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Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

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  • Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

    The sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-6-7) is said to be the lifestyle of Christian, some commentaries call it basic Christianity. Wesley said the standard of a pastor's success, is the level which his church embrace these values. Jesus said of the lifestyle in Matt 5:"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

    The values of the lifestyle include meekness, doing works before God (not man), prayer, intercession, fasting, giving, tithing, trusting the Father and knowing the Lord. He says in Mat 5:16 "when you fast," not 'if you fast,' which strongly suggests He was expecting fasting to be a part of their lifestyle. Yet the belief is very common in the church that is fasting now something He has told us we no longer have to do, unless there is an extreme need. Is it no longer something He expects of us as a regular practice? Has the lifestyle of America influenced our interpretation of Scriptures?

    Mat 9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples fast not? 15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the friends of the Bridegroom mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

    Jesus didn't respond to John's disciples by saying they didn't have to fast, He answered them that 'when He is taken from them (by the cross),' then they will fast. He wasn't saying they were exempt from fasting rather He was answering the implication that John and his disciples were more zealous and passionate than His disciples, by saying one day they will but just as John's disciples were..

    These verses directly implies that fasting will bring us to the presense of God, I'm assuming by the Holy Spirit dwelling in them post-Pentecost. Mourning speaks of so hungering and desiring of God that we fast to be in His presence. Zech 8 prophesies of fasting for joy, rather than sorrow. I think that Jesus does not give specifics in Scripture to duration and schedule of fasting, as it is a voluntary move of the heart. A groom cannot command His bride to love him. However as Pastors and Teachers, if we are not awakening hunger for the presence of God in our flock, what are we then doing? Are we like the Pharisees seeking to establish religious activity in the place of connecting with God?

    Do we not have to fast as a basic tenet of the works that attests our faith alive? What does fasting accomplish if is a discipline?

    Jon 7:38 He that believes on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. In studying the greek I find that the Holy Spirit dwells in our innermost man or 'belly'(KJV) and yet we experience Him in the innerman (sometimes 'translated heart/soul'.) By strengthening our innerman with prayer and fasting, we increase our capacity for more of the Spirit of Christ there. This principle comes from Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.

    This is also align with Paul praying for the church of Ephesus to experience Eph 1:17 work of the Holy Spirit that reveals to them Christ. It seems as though God has chosen fasting as a means of humility. 2 Cor 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Mar 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what all of you hear: with what measure all of you use, it shall be measured back to you. Mat 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

    If you've tried fasting and hated it, ask God for grace and empowerment for it. This verse is crucial to fasting: 39 You Search the scriptures; for in them all of you think all of you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And yet all of you will not come to me, that all of you might have life. We must let the written word take us to the Living Word,(John 1:1)

    What is study of Scriptures without beholding Jesus by the Spirit? Does it transform us or renew our minds? 2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding dimly the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.

    These help too:
    John 14:26 the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things.
    1 Cor 2:10
    But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. 12 Now we have received.. the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
    Eph 5:18 be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

    I know some who fast one day a week on water, with a light meal the night before, and a light meal the night of, to break the fast. The results have been tremendous over the years, though one problem is hunger for God growing in such a way that no other earthly pleasure satifies, which only leads to more prayer. Like the pastor says 'fasting without prayer is dieting.'
    Last edited by Extravagance; Aug 24th 2011, 08:17 AM.
    "My People shall seek to love Me with all of their Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength. This is the first priority before all other commandments." (Mar 12:30 paraphrase)

  • #2
    Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

    What a blessing to read, Extravagance !

    God bless you more and more, allowing you to bless us in return.
    Sadly, this is a dry topic for most of us now-a-days.

    I am aware that our modern use of the word fast now-days means almost exclusively diet, but fasting is indeed denying our appetite, but ALL of our appetites, not just our bellies appetite.
    Christ forty day fast in the desert is a perfect example of a biblical fast, no conveniences, no voices for news, no company or companionship or reassurance from our fellows, no bodily comforts, no entertainment, no food to satisfy our belly, no food for thought other than what Father's Spirit will provide in our self imposed solitude.

    If we can or will do that, Father will reward us with greatly increased faith in Him
    (if we do it to make ourselves available to Him)
    Fasting is an act of self denial to make ourselves totally available to Father. It is not at test to show how long we will suffer in starvation for God.

    Is fasting the only way to increase faith ? ...nope ! ...but it expedites/quickens faith powerfully, like dynamite ! ...IF it is mixed with prayer and quiet waiting on Father.

    Is it commanded or expected ? ...I think it is for each individual to decide for themselves according to how n what n when Father is dealing with them individually.

    Although I wont let a man convince or guilt me into a fast, I will respond to Father if or when He coo's n woo's me into one, but I will do it in solitude and in secret and mixed with a whole lot of praying and contemplation on Him and His words.
    I think it is very profitable for us who are seeking self-discipline (control of one's own flesh's desires)
    The solemn and quiet that a long "fast+praying" will bring to our spirit if we fast to commune with Father in total solitude and self denial will greatly increase our faith and power in Him, very noticeably very, very noticeably...


    Father bless, and have mercy on us.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

      If for no other reason, you must fast once a year on the Day of Atonement. Once a month is much more appropriate but there is no regulation and it is up to the individual according to his/her need.

      Isa 58:3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
      Isa 58:4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
      Isa 58:5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
      Isa 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
      Isa 58:7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
      Isa 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
      Isa 58:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
      Isa 58:10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
      Isa 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
      Isa 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
      Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
      Isa 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

      We fast not so that God can see things our way and give us what we want from Him, we fast so that we can see things God's way and serve him with a perfect heart.
      I've been throwed outta better places than this.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

        I frankly find it interesting how little the Bible really says about fasting yet how much I hear about it in the church. Once you get past the book of Acts, I don't know of a single instance of fasting being mentioned in any epistles.

        In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

        Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

        If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

          Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
          I frankly find it interesting how little the Bible really says about fasting yet how much I hear about it in the church. Once you get past the book of Acts, I don't know of a single instance of fasting being mentioned in any epistles.
          Yep it does seem that we major on the minors.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

            Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
            I frankly find it interesting how little the Bible really says about fasting yet how much I hear about it in the church. Once you get past the book of Acts, I don't know of a single instance of fasting being mentioned in any epistles.
            Is this an excuse then, not to fast?
            Slug1--out

            ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

              Originally posted by nimblewillsgrace View Post
              Yep it does seem that we major on the minors.
              Wow. So much truth in so little words.
              This IGNORE button is by far one of the most useful tools I've used to keep my peace while navigating through some of the madness.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                Originally posted by Slug1 View Post
                Is this an excuse then, not to fast?
                Is an excuse needed if Gentile believers are never recorded as fasting, nor commanded to?

                In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

                Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

                If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                  Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
                  Is an excuse needed if Gentile believers are never recorded as fasting, nor commanded to?
                  I guess you're not gonna answer the question? Huh?
                  Slug1--out

                  ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                    Originally posted by Slug1 View Post
                    I guess you're not gonna answer the question? Huh?
                    I did answer. An excuse is not needed if one isn't told to do something.

                    In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

                    Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

                    If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                      Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
                      I did answer. An excuse is not needed if one isn't told to do something.
                      Luk 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
                      Luk 17:8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
                      Luk 17:9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
                      Luk 17:10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

                      Mat 6:16 Moreover when (not if) ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
                      Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
                      Mat 6:18 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.

                      Mat 9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
                      Mat 9:15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

                      The Boss says we will fast, good enough for me.
                      I've been throwed outta better places than this.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                        Originally posted by John 8:32 View Post
                        Luk 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
                        Luk 17:8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
                        Luk 17:9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
                        Luk 17:10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

                        Mat 6:16 Moreover when (not if) ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
                        Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
                        Mat 6:18 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.

                        Mat 9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
                        Mat 9:15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

                        The Boss says we will fast, good enough for me.
                        Then why do we never see Gentiles fast in Acts and how come the apostles never mention it in the epistles?

                        In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

                        Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

                        If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                          Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
                          Then why do we never see Gentiles fast in Acts and how come the apostles never mention it in the epistles?
                          Ask the Boss, he is the one who told us to fast. Maybe fasting is a foregone conclusion and doesn't need to be constantly reinforced. Christ said to do it, so they did it. It is a very private matter anyhoo...

                          Mat 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
                          Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
                          Mat 6:18 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.

                          (By the way, there are other intimate details of life we do not see the gentiles doing in new testament either. Did they or we do them?)
                          I've been throwed outta better places than this.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                            Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
                            Then why do we never see Gentiles fast in Acts and how come the apostles never mention it in the epistles?
                            Act 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,

                            Here the word fast refers to a specific fast, the Day of Atonement which is at a particular season and the seasons were recognized by the Holydays that occurred during those seasons at that time of the year.
                            I've been throwed outta better places than this.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Does Jesus expect His Disciples to Fast?

                              Originally posted by John 8:32 View Post
                              Act 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,

                              Here the word fast refers to a specific fast, the Day of Atonement which is at a particular season and the seasons were recognized by the Holydays that occurred during those seasons at that time of the year.
                              John 8:32,

                              Are you observing the Day of Atonement these days?

                              In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

                              Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

                              If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

                              Comment

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