Many people read their bible & are no wiserthan before they started. They do not understand what they read. This is true of Christians & non~Christians alike. One reason for this is that Christianity has been the dominant religion of the Western world for many centuries leading many people to believe that the bible is a western book. It is not. It is a middle~eastern manuscript written with a middle~eastern mindset. This should be obvious but mostly it is not.
In the same manner people will say things like: You should only read the KJV bible. This mindset is dangerous because it leads to error. What needs to be done is what the Bereans did: study. Why? Because often the original language does not say what our translations say ~ regardless of which translation you use. This is not the translators fault. They are attempting to convey the whole meaning of the text as clearly & concisely as possible so that the whole remains readable. Then we misunderstand passages because we think like westerners. This is not our fault. We are what we are. It is our fault if we are too lazy to do some basic research & correct our errors.
This is our starting point for today’s study on Speaking to our Mountains.
Our text is Mark 11:23 which says: I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, 'May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.
Our theme is still healing though the scriptural principles can be applied to other areas of our lives.
Firstly we need to put this short passage into context. Mark was writing to the Romans, a gentile people with little understanding of Jewish religion but a military mindset. Thus one of the consistent themes in Mark is Jesus authority & Rabqa has given us a scriptural overview of Christ’s authority & how that has been imparted to us through belief in Jesus.
Now Jesus has come into Jerusalem for the Passover. He has cursed a fig tree & cleansed the temple & shortly He will be arrested & crucified for the sins of the world. As they pass by the fig tree the next morning Peter comments on the fact it has indeed withered just as Jesus said.
Now watch how Jesus responds. His first words are, “Have faith in God.”
Here is where study becomes so important. The Greek word Jesus’ uses for faith is pisteuō. This is the exact same word Paul uses when he defines faith for us in Hebrews 11:1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
Jesus knows that the disciples are going have to believe in something they don’t understand & can’t see until the moment the Holy Spirit is imparted unto them bringing revelation. In fact Jesus reinforces the importance of that belief. The word He uses for Truth in V 23 is Amen. We are familiar with this word as an ending to our prayers but it literally means, So be it. Faith is our So be it.
If you say to this mountain… now Jesus cannot be talking about literal mountains here because if we all went around casting mountains into the sea because they inconvenienced us we would create untold havoc: tsunamis, earthquakes, death & destruction. In the immediate sense Jesus may have been referring to the Temple Mount, specifically the Temple itself & certainly within 70 years that Temple was no more, cast down as if it had never been.
In the prophetic, ongoing sense, it is referring to the mountains in our lives. None of us are immune to these mountains. Jesus warned that in this world we would have trouble [John 16:33] As believers we have been given specific tasks to overcome that are incredibly difficult: to crucify our flesh; to deny ourselves; to take up our cross & follow Christ. These are indeed mountains for most of us & a daily exercise in putting our faith in God & the inward working of His Holy Spirit to help us move those mountains from in our lives.
However there are other mountains most of us face on a daily basis: money troubles; relationship difficulties; sickness. Jesus tells us in this passage to *lift them up & cast them into the sea.*
The first principle is to have faith in God but you cannot have faith unless you actually know God; know His character; know His attitude towards you; know how He thinks & acts. How do we get this faith? Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. The bible tells us everything we need to know about God & Jesus was the Word of God made flesh in order to reveal the nature of God to us.
The 2nd principle is we are to speak but what are we to speak? We are to speak the word of God because these are some of the things God says about his word:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Psalm138:2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honour of your name.
Jeremiah 1:12 Then Yahweh said to me, "You have seen well; for I watch over my word to perform it."
Isaiah 55:11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You see God & His word are one. When you line up the words of your mouth with God’s words you know you are praying out God’s perfect will & He will honour His word because He says He will & God is not a man that He should lie! There are promises in scripture that all believers can claim. They belong to us. They were given for us.
Now don’t get muddled up. You cannot go around declaring that it is God’s will for you to be a millionaire. Nowhere in scripture are you going to find such nonsense. What you will find is a third principle:
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
Before you can access the promises of God you must belong to Him even though in His lovingkindness & mercy He causes the rain to fall alike on the just & the unjust ~ meaning simply that there are certain blessings that are imparted indiscriminately just because God is God & He is a good God.
Well, you might say, if God is good He wouldn’t allow…
& these days people have got lots of horrible things to choose from: paedophilia in the church, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, child abuse, domestic violence, car crashes, terrorism…. On & on it goes but I will be really clear. God is not responsible for any of it! When people first chose to go their own way they abnegated their responsibility as guardians & protectors of God’s world & gave the rulership of this world to satan & scripture says it is satan who is the ruler of this world [John 12:31] & it is he who brings death, destruction, theft John 10:10 The thief comes only that he might steal and might kill and might destroy. Wherever you see death & destruction you see the work of satan.
Our world is no longer functioning in the perfect orderly way that God created it to function & you & I, each one of us both individually & corporately, bear some responsibility for that. You cannot blame the whole shemozzle on Adam & Eve because the very first thing God gave human beings was free will. You are free to choose. You can choose God or you can choose to believe satan’s lies & blame God for the whole sorry mess. What’s more that brings you into agreement with satan.
Which brings us to a third principle: the reign of God is within you.' Luke 17:21
Some people put their faith in Jesus to save them but they do not allow Him to reign as King in their lives. They do not understand that to continue to be as they once were is to actually be a disobedient servant rather than a son or daughter of the living God. Sons & daughters walk by the Spirit of God. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. Romans 8:14
The Holy Spirit has a number of different functions
· He seals us unto the day of redemption. His presence in us is the one sure way that we are identified spiritually as belonging to Jesus Christ. Romans 8:9 says And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.
· 1 Corinthians 2:10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us into all Truth [John 16:13] It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to deal with our mountains, whether they are to pick up our cross, crucify our flesh, renew our minds, or walk in faith.
Now when it comes to healing we have to understand that God is our healer. We have to have faith that not only is He able to heal but that He is willing to heal; that He actually desires to heal us.
Exodus 15:26 He said, "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you."
When Jesus came into the world He declared that:
Luke 4:8 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.. As you read through the gospels you see 3 things consistently. Jesus teaches. He preaches. He Heals
And later He says that His followers will do likewise.
John 14:12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
Lastly it is not difficult to ask God for healing. In Acts 3:6 we see how it works. Peter passes a lame man begging for alms & says simply:, "I don't have any silver or gold for you. But I'll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!"
Now Peter didn’t heal this man. It was the power of the Holy Spirit working in him & that same Spirit works in every believer but notice 2 things. Peter was very specific in his prayer. He commanded that the man walk ~ & he invoked the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus but there is also the promise that whatever we ask for in His name will be given to us.
Perhaps you have need for Jesus’ healing power in your life today but you don’t know Him. I invite you to speak to someone here & we will pray for you but I am also going to pray now for those who are too shy to come forward because Jesus always honours His word & His word brings life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Proverbs 4:22