Summary: God does not reward dieting (fasting) but faith
A. JESUS TELLS US TO FAST
“Lord, I will not fast with an outward “religious” face for that is just to get attention from others; the “attention” they get is their reward. 17I will dress my normal way 18when I fast so no one will know I’m fasting. My fast will be a secret between You and me and You will reward me with the answers I seek” (Matthew 6:16-18, PB).
1. Jesus didn’t tell when to fast or what to fast.
2. Jesus wanted us to fast, rather than not fast. “When you fast” (6:16).
3. Jesus was concerned about our attitude. “Not . . . sad countenance” (6:16), and “not appear . . . to fast” (6:16). We fast to God, not to impress others.
4. Jesus was concerned about our faith. “Fast . . . to thy Father in secret . . . reward thee openly” (6:18).
? The outward body reflects the inner walk with God
? I will obey God with my eating
? What comes out of the heart is more important than what enters my stomach
? God does not reward dieting, but faith
? Small obedience is better than great outward actions
? Your success is determined by your daily routine
B. FIVE KINDS OF FAST
1. Normal fast, one day, Yom Kippur Fast. This is also called a juice fast. “On the tenth day of the appointed month you must go without eating to show your repentance from sin” (Lev. 16:29, ELT).
a. Abstain from evening meal, breakfast and noon meal.
b. Regular basis.
c. To reflect what God has done in your heart.
2. The Daniel Fast, i.e., vegetable fast. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water” (Dan. 1:12, NLT).
a. Begins with diet vow. “Daniel determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given by the king” (Daniel 1:8, NLT).
b. Made a promise to God.
c. “I will eat things grown on a plant, not things processed in a plant.”
3. Absolute Fast. No food or water.
a. Be careful; no water for 7 days leads to death.
b. God would not ask you to physically harm yourself.
c. Be not deceived. “Believe not every spirit, try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1).
4. John Wesley Fast. Only bread and water for 10 days before spiritual important events.
5. Supernatural Fast. “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights and he did neither eat bread, nor drank water” (Ex. 34:28).
a. Key, with God.
b. This is a miracle from God; don’t try unless you know what you are doing.
C. HOW TO BEGIN A FAST
1. Ask God to lead you and help you spiritually.
2. Write out your purpose, the type of fast and the beginning/ending time.
3. Begin with a one-day fast. Don’t try something so staggering that you will fail.
4. Eat a light snack before sundown (English high tea).
5. Plan Bible study, devotional reading, i.e., spiritual preparation.
6. Begin with acknowledgement and confession of sins.
7. Follow the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.
D. GENERAL CHECKLIST
Fast: What you will withhold ____________________________
Begin: Date _______________ Time ______________________
End: Date _________________ Time ______________________
Vow: I believe God is the only answer to my request and that prayer without fasting is not enough to get an answer to my need. Therefore, by faith I am fasting because I need God to work in this matter.
Bible Basis: My Bible promise ____________________________ _____________________________________________________
Resources: What I need during this fast ______________________ ______________________________________________________
God being my strength and grace being my basis, I commit myself to the above fast.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
All PBC lessons are available online at trbc.org/pbc. Go to www.Hopenow.tv for the current program schedule.
Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu
Dr. Towns’ web address is www.elmertowns.com