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RELIGION

Proper Understanding Of Fasting In The New Dispensation

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Text – Mark 2:18-22

“And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?”  (Mark 2:18) Fasting has been practiced since the Old Testament time. The disciples of John fasted regularly and frequently. Although John did no miracle, he taught his disciples how to pray and fast but there was no record of the effect of their fasting. The Pharisees also fasted as a religious practice, but their fasting did not bring any fruit in their relationship with God. They did not see the disciples of Jesus fasting, so they were “concerned”; but it was just pride.

Christ’s disciples had salvation, supernatural signs and wonder, and with assurance of their names written in Heaven, without fasting. The Pharisees never had any testimony like this. It was their question, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?” that brought great revelation on fasting from Jesus Christ. Jesus said that while He was with them showing them the miracles of the Kingdom and meeting all their needs they cannot fast; He was with them as the Bridegroom, but when He is taken away from them, then, they will fast (Mark 2:19-22). He also used an illustration that old cloth patched with new will cause a rent, and new wine in old bottles (dried animal skin) will burst. This is the overview of the passage we are studying today.

3 points:

Point 1. THE POWERLESSNESS OF FASTING WITH THE OLD CHARACTER

Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33; Isaiah 58:3

This is Luke’s record of the question of the critics. “And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?” (Luke 5:33). They fasted often, frequently. John taught his disciples how to pray and they repeated those prayers and yet there is no record of miracle, healing or power manifestation. It concerns many that there are people that fast often and yet no result, and there are others who do not fast, and they have results. The question is why do those people fast and there is no result? “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not?……” (Isaiah 58:3). Prayer is not answered, power not manifested, transformation and a change do not happen, and they fast often, and no answer from heaven nor supernatural signs attending their fasting. Why? Because in their FASTING, they had:

F – Falsehood – Jeremiah 14:12-14.

False prophecies, expectations and way of life, and because of the falsehood and hypocrisy in their lives, God says, “When they fast, I will not hear their cry…” (Jeremiah 14:12).

A – Adamancy – Zechariah 7:5-13

They were regular and frequent in their fasting at particular times of the year, and yet they were adamant in their evil doing and resisted the word of God, “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 7:11-12). No repentance, they were adamant in their evil.

S – Strife – Isaiah 58:3-7

“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” (Isaiah 58:4). They were fasting and yet had strife.

T – Transgression – 2 Samuel 11:27; 12:26

Someone fasting and transgressing the commandments of the Lord, nothing will happen; the Lord will not regard such fasting. David fasted for seven days, with iniquity and sin in his life, to save the life of the son born out of sin, but God did not regard his fasting because he had transgressed the law of the Lord.

I – Impenitence – Jeremiah 36:6,9,21-24; Proverbs 28:9

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