COMPLETE SERMON NOTES:
Experiencing Real Change for the Future
Recap: The more I seek Him the more I find Him
1. We would pray better if we lived better, and we’d live better if…
2. God doesn’t always show us [we would change plans to fit the future]…
God often directs more by withholding info. then by supplying it…
“Rejoice in the Lord always”. PAUL was in a prison; a dungeon when he wrote this.
Resolutions are good: re-evaluate, re-examine
Why THEY fail?
The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak-
We like the blessings of Christ but not the obedience to Christ-
Intro: Matthew themes: give, pray, …
Fasting [the missing link]: Matt. 6:16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Cheerleader vs. a Coach: I’m going to say some hard things
Most who get upset are “Christians”: they don’t like the call to a holier life.
DON’T CHALLENGE MY LIFESTYLE: my viewing habits, my eating habits, my sexual habits, my drinking habits…
Pastors, Preachers, & Teachers…if we are to lead the church in these dire times we must confront destructive lifestyles, not catter …
Make no mistake, holiness will cost something.
J.C. Ryle said this about making holiness a priority, “You must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted, and even hated.” Ryle adds, “He must not be surprised to find his opinions and practices in religion despised and held up to scorn. He must submit to be thought by many a fool, an enthusiast, and a fanatic…to have his words perverted and his actions misrepresented.” THE LUKEWARM CHURCH HATES THE HEAT
Spiritual Disciplines Always Have Spiritual Benefits
To be Desperate for More of God, one must not only know the Word but apply it…we must fully surrender to the one true and living God. We must be empty vessels used at the Masters discretion. A life totally consumed . . .
Spiritual Disciplines w/ physical ramifications:
Dr. Archibald Hart is a licensed psychologist, certified biofeedback practitioner, and board certified in psychopharmacology. A former dean of the School of Psychology, Hart is now senior professor of psychology [at Fuller] and is best known for his research on the hazards of ministry, depression, anxiety, divorce, stress, and sexuality.
Oxytocin is a powerful hormone. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in pair bonding….This hormone is also greatly stimulated during sex, birth, breast feeding, etc.
Too much digital media stimuli kills oxytocin [Little joy and peace]: there’s no connection to people and interaction. DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE.
Insult to Injury: Cortisol and Adrenaline are released. [too much of a good thing can be bad]
Stress = Hypothalamus ALARM – Adrenaline [energy] and Cortisol [controls the essentials].
STRESSFUL LIFESTYLES FOSTER Both
Immune deficiencies / Anxiety / Depression / Tremors-panic / Weight gain / Poor Health / Memory loss & Concentration, and Learning problems / Digestive problems / Heart disease / Sleep problems /
+ There has to be a physical release of fight or flight
+ Too busy – too stressed –
+ Don’t create stressful situations [Jesus’ teaching promote]
+ Digital Media
The most important connection to Oxytocin, Cortisol, and Adrenaline is our relationship with God: “Be still and know that I am God”; “Wait on Me…seek Me…look to Me.”
FASTING FOSTERS A DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND THUS, INCREASES JOY, PEACE, COMFORT, ETC.
*It brings to light areas of improvement
THE PROBLEM: flesh is in rebellion: mentally, emotionally & physically. THE WORLD, DEVIL, and the FLESH ALL WORK AGAINST US!
TONIGHTS FOCUS: “FAST” FORWARD:
Experiencing Real Change for the future
Gluttony: “Indulging beyond what the body needs. We are no longer satisfying hunger, we are caving into lust.”
Anyone can struggle with this. And fasting isn’t just about Gluttony.
“King Stomach is the dictator within.” JENTEZEN FRANKLIN
“In the past, the church preached on it; today we practice it!”
FOOD: Decreases Spiritual Appetite AND weakness us spiritually.
The Sever Seven: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
“I DISCIPLINE MY BODY & BRING IT UNDER CONTROL.” ~Paul, 1 Cor. 9:27~
Philoxenus [5th century]: “Although all the evil passions…of the lusts are abominated and detested by the Word…the filthy passion of the lust of the belly…is more abominated and detested than they all…it darkeneth the mind…for this stinking and filthy passion is the door of all wickedness, and wherever it hath power, like a great, wide door, is it open for the entrance of all abominable things.”
If there isn’t discipline in this area, chance are good that…
Fasting Dethrones the Dictator Within
~WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT A POWERFUL PRAYER LIFE AND SEEKING GOD WITHOUT DISCUSSING FASTING!~
God’s will becomes clearer
Prayers change from Self Focus to God focus…Fasting open the eyes of our understanding and that’s why we receive.
As you begin to clear out the junk you become more in tune with the things of the spirit; your whole prayer life changes.
Stagnation turns into flowing water
The mind becomes un-cluttered and focused
Powerful spiritual life occurs: a supernatural releasing
MOSES RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD
KING JEHOSHAPHAT EXPERIENCED VICTORY
ESTHER RECEIVED PROTECTION
ELIJAH WAS RESTORED
DANIEL EXPERIENCED THE SUPERNATURAL
EZRA RECEIVED DIRECTION
NEHEMIAH WAS STRENGTHENED
JOEL OFFERED THE CURE FOR JUDGMENT
JESUS WAS EMPOWERED
PAUL WAS CALLED
PETER RECEIVED CONFIRMATION
CORNELIUS WAS SAVED
The battle is not yours but God’s: SO USE THE ARSENAL
I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’ve been praying for years. It’s time to take action. I’m not saying that God won’t bless prayers of those who aren’t fasting because He’s a gracious God and a forgiving God … but something dynamic takes place … you receive more of him.
I don’t want the communion cup full I want the five gallon jug full of God.
SEE SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT BELOW:
Physical Limitations as well as Physical Benefits:
Disclaimer: check with doctor
Removes toxins: Rests Digestive System
Clarity: Mental benefits
Help to Overcome Addictions
Promotes Weight Loss
*inflammatory diseases and allergies
*reducing blood pressure
*energy for digestion is now re-focused
HOW TO FAST? All fasting brings reward
Worship renews; Praying renews; Giving renews; Reading the Word renews…so does FASTING.
Many are not being renewed…no wonder they’re dying.
It’s a Type of worship found in Rom. 12
TO BE “FILLED” YOU MUST FIRST BE EMPTIED!
Emptied of what? OF SELF…OF LUST
Closing: The beauty of fasting is that it draws us closer to God. Are you willing to do what it takes to truly know God? This is a price that many of are not willing to pay.
Ezra 8:23 – So we fasted & ask God & He answered our prayer.
J.C. Ryle noted that “holiness will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight…There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves.” Ryle continues, “Our sins are often as dear to us as our children: we love them, hug them, cleave to them, and delight in them. To part with them is as hard as cutting off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye. But it must be done. The parting must come.”
THE BOOK OF JOEL:
DEVASTATION HAS JUST TAKEN PLACE-Prosperous but Apathetic:
“Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the Lord your God, And cry out to the Lord…”
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. 14 Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him…”
THE MORE YOU SEEK HIM THE MORE YOU FIND HIM!!
RECOMMENDED READING: Fasting: Opening the Door to a Deeper, More Intimate, More Powerful Relationship With God, by JENTEZEN FRANKLIN
Acts 14:23 – And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Acts 13:2 – As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
Acts 9:17-18 – And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Esther 4:16 – Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which [is] not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Nehemiah 1:4 – And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned [certain] days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
1 Corinthians 7:5 – Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer…
Luke 2:37 – And she [was] a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served [God] with fastings and prayers night and day.
Joel 1:14 – Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders [and] all the inhabitants of the land [into] the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
Psalms 35:13 – But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing [was] sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me.
Mark 9:29 – And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
It seems to me that a demonic influence can attach itself, and it’s not going to leave easily.
Matthew 4:2 – And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. BUT HE CAME OUT IN THE “POWER” OF THE SPIRIT!
2 Corinthians 11:27 – In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
1 Corinthians 9:27 – But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Joel 2:15 – Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning’.”
Acts 10:30 – And 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,
Ezra 8:21-23 – Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
Judges 20:26 – Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
Daniel 9:3 – And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
Isaiah 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?
Exodus 34:28-29 – And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.