Fasting?     Luke 5:33 – 39

Luke 5:33-39 “And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.”  And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”  He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.  But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.  And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.'”    ESV

FASTING:  Going without food or drink voluntarily, generally for religious purposes. Fasting, however, could also be done for other reasons. It was sometimes done as a sign of distress, grief, or repentance.

The sacrifice of the personal will, which gives to fasting all its value, is expressed in the old term used in the law, afflicting the soul.

Fasting is a necessary Christian Discipline.  The Flesh is subdued and submitted to God and we open our life to more of God and less of us.

Believers in the Bible are often depicted as spending time in fasting and prayer.  In times of great turmoil, in times of major decisions and in times of commissioning people to send people out to serve God.

 In Matthew 17 the disciples were wondering why they could not bring healing and cast out an illness.  Jesus chastised them for a lack of faith and told them that “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”    

This is the same scripture that Jesus tells us that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.

Fasting builds a greater faith. A faith that can do more than move a mountain.  A Faith God is able to use to do GREAT things.  But remember that it is GOD’S Faith to mold.

We should be a people of fasting and prayer.

I am sometimes asked “how much and for how long?”    I cannot answer that for you.  THAT IS BETWEEN YOU AND GOD

  • Fasting for you may mean a few days of no food or a certain activity at all. (Internet, social media, golf, shopping, etc…)
  • Fasting may mean not partaking of a certain food or activity for a set period of time – or forever.
  • All of us need a time of fasting to show Gods control over our flesh, to deny our human desires to seek the desires of God.

We give our APPETITES way to much control over us.

But this text is NOT about fasting.

This Text is about Religion Verses Biblical Christian Faith

Religion “shows off” its religious activities.       “Hey, look at me!  Look how pathetic I look in my sackcloth and ashes!  I am more righteous than you are and therefore BETTER!  Look at Me!”

Biblical Faith shares its faith and love yes, and those around us know we are believers BUT by our love and our life; NOT by our dirty clothes and growling bellies.

Fasting is a Christian Discipline that is between YOU and GOD!  It is no one else’s business.

Because we feel we can control our fasting we try to TAKE CREDIT for our fasting.  It is GOD’S TIME – under GOD’s GUIDANCE

Here what Jesus taught about fasting:    Matthew 6:16-18 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  ESV

  • Devote yourself to God.
  • Let everything you do be done to His Glory.
  • Life a Biblical Life of service, humility and character with Faith, Hope and Love.

These Pharisees and Scribes were trapped by their religiosity.  They could not see past a religion that they controlled and a religious tradition that had them trapped.

They were trying to apply Faith in Jesus Christ over the template of their religion.  The 2 are incompatible.

You can’t put a new patch on an old wineskin.

Christians are a NEW CREATION, created in Christ Jesus for the Good Work He has prepared for them.

Fasting is a strange issue for Christians to deal with.  It is not mentioned often in the New Testament, but when it is; it is taught as a very powerful Faith “tool.”

Mark 9:29 – “and He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting].”

The Disciples had a distinct honor and advantage:

  • They walked the earth’s soil with Jesus every day
  • They served Jesus directly every day
  • They talked to Jesus directly every day
  • They lived in Unity with Jesus and His church every day

You know:  Maybe WE CAN LIVE THE SAME WAY!

We have our churches and religious system and traditions as well; BUT we need to keep Faith and Biblical Living ahead of religion.

We walk together as HIS CHURCH before we walk together as Southern Baptists.

We need fasting to draw closer to God, yet the closer we are to God the less we need to fast.

When Jesus was before a great multitude that were hungry and seeking help and guidance from Jesus; Jesus did not tell them to fast.  Jesus told the Disciples to feed them with a little bread and a few fishes.

Life is BETTER with Jesus!

Allow Him to break through the hardness of your heart with LOVE not religious rites and requirements.