Summary: Fasting seems to be out of vogue today. What is Biblical fasting? Why should we fast? What should our attitude be when we fast? What should we expect?
Before we go over our memory Scriptures I want to go over a true example of a mistake versus sin as an example of what the difference is and why the Lord looks upon the two differently.
Last week we introduced a new memory Scripture and I told you that the new memory Scripture was printed in your bulletin so that you could print it out and put it somewhere where you would be able to see it for the next few months and get it firmly planted into your hearts and minds.
In reality I had printed the bulletin inserts before changing the memory Scripture to the new one and had forgotten about it. This is a mistake and not a sin. The action was unintentional and not intended to cause harm to someone else or to elevate myself in someone else’s eyes.
Even though it was not a sin I felt the need to apologize to you and to the Lord for my failure and the Lord knows and I hope you know that that failure was unintentional and not motivated by any ill intention.
John Wesley wrote that those whose hearts were fully given over to the Lord were not free from infirmities nor mistakes.
Now if I had knowingly lied to you in order to deceive or harm you or to elevate myself in your eyes that would be sin and sin requires confession and repentance and the seeking of forgiveness from the Lord.
I hope this clarifies the difference between a mistake and a sin.
But before we leave the subject entirely … if you sin and in your confession to an offended person or to the Lord and you call it a mistake, is knowingly labeling the sin as a mistake a sin???
Two weeks ago we talked about the amazing gift of the Gospel which is salvation brought about through God’s grace and by turning away from sin and placing our faith and trust, in fact our entire soul and lives, in the hands of the Lord.
Last week we talked about the inevitable works that would naturally flow out of such a changed life.
Naturally such discussion should bring us to examine our own lives. Am I really fully given over to Jesus? Do I love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength? Or, am I just acting the part and just hoping that I’m “saved enough” to get into heaven? If you ever ask the question, “How much can I sin and still get into heaven” you most likely are not saved at all because your desires for the world are still predominate in your life and your desire for heaven is for your own pleasure and not for the glory of God!
And, what about these inevitable works that would naturally flow out of a life given over to Jesus?
Do you see them in your life? Aside from coming to church on most Sundays do you see any activity flowing out of your life indicating a desire to please the Lord for His benefit and the benefit of His kingdom or do your actions indicate that you are still the center of your life?
Perhaps you’re wondering what you should do if you find that you are not fully committed to the Lord and His Kingdom?
What could you do to break the chains of sin in your life?
What if you don’t even know what you need spiritually?
The Bible says that if we seek the Lord with all of our hearts He will be found.
Amos 5:4 - This is what the Lord says to Israel: “Seek Me and live”
The Lord God Almighty has not pursued the redemption of sinful humanity in order to hide from us! When we seek Him in humility and truth He will be found! Thank you, Jesus!!
When it comes to growing closer to the Lord or to breaking the chains of sin over our lives or to asking Him for something we often think of going to the Word of God and prayer, or talking with trusted Christians who are mature in the faith but there is one spiritual discipline that has almost been forgotten; fasting.
We almost always think of fasting as going without food and usually in conjunction with prayer.
We see fasting in the Bible from the end of 1st Samuel at the time of King Saul’s death and we see the practice of fasting all the way to the 14th chapter of Acts.
We see Queen Esther and all of the Jews fasting as exiles in the kingdom of Persia.
We see King David fasting for the Lord to deliver the son born to the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
We see Jesus fasting for 40 days after His baptism and before He started His ministry on earth.