Why Your Fast is Not Working | Tony Evans Sermon (2023)


Dr. Tony Evans shares from Isaiah 58 on why your fast is not working and how you can get God's attention by being a blessing to those around you.

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Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually.

The Urban Alternative is a Christian Bible teaching and resource ministry founded 39 years ago by Dr. Tony Evans. We aim to spread the teaching of God’s Word through Christian media with the goal of transforming lives. We offer sermons, sermon outlines, books, prayers, Bible studies and more on topics such as Christian living, marriage, discipleship, and spiritual growth, as taught by Tony Evans.

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On one occasion, I was running out of fuel in my car, and I was driving.

And it was clear that it wouldn't be long before I would run totally out of gas., So, naturally, I, pulled over to the filling station, and I said, "Fill, 'er up,".

And the tank became full again.

The problem occurred as I was driving along.

My car started to sputter.

It started to jerk back and forth.

I, pulled over to the side to try to figure out what in the world is going on here.

Everything looked fine to me.

And my gas tank was full of fuel.

But it was obvious something was still not working.

So I, pulled over to the mechanic at the local station to ask them to please help me figure out why things were not working as they ought to be working.

He, examined it.

And he said, "Sir, I think I found your problem.

I've, checked your fuel.

And what you have in your tank is not what the car requires.

You've given it something;.

You've given it a type of fuel that it is not designed to use.

And that is causing all of your problems." In, Isaiah, 58, God's.

People were concerned that their Christian life was not working, that their spiritual relationship with God was not producing anything.

In fact.

They say, "'why have we fasted.

And you do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves? And you do not notice?' Behold, on the day of your fast.

You find your desire and drive hard all your workers." They wanted to know why heaven wasn't coming down and intervening in their circumstance, even though they were fasting.

Now fasting is giving up a craving of the physical to gain assistance from the spiritual.


They were doing that.

They were having this prayer fasting meeting, and nothing was changing.

Well, that's.

When God comes in and He, throws a blockbuster curve, a curve, we all need to hear and learn if we're going to take seriously getting God into our circumstance—personally as families, in our churches.

And most certainly in our nation.

If you're going to have a successful, sacred time with God, whether individually or a gathering, you need to learn this truth from Isaiah 58 as to why all of our spiritual efforts, including fasting and prayer.

Many times are not working out at all.

Listen to what God says.


Says, "It is a fast like the fast, which I choose." I don't want the one you're giving me.

I want the one that my engine requires.

It must be acceptable to me, not just likeable to you.


Says, "This is the fast which I choose: a day for a man to humble himself.

It is the bowing of one's head like a reed and for the spreading out of sackcloth and ashes as a bed.


You call this a fast, even the acceptable day of the Lord? Is, this not the fast, which I choose: to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke and to let the oppressed.

Go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house.

When you see the naked to cover him and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?", He tells them something was missing.

They wanted a vertical experience with God without a horizontal touch in the lives of others.

They wanted God to do something for them while they did nothing for others.

They wanted heaven to visit them while there was no touch on Earth to improve the lives of others.

This is a great truth that you and I need to know.


You go up to bring heaven down, heaven wants to see how you went out to deliver help to others.

Over and over and over again, in the scriptures, God connects the vertical with the horizontal.


Why Jesus said, "By.

This shall all men know that you're My disciples." Not that you praise, and you pray and go to church, but that you love one another.

There is an impact beyond yourself.

You and I get God's attention when we give to others, what we ourselves are asking from God.

That's, why Luke 6:38 says, "Give, and it"—.

That is the thing you give—"will be given back to you." God wants to see whether you are a conduit for the very blessing.

You are requesting.


If you want Him to work to you, but it can't also flow through you, then He's much less interested in working to you, because you become a cul-de-sac.

You don't become a conduit.

You don't become a means through which He can flow through.

You, just want Him to flow to.


You want to get God's attention when you go to God, let me make a recommendation.

Tell Him, what you're going to do for somebody else if He comes through for you.


Now you've gotten His undivided attention cause that's the fast, He chooses, that's.

The gasoline that'll make Him roll in your life and your spiritual experience.

What will God.

Do when He sees that you've attached the vertical to the horizontal and the horizontal to the vertical, where you've touched heaven while wanting to benefit Earth? Listen to what He says in closing., He, says, "Then, your light will break out like the dawn and your recovery speedily will spring.

Forth., Your righteousness will go before you.

And the glory of the Lord will be your rear guide.


You will call and the Lord will answer.

You will cry and He will say, 'here.

I, am.', If.

You remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness.

And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will shine in the darkness and your gloom will become midday.


The Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places and give strength to your bones.


You will be like a watered garden.

And like a spring of water whose water does not fail.

Those from whom it will rebuild the ancient ruins;.

You will raise up the old foundations.

You will be called repairers of the breach, the restorers of the streets in which you dwell." Did.

You get that? If He sees you calling on Him while reaching out to bless somebody else, He is going to join you in what you are, requesting and needing from Him.

We're living in a day when everybody wants to be blessed.

But those same people who say, "I want to be blessed with this and I want to be blessed with that," are not equally saying at the very same time, "And I want to be a blessing for the blessing that I'm requesting.

I want you to flow through and not just flow to, because I want to be a benefiter, not just a beneficiary.

I want to be a helper and not only one who's helped." When that kind of calling on God takes place with fasting and prayer, that kind of sacred gathering occurs.

Now, heaven is now giving you its undivided attention.

Over and over and over again, God, says, "When.

You reach out to others, I'll reach out to you.

When I see that you are a helper to others, I'm going to be a helper to you." Now.

Why is God this way? Well, there's, a statement made about God that sums it all up.

It says, "God is love.".

It doesn't, just say, "God.

Loves.", People, love., Because, God is a Trinitarian being:, Father, Son, and Spirit.

One God composed of three equal Persons who is distinct in personhood and One in essence.

It's like a pretzel with three holes.


First hole is not the second hole.

The second hole is not the third hole, but they're all tied together by the same dough., Because They all bear the divine nature.

So God has never known what it's like to be alone., He's always dwelt in community.

So He's always dwelt in love.

So, He is love.

So, He is comfortable when He sees us being what He is.

And when He sees us being what He is, He can be who He is to us, as we are being who He is.

And that is operating in a context of love.


If you need something supernatural from heaven in history, if you need God to break through and bring light to your gloom, joy to your despair, peace to your purposelessness, if you want to see that, give away what you're asking for, and then watch God—pressed down, shaken together, running over—give you the very same thing that you have been requesting.

He's, waiting to hear from you.

He's, waiting to see you give up the physical for the spiritual, and then He's waiting to see how His answered prayer in your life is going to touch.

Somebody else.

Isaiah 58 wants you to fast, wants you to pray, but not the one that you put in the tank.

But the one that He can roll on.

Because, it's fuel from heaven that benefits Earth.


What is the message in Isaiah 58? ›

Summarize Isaiah 58:1–2 by explaining that the Lord directed Isaiah to boldly declare to the house of Jacob (or Israel) their sins. These sins included outwardly performing religious practices without sincere intent and thus acting as if they were a righteous nation that had not forsaken the Lord.

What kind of fasting pleases God? ›

We have two types of fast. The one that pleases God known as the purifying fast, and the one that displeases God known as the wicked fast. Yes! there is something called wicked fast which powers of darkness embark on every now and then.

What is the meaning of Isaiah 58 3? ›

Fasting in the book of Isaiah is urging us to do the following. Feed the hungry,clothe the naked,pray for the oppressed, the sick, take care of members of our family and friends .

What does Isaiah 58 verse 6 mean? ›

Isaiah 58:6–8 are words from God to his people when they were going through all kinds of religious routine. Fasting, participating in religious rituals, but they were ignoring the poor around them. They were oppressing people around them. Or ignoring the oppressed around them.

Why does God want us to fast? ›

There are things that God desires to happen in our lives and ministry that won't happen unless we fast. Fasting breaks strongholds, liberates people, and moves us into a realm of realizing God's power in our lives.

What is the message of Isaiah 58 6 7? ›

Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like? 6 "This is the kind of fast day I'm after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.

How can I honor God while fasting? ›

The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
  1. Morning. Begin your day in praise and worship. Read and meditate on God's Word, preferably on your knees. ...
  2. Noon. Return to prayer and God's Word. Take a short prayer walk. ...
  3. Evening. Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.”

What are the 4 types of fasting? ›

  • Full Fast: Drink only water.
  • Liquid Fast: Drink only fruit juice or broth.
  • The Daniel Fast: Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables. See Daniel 10:2-3 (See more extensive information).
  • Partial Fasts:

What to do spiritually when fasting? ›

When you begin your fast, invite God to be with you. Then, offer your fast for your chosen intention, ask for the grace to complete it and tell God that you accept as a gift whatever he chooses to bring out of it.

What are the benefits of fasting Isaiah 58? ›

Isaiah 58:6.

Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 2001, 73).

What is a true fast according to the Bible? ›

True and Biblical fasting is abstaining from food, drink or sex to fast on a period of spiritual growth. It is to humbly deny something of the flesh to glorify God, enhance our spirit and go deeper in our prayer life.

What does Isaiah 58 13 mean? ›

Not pursuing your 'own pleasure' on the Sabbath requires self-discipline. You may have to deny yourself of something you might like. If you choose to delight yourself in the Lord, you will not permit yourself to treat it as any other day. Routine and recreational activities can be done some other time.”

What is Isaiah 58 6 12 about? ›

Isaiah 58:6–12 Calls Us to Free the Oppressed

God, we pray that you would help us to work justice, to care for those in need, to pour ourselves out for the hungry, to satisfy the desires of the afflicted, to let our light rise in the middle of a dark world. God, in a world where there is so much need around us.

What is the meaning of Isaiah 58 7? ›

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Isaiah 58:7

To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love.

What is the meaning of Isaiah 58 10? ›

Isaiah reminds us in verse 10 that if we will seek to honor God, submit to his authority, and follow His commands, we will see the glory of God and experience the blessing of what it means to be in a relationship with Him. Seeking to honor the Lord by loving other people will cause His light to shine in a dark world.

What are the promises in Isaiah 58? ›

Isaiah 58:8 promises, Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:9 continues, Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.

What was Isaiah's overall message about? ›

Isaiah is one of the most well-known prophets in the Bible for his prediction of the coming of the Messiah, who would redeem His people from their sins. A book of stark contrasts, Isaiah juxtaposes terrifying warnings of judgement and destruction with uplifting promises of hope and prosperity.

What is Isaiah's message a message of? ›

Isaiah predicted that Judah would eventually be defeated because of their sin, but he also saw an ultimate redemption and restoration at the end of the story. Major themes of Isaiah: The judgment of God's people, followed by their ultimate salvation.

What moral lesson do we learn from the story of Isaiah? ›

From these prophecies, students learned the following truths: Trusting in our own strength instead of trusting in God can lead us to commit sin and ultimately result in our own destruction. Jesus Christ holds the key of the house of David and the keys of salvation for all mankind.

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