The following content is based on the message “New City Church Vision 2012: Sacrificial Service” spoken on 01/15/12 by Brian Kruckenberg at New City Church in Phoenix, AZ. The following is not meant to be a full synopsis of the message but rather a brief look at the main concepts. For more context and understanding, please visit newcityphx.com/media and listen to the message in its entirety.
Leaders using this Study Guide for group study and reflection should read the Biblical text thoroughly before beginning, using this resource as assistance and not relying solely on this material for insight. We encourage all leaders to pray and ask the Spirit for revelation as they lead their respective community.
16 ”Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
The Key Ideas:
1. Fasting is always something God’s followers have done. The Hebrews fasted on the Day of Atonement (Lv. 16:29, 31; 23:27–32; Nu. 29:7). After the Exile, four other annual fasts were observed (Zc. 8:19) Some strict Pharisees fasted every Monday and Thursday (Lk. 18:12). In Acts leaders of the church fast when choosing missionaries (13:2–3) and elders (14:23). Paul twice refers to his fasting (2 Cor. 6:5; 11:27).
2. We fast when Jesus is “gone.” Jesus told His disciples that when he left they WOULD fast. Obviously Jesus the man is not still on earth so followers of His should fast. Further, when Jesus seems distant, it is often a good time to consider doing a fast as doing so can draw you closer to Him.
And Jesus said to them, “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. Mark 2:19
3. Fasting is a sacrifice and moves BIG obstacles. We see evidence that prayer and fasting can focus our faith and reliance on God. (Matthew 17:21/Mark 9:9). It is often fasting that brings us to that place of complete dependence on God.
4. God’s people are sacrificial servants. The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-36) teaches us that those who follow Christ serve him with their time, talent and treasure.
5. Sacrificial service mean serving EVERYONE. The Good Samaritan shows us that we must serve even those we don’t like. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews, yet Jesus told the Jews to love their neighbors as themselves and then Jesus had the audacity to call a Samaritan a neighbor!
6. God’s heart has always been for the outsider. This new “missional” movement isn’t new at all. It is simply reclaiming the root of God’s movement on earth.
18 He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the stranger by giving him food and clothing.19 So show your love for the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. – Deuteronomy 10:18-19
7. Fasting and giving come out of our condition as beloved children of God.Remember, God’s name is “I AM” or simple “Be” and knowing you are “be”loved tells us that God loves us or, to put it another way, “‘I AM’ loved.”
Items for Reflection and Discussion
- Have you ever fasted? If so, tell about your experience. What did God show you? What did He do?
- If you’ve never fasted, why not? If it is for legitimate physical reasons that is understandable. However, remember that fasting is painful and sacrificial. It won’t be easy.
- No Pain, No Gain was a popular saying related to physical exercise and growth. How does it apply to spiritual growth?
- How do you serve God with your time and talent. (Remember, you aren’t earning anything by giving of your time, talent or treasure. Your condition is set before you do or give anything.)
- How can you serve someone who you don’t like this week? It may be that neighbor who annoys your or your mother who has hurt your feelings.
- Righteous is not earned but it must be practiced. Explain what that means. It might help to discuss about this quote: “For Jesus, obedience grows out of blessedness; the statement of our condition precedes the demands of our discipleship.”