Posted: July 22, 2015 in TLCC
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READ: 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.”

#1 Fasting is a sign of repentance. The disciples of John fasted in repentance, the disciples of Pharisees fasted because of tradition. Jesus taught about fasting when he said, “when you fast” (Matt. 6:16). The issue is not really about fasting but the motive behind it. Here are some types of fasting…

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A Regular Fast – Traditionally, a regular fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a regular fast. When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” This verse does not mention Jesus being thirsty.

A Partial Fast – This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from certain types of foods. Daniel 10:2-3 says, “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” In Daniel 1:12, they restricted their diet to vegetables and water: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.”

A Full Fast – These fasts are complete – no food and no drink. Acts 9:9 describes when Paul went on a full fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus: “For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Esther also called for this type of fast in Esther 4:15-16: “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.'” It is recommended that this type of fast be done with extreme caution and not for extended periods of time.

A Sexual Fast – 1 Corinthians 7:3-6 says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Tech Fast – Abstaining from any form of social media, from the phone and/or computers.

The motive of fasting is really seeking out the heart of God. However, Jesus was pointing out that we must be concerned with the people around us as well.

34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?

35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

#2 Joy is an appropriate response for those who delight in God. When we are in God’s presence, when we know Christ is with us, we are to be joyful, like a wedding guest at the sight of the bridegroom. Life with Christ is a party, like a wedding feast. No wonder the psalmist said…

The principle is quite simple: those who are forgiven, who are in God’s presence, should be characterized by joy. Is your life characterized by joy? Are we enjoying or enduring the presence of God?

Jesus answered the question on fasting and feasting by telling a story…

36 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.

37 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.

38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.

39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

The point here is …#3 Stop forcing your traditions when Christ has granted liberation. Ed Stetzer said:

Too many churches love past culture than their current context. If the church love the past era more than the current mission, it is loving the wrong thing. Too many churches love their comfort more than their mission. Too many churches allow traditions to hinder their ability to humbly assess their missional effectiveness. Moreover, they allow traditions to trump the future trajectory of their demographic.

Sometimes, we create rules and unintentionally make people follow them even if it is no longer working. Traditions are good, but we must not let traditions get in the way of our mission.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that being a Christian meant sacrificing all pleasure and joy to follow Christ. The only lasting joy is knowing we are forgiven by Him, and we have fellowship with Him.

God is not distant, uncaring and unpleasant. God isn’t killjoy. Jesus came to this world meant God cares, God has come, and He takes pleasure in the fellowship of forgiven men and women.

Don’t think that you’re too sinful, you’re too unholy to come to God. Recognizing you are a sinner is the first step towards God. Jesus came to call sinners. Only the self-righteous stay away from Christ.

Lastly, a proof of being forgiven, of being a child of God, is being comfortable and joyful in the presence of God and His people.


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