"Missionaries Who Feast and Fast"
Passage: Matthew 6:16–6:18, Matthew 9:10–9:17
1. Fasting is a powerful tool that can be used to greatly benefit all believers. Fasting is for today.
2. Voluntary abstaining from any good gift from God has great spiritual benefit for the believer.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “Fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.”
3. There is a danger in fasting wrongly, Matthew 6:16-19; Colossians 2:20-21; 1 Timothy 4:1-3.
4. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that reaps these benefits:
a. Adds vitality to prayer. Fasting walks arm in arm with prayer, Matthew 6:9-18; Ezra 8:23; Joel 2:13; Acts 13:3.
b. Aids in our passion, direction, and endgame for missions, Acts 13:1-3; Matthew 24:14.
c. Assists our heart hunger for delighting in God, Matthew 6:9-18.
d. Assists in humility and self-examination, Psalm 35:13; 1 Kings 21:27–29; Psalm 35:13.
e. Assists in confession and true sorrow over sin, Nehemiah 9:1-2, Psalm 35:13; Isaiah 58:3-5.
f. Assists in gaining mastery over the flesh, overcoming temptation and dedicating yourself to God, Matthew 4:1–11; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; Philippians 3:7-8; Psalm 63.
g. Aids in discerning God's will and guidance, Judges 20:26; Acts 14:23.
h. For help in trouble, 2 Chronicles 20:1; Esther 4:16; Ezra 8:21.
Fast if you are feeling spiritually hungry for God and His presence.
Fast if your prayers feel dry and flat, passionless.
Fast if you need special guidance in difficult times.
Fast if you have a big decision to make.
Fast if you are struggling with discipline.
Fast for God's work in the world, in your neighborhood.
Fast if food is an idol, computer, sin, phone, person, home.
Fast if the beauty of God has evaded you.
Fast if you are grieving over your own sin or other's sins.
Fast if you are being persecuted and need protection.
Fast if you need to express deep repentance and sorrow.
Fast if you need to return to the covenant community after separation.
Fast if you are physically able to. Don't use your health as a necessary excuse.
Fast purposely not mechanically.
Fast to repent for your lack of spiritual vitality.