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Summary: Sermon on fasting. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

Question 1: What is Fasting?

Question 2: Should Christian’s fast?

Question 3: Why Fast?

Question: How to Fast?

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

• Moses the lawgiver,

• King David,

• Elijah the prophet,

• Queen Esther,

• Ezra;

• Nehemiah.

• The prophet Ezekiel;

• The prophet Joel;

• The prophet Daniel,

• John the Baptist’s disciples

• Anna the prophetess,

• The Apostle Paul,

• Barnabus.

• The Roman Soldier Cornelius;

• Prophets & teachers in Antioch

• All of these people in the Bible have one thing in common.

• Now I realize of course that they have more than one thing,

• But for our purposes of this evening,

• I am interested in pointing out a specific common factor among them.

• They practiced a spiritual discipline that we have somehow lost in modern times.

• They are all individuals or groups of people who fasted.

• Fasting was an important part of their lives.

Ill:

• A long time ago, an Aborigine who probably should have been a physicist;

• A physicist is of course a scientist who does research in physics

• This Aborigine was sitting around a camp fire thinking;

• When he realised something.

• "If I move my arm in an arc,

• The tips of my fingers will have travelled a greater distance than my elbow.

• Yet they will have done it in the same amount of time.

• Therefore, if velocity = distance divided by time,

• The tips of my fingers must have moved more quickly than my elbow."

• Then he got an idea.

• "If I can somehow extend the length of my arm,

• I will be able to throw my spear much more quickly and for a greater distance."

• And that was how he invented the ‘woomera’;

• A device to extend the length of the arm for the purpose of throwing spears.

TRANSITION: Now stay with me here; this has a point.

• The relationship between prayer and fasting;

• Is like the relationship between the ‘woomera’ and the spear.

• The spear is a very effective weapon, all by itself.

• But when you combine it with the ‘woomera’, it is even more powerful

Question 1: What is Fasting?

Answer:

• Fasting is the voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes.

• Simply put, you skip a meal or something else to spend time praying & meditating.

• It is important to note that in the Bible fasts have a spiritual purpose;

• It is not just missing lunch because you are too busy.

• It is not just missing lunch because you want to lose weight,

• It is a purposeful activity:

• We skip a meal to use that time for prayer and meditation.

A FEW THINGS TO NOTE CONCERNING FASTING:

• FIRST:

• A fast can last anywhere from one meal to several days without food.

• Remember that when it comes to fasting;

• We are given principles and not detailed instructions.

• So like ‘financial giving’ each of us must decide for ourselves what is right for us.

• What is right for me may not be right for you and vice-versa.

• SECOND:

• There are different types of fasts mentioned in the Bible;

• The most typical type of fast is to go without food for a set time.

• Although some people will fast from both food and water;

• Most people will mainly go without food.

• THIRD:

• There are limited fasts, when people what they will and will not eat and drink;

• i.e. Some will allow themselves juice or other liquid sustenance during their fast.

• Because there is not a detailed description there is flexibility within fasting.

• FOURTH:

• There are partial fasts, where you will give up certain types of food for a period of time.

• Many people do this during lent;

• When they will give up sweets, or meat, or something else for the 40 day period.

• FIFTH:

• Remember although we are primarily going to concentrate on fasting from food,

• People will and do fast from a variety of things.

• i.e. Fasting from T.V. and other forms of media,

• i.e. From computers or computer games, from shopping,

• i.e. Couples can fast from sexual intimacy.

• 1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 5:

• Paul tells couples not to deprive one another sexually,

• Except for brief periods devoted to prayer and fasting.

• NOTE: You can fast from anything that is habitual in your life.

• It is good to fast from the things that you ‘obsess’ about;

• Because it reminds you that you can get by without them.

Question 2: Should Christian’s fast?

• Should Christian’s fast?

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