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In Mk 2:18-20 Jesus replied to a question about fasting with, “But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.” Jesus is the bridegroom; the church is the bride. Jesus has been taken away from us in that he is in heaven and we are still on earth. The bride won’t marry the bridegroom until after he comes at the rapture and our bodies are resurrected from the dead.
Jesus said, “then shall they fast in those days.” We are in “those days.” Do you fast and pray? According to what Jesus said, we should. This message is preached to get you to start fasting and praying. Teaching just imparts knowledge to you. Preaching gets you to do something about the sermon you hear.
My life has changed because of responding to preaching. I can remember distinctly hearing preaching on a subject and then beginning to do what the preacher preached. I heard through preaching that we are supposed to tithe. So, we started tithing. I heard through preaching that I am supposed to witness. So, I began witnessing and continue to witness to this day. I heard through preaching about giving to missions. So, we started giving to missions. Then I heard about giving to missions weekly. And so we give to missions weekly. I heard that we are to confess our sins to be cleansed and to restore our fellowship with Jesus. And so I confess my sins and Jesus cleanses me through his blood. I heard through preaching that God had called me to preach and that I was to go into the ministry full-time. And so, two weeks later I quit my job and I have been in the ministry full-time, ever since.
Today, you’re going to hear that you should be fasting. Paul did, 2 Cor 11:27. Jesus said, “then shall they fast.” Are you fasting? If not, what you hear today should compel you to fast. The question is, “Are you going to start fasting?” Are you going to be doers of the word, and not hearers only? Why fast? Then shall they fast:
For their rulers – 1 Tim 2:1-3 – we’re praying for those in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. You don’t want to have to lie just to survive. In Est 4:13-17 Esther didn’t know the true condition of the leadership in her country but Mordecai did. And it needed to change. Esther asked Mordecai to gather all the Jews present in Shushan to fast for three days before she attempted to see the king. God took down Haman and raised up Mordecai.
As Christians we’re not trusting men; we’re trusting in God, Ps 118:8-9. You have voted. But have you fasted and prayed?
God changed the leadership of Esther’s country as the result of a fast. God deposed Haman for the sake of his people. In Matt 25 there are some righteous nations, which are in the right relation to Israel. We need to stay in a right relationship with Israel.
God raised up Pharaoh in Egypt for the sake of his people who were crying unto him in their affliction. God may raise up this type of ruler as he prepares to take his bride out of the world. You don’t know what God is going to do with those in authority for whom you are praying, but you want him to do something! Fast and pray.
For their children – In Matt 17:21 Jesus said, “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting,” when he cast the devil out of a little boy. In Jon 3:5-10 the people of Nineveh fasted and cried mightily unto God and God repented of the evil that he thought to do to Nineveh. In Jer 18:7-8 God said he would repent if the nation repents. Why was this important in Nineveh? There were 120,000 kids there too young to know God, Jon 4:11. We have a lot of young children in our church who need to grow up knowing God and living for God. In our city we have many children who need to know God. Fast and pray.
For their friends – In Ps 35:11-14 David said, “when they were sick… I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer returned into my own bosom.” He treated his enemies like his friends and family, and fasted and prayed for them. Shouldn’t we at least do this much for our brothers and sisters in Christ? We have sick folks in our church for whom we pray. Have you fasted and prayed for them? Fast and pray.
For their sins – In Dan 9:3-6 Daniel wrote, “I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting.” And then he made his confession of his sins. We have sin in our lives. We need to fast and pray to know what these sins are and to get them out of our lives. Getting sin out drastically helps our fellowship with the Lord. When you fast and pray, all the clutter in your life settles down and you can really hear from God, and he can show you where you need to change. Fast and pray.
Conclusion: In Lk 2:36-37 Anna served God with fastings and prayers night and day. Individuals can do this. This is something we can do together as a church. What if we all fasted and prayed during this election for God to move in the outcome according to his will. I’m going, for the next three days, to do what Esther requested of Mordecai. Who will join me? I have to strike while the iron is hot. Cut off the news, get in your Bible, and get on your knees, and fast and pray. If you can’t join me now, will you join me sometime during this election cycle? And then continue to fast and pray, from time to time, as the Lord leads. We need to fast and pray.