Fasting—an obsolete relic from the past or a special gift for the present?

Preaching passage:      Matthew 6:16-18

Subject:                       What Jesus taught about how His followers should fast

Complements:             not to bring attention to themselves but to be attentive to God.

Exegetical idea:            Jesus taught that His followers should not fast to bring attention to themselves but rather to be attentive to God.

Preaching idea:            Set aside times to be especially attentive to God.

Purpose:                      To challenge my hearers to fast as a means of being attentive to God.




            Story from your own experience about an unpleasant fast.

            Is fasting still relevant in the 21st century or is it an obsolete relic from the past?


I.      Jesus expected that His followers would fast – Matthew 6:16a

a.     “When you fast…” Matthew 6:16

b.     Jesus fasted (Matthew 4:1-2)

c.     1st century followers of Jesus fasted (Acts 13:1-3)

d.     You can fast from things besides food.

II.             Not to bring attention to ourselves – Matthew 6:16b

a.     Some made a public show of fasting in the first century.

b.     Some make a public show of fasting today.

                                               i.     There is no merit in a prolonged fast rather than a short fast.

                                             ii.     There is no greater benefit from a complete fast versus a partial fast.

c.     If you fast to bring attention to yourself, you have an earthly reward but no heavenly reward.

III.  But as a personal time of communion with your Father in Heaven – Matthew 6:17-18

a.     Your focus should be on your Father in heaven, not people.

b.     Fasting and prayer are intricately linked together.

c.     You will receive a heavenly reward—intimate communion with God.



            In these troubled days in which we live, we need to set aside times to be especially attentive to God (Matthew 9:15). Receive the blessing of His presence in a personal and life-changing way.  Let Him revive you and transform you for the honor of His name and the blessing of those around you.