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Christian Life Church

July 20, 2022 7pm

July 20, 2022 7pm

The Joy of Fasting Part 2 Spiritual Gifts Through the Eyes of Paul Session 3

Locations & Times

Christian Life Church Columbia

2700 Bush River Rd, Columbia, SC 29210, USA

Wednesday 6:30 PM

The Joy of Fasting – Part 2 7.20.22

“But the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Matthew 9:15

Central Point: God calls His people to regular fasting as part of a normal Christian lifestyle. We must prepare ourselves adequately so that the fast can honor God and fulfill its purpose.

A. Fasting Is Biblical.

The practice of regular fasting is normal Christian behavior.

1. Fasting was taught by Jesus

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.Matthew 6:16–18

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.Matthew 9:15

2. Fasting was exercised by the early church

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.Acts 13:2-3

3. Fasting has been the regular discipline of believers throughout church history.

a. “Fasting begets prophets and strengthens strong men. Fasting makes lawgivers wise; it is the soul’s safeguard, the body’s trusted comrade, the armor of the champion, the training of the athlete.”— Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (AD 330–AD 379)

b. “Fasting…opens the way for the outpouring of the Spirit and the restoration of God’s house. Fasting in this age of the absent Bridegroom is in expectation of His return. Soon there will be the midnight cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ It will be too late then to fast and to pray. The time is now.”— God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis

4. The practice of fasting in Scripture usually includes, but is not limited to:

a. Abstinence from foodmay be engaged in for varying durations—typically for no more than a few days at a time.

Daniel 10:3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

b. Abstaining from all food for extended periods of time is biblical, but was rare and unusual in Scripture (Luke 4:2), and thus should never be undertaken without counsel and appropriate supervision. The same standard applies to an absolute fast (Esther fast—no food or water for three days) of any duration (Esther 4:16).

Exodus 34:28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water.

1 Kings 19:5-8 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

Luke 4:2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was temptedby the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

**Important Note: The maximum length of an adult fast that is biblically supported is forty days without food for a male adult in good health, and three days without water. The Bible does not speak of children engaging in fasting food.

B. Fasting Is Always Voluntary.

1. Though spiritual leaders may invite others to join in corporate fasting with a specific goal in mind and for a specific time, fasting can never be forced or made compulsory.

2. Fasting is a biblical and historical means of positioning our heart to receive more of God’s grace in the context of commitment to prayer and to the Word.

Joel 2:12-15 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heartand not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate,slow to anger and abounding in love,and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relentand leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offeringsfor the Lord your God. 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.

3. The level at which a person engages in fasting (particularly food) should be determined according to age and with regard to any physical limitations.

a. Those with a known or suspected physical disability or illness, or those with any history of an eating disorder, should never fast, except in consultation with, and under the supervision of a qualified doctor.

b. Pregnant or nursing mothers should not fast food or drink as it could negatively affect the health and development of their baby and their own personal health.

c. Minors are discouraged from fasting food and should never engage in fasting without express parental consent and oversight.

i. Minors who desire to fast are encouraged to consider non-food abstentions, such as TV, movies, Internet surfing, video games, and other entertainment.

ii. If older teenagers do fast food under their parents’ supervision, we encourage them to use juice and protein drinks to sustain them, out of consideration for their health and metabolism.

C. Fasting Regularly

1. A “fasted lifestyle” is a disciplined lifestyle, in which we steward our bodies and time with wisdom and diligence.

2. Fasting is not only abstention; it is an exchange where we abstain from certain things in order to “feast” on God’s Word and prayer, whereby the abundance of His grace is made more readily available to us.

3. When undertaken with this type of commitment, a fasted lifestyle is sustainable on a long-term basis, just as it was for Daniel and his friends (Daniel 1).

Daniel 1:8-16 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned yourfood and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

4. Participation in regular fasting as a lifestyle necessitates a healthy lifestyle on days when food is not being fasted, and should include exercise and a proper diet.
5. Communicate clearly to those close to you when you are fasting so as not to cause strife in family relationships, ministry partnerships, and friendships.

D. The Benefits of Fasting

While the physical impact of fasting is real, the spiritual benefits of fasting are undeniable.

1. Fasting reminds us of our need of God.

2. Fasting helps you focus and hear God’s voice.

3. Fasting aligns you with the purposes of God.

4. Fasting purifies and strengthens your soul.

Additional Resources on Fasting and Healthy Living

The Rewards of Fasting, Mike Bickle and Dana Candler
Fast Forward, Lou Engle
Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting, Derek Prince
God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis
Hunger for God, John click on Train & Grow, then click on Spiritual Growth, then click on

Spiritual Gifts through the Eyes of Paul - Session 3 7.20.22

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. I Corinthians 12:1-11 ESV

Spiritual gifts definition review: Spiritual gifts are special releases or disbursements of the Spirit’s power into a moment for the purpose of equipping and building up the church. These gifts also aid the believer in witnessing, establishing God’s kingdom, and accomplishing God’s purposes in the world.

· Spiritual gifts must be understood as the spontaneous, sovereign release of God’s power in a specific moment.

· These gifts must be distinguished from God-given capacities, talents, and skills that someone develops.

Paul approaches the matter of spiritual gifts. (12:1)

· The Corinthians apparently asked Paul about spiritual gifts in a previous letter.

o The Corinthians asked Paul to clarify several matters as follows:
§ Marriage and sexuality (7:1)
§ Issues of betrothal (7:25)
§ Food offered to idols (8:1)
§ Spiritual gifts (12:1)
§ Collections for relief (16:1)
§ An update concerning Apollos

· Paul’s explanation regarding the Spirit’s gifts was descriptive, rather than prescriptive.

o Remember the gifts were already prevalent in the Corinthian congregation. (1:7)
o Apparent divisions were emerging over the exercise of spiritual gifts.
§ Different expressions were generating an unhealthy hierarchy of the gifts’ presumed importance.
§ Based on the letter’s context, tongues misuse was a primary issue of confusion.
§ Given their pagan backgrounds, there may have been concerns over speech gifts empowered by the Spirit. (12:3)
§ False prophets and prophecies had existed since antiquity.
Paul unveils the cooperative working of the Spirit within Christ’s body (12:4-7).

· Varieties of gifts – There are multifaceted means of available grace and help through the Spirit’s partnership.

· Varieties of service – There are various servant capacities furnished to us by the Spirit.

· Varieties of activities – This phrase speaks of activations and power at work through believers. The English word “energy” is derived from this term.

· The manifestation given to each one – This describes something being “made visible.”

· Spirit, Lord, and God (12:4-6) –These verses reveal the trinitarian dynamic of God within spiritual gifts.

Revelation Gifts – Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Discerning of Spirit

· These gifts reveal or bring something to light. The Holy Spirit grants supernatural insight into a moment or situation that could otherwise not be naturally determined.

Word of Wisdom

· “Through the Spirit, the utterance of wisdom” (12:8)
o This grace in operation is distinguished from a God-given endowment of wisdom.
o Although a bestowal of spiritual wisdom and understanding is indispensable to the body, this does not describe an utterance of wisdom.

Utterance of Wisdom definition
A word of wisdom represents a special release of the Spirit’s knowledge that may grant supernatural insight and direction in a given situation.

· A key distinction of this gift is the element of God-given direction.

· An example in the life of Paul
Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it go.33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” Acts 27:31-34 ESV

· The word of wisdom often accompanies the following situations:
o Times of crisis
o A difficult or major decision
o Confusing circumstances
o Times when sound logical reasoning would contradict the plan, method, and means of God.
Utterance of Knowledge definition
The word of knowledge grants specific information or knowledge by the Spirit to address an immediate or imminent need. Like the gift of prophecy, it may also, comfort, encourage, and strengthen.

· This gift frequently accompanies other gifts’ operation.

· Sometimes this gift is difficult to distinguish from prophecy.

· The gifts word of wisdom and word of knowledge only occur here in the entire New Testament. (12:8)

Examples or situations where a word of knowledge might be released:
o During prayer (especially intercessory prayer)
o While witnessing to someone
o Counseling or giving spiritual advice to someone
o When spiritual warfare is not immediately apparent.
o It may be granted when needed to spiritual leaders or those in authority.
o An utterance of knowledge might accompany numerous situations as the Spirit wills.

Discerning of Spirits definition
When this gift is granted, the Spirit gives supernatural insight or knowledge to perceive and detect what type of spirit (good or evil) may be operating through a given situation or through an individual. It may also disclose the secret motives of a person’s heart.

Discerning of Spirits is not the same as possessing a discerning nature, being emotionally intelligent, and having good intuition.

· Paul and the slave girl at Philippi
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. Acts 16:16-18

· Situations where the gift of discerning of spirits might operate:
o When praying for someone’s freedom and healing
o When knowingly or unknowingly encountering a demonic spirit
o To aid and call the believer to intercede for an individual bound by darkness
o In situations when protection of an individual or the church flock is needed
o To protect the believer and church body from unholy alliances
§ Sometimes this gifts operates where humans are motivated by manipulation, hypocrisy, and greed. It may not always be an evil demonic spirit.

· Fruit that might result from discerning of spirits:
o Deliverance from demonic possession and the control of darkness
o A loosening of demonic power over a situation or individual
o When divine protection is needed
o When corresponding authority is needed to accurately confront spiritual darkness
Hindrances to the revelation gifts

· A dulling of the senses through neglect and a distant heart

· Excessive noise from the spirit of the age and world systems

· When a biblical worldview is overshadowed by worldly values and compromise

· When one chooses to lean on their own understanding

· Hearts lifted up in arrogance, stubbornness, and pride

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