“True Fasting” by Rev Samuel Mametsa, Sunday Service, the 16th September 2012.

Posted: 17/09/2012 in Uncategorized
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Last week we spoke about grace. We must not frustrate the grace of God upon our lives. We are who we are by the grace of God.

Don’t compare your grace with that of somebody else. Don’t run too fast and live your grace behind.

As we now prepare for the baptism of the Holy Ghost fire we must enter into true fasting, i.e proper fasting. Last year when we had a Baptism of Holy Ghost Fire service, only five people were baptised. As we fast in preparation, we are going before God to seek His face, to repent and to say to Him “God, here I am, search me, search my Heart and purify me, sanctify me.”

How can we work or serve God without His fire? The fire of God will help you; it makes your presence felt. When you move with His fire, it is Him moving in you, through you.

After the Baptism of the Holy Ghost Fire, there is no power that can withstand you, or evil that can come near you. You need the fire of the Holy Spirit. The moment you walk into a room people must just start confessing the wrongs they have been doing against you. When people come to your place with muti (herbal medicines used by sangomas) or other things to attack you, they must confess and say “Here, take this, I was sent to kill you!” It is only the fire in you that can make this.

Once you are baptised with the Baptism of Holy Ghost Fire your life will change and change for better! Do you really think that you can receive dignity from a sangoma? Maybe he can give you for a year or so but it won’t be permanent. The sangoma wants you to keep coming back to him; he wants more money from you. That dignity can never be the same dignity as the dignity we receive from God.

Joel 2:12 in this text we have four things that I would like to expand on: Heart, fasting, weeping, and mourning. “12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”” (own emphasis). Joel 2:12, NKJV.

Joel 2:13 tells us to tear our hearts and not our garments. Joel 2:13 “13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.” (own emphasis). NKJV.

Ezra 9:5 Ezra 9:5 “5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God.” NKJV. Underline the words “I fell on my knees and I spread out my hands to Jehovah God.”

Ps 69:10 “10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, That became my reproach.” NKJV. Psalm 69:10 Different versions use different words. In NIV “I must endure scorn”.

Last week we read in 1 Peter 5:5 that grace must be given to those who humble themselves. The grace for true fasting is given to people who humble themselves. 1 Peter 5:5 “5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”” NKJV.

When you fast with obedience it makes God to hear your prayer. Zech 7:5 “5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? “ NIV. God is asking them a question. Maybe during your fasting, God will ask you the same question: “…in this fasting, are you fasting for me?” If you can’t answer God then you will lose out.

Isa 58:1-3 “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers.” NKJV.

What is fasting? Is it to boycott food? Is it to toyi-toyi against food? If that is the case, you will kill yourself. Food doesn’t care about your boycott; it knows that one day you will eat it. Food has no problem, it can stay in your fridge for a very long and it has no problem, the problem is you the person who put the food in the fridge.

This book of Joel is busy encouraging people about fasting. He didn’t want people to go into fasting before they have repented. How can your fasting help you if you have not received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour? Joel says to the people “…listen to what I am saying and go to God.” Before you start your fasting, are you going to repent? There are a lot of people who are in church but have not as yet repented.

If you go on a fast and have not repented, you will run weary. Fasting goes hand-and-hand with faith. That is why fasting is good for people who fear God. When some people are told about fasting they will tell you about their pills. This means that you put the medication before God. You put more trust on medication than God.

When you go into fasting you sacrifice yourself. In Matt 6:16-18 Jesus says when you fast you must not blow your own horn. When you fast, your fast will be seen by God who sees in secret. This fast is to help those people who want to be baptised on Sunday. It is Jesus Christ Himself who will baptise the people with fire. God has made the divine appointment with us. John the Baptist said I baptise with water but the one coming after me will baptise you with fire and the Holy Spirit. The bible states it as follows “11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matt 3:11, NKJV .

It is important that you be baptised by fire. No pastor can lay hands on you to receive the fire of the Holy Ghost, if it happens then he is baptising you with His own fire. It is Jesus Christ who baptizes us with fire.

Heart:
The baptism of the Holy Ghost Fire is from God Himself. It needs you, your heart. Joel says turn unto the Lord with all your heart. Some will go with half a heart. Be in total agreement with your heart, 100%. It is a dry fasting. This is a “big prayer”, why do we call it a “big prayer”? Because Jacob and Matthew agree that there are certain things that we cannot achieve just on prayer but they need a bigger prayer i.e prayer couples with fasting. Matthew 17:21 says Matt 17:21 “21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”” NKJV. Some bibles do not have Matthew 17:21. Those whose bibles do not have verse 21; you can copy it from somebody’s bible e.g KJV has the verse.

This means that there are other spirits that will not go out by prayer only but will go out when your prayer is coupled with fasting. I am not talking about those cases where you have a problem and you say “I am going to the mountain to deal with this problem.”

Fasting is about humility. Some go into fasting in anger. That problem will deal with you. The devil will hit you hard because he knows the scripture. When you say, I will show this problem. The devil already sees disobedience and lack of humility in you. You can’t fast in anger.

The bible says turn your heart unto the Lord. What does this mean? If you turn your heart unto God and you allow God to deal with your heart whilst fasting then by the time you go into the baptism session you will be humbled and will be able to humble yourself before God.

Weeping:
Nobody will come and beat you so you can weep before God. The bible says when you go into fasting you must “weep”. You may be asking yourself “How I can cry without being beaten?” How do other people do it when they are fasting? Who is unlocking those tears?

I am talking about really weeping before God. I am not talking about mock tears that you do for your kids whilst playing with them. God wants us to cry unto Him in fasting, to really cry before Him. This means becoming fragile and naked, in our hearts, before God. That is what Joel was telling the people to do when fasting, weep whilst mourning.

Mourning:
Some people are so busy, energetic and happy whilst fasting that you even wonder if they really are in mourning i.e: weeping and mourning before God. You will even wonder if this person is really fasting.

When you go into a fast, you must do some self-introspection. Am I still fasting? You can’t buy mourning, because it comes from the heart. You will see it with some people. The moment they receive a sad message on the phone, their faces change. You will ask them “What is the problem?”

Some people think prayer is about making noise! If you do that you are doing it to impress people not to talk to God! It is a problem if you are making a lot of noise but in your heart you don’t mean it, you are not even thinking about God but are too busy impressing the people.

Ezra 9:5 “5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God.” NKJV.

Some bibles use the words “grieving”, “humiliation”. In your fasting, who is humiliating you?
OTHER VERSIONS
Ezra 9:5 “5 At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God.” (own emphasis). Holman Christian Standard Bible.
Ezra 9:5. “5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my depression, and, having rent my undergarment and my mantle, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God,”(own emphasis). AMP.

Ezra says in the time of the evening sacrifice. It means he was in prayer. So at the evening time “I rose up from my humiliation.” It means in the evening, whilst in your fasting, in your humiliation, you must still rise up. Ezra tore his clothes. I don’t know what you are going to do. What makes a person to tear up their clothes?

What would you think, you are in church, you see somebody taking off their clothes and tearing them? Then when that person finishes he seats down in the church and continues to listen to the pastor, with an occasional “Amen, pastor!” What is wrong with this person? Is this person feeling hot? It is only God who knows. I want you to realise that fasting is about you alone. If for you, you feel that coming before God in fasting and prayer is like becoming naked before God then do it privately. You need that intimate time with God: just you and Him alone.

Why do the witches and wizards take off their clothes at night to bewitch people? They go do their work, come back and put on their clothes. I think the devil stole it from the bible. When he saw that the people would really make themselves “naked” before God in prayer and fasting. It is our heart that must ne naked before God.
Nowadays some people buy old bags and make a garment for themselves. Some even shave off their hair and pour ashes on themselves. Job did it. Ezra says I knelt on my knees. This means humbling yourself before God. Jesus Christ knelt before His servants and washed their feet. He humbled Himself before them.

Ezra says I lift up my hands. This means he turned his heart to God, humbled Himself, wept and mourned before God, tore his clothes, rolled in the ashes and lifted up his hands unto the Lord. What is this person doing? Can you see what this man is doing?

Ps 69:10-11 “10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, That became my reproach. 11 I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them.” NKJV.

This man is prostrated before God. If people were to see you doing this, what would they say? The bible says the people will insult you. They will talk about you. They will say a lot of bad, negative and discouraging things about you. They will be right, what normal person would roll in the ashes?

Whatever the people may say, be prepared for it. Don’t mind them, just be prepared for it. When people talk about you, blaspheme you, blaspheme your God, God increases His grace upon your life. When people bury you alive, God increases your life. Those people burying you will die first. Even if it was your time to go, because of the insults and the criticisms, God will lengthen your life. Why does God do this? David says He give me food in the presence of my enemies. “5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” Ps 23:5,NKJV. Once the devil starts to attack you or opens his mouth against you, God increases the grace upon your life.

In Psalm 69, David says I was reproached. Your fasting is for God, the more they reproach you, insult you, the more God will increase His grace upon your life. When your enemies attack you, they are telling God, this one is doing the right thing. “So, if you continue to attack him or her I, God, will increase the grace.”

Some of you were buried long time ago but still you are here. People are happy to hear that you are not well. They will say “He is nearly dying.” But when they hear you are well, or are getting much better they are not happy.

Matt 6:16-18 “6 “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. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” NKJV.

It was Jesus speaking. Don’t appear before men but appear before God. Many people are just starving themselves because they are not fasting properly.

True fasting is about the individual. God wants you, your heart. This is not about a group. That is why Jesus who was always with the disciples would leave the disciples alone and would go into the wilderness to fast and pray. He would leave them, sometimes sleeping and when they would find Him; they would ask Him “Jesus, where have you been? People are looking for you!” He did not respond to them but said “Let’s go into the next towns.”

Group fasts can discourage you, as you may not be in the same spirit with the other people. Some people can drag you back. God wants you alone. It is your heart He is after.

If you want to see true fasting: let somebody lose his job, you will see real tears, real praying. I want you to realize how important your tears are in prayer and fasting. When you start, you must know that your attitude is very important. So, when you go into this fasting, start with a good motive because on Sunday, God will be searching our hearts. Is your heart full of hatred, lies, deception etc only God knows and He will be searching our hearts? Only Jesus and Him alone decides who to baptise on Sunday. He has made an appointment with us to be here on Sunday to receive His fire.

Let us truly carry our hearts and give them to Jesus Christ.

Isa 58:1-3 “”Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers.” NKJV.

In this text God reveals to Isaiah “Look at these people, they fast whilst they are doing wrong things! They cry and say why can’t God hear us, as if they are doing nothing wrong?” Many of us do the same, we fast whilst doing wrong things and when God doesn’t answer we complain and say “Where is God?”

Church, when you fast, it is only God, who searches the heart. Fasting is not the action; it is what is in your heart. God wants the hearts that are bleeding for Him, crying for Him, His presence. God will baptise these who diligently seek Him.

The devil has already started to whisper to some of the people, reminding them about their sicknesses and diseases. People want the pastor to write his own bible. When you respond by saying “Choose between your sickness and God” people feel like you are rude to them.

The only thing God revealed to me was that “Let these people fast, a dry fast!” Go and prepare for this day. If you get stuck, ask the Holy Spirit for directions. He will guide you.

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