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Secret Fasting Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2020 1:00 am

Secret Fasting Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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December 8, 2020 1:00 am

To stop eating for a time has known health benefits. But for the Christian, it also has great spiritual benefits. You don’t hear much about fasting in a fast-food culture.  Let’s learn more about the “why” and “how” of fasting, as Jesus taught in Matthew chapter six.

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For looking to Jesus longer stop eating for time as known health benefits for the Christian also has regions.

You don't hear much about fasting in a fast food culture today or why and how of fasting as Jesus taught in Matthew chapter 6 from the Moody Church in Chicago this morning when Sir was teaching helps us make it across the finish line.

Master loser isn't it true that fasting is associated with times of deep almost desperate prayer. It really is day when you look at the Old Testament, you find that when Israel was attacked and they saw the enemy coming. It is then that they really began to fast.

I know the same is true even as we have seen it during the covert crisis now suddenly people were crying up to God. God has a way of getting our attention. But before we go to that message. I need to tell you that I have in my hand a wonderful book entitled a closer look at the evidence. 365 one page devotional readings for every day of the coming year you're gonna learn all about science and history, and biology. I'll tell you more about that at the end of this broadcast but for now let's go to the pulpit of Moody church as we continue this study on fasting. She is asked how to be tempted of the devil he fasts for 40 days and then the tempter comes and it says that after the 40 days he was hungered, and that he was hungry and the tempter said turn these stones into bread. Could Jesus have done it. Yes, it's the kind of miracle he was going to do in just a couple of months he be doing those kinds of miracles. But you see, Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone, he quotes Deuteronomy, and in context that verse has to do with the giving of manna not the taking away of food, but the giving of the member how Israel they didn't like the cafeteria in the desert to member how they were complaining and they said you know we don't like what God is giving us in God's is. I'll give you manna later on he said I'll even give you quail until it comes out of your nostrils, and that it is it that's what you want, but they were they were complaining about the menu they complained about the menu probably happened in other contexts since but that's what happened back then. And the Lord says that I am going to let you be hungry and I'm going to feed you from something that you know not all. Namely, the manna which is going to come from heaven, every single morning. Why that you might know that man shall not live by bread alone, but he lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God and what is the word that proceeds out of the mouth of God is the man every single morning.

The word proceeded out of the mouth of God. And God said, let there be manna, manna, and you see what he wanted them to know is that you don't live necessarily with security that God has the ability to create food. He has the ability to speak in the manna, and that's the word by which you should live in houses Jesus to Satan. In effect I can turn these stones into bread but I'm relying totally upon my father and there is within me some thing that is even more satisfying than eating and that is the will of my father and therefore be gone the site and for man shall not live by bread alone, but I'm living by the word of God. The proceeds of the gods. Now there is something even more important than food, and with that site and of course left to go. He came back later is a mask of faith is a fast fighting by acting their churches in this world of experience that only when we fast and only when we humble ourselves, do we see the victory of Jesus Christ is also a fast finding we find out what we are like have you ever noticed how grumpy you can be when you've not eaten. You can just be totally miserable to live with some of you may even be miserable. After you've eaten, but I'm not talking about that kind not not equity church. I was thinking I said that for the benefit of those listening by cassette tape. The point is point is we can be very irritable. Now do you mean to tell me that you cannot enjoy God or be controlled by the spirit.

Unless your stomach is full.

But God has nothing no relevance to you as long as you're hungry.

I once had somebody say well you know what my sanctification is it's a cup of coffee in the morning. You know I'm not fit to live with until I have that cup of coffee home brother brother or sister. Whatever are you telling me that the work of the Holy Spirit of God in your life is so unreal and so distant that God can't make you livable until you get that shot of caffeine, not the Scripture would say is that that that there is such a thing as is an inner well of water that springs up into everlasting life that is even even more powerful and and more satisfying than a cup of coffee or food. Oh, I know we need food to eat and want to overstress the point, but I but I do want to say that we are soul such prisoners of our desires are.

We aren't waiting I speak of myself, but aren't we all prisoners of our desires. So it's the fast finding I talk to people to fast for a long long time. Many more days than I've ever passed and they said that during that period of time. The flesh was subdued the. The desires were were brought under control. There was freedom in the relationship. Well, you knew that we come to the text I promised you and I also still promise you that one statement that will make Christian fasting unique from all the other fastings of the world and you're still with me so turned to the sixth chapter of Matthew six chapter of Matthew this is a series of messages on secrets we've talked about secret giving. We talked about secret praying and now we speak about secret fasting for you Sabal why are you speaking on this because Jesus spoke on when you expound the Scriptures you go where the Scriptures lead you and this is where they lead us to verse 16 of chapter 6 and whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect your appearance in order to be seen fasting by man. They have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not be seen by men to be fasting, but your father who is in secret, and your father who sees in secret will couple of comments become very immediate as you look at the text first of all, fasting is assumed. It's assumed that you will do that Jesus didn't say out if you fast, as if to say, that you may or may not, I says when you fast whenever you fast, of course, in the early church. Fasting was very common. I mentioned to you that pole fast and the disciples lasted all throughout history and you say well you know this is for super saints, no, no. Is it just for common ordinary people who struggle in their Christian walk. This is for you and for me this is for anyone and and you say well yeah but but well listen, Jesus is saying whenever you fast, it is expected did. It is expected. Second, very quick observation is that you have to do it with the right motive. Now notice Jesus says when you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do neglect their appearance. They have their reward in full. We need to pause before we say anything about motive and and say that all of us.

All of us are very very much aware of our reputation and and we all have the same desire within us, to be accepted and to be well thought out event.

We know how good it is to be seen by man. We want to dress for it instructs Frampton posture for it and give for it to end the pray for it to end. Do all those things and and past if necessary now the question is why is it a hypotheses if you're fasting for you to let everybody know you are.

Isn't that exactly what hypotheses isn't you're just letting it all hang out there saying you know I'm fasting. Why does Jesus say that typography wouldn't concealing it. The hypotheses know the reason you see that this is hypotheses here for the them to act this way is because you see they are really giving the wrong impression about their motive.

That's their problem. If they put a sign on their back and say I am fasting to be seen by men than they would not be hypocrites. That's actually the reason why there fasting but see their hypocrites because they're pretending to fast for God and yet they do it that they might be seen of men.

And Jesus said when you fast when you fast, he said do it in secret. Again, it doesn't mean that people can find out about just like we notice that there is giving that is public and that's okay.

There is praying that is public and that is okay, but what Jesus is emphasizing in all of these secrets that were talking about is that the remainder motive should be for God.

Obviously there fasting your family will know about it. Sometimes you go out for lunch and your friends have to know about it because you're not eating.

So this is no big deal there don't make a big thing of but what Jesus is saying is that the inner motive has to be gone, but directed that really you recognize that at the end of the day you're not fasting for anybody else you're not doing it because others are doing at what you're really doing this for God and your desire is to develop an intimacy with him and to develop a heart for God. And so what Jesus said is that the intention the intention of the hypocrites is wrong and and those who conceal the fact that there fasting on those who don't speak about the fact that there fasting, they are at the hypocrites because they understand that the real purpose of fasting is to develop that hard for God and therefore they are hypocrites at all. They just don't make a big thing of it.

Jesus is saying we have to fast for the right motive and again he talks about doing it in secret life.

It helps our motive to be pure now notice there is a reward, and your father who sees in secret. Does God know about your hunger pains.

Does he know about all of the things that come to mind when you're fasting and you're beginning to get agitated because you've skipped one you know that you got that your father who sees in secret he will repay you.

You're doing this for him. He will repay you.

How does God repay us. I'd like to suggest that God repays is primarily maybe in different ways, but primarily the reward is God himself.

The reward is God himself. I promised you that I would give you one sentence that would distinguish Christian fasting from all the other fasting that might be done in the world and it is simply this, but every once in a while. Every once in a while. What we need to do is to prove that they give her is more satisfying than the gift. Let me say that again. Every once in a while we have to prove that the giver is more satisfying than the gift every once in a while we have to say, even though my bodily need for food is now being denied, and this is difficult for me, Lord, I pray Lord I pray that my desire for you might increase in the long for you as much as I long for some baked salmon during my fast.

That's the whole point. You see, it's gone, that we say it is God who satisfies the depths of the soul as the deer pants after the water broke, so my soul pants after the old God and we say to ourselves, all God, I want you so bad I want you is is is that thirsty day when I was on the potential of the Masada 1968.

How well I remember it when we're out of water and were in the desert and was 100 given anything for just 1/2 cup of water. Once she had that bad in every once in a while you and I were so pampered and were so filled with good things to eat and who think that every time her little stomach tells us time to equally have to pay you and I have to prove once in a while the giver can be more satisfying than the gift than the brakes that we too had need to teach that the world knows not all so the reward is God himself is the supremacy of God in all things, and it is a reminder of the fact that we miss him we missed him. The King is not yet come. The church is waiting for the revelation of the bride groom from heaven, but he is not yet here and this is a period of morning this is a period of searching. This is a period of you this because the master has not yet come. And so we do that I speak to many of you who have never fasting leisure like my friend uses all yeah I do it I do it often.

I fast between breakfast and lunch. So how do you begin the first of all, I suggested you begin with a 36 hour fast.

Just get food for that one day and then have breakfast the next day, and that'll turn out to be about 36 hours.

It's a good way to start now. I need to warn you, here's what's going to happen. Your stomach is going to try to convince you otherwise first line of defense is going to say you will die you will die people of God.

That's the first line of defense is the first assault.

The second assault is to say what you might not die but it's going to damage your immune system. You're gonna get all of the flu bugs that have ever been hatched here in the city of Chicago.

They will all come to you really seriously because you are going to be dangerously weekend.

As a result of this that doesn't work, your stomach is going to quote the Constitution of the United States of America going to Sandra tell the ACLU because it's unconstitutional. This is cruel and unusual punishment. The question is what are you going to do when that happens where you going to do what you're going to do is to say, oh God, this is difficult because I'm thinking about food. I could hardly wait, hardly wait to eat.

Lord, please, please, I'm taking some baby steps here. Please give me a desire for you that is as great as the desire that I have for food at this moment because because I am hungry and I'm irritable and I'm dissatisfied but Lord, fill that gap with yourself and someday someday maybe not yet, but but someday help me to desire you as much as I desire that why because every once in a while I have to prove the use of the giver of every perfect gift, including read that you are more satisfying than the brand that you give and I've not been able to prove I've not been able to prove that the Lord teach me that give you hunger and thirst after righteousness. But I shall be filled, and that is the reward then of the blessed is the reward of fasting. It is, it is the recognition that at the end of the day the father who saw secret he will repay you. The Greek word repay me really means I'll pay you back without reward spoke to somebody this past week and he said that the reward of fasting and he fasted rather long. He said was is not even during the fast. He said it was a difficult time but he said the rewards came afterwards. The rewards come after, as we are filled with the fullness of God.

Some of you were here today. This message is not been for you directly but I'm glad you listened because what you need to do is you need to connect with God first need to connect with God first and and you don't do it through fasting if you don't know Christ as your Savior. This is the starting point for you. Your starting point is to comment to receive freely the gift of eternal life. It's to acknowledge your own helplessness like Augustine's top lady wrote, put my tears forever float put my seal no rest like no sin could not atone, say about a loan so you come helplessly you come to receive the gift of eternal life. Then once you're a child of God, and you belong to the family. Then you begin to develop that intimacy that intimacy for the first is for you to open your heart and life to Christ and to receive the forgiveness and the mercy of God, and then you can begin to say someday someday I'm going to fast because what I'd like to do to us to prove that the giver can be more satisfying than the gift. Let us pray father received the words that are been taken. We pray pray father that all who have listened today.

Students young people, teenagers, older adults, those of walk with you for many years.

Those who are new in the faith we pray for a transformation of heart we pray today father that you will make us a church that seeks you and that at the end of the day might find you to be satisfying. Father we pray that you might come to us by your Holy Spirit show us how satisfying you can be. Show us that you can indeed be a couple of cool water in a desert shows Lord that our desires are so out of kilter with where you're at, that we need to repent of all those things that stand in the way of finding you to be beautiful and lovely do that. Lord, we pray and father unless you do it. It won't be done so do it among your people. We ask in Jesus name what my friend today. I urge you to seek God and if that involves fasting then begin to fast.

Take out a day without food and use those hunger pangs to remind you of the fact that all of us need God even more than we need food or my friend. I have to ask you a question.

If your parent or grandparent in your kids come home from school or your grandkids come home from school and they begin to ask you questions about science. What about the fossil record. Is it possible that evolution can explain human life.

How do you answer I have in my hands a wonderful resource.

It's entitled a closer look at the evidence written by two scientists and this book has 365 one page readings, one for every day of the year and most of the pages are with color photos.

It will help you defend the Christian faith, and it will show you the beauty of God's creative ability for a gift of any amount.

It can be yours. Here's what you do go to RTW Let me give that to you again. RTW or if you prefer to call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 ask for a closer look at the evidence. It's time again for another chance for you to ask Pastor lutes or a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life is running to win were glad that so many of our listeners find help and encouragement through this program every day, but no program can replace the community of God's people found in the local church.

Dr. lutes or this issue came up when a listener named David wrote to us, he says, is it okay to listen to your radio program and several other radio and TV preachers instead of attending church will David first of all, that means I am so glad that you listen to our program. And of course there are a lot of other good ones out there proclaiming the word of God, and I hope that you listen as often as you can. But the answer to your question is no. Staying home to listen to these broadcasts is not the same as going to church in mind you, there are many people who listen to our broadcast you cannot go to church.

I'm thinking particularly those who may have a physical infirmity a disability preps because of old age, perhaps because of a number of different reasons. So of course it is very good then that they can listen and participate. But if you can go to church. You should, and the reason is this, that going to church is more than listening to a sermon or hearing music, going to church is connecting with the community of God. We should be a transforming community and we can't be that alone God has worked it out in such a way that it is through human relationships through the exercise of the body.

Working together as a whole. That much is accomplished.

You can't live the Christian life that you should on your own. We need one another in the place to find that one another is church. Thank you David for your question and thank you Pastor lutes for your direct answer if you'd like to hear your question answered.

You can by going to our and click there on ask Pastor lutes or or you can call us with the question at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us that's running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 good deeds can be seen. Motivations can why we do what we knew is a key focus.

Christ's teaching in Matthew chapter 6. Here we experience radical surgery as our motives are dissected. Next time I'm running to win the go to the clinic good price diagnosed running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life.

Thanks for listening today for Dr. Erwin lutes or this is Damon Alastair running to win is sponsored by the Moody church

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