LIFE OF CHRIST

 

MARK 11:11-26

PRAYER POWER

Life of Christ #47

 

This week we see our Lord teaching us something about the power of prayer as he curses a fig tree and teaches lessons on faith and prayer.  The purpose of this message is to encourage us to all be better prayer warriors.

 

THE PROBLEM OF HYPOCRISY Vss. 11-19

 

I want us to begin our thoughts with Vs. 11, which happened the day our Lord entered Jerusalem. READ VERSE.

 

Please note that our Lord, the Son of God, looked all around at all things in the temple.  This was a searching gaze. This was an evaluating gaze.  As the Son of God, He had every right to look and evaluate.  Why? It was His temple.  A temple built for and dedicated to Him, as God.

 

Where is the temple of God today?  It is our bodies.  We are the temple of God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

Does the Lord Jesus evaluate us, His temple today?

Yes.

Does the Lord Jesus have a right to evaluate what we do in our bodies, and direct us to do better?

Yes.

What should be our attitude as Christians towards our Lord when he wants to evaluate us?

Psalm 139:23-24

 

Our desire should be that our Lord would search us, know us, and correct us.

 

Vs. 12 After spending the night in Bethany our Lord returns to Jerusalem and hes hungry.

 

Vs. 13 Jesus saw a fig tree having leaves.

 

The early figs did not usually appear this early, but when a tree has leaves it usually has figs as well.

 

Mark says that there was nothing but leaves, because it was not time for fruit.

 

Why did Jesus expect fruit?

 

Because the leaves advertised that there was fruit. The leaves and fruit were normally together.  This tree was guilty of false advertisement. This tree, so to speak, was a hypocrite. 

 

The tree can be, first of all, thought of as a picture of the nation Israel at this time.  Israel went through the motions of religion at the temple.  The Pharisees insisted on strict interpretation of the law. And yet, Israel was not being productive for the Lord.  On more than one occasion, Jesus referred to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the Jewish leaders. Matthew 15:8-9

  

We would commit an injustice if we just applied this barren fig tree to Israel and not to people today.  It is always easier to talk faith than to live it.

 

It is always easier to have the green leaves of verbal testimony without the fruit of righteousness, fruit of soul winning, and fruit of the Spirit.  We must beware of being like the fig tree, advertising a Spirituality that just doesn't exist.

 

Vs. 14 - Our Lord pronounces judgment on the fig tree.

This is, of course, an object lesson. Our Lord was pronouncing judgment on Israel. Our Lord was also pronouncing judgment on all hypocrisy. Matthew 7:21

                

How should we Christians deal with our own hypocrisy?

 

Compare our lives to the Scriptures, when reading or hearing it preached.

Be honest in self-examination.

Confess the sin to God.

Rely on God for the power to change.

 

Follow the pattern of Ezra. Ezra 7:10 

  

THE PRIORITY OF FAITH Vss. 20-23

 

Vs. 20 - It is the next day, and they see the same fig tree.

                It had already dried up from the roots.

 

Vs. 21 - You can imagine the shock of all the disciples, who heard the pronouncement on one day, and saw the withered fig tree the next day! Peter, of course, was the one who pointed it out to the Lord Jesus.

 

Vs. 22 - Jesus is very specific.

               To accomplish what seems impossible, faith in God is required.

                Faith is essential. 

                Not faith in man.

                Not faith in my own ability.

                Not faith in faith.

                BUT, FAITH THAT RESTS IN GOD!

 

Vs. 23 - Our Lord was probably talking more figuratively than literally. Of course, if there was good reason, our Lord could have cast the Mount of Olives into the sea.

 

The rabbis of that day, referred to a mountain as an impossible situation.

A Christian can deal with an absolutely impossible situation, and see God work.

 

But how can we possibly muster enough faith to handle impossible situations?

What I believe that God will do must be based on God's Word.

As I study God's word and believe it, that's when mountains will be removed! Romans 10:17

 

THE PROMISE OF ANSWERED PRAYER Vs. 24

 

Vs. 24 - Here is a great promise!

Faith and Prayer go together.

Our pronouncements of faith are based on our prayers of faith.

 

Notice how broad the scope of our prayers - What things soever. Or, "Whatsoever"

Notice it is based on our desires.

The condition here is that our desires need to be right in order for us to receive answers to our prayers.

We must pray with the right motives. James 4:2-3

 

Not only must we pray with the right motives but according to the will of God.

 

1 John 5:14-15 -  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

 

When we pray, we must believe that we will receive what we are asking for.

How many times have we prayed for things and not really believed that God would answer?

How many times have we prayed and have not thought about whether God would answer or not.  I think that most times we do not think about whether God will answer or not!

 

Let's face it, to have faith in God, we must believe He's going to answer when we ask!

 

THE PREREQUISITE OF FORGIVENESS Vss. 25-26

 

As Christians, no sin will keep us out of Heaven.

However, sin will hinder us from having our prayers answered.

One of the great sins is unforgiveness.

Christians hold grudges, refusing to forgive others.

As a result there sin of unforgiveness keeps God from forgiving them, and having their prayers answered. Psalm 66:18

  

Dont let unforgiveness rob you of joy or of answers to prayer.

 

THE PROMISE OF ANSWERED PRAYER

THE PRIORITY OF FAITH

THE  PROBLEM OF HYPOCRISY

THE PREREQUISITE OF FORGIVENESS Vss. 25-26

 

 

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