Fasting does not change God!  He is the same before, during and after you fast.  Fasting will change you!  It will bring the flesh under submission and will make you more sensitive to the Spirit of God.

Fasting was a usual and normal part of New Testament living.

Acts 10:30 – So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.”

Acts 14:23 – Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

Acts 13:1-3 – Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Jesus directed believers to fast

Matthew 6:17-18 – But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

If you fast in the correct manner with the right motives, God will reward you openly.

Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Do it in secret and have a purpose

Old and New Testament promises for those who fast (Isaiah 58:8-9, 11-12)

  • Light
  • Health
  • Righteousness
  • Glory
  • Answered Prayer
  • Continual Guidance
  • Satisfaction
  • Refreshing
  • Work that Endures
  • Restoration

Remember… your body has a very important function as a residence of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.

Romans 6:13 – Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

Fasting is a very practical way to keep our bodies healthy.

What is The Purpose of Fasting and Praying?

You must have a purpose when you fast. Three primary New Testament conditions are listed for fasting:

  • To minister to the Lord
  • To ordain men to ministry
  • To seek God in times of danger or decision

For the sake of Humility

Psalm 35:13 – Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.

Matthew 23:12 – For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

For the sake of Drawing Closer to The Lord

James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Luke 5:33-35 – They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”  Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

For the sake of Receiving Direction from The Lord

Ezra 8:21 – There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

Acts 27:33-35 – Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat.  “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food — you haven’t eaten anything.  Now I urge you to take some food.  You need it to survive.  Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”  After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.  Then he broke it and began to eat.

For the sake of Deliverance

Isaiah 58:8 – Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Matthew 17:21 – However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
See Chronicles 20

2 Corinthians 6:4-5 – Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger.

What Does Fasting Accomplish?

Fasting helps us put flesh under subjection
God will reveal things about your heart while you fast and seek Him in the Word and prayer.

Fasting will make us more receptive to the Spirit
God will change people while they fast (Nineveh, Moses, Daniel saw dramatic change in their nation and cities).

Fasting will bring rewards

  • Enable captives to go free (Isaiah 48)
  • Create more confidence in the Word of God
  • Cleanse people of strife, backbiting, sin, etc.
  • Assist in lessening our dependence on our senses
  • Put you in position to receive from God (self-centeredness, self-righteousness, self-pity, etc.)
  • Place us clearly into the hands of God

Old and New Testament promises for those who fast (Isaiah 58:8-9, 11-12)

  • Light
  • Health
  • Righteousness
  • Glory
  • Answered Prayer
  • Continual Guidance
  • Satisfaction
  • Refreshing
  • Work that Endures
  • Restoration

One day Jesus passed through the city of Jericho. It was known as the ‘City of Palm Trees.” As He entered the city gates, Jesus looked up in a sycamore tree and saw a man sitting in the tree. Jesus immediately knew that his name was Zacchaeus (the chief tax collector for the region). Jesus told him to climb down immediately from the tree and invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house. Towns people were shocked that Jesus would enter this ungodly man’s home. Please note, Jesus called for a divine appointment. Jesus said, “Hurry – I must abide at your house today.” Following a meeting in his house, in a short time, Zacchaeus stood with Jesus outside of his home and announced that, “I am giving half of my goods to the poor, and if I have stolen anything from anyone, I will restore four times what I have taken.” Then Jesus announced the result of the meeting with the Savior… 

Today this man is a son of Abraham. ‘Salvation has come to Zacchaeus’ home today.’” Praise God for this incredible moment in the life of Jesus! Then He says, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:10

Zacchaeus is never mentioned again in the Scriptures, yet Jesus’ encounter with him changed the tax collector forever. And it provides a clear objective for you and I today.

In 2020, we are witnessing the fulfillment of God’s Word… 

“Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” 

Hebrews 12:26-29

Our world is being shaken for sure… schools closed to students, businesses shuttered, health fears, sports canceled, churches told to stop worshiping, police being defunded, civil unrest in major cities.

What shall we do? What shall we focus on? What God wants to do is something totally beyond what our own ability can do. We must let the Holy Spirit operate in each of us! We must let Jesus’ example be our marching orders.

Helping others to know and serve Jesus is our mission! May the Church arise in…

  • Mobilization (Mark 16:15)
  • Love (Romans 5:5, Ephesians 5:2)
  • Faith (Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • Leadership of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16, John 7:37-38)
  • Evangelism

As we approach this wonderful time of the year, we will participate by reaching out with love to a lost and dying world. Jesus is coming soon. Jesus’ presence is exactly what the broken and bleeding of our current culture need. Like Zacchaeus, Jesus modeled urgency and so must we.

May God bless you abundantly,
Pastor Scott & Bonnie Erickson

“The Holy Spirit illuminates the minds of people, makes us yearn for God, and takes spiritual truth and makes it understandable to us.” 

Billy Graham 

Who is the Holy Spirit?

  • Our first encounter with the Holy Spirit is when He convicts us of our sin, shows us that none of us can live up to the righteousness of Jesus, and reveals to us the judgment that is coming to those who die without a Savior (John 16:8-11). As we repent, confess our sins and receive the gift of Salvation the Holy Spirit regenerates our dead inner human spirit which now becomes sensitive to the spiritual things of God (John 3:1-16; Acts 2:38).
  • There is a second work of the Holy Spirit when He baptizes a believer (Acts 2:1-4).  It’s available to all (Acts 2:39) and a gift of empowerment, helping the believer to live a holy life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Helper, we become more like Jesus and are directed to do the Father’s will. Furthermore, the gift is primarily for the empowerment to witness to others (Acts 1:8).
  • We are encouraged to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us up on a regular basis. When you feel depleted or need strength, ask Him to replenish you (Ephesians 5:18).

It’s not enough to exist with the belief that The Father and the Son are first and the Holy Spirit is secondary. They are equal and work in harmony with each other. The uniqueness of the Holy Spirit is His presence within us. Jesus said before he ascended to heaven that the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within us as a believer. With that, He empowers us to live victoriously for the cause of Christ and glory of the Father.