Gleans from Monday Bible Study with Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
DLBC Gbagada HQ
8th April 2019
Study 10 – PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF FASTING IN THE NEW DISPENSATION
Text – Mark 2:18-22
“And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?” (Mark 2:18) Fasting has been practiced since the Old Testament time. The disciples of John fasted regularly and frequently. Although John did no miracle, he taught his disciples how to pray and fast but there was no record of the effect of their fasting. The Pharisees also fasted as a religious practice, but their fasting did not bring any fruit in their relationship with God. They did not see the disciples of Jesus fasting, so they were “concerned”; but it was just pride. Christ’s disciples had salvation, supernatural signs and wonder, and with assurance of their names written in Heaven, without fasting. The Pharisees never had any testimony like this. It was their question, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?” that brought great revelation on fasting from Jesus Christ. Jesus said that while He was with them showing them the miracles of the Kingdom and meeting all their needs they cannot fast; He was with them as the Bridegroom, but when He is taken away from them, then, they will fast (Mark 2:19-22). He also used an illustration that old cloth patched with new will cause a rent, and new wine in old bottles (dried animal skin) will burst. This is the overview of the passage we are studying today.
Point 1. THE POWERLESSNESS OF FASTING WITH THE OLD CHARACTER
Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33; Isaiah 58:3
This is Luke’s record of the question of the critics. “And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?” (Luke 5:33). They fasted often, frequently. John taught his disciples how to pray and they repeated those prayers and yet there is no record of miracle, healing or power manifestation. It concerns many that there are people that fast often and yet no result, and there are others who do not fast, and they have results. The question is why do those people fast and there is no result? “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not?……” (Isaiah 58:3). Prayer is not answered, power not manifested, transformation and a change do not happen, and they fast often, and no answer from heaven nor supernatural signs attending their fasting. Why? Because in their FASTING, they had:
F – Falsehood – Jeremiah 14:12-14.
False prophecies, expectations and way of life, and because of the falsehood and hypocrisy in their lives, God says, “When they fast, I will not hear their cry…” (Jeremiah 14:12).
A – Adamancy – Zechariah 7:5-13
They were regular and frequent in their fasting at particular times of the year, and yet they were adamant in their evil doing and resisted the word of God, “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 7:11-12). No repentance, they were adamant in their evil.
S – Strife – Isaiah 58:3-7
“Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high” (Isaiah 58:4). They were fasting and yet had strife.
T – Transgression – 2 Samuel 11:27; 12:26
Someone fasting and transgressing the commandments of the Lord, nothing will happen; the Lord will not regard such fasting. David fasted for seven days, with iniquity and sin in his life, to save the life of the son born out of sin, but God did not regard his fasting because he had transgressed the law of the Lord.
I – Impenitence – Jeremiah 36:6,9,21-24; Proverbs 28:9
There are people who fast and yet are impenitent, unrepentant. They think they can twist the hands of God with their fasting. The Lord will not answer. It is one thing to fast; but with what heart, mind, disposition and character of life do you fast? Fasting and yet not hearing and accepting the word of God; their fasting meant nothing in the sight of God. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). That was why their fast bore no fruits nor yield any result.
N – Negligence – Luke 18:11-12; Matthew 23:23
They fasted often but they were neglecting something so important. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23). They paid tithes, fasted but omitted the weightier matters of judgement, mercy and faith in Christ.
G – Godlessness – 1 Kings 21:9-15; Psalms 36:1; 7:11; Proverbs 21:27
They had greed and no fear of God, yet they fasted. Such fasting is worthless is the sight of the Almighty God. “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalms 36:1).
If any of these is in your life, and you are fasting, God is angry with you every day. “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalms 7:11). And you cannot change the mind of God with all your fasting, self-denial and gift, for they are abomination to Him. “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” (Proverbs 21:27).
Point 2. THE PROVISION OF FULLNESS FOR NEW CREATURES IN CHRIST
Mark 2:18-19; John 3:28-29; 1:12,14; 7:37-38; 10:10; 15:11; 16:24; Ephesians 3:17-21; Romans 5:1-2; Acts 15:9; 3:16; Galatians 3:14; 1 John 5:4; Ephesians 6:16-17; Mark 11:22-24
Those who are saved have relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom, and because He is there with them, He provides fully for them. “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast” (Mark 2:19). While the Bridegroom is around it is a time of feasting, joy and the fullness of His provision. He healed the sick, raised the dead, multiplied food, and had come with the fullness of blessings, so how could they fast with the Bridegroom with them. “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (John 3:29). John referred to Christ as the Bridegroom, and Jesus said that while He was with them, his disciples, there was provision of fullness (John 1:12,14). “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The disciples could not fast because it was a time of abundance, and abundant supply. The Bridegroom had brought fullness of joy to them; they could reach and touched Him. In times of trouble they could call out to Him and He was there for them. All without fasting and their joy was full. And tonight, your joy can be full. The fullness of God coming in our lives because of our relationship with the Bridegroom, and He is with us always. The provision of abiding fullness waiting for you as you come to the Lord (John 15:11; 16:24; Ephesians 3:17-21) “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (Colossians 2:9,10). Anything that is incomplete in your life, the Lord will add, and you will be complete spiritually, physically and in every area of your life in Jesus name.
How do we receive this fullness of the Lord? It is all by faith. As you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, your faith will not waver, and you will receive of His fullness. To have peace with God, salvation, you don’t need to fast, just come to Him by faith and receive that salvation. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). Also, we receive sanctification of our hearts by faith, “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). If you are sick, you will receive healing as well by faith, “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16). Faith will take sickness and infirmity away from your body. The promise of the Holy Ghost power comes by faith, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14). In all your temptations and trials, you will conquer by faith, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Any arrow of wicked people that comes your way will not touch you, by faith, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16). You will quench all the fiery darts of the wicked coming from anywhere by faith. The Lord has provided abundance and fullness for us, and we can get all by faith. “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:22-24). Have faith in God, that mountain will move, that difficulty will vanish away, and all those things harassing your life will cease tonight in Jesus Name. ‘I will have whatsoever I say’.
Point 3. THE POTENTIALS OF FASTING UNDER THE NEW COVENANT
Mark 2:20-22; Matthew 6:17-18; 17:19-21; Acts 13:2-4; 14:21-23; 1 Corinthians 7:5; Acts 9:9; 2 Corinthians 11:27; Acts 13:8-12; 14:7-10; 16:16-18,25-26; 19:11,12; Romans 15:18-21; Mark 2:21-22
“But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.” (Mark 2:20)
After Jesus had ascended into Heaven and was separated from His disciples, at that time they will fast. The Lord is saying that at the time when it appears that there is vacuum and you cannot sense the presence of the Lord, and you can feel the pressure of your challenges and problems, Jesus said that at that time you will fast. “But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days” (Mark 2:20). And the Lord gave directives on how we should fast, “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:17-18). Your fasting will not be in vain or worthless, your Heavenly Father will see the condition of your heart, importunity in prayers and He will answer your prayers. The time has come for you to speak to your mountain, and if you need to fast, a day or two, all your mountains shall move away. Every mountain in your family, profession, business and ministry, as you wait upon the Lord, you speak to that mountain and it shall vanish and move away. “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:19-21). The Disciples had been given power and had used it to heal the sick and cast out demons, so why could they not cast out this one? Jesus told them it was because of their unbelief. If you take on that challenge, and fasting needs not to be a long one, you can start small and end by 12 noon or 6pm, as you wait on the Lord and are positive, your heart centered on that mountain and challenge as you go about your secular activity, and after the day’s work you come home to pray and speak to that mountain, it will move. The Early Church prayed with fasting even for ministerial duties, mission work and selection. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:2-3). They fasted even after the day of Pentecost. If you want more power, anointing, authority and unction to break every yoke, as they did in the early Church, so you will do, and the power of God will multiply in your life in Jesus Name. With consent of the other, husband and wife can give themselves to prayer and fasting for a while and then come together again. (1 Corinthians 7:5). Paul the Apostle at the beginning of his Christian life and ministry prayed with fasting for three days (Acts 9:9). And at the latter part of his ministry, he was given to fasting as well (2 Corinthians 11:27). He was a disciplined apostle and minister, he continued on occasions to fast. As a result of all these the power of God was manifested in his life and ministry (Acts 13:8-12; 14:7-10; 16:16-18,25-26; 19:11,12; Romans 15:18-21). “,,,,But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”) That power will come upon your life: God will grant you more anointing. But you must find time to seek the face of the Lord and hold on to Him and clear the way of any evil in your life. If you seek this power to honour and glorify God and to deliver the oppressed, it will come upon your life. Through Paul people heard and saw God’s glory; through you they will hear and see God’s glory in Jesus Name.
“No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles” (Mark 2:21-22). The Lord was telling these Pharisees that the old tradition is not compatible with His new teaching about eternal life and the fullness He brought from heaven. Also, that the old rites and rituals of the law of Moses will not be compatible with the new righteousness that comes by faith. He was telling them that the old practice will not match and be compatible with the New Testament provision and promises. That the old covenant religion is not compatible with the relationship of the New Covenant and Christ is the Mediator of that New Covenant. That the old concept of love cannot be compatible with the new commandment of Christlike love – love your enemies as well. That the Old Testament had service of fear, the servant’s fear is not compatible with the New Testament son’s faith. That the full surrender to Moses that they had in the Old Testament is not compatible with the full submission to the Messiah under the New Covenant. He was saying you cannot mix them; you must pour new wine into new bottles. That implies:
(1) New Faith in the New Creatures – 2 Corinthians 5:17. (2) New Faithfulness to the New Commander. (3) New Followership of the New Captain. (4) New Freshness from the New Comforter. (5) New Fellowship in a New Congregation. (6) New Freedom from the New Counsellor – John 8:36. (7) New Fasting with a New Comprehension.
As you wait upon the Lord, He will renew your strength, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31). Your time of tiredness, weariness can end tonight; power, courage and boldness can be multiplied upon your life tonight.
Ponder on this! The Lord was telling these Pharisees that the old tradition is not compatible with His new teaching about eternal life and the fullness He brought from heaven. Also, that the old rites and rituals of the law of Moses will not be compatible with the new righteousness that comes by faith. He was telling them that the old practice will not match and be compatible with the New Testament provision and promises. That the old covenant religion is not compatible with the relationship of the New Covenant and Christ is the Mediator of that New Covenant. That the old concept of love cannot be compatible with the new commandment of Christlike love – love your enemies as well. That the Old Testament had service of fear, the servant’s fear is not compatible with the New Testament son’s faith. That the full surrender to Moses that they had in the Old Testament is not compatible with the full submission to the Messiah under the New Covenant. He was saying you cannot mix them; you must pour new wine into new bottles. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
Ponder on this! The fullness of God coming into our lives because of our relationship with the Bridegroom, and that He is with us always. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
Hard Sayings – Christ’s disciples had salvation, supernatural signs and wonders, and with assurance of names written in Heaven without fasting. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
Reflection – Your fasting will not be in vain, or worthless, your Heavenly Father will see the condition of your heart, importunity in prayers; and He will answer your prayers. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
Words on the Marble – It is one thing to fast; but with what heart, mind, disposition and character of life do you fast? Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
Key Words – The fasting, self-denial and sacrifice of the wicked are abominations before the Lord. Pastor (Dr) W.F Kumuyi.
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