The Discipline Of Fasting!

Matthew 6:17-18 (KJV)
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy
Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Introduction:
God’s people have been fasting from the very beginning. When we fast and pray we do it for results, but we must always remember that the results are in God’s hands
so we cannot manipulate God.

One of the greatest benefits of fasting is becoming more attentive to God. We become more aware of our inadequacies and of his strengths. Fasting focuses on
God but it changes us. Today we will discuss why we should fast, what fasting does and doesn’t do. During this time of fasting and prayer, I believe that we will
recapture that hunger for God that so many in the church have lost in this modern time.

DEFINITON OF FASTING: Fasting means to abstain from food for some religious or spiritual purpose.

I.

WHY SHOULD WE FAST?

(1.) To become more INTIMITE with GOD!

(2.) We have a huge PROMBLEM that hinders us:

(a.)The desire we all have to give our hearts to Him is shared with a desire for things

(b.)Nibbling at the world’s table of food & entertainment has left us with no appetite for God! Illustration: when you nibble before a meal it stifles your appetite for the meal.

(c.) Even though wholesome food & entertainment is not bad, we often are unaware how full we get of it and that it robs us of our hunger for God. Fasting food & the pleasures of the world is a step in the right direction to correct that problem.

(3.) Fasting is that discipline which tries to recapture our hunger for God.

(4.) Fasting expresses the passion to know Him more!

II.

WHAT FASTING DOESN’T DO

( 1.) Fasting does not inspire or provoke God to love you.

(2.) Fasting doesn’t make God enjoy you any more.

(3.) Fasting isn’t a get rich scheme to holiness.

(4.) We don’t fast so that God would forgive us… but because He has already forgiven us!

(5.) Fasting is not a substitute for obedience.

III.

WHAT DOES FASTING DO?

(1.) FASTING EXPOSES OUR HEART

(2.) FASTING EXPRESSES OUR HUNGER FOR GOD HIMSELF

(3.) FASTING CHASTENS THE SOUL: Ps. 69:10

(4.) FASTING HUMBLES THE SOUL: Ezra 8:21; Ps 35:13

(5.) FASTING SETS US UP TO SEEK THE LORD! 2 Chron. 20:3-4

(6.) FASTING EMPOWERS US TO RESIST & OVERCOME THE

ENEMY! Matthew 4:1-11 (Jesus)

Identifying Points of Purpose

Philippians 2:13 (KJV) 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 (TMSG) 13That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Introduction:
As we saw in our last post that God can place something in us that can point us to our purpose. PASSION is a key word when it comes to purpose, because oftentimes God places a passion for his cause inside us. It can be disguised by certain emotions of passion such as ANGER and ANGER can be misdirected. When we don’t seek God in how to display our anger and how we can use it to Glorify him and direct it properly, it can cause us problems initially the way that it did with Moses and Saul (later called the Apostle Paul). Let’s talk about other emotions or feelings that can be God induced that will point us toward our purpose. This is a continuation from our last post.

(h.) BURDEN (or Sorrow): something that is carried : LOAD,RESPONSIBILITY

Nehemiah 1:1-4 (KJV)
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning
Jerusalem.
3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the
gates thereof are burned with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, Nehemiah’s passion was properly directed. He heard Jerusalem wasn’t rebuilt and it stirred something on the inside of him that caused him to WANT TO ACT.

(J.) JESUS GIVES US THE PERFECT ROAD MAP TO FINDING OUR
PURPOSE. Here are some of the things that he said:

(1.) Luke 2:49 (KJV)
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

(2.) John 4:34 (KJV) 34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

(3.) Luke 22:42 (KJV) 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

(4.) John 18:37 (ESV) 37Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Point # 1: Purpose is something after discovering it, you are willing to Give your life for, like Jesus, Paul, Moses, Nehemiah,

Point # 2: Purpose always starts with God and his will or purpose
Point # 3: To discover your purpose, you must CONNECT with your Creator
Point #4: FORGET ABOUT TITLES, POSITIONS, AND TIME
Point # 5: So what am I talking about?  Purpose is discovered through RELATIONSHIP (A state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection) AND COMMUNION (Fellowship; communion; to live with; to share; to be in union, in partnership, in a bound fellowship; to be closely bound together; to have a close, mutual relationship. BY THAT I MEAN A RELATIONSHIP & COMMUNION WITH GOD HIMSELF.

Practical Application as it pertains to you and your relationship with God It means to be so closely bound together that there is open and mutual sharing: what one has belongs to the other. The point is clear: there is no such fellowship or union between light and darkness. On the contrary, light and darkness are mutually exclusive, of different natures entirely. They cannot coexist.

Purpose that Transforms

In the previous scripture we see that Apostle Paul had gone on a journey and on this journey Paul was able to discover his God given purpose. On this journey, Paul’s life was totally transformed. His life was transformed by God’s purpose for him. I believe that if we pursue God that we can also take this journey and discover God’s purpose for our lives and truly be transformed. Let’s see what it takes.

I.

Definition of Purpose: Readers digest oxford complete word finder purpose is a thing intended; the reason for which something is done or made. The GREEK meaning is: A deliberate intention; A deliberate Design

II.

SEVEN THINGS YOU MUST UNDERSTAND ABOUT GOD’S PURPOSE

(1.) OFTENTIMS GOD’S PURPOSE IS DISCOVERED THRU STRUGGLE! Acts 9:10-16 Paul’s struggle

(2.) GOD SAVED US FOR HIS PURPOSE! 2 Timothy 1:9

(3.) GOD CALLED US AND GAVE US AN INVITATION TO JOIN HIM IN HIS WORK! 2 Timothy 1:9 Matthew 22:14 (read whole parable 1-14 if needed)

(4.) GOD’S CALLING IS HOLY OR PURE AND WE SHOULD HANDLE IT THAT WAY! 2 Timothy 1:9

(5.) WE DON’T DESERVE WHAT HE’S CALLED US TO! 2 Timothy 1:9

(6.) HIS PURPOSE IS MOST IMPORTANT ABOVE ALL ELSE! 2 Timothy 1:9

(7.) GOD SET YOUR PURPOSE IN CHRIST BEFORE YOU WERE BORN! 2 Timothy 1:9

III.

Why is it important to understand His purpose? IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO TRUE FULFILLMENT IN THIS LIFE! Purpose is the source of fulfillment.  Purpose gives life meaning. Phil. 3:12 apprehend what Christ apprehended me for.

IV.

HOW DOES GOD TRANSFORM A MAN OR WOMAN BY HIS PURPOSE?

A. God kills or BREAKS you: what do I mean? Your flesh. Because we are living in ourselves and the flesh can’t please or fulfill the purpose of God. Example: Jesus (Luke 4:1-14, Mat. 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13); Paul: 2 Cor.12:7-10(1-6): What is God’s method of killing you? He often uses trouble
(suffering) to get you in a place of obedience: Christ learned obedience thru the things that he suffered. Then he teaches you how to overcome the trouble (John 16:33, 1John 5:4)

B. EXAMPLES OF GOD BREAKING: MOSES; JOSEPH- hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, potipher’s wife accuses him & sent to prison; ABRAHAM: Gen. 12- causes to leave family, famine, makes promise & takes long time & then kill the promise, PAUL

C. Why does God want to BREAK you (your flesh)? SO THAT YOU CAN COME TO THE END OF YOURSELF AND HE CAN FORM THE IMAGE OF HIS SON IN YOU: Romans 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:12-18,

D. 1 peter 4:12 strange trial. GOD USES THEM TO BREAK YOU & IT WONT KILL YOU BUT IT WILL BUILD YOU! BUILD YOU HOW: IT BUILDS YOU TO BE WHAT AND WHO GOD NEEDS YOU TO BE TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE.

E. After God Builds you to fulfill his purpose, then HIS purpose DRIVES you: Acts 20:17-24