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Think F-A-S-T!
by Tom Goodman
April 6, 2011

Perfume and cologne bottles are already starting to come in.
Bring yours this Sunday.

Fasting:  Jesus practiced it.  So did the Apostle Paul.  The first-century church often joined it with their fervent prayers.  Those of us in the twenty-first century church need to restore this biblical discipline to our spiritual lives.

Why fast?  This Sunday I'm going to explain four reasons that people fasted in biblical times.  We'll use the acrostic F-A-S-T to remember the reasons.

First, we should fast whenever there is need of forgiveness.  In the Bible, people fasted because they were heart-broken over their own sins (see Joel 2:12-13), and also when they grieved over the condition of people they loved (see Nehemiah 1:3).

Second, adoration leads to fasting.  We often think of fasting only in the context of grief or dire need or earnest, urgent prayer.  But fasting can also be a way of celebrating our relationship with God (see Luke 2:36-38).  Fasting can be a way of saying, "God, spending time with you is even more important than food!"

Third, people fasted in the Bible days when they needed God to supply something they lacked (see Esther 4:3; Judges 20; 2 Chronicles 20; Ezra 8:21-23).  Andrew Murray said: "Fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, to sacrifice ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God."

Finally, we should fast as a way to train ourselves in the real priorities of life.  Fasting is a way of reminding us that there are things more important than food.  The worship of God (see Acts 13:2), the work of God (see John 4:34); and the word of God (see Matthew 4:2-4) are all more important than food.

Forgiveness, Adoration, Supply, and Training.  Do you have any of those same needs?  Do you need to lay out some brokenness before the Lord and ask his forgiveness?  Do you need to spend time in adoration?  Do you need something -- rescue, guidance, healing?  Do you need to train yourself to put the worship of God, the work of God, and the word of God above everything else?  If you have these same needs, the same resource to meet these needs still exists.  Fasting is a discipline we should restore in our day and in our church.

This lesson will lead to a practical challenge to fast on Good Friday, April 22.  On that day we remember the crucifixion, let's arrange our day so that the first food to touch our lips is the bread of the Lord's Supper at our 7:00pm worship service.


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