Drawing Near to God Through Fasting

January 17, 2021 Speaker: Jeff Bedwell Series: Drawing Near to God

Topic: fasting, Prayer Passage: Matthew 6:16–18

Series: Drawing Near To God
Message: Through Fasting
Scripture: Matthew 6:16-18

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

Fasting is one of the most feared and misunderstood of all the spiritual growth habits or disciplines.

Goal: That we would take one step forward in our understanding and our practice of fasting as a means of drawing closer to God.

Fasting Explained

A Definition of Fasting:

“The voluntary denial of a normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”  Richard Foster

“A Christian’s voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes.” Donald S. Whitney

Fasting Is Expected

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:14–15)

  1. A Negative Command (16)

Fasting is not for show!

  1. A Positive Command (17-18)

The primary observer of your fast should be your heavenly Father

  1. A Powerful Promise (18)

As sure and as certain as any promise in Scripture is the promise that God will bless you and reward your fast when it’s done according to His Word!

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Fasting Is To Be Done For A Purpose

  1. To Strengthen Prayer

So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.” (Ezra 8:23)

  1. To Seek God’s Guidance

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2–3)

  1. To Seek Deliverance or Protection

Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

  1. To Express Repentance and The Return To God

“'Yet even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;'” (Joel 2:12)

  1. To Pray For Those Who Are Sick

But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.” (Psalm 35:13)

  1. To Express Concern For The Work of God

And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:3–4)

  1. To Overcome Temptation and Dedicate Yourself To The Work of God

And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him…” (Matthew 4:2–3)

  1. To Express Love and Worship To God

She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.” (Luke 2:37)

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“Like all Spiritual Disciplines, fasting hoists the sails of the soul in hopes of experiencing the gracious wind of God’s Spirit.”  Donald S. Whitney

How To Fast

F – Focus On God
A – Abstain From Food
S – Substitute eating time with prayer and study
T – Taste and see that God is good

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:8–10)

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As we fast and pray we find that God is not just sufficient, but Satisfying

Fasting is Feasting on God instead of food!

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Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

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What is one step forward you will take in your practice of fasting as a means of drawing closer to God?

More in Drawing Near to God

January 10, 2021

Drawing Near to God Through Prayer

January 3, 2021

Drawing Near to God Through His Word