Fasting – Matthew 6:16-18

Today is Saturday, June 13, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 67

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Church this week – June 14th – 8:30; and 11:00 A.M. Sunday school at 9:45 A.M. No Children’s Church until July – We need volunteers.

VBS in June 22-27, 2020 – We need your help. Please contact Annette Ward

AWANA in September needs volunteers

H.E.L.P Ministries – school work/teachers salaries – $ 2,000 month

Mission Compound – $ 20,000 by the end of May

Today in the News: No News is Good News

Bible Quiz Time:

 Q: When Bathsheba got pregnant, what did David make happen to Uriah?
A: He was killed in battle

Q: What prophet came to rebuke David?
A: Nathan

Q: What happened to Bathsheba’s child?
A: The child died

Q: When Bathsheba had another child, what did they name him?
A: Solomon

Q: Who was David’s son that started a rebellion against him?
A: Absalom

Q: What capital city did David abandon as Absalom came towards it?
A: Jerusalem

Pause for Prayer:

  • VBS – June 22-27, 2020
  • Riots and Protests throughout the U.S.
  • Bob Ahsmuhs – Cancer
  • Tom Spann – Cancer
  • Terry Robinson
  • People working through COVID-19
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Men’s Bible Study – Friday nights
  • Cup of Grace Ministry
  • E.L.P Ministries
  • Heal our nation/guide our president

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Matthew 6:16-18

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

   I want to have a word with you about Fasting

   What is fasting?

  • It is giving up food for a spiritual need.
  • Fasting is a denial of the flesh.
  • Fasting is desiring to come into the presence of God

   Pastor Jon Courson shares two reasons for fasting in his commentary. He writes, 

The first is for direction. Both examples in the Old Testament are found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. In the New Testament, we see the examples not only in the life of Jesus but also in the Book of Acts. When people desired to know God’s will or direction, they fasted.

Physiologists tell us when there is no food in the stomach, there is greater blood flow to the brain. You can actually think clearer when you’re not digesting burgers and fries. Once you overcome those first pangs of hunger, your thinking processes are more focused and clearer than ever. On the other hand, if you have two Whoppers and a couple of shakes, all you want to do is sleep!

Second, people fast not only for direction, but for liberation. When you feel oppressed, bound, or hassled by some sin or problem, fasting is a powerful weapon in your spiritual arsenal. Why? When you say no to your stomach and start praying instead, something dynamic begins to happen. Saying no to your physical appetites helps you say no to the other temptations that hassle you. If you are plagued by temptation, I encourage you to begin to explore the discipline of fasting. When your stomach starts demanding, just say “No,” and start praying. You will find a power and a liberty that will help you overcome whatever temptations are seeking to enslave you. There’s real power in fasting. If you need direction, if you hunger for liberation, skip lunch, and seek the Lord.[1]

    I. Jesus expected us to Fast – 6:16

   16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

   Jesus tells us not to fast for public recognition. This is what the hypocrites did (i.e., the Pharisees They fasted twice a week, Monday and Thursday). They would walk around with sad countenance – they want others to fill bad for them. Others would disfigure their faces that it may appear to men to be fasting. Perhaps they weren’t fasting at all, but they just wanted to make it appear they were. Jesus says these people have their reward – NOTHING!

   What positive can we draw from our text? I believe we can see the following ideas:

  • Jesus is teaching us about a spiritual discipline here.
  • Jesus is teaching us to be real in our spiritual journey.
   II. Jesus taught us how to Fast – 6:17-18

   According to Jesus how are Kingdom people are to fast? He shares three steps to take as one starts a fast. They are:

  1. Pick a time to fast – 6:17a

17 But you, when you fast,

  • David fasted for a sick child.
  • Daniel fasted for spiritual insight.
  • Esther fasted before going before King Ahasuerus.
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days – Matthew 4
  • Paul and Barnabas fasted when they appointed elders.

   I’ve known people to fast for 30 days.

   You can fast by skipping one meal, or go all day.

   2. Anoint your head – 6:17b

   “anoint your head”

   3. Wash your face – 6:17c

   “and wash your face,”   

    Jesus is telling us to take care of our appearance. Wash your face. Shave, and by all means, brush your teeth.

   Are you aware that our countenance is what displays God’s glory in our lives? Fast in such a way that your face shines forth God’s glory.

    4. Don’t appear to men to be fasting – 6:18a

18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting,

   Jesus is teaching that when we fast that we are not too fast to be seen by men. We are not to walk around telling everyone we are fasting and that we are so hungry.

   We are not to become martyrs when it comes to fasting.

   Poor me – but O how so spiritual I am.

   5. our Father will reward you – 6:18b

   “but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

   Kingdom people are to fast to connect with our God who is in the secret place.

   In Psalm 91:1 we read,

    He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

   Apparently fasting brings you into the secret place of the Most High God. I like it, but do I like it enough to fast?

   III. What are you plans for fasting?

   Allow to provide you with a few steps to take when it comes to fasting:

  1. Make sure that you are healthy enough to fast (see your doctor).
  2. Make sure that you are fasting for the right reason. If you fast to lose weight, don’t pretend to be fasting for spiritual purposes. Don’t be a hypocrite.
  3. Start by skipping one meal, and then two, until you can walk through a full day fasting.
  4. Make sure that you continue to drink water (and or juice). Avoid dehydration. Most people don’t drink enough water as it is.
  5. When you feel hungry during your fast make sure you turn your eyes towards the Lord. Connect and talk with Him.
  6. Put your fast day on the calendar. Plan it into your regular daily routine.

Lessons for Learners:

  1. Fast for spiritual reasons.
  2. Fast but don’t draw attention to yourself.
  3. Fast and take care of your appearance.
  4. Fast and say nothing to anyone.
  5. Fast and seek your Father in His secret place.
  6. Fast and allow God to reward you.
Remember, I’m in touch so you be in touch.
And as Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to say, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.Fasting – Matthew 6:16-18

[1] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (pp. 32–33). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.