1. To explain the nature of fasting.
2. To offer suggestions regarding how to fast.
A. Fasting is a voluntary abstention from satisfying a physical desire (especially food) for the purpose of prayer, work, repentance, etc.
B. Matthew 3:13-4:2
1. How long did Jesus fast?
2. What did he abstain from?
3. Why did he fast?
C. Acts 14:21-23
1. Who fasted?
2. Why did they fast?
D. Joel 2:12-13 / Jonah 3:1-10 / Ezra 8:21
1. Fasting may be used to demonstrate sorrow, repentance, and humility.
2. What is more important than the mere abstinence of food?
E. Matthew 6:16-18
1. Fasting is not to be done in order to impress men.
2. Jesus does not condemn explaining a fast. It is not wrong to tell someone you are fasting if asked why you are not eating.
F. Luke 18:9-14 / Isaiah 58:1-9
1. When is fasting not acceptable to the Lord?
2. What should accompany fasting?
G. Fasting may take many forms. Decide from what you will fast and for how long. Be sure to keep the purpose of the fast firmly in mind. You may wish to spend the time at which you would normally be eating to engage in prayer, meditation or study. You also may wish to take the money you would have spent on food and donate it to the poor.
Memory verse: Joel 2:12
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