESSING
1 Pet 5:6 "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,"
1.) How many of you know that God’s way is always the best way?
Yet so often, when we come into a difficult situation instead of humbling ourselves we cry, whine, complain, scheme and manipulate to try and change things.
2.) Ezra said that he could have cried to the king and whined to him for help
a- but that would have ruined their testimony
b- and they would have dishonored God
c- Ezra 8:22-23 "For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, "The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him. So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer."