Awakening: Stirring up our Hunger for God with Fasting (#Sermon of the Week)

AWAKENING: STIRRING UP OUR HUNGER FOR GOD WITH FASTING

(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)

  • To download a printable version of these notes, click HERE.
  • To listen to or download the MP3, click HERE.

OPENING TEXT: “Therefore He says, Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph. 5:14, NKJV).

Awakening

  • We need an awakening! I want a church that’s hungry for God.
  • I want a revival in my life and in our church. Let’s not be content with the usual!
  • We need to see the supernatural power of God returned to the church!

BIBLE STORY: TOO DISTRACTED:

“38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42).

  • In our world today, too many Christians are distracted and troubled by many things!
  • We’re so busy – sometimes even doing good things – that we neglect Jesus.
  • We need to wake up and refocus our lives on Jesus FIRST.

BIBLE STORY: WHEN GOD CAME DOWN:

1 When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. 3 When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever…”

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:1-3,14).

  • If we start praying like they prayed, we’ll see God’s glory like they did!
  • But we must also humble ourselves, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways.
  • This happened also in the Book of Acts – as they prayed, the Holy Spirit moved!

WE NEED REVIVAL:

  • “Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6).
  • “O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!” (Habakkuk 3:2).
  • REVIVAL DEFINED: Chayah: sustain  life, be restored to life or health; to cause to grow; restore. Something that’s alive will be growing and bear fruit!
  • A revival is also called an awakening – when we are awakened, revived, renewed.

THE BIG IDEA: If we want to see an awakening take place in the church today, one of the best things we can do is to stir up our hunger for God by fasting.

WHAT IS FASTING?

Fasting = expressing a hunger and thirst for more of God in our lives.

  • Fasting is seeking God’s blessing. Write down what you’re expecting Him to do!
  • Seven day fast – some of you might want to fast for 21 days – for freedom and victory!
  • Not only food, but also activities to focus more on God. i.e. TV, computer, phone, etc.

GOD’S FAST:

“6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

  • Bonds & burdens – anything holding you back in your relationship with God.
  • When we fast, God’s power will be made available in our lives to set the captives free

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

  • When we fast, God’s power will be made available in our lives to heal the sick

9a Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

  • When we fast, we will see more power in our prayers as well.

11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

  • When we fast, we can more clearly hear God guiding us in our lives.
  • Daniel fasted for 21 days when we wanted wisdom and revelation from the Lord.
  • When you fast, get into the Bible!

12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” (Isaiah 58:6-9a,11-12).

  • When we fast, we will begin to see lives transformed, delivered and healed!

SEVEN GOOD REASONS TO FAST: (this basic outline was inspired by Steve Falkiner).

1.         Jesus called his disciples to fast.

“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.” (Matt. 6:16).

  • Jesus also said that after He went to Heaven, His disciples would fast (Matt. 9:15).

2.         Throughout history many believers have fasted.

Fasting is mentioned over 70 times in the Bible.

  • Moses fasted for 40 days on at least two different occasions. Joshua fasted.
  • King Jehosaphat won an amazing battle without firing an arrow due to prayer and fasting.
  • Ezra fasted. Queen Esther fasted. The Apostle Paul he fasted often.
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days prior to His defeating Satan in the wilderness of temptation.

3.         Fasting stirs up our hunger for more of God.

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12).

“The weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things.” Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God… If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” (John Piper, Hunger for God).

4.         Fasting helps us more clearly hear God’s voice.

“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2).

“It is not necessarily a food fast, and most likely it is not a total refraining from food. It is a fast of what keeps you from seeking the Lord. It may be television, videos, computer games, newspapers, excessive shopping and phone conversations… This is a true fast. Too often we go on hunger strikes to hear from God, and continue in our busy, distracted lives. That is not a fast; therefore, we get very little benefit. A true fast occurs when we abstain for the purpose of seeking God in a more focused manner.” (John Bevere, A Heart Ablaze).

5.         Fasting expresses a need for God’s help.

“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way (or a safe journey) for us and our little ones.” (Ezra 8:21).

“Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day.” (Esther 4:15-16).

6.         Fasting prepares us for greater effectiveness in ministry.

When the disciples couldn’t deliver a demon-possessed boy: “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:20-21).

7.         Fasting stirs up a hunger for revival and awakening.

“Although every type of revival has been accompanied by periods of fasting, the occurrences of healing and miracles have been especially attended by such devotion.” (Historian C.W. Conn).

THE CHALLENGE:

It’s time to wake up! We need an awakening, a revival, more of God in our lives!

  • Read through the inserts in the bulletin: Fasting Information & Prayer Guideline.
  • Come and join us for an hour of prayer at noon on Wednesday.
  • Seek God this week with prayer and fasting. What will you fast? Food? Entertainment?

PRAYER: For a great awakening and revival in our church and community!

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About Chris Jordan

Husband. Father. #Author. #Blogger. Follower of Jesus. And I enjoy a good cup of coffee!
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