Jesus never told us to express ourselves or simply add him to our already-self-determined lives. He told us to deny ourselves, to lose our lives for his sake. Far from encouraging the life of an ascetic, Jesus was urging us to give up something lesser in order to receive something far greater. Simple practices like fasting remind us of this larger truth.
In this lesson there are some finishing thoughts on Jesus healing the paralytic, then we move on to Jesus calling Matthew to be His disciple. Finally, we arrive at questions about fasting. And… do we, the body of Christ, today need to be fasting?
Text: Mark 2:18-22 | Speaker: Levi Bakerink | Description: Jesus continues to clash with the religious leaders of the day. They cannot understand why He and His disciples do not fast like them. Don't the know the tradition and laws of their religion? But Jesus corrects them by showing that He brings something completely new. The old has been put away, and the new is come.
Who is Jesus? Matthew 3:13–4:11 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord's Day. In these sixteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us Jesus is God the Son, Who is also the human Son that Adam, Israel, and all of us ought to have been.
Prepare for Battle STAYING TRUE IN A WORLD FAR FROM GOD
Daniel 10:1-3,10-13,16-19 God strengthens us as we pray and engage in spiritual battle.The Bible says that Daniel was depressed. He fasted and mourned for three full weeks. The Jewish people lacked interest in returning to their homeland. To return to Israel would be full of hardships and dangers. Like Daniel, prayer ought to be our first recourse during moments of trouble.This angel was in a battle with the prince or head demon of Persia for 21 days. Michael assisted the angel with this demonic prince so that this messenger could deliver the answer to Daniel.Demons are no laughing matter. They are spiritual beings that are strong and intelligent. They can control the bodies of humans who do not know the Lord.God promises us to strengthen us when we wait upon Him.Even though we do not see what is going on behind the scenes, we can find comfort in God's power and care for our lives. May we all learn to trust in Him every day.News and events that trouble us should lead us to PRAY. Our prayers are part of a larger picture of spiritual WARFARE. Standing strong in spiritual battle does not depend on us but on GOD.Pray about current events.Put on the armor. Acknowledge God's answers. Fasting exposes our hearts.Fasting demonstrates our commitment.We have a Father who loves us.The Son who prays for us. If your a believer you have a Spirit who helps us.
Christ's words this morning present a strong challenge to those who would separate root and fruit, or head and heart. Christ is not the least bit interested in treating the wounds of His people lightly, or of pretending like there is peace when there is no peace. Jesus Christ is interested in the whole man, and this means that His gospel brings peace to the whole man. In contrast to the Pharisees who concern themselves with externals and empty words, Christ starts at the core. Christ conquers from inside out. By addressing the root, the fruit is able to come forth. This is a wisdom from on high that attacks both our doctrinal and our moral laziness. If head and heart are separated in our physical bodies, it brings death, and the same is true for spiritual realities. Charles Spurgeon once said of John Bunyan "Prick him anywhere, and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God." Let us likewise be a people who so internalize the grace and the Word of God that it comes out our fingertips no matter what we're doing. May our thoughts, words, and actions sing in harmony as they reflect glory back to our Saviour.
Congregational Reading: Ezra 8:1-36 *
Download Handout Notes from PDF above (includes Charles Spurgeon "Quote of the Week").
The Purpose for Fasting; the Practice of Fasting; and the Power in Fasting.
Other Scriptures Cited:
Eph 6:10; 2 Cor 12:9; Ezra 7:8; Eph 6:12; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Matt 9:14-15; Psa 2:11; Jas 1:8; Dan 10:3; Dan 1:12; Dan 9:3; Psa 69:10; Matt 6:16-18; Mark 9:29; Rom 7:18; Acts 13:2; Isa 58:6