Jesus' Approved Fast
GWEA Monthly Message, March 2020
REVEREND GORDON WILLIAMS
Every year people ask, “What does Lent mean?” The Lenten Season is the period of time designated by many churches to remember the 40 days Jesus fasted (Matt. 4:1-11) when he was tempted by the devil before he started His ministry. It runs from Ash Wednesday to Psalm Sunday (Wednesday, February 26th to Thursday, April 9th this year). Churches often suggest that people abstain from eating certain foods in preparation for Easter Sunday. Christians often fast when they are seeking Jesus’ plans for their lives, or for God’s permission to do something they think will please Him. Some fast to be seen as being “more spiritual” than others. Jesus warned, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:1). “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash you face, that your fasting might not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt.6:16-18).
John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees fasted hoping to see the coming of the Messiah but didn’t recognize Jesus (Matt. 9:14-7; Mk. 2:18-22; Lk. 5:33-39). Jesus used a Pharisee and a tax collector to show that good works and fasting without repentance results in condemnation (Lk. 18:9-14). Jesus’ disciples who failed to cast a demon out of a man’s son asked Jesus, “Why could we not cast it out?” Jesus replied, “This kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:14-21; Mk. 9:14-29). Since the Day of Pentecost when they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) which included the authority to “cast out demons” (Mk. 16:17-18), fasting is no longer necessary unless the Holy Spirit tells us to do so.
In the Old Testament God told us the kind of fast He required: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn. And your healing shall spring up speedily, your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am” (Is. 58:6-9).
Jesus requires the same kind of fasting today: Salvation (Jn. 3:3, 5, 7), the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) with the “signs following” (Mk. 16:17-18). Then we can be witnesses (Acts 1:8) using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; to meet people’s needs (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:8-10); to feed the hungry; to give a drink to the thirsty; to welcome strangers; to clothe the naked; to visit the sick and people in prison (Matt. 25:31-46); and to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20).
If you, a family member, or friend would like to receive Salvation, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, healing, or any other need, I invite you to come to one of our meetings, or contact me so we can pray with you to receive all Jesus has accomplished for us. Let’s fast Jesus’ way!
If you have not received the Gift of the Holy Spirit, I invite you come to one of our house meetings or contact me for prayer and guidance. You will discover that you can have an exciting Christian life and receive the Holy Spirit with His wonderful and exciting gifts! Happy Valentine's Day!
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