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Does Fasting Belong in the Kingdom of God? (Fasting Edition #162)

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Daniel Whyte III

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Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Elizabeth Elliot. She said: "One way to begin to see how vastly indulgent we usually are is to fast. It is a long day that is not broken by the usual three meals. One finds out what an astonishing amount of time is spent in the planning, purchasing, preparing, eating, and cleaning up of meals."

Our fasting devotional today is titled "DOES FASTING BELONG IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD?" from John Piper, author of the bestselling book "A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer".

The prevalence of fasting in the Old Testament raises the question whether the practice has abiding validity for people who live on this side of the coming of the Messiah and the appearance of the kingdom of God. Jesus said in Luke 11:20, "If I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." And when the Pharisees asked about the coming of the kingdom, he said in Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is in your midst." So there is a profound sense in which the long-awaited kingdom of God has already come in the life and ministry of Jesus.

This is the "mystery of the kingdom" that Jesus had in mind when he said to his disciples in Mark 4:11, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables." This was a stunning new reality in the world. "The new truth, now given to men by revelation in the person and mission of Jesus, is that the Kingdom which is to come finally in apocalyptic power, as foreseen in Daniel, has in fact entered into the world in advance in a hidden form to work secretly within and among men."

So the question is pressing: does fasting belong in the Church --- the new kingdom-people that God is assembling from all the peoples of the world? 
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