July 19, 2022
Overcoming Your Mountains – Mark 11:20-25
Listen to last week’s sermon: Overcoming Your Mountains found in Mark 11:20-25.
Read Mark 11:13-14, 20-25
Are there any mountains in your life that are substantially impacting your peace of mind? Perhaps the issue you are facing is a health concern, a disagreement with your supervisor, a conflict between you and your spouse, or a matter involving a brother or sister. Currently, a mountain stands in your path, and it needs to be removed. In order to make the best decision, Pastor Eric encourages you to consult the Bible first.
Mark 11:13-14 records Jesus passing by a fig tree that had leaves but no figs. It did not bear any fruit. To the astonishment of His followers, Jesus cursed it and said,
May no one ever eat fruit from you again.
Jesus then went with His disciples to the Temple in Jerusalem where we see Him overturn the tables of the moneychangers. A price increase had been imposed on pigeons and animals intended for sacrifice. The Court of the Gentiles, a place of prayer for the nations, had been converted into a marketplace and a den of thieves. The next morning, Jesus and His followers observed that the fig tree had completely dried out and was dead, even down to its roots. Peter remembered what happened the day before and said to Jesus, “Teacher, look! There is no life in the fig tree you cursed!” Jesus answered,
Have faith in God. The truth is, you can say to this mountain, ‘Fall into the sea’, and if you have no doubts and believe what you say will transpire, God will make it so. Therefore, I urge you to believe that you have received the things you have asked for in prayer, and God will grant them to you. As you pray, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Read 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 and Matthew 26:39
Occasionally, mountains are placed in our lives as a means of molding our character. Some mountains will not move despite our faith because God does not desire them to do so. The Bible states that the apostle Paul pleaded fervently with God three times to remove the thorn from his flesh. In spite of this, Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you”. The purpose of that thorn was to teach him to rely on God’s grace. During His ministry, Jesus Himself prayed three times to His Father that, if possible, He would remove what was before Him. Yet, Jesus said, “I desire to carry out Your will, not Mine.”
Jesus taught us these four principles for overcoming our challenging circumstances:
We are to:
1 – Speak to our mountain.
Read Matthew 12:36
There is considerable power in the spoken word. The Bible states that our words have the power to either bless or curse. They can either build or destroy. Their impact can be either life-saving or life-ending. Ultimately, we will all be held accountable for every idle word we speak. We should therefore choose our words carefully.
Read Mark 11:23
Jesus elevates the power of the spoken word in this verse to an entirely new level. It is evident that spoken words, coupled with faith, can assist us in overcoming some of the challenges we face in our daily lives. When we consider that Jesus said these words, sometimes we just need to quiet all other voices in order to hear the voice of Christ speak to our souls.
A mountain is symbolic of great difficulty. According to William Barclay, a well-known and respected theologian, the term “moving mountains” was a common Jewish expression for overcoming difficulties. Therefore, based on this interpretation, Jesus is stating that our greatest difficulties can be overcome by expressing our faith through our words. Jesus instructs us to speak to our mountains, as the difficulties we face make us feel hopeless and afraid. They deprive us of our joy and strength. It is therefore essential that we speak to our mountains.
Read John 8:44
It is important for us as Christians to speak the truth of God’s Word, as we often echo the lies of the devil. Satan is a liar and the father of lies.
Pastor Eric has the impression that some children of God believe that Jesus forgives their sins, but will not forgive their neighbour’s sins. We may sometimes display an attitude similar to that of the Pharisee, who said,
O God, thank you that I am not like those sinners, particularly that tax collector.
We acknowledge that we are sinners who require mercy and grace, yet somewhere along the way, we begin to look down on others. We sometimes find ourselves repeating the devil’s whispers.
Pastor Eric believes that many seniors feel abandoned by the Lord as a result of their advancing age. God can use us at any age He chooses. As long as we are breathing, He is not finished with us. In spite of the devil’s assertions, God says, “I still have a plan for you.”
Don’t put a period where God has placed a comma.
Satan is a liar, a thief, an accuser, and a murderer. He is on a mission to steal, kill, and destroy. We can expect him to do everything he can to efface our faith in the Lord. Consider Job’s experience. The devil intended to convince Job to curse God. Mountains may also attempt to turn us away from the Lord by driving a wedge between us and Him.
If we allow it, a mountain can adversely affect our relationship with God. This is why, even though we do not fully comprehend the circumstances we face, the Word of God calls upon us to speak to it and repeat what it proclaims. It is not about relying on one’s own judgment, but rather on the wisdom of the One who knows what lies ahead.
Despite how important words are, Jesus does not stop there. He says that our words are to be infused with faith. In order for our words to be effective, they must be rooted in our hearts.
2 – Believe in our heart.
Read Mark 11:22
The above verse says, “Have faith in God”. It should be noted, however, that the lexicon of the original language does not state “Have faith in God”, but rather, “Have the faith of God.” Source.
Read Mark 11:23
According to Mark 11:23, heartfelt sentiments and verbal expressions can be in conflict. In other words, what we believe in our hearts may contradict what we say. Flattery is no different. That is why the Bible warns us against it.
Read James 1:6-8
In the words of James, when we ask God for anything, we must also believe and not doubt. Doubters are like ocean waves, tossed up and down by the wind. Those who doubt the Lord should not expect anything from Him. It is therefore imperative that we speak with faith to the mountain. To put it another way, faith comes first, and then words follow.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:13 and Matthew 17:19
We can be assured that the mountain will move if Jesus says we can command it to do so. Nothing is impossible for Him.
Faith must be exercised. The Bible says we are able to strengthen our faith through the Word of God.
Read Romans 10:17
In order to believe, one must hear, and hearing comes from the Word of God. It would therefore be helpful to take a biblical passage that relates to the challenge we are facing and build our faith through hearing, praying, and speaking these words. We are to choose to believe in spite of our inability to fully comprehend.
3 – Expect to receive it.
According to Jesus, we should expect to receive what we ask for.
Read Mark 11:24
It is unfortunate that many Christians today offer prayers that do not reflect Jesus’ instructions regarding prayer. They appear to be seeking to impress those around them with their eloquent and well-formulated prayers. Others practice safe prayers. Safe prayers are generally vague and never precise since specificity requires faith. There are also prudent prayers. The common practice among us pastors is to pray prudently so as not to create false expectations. In Pastor Eric’s opinion, most prayers are prudent in nature. Prayers may also be risk-averse or doubtful. Pastor Eric believes there is a need for bold prayers in churches today.
There is no instance in Scripture where Jesus rebuked someone for having excessive faith. Yet, He rebuked those who did not have faith or had little faith, such as the disciples who should have understood this, but failed to put it into practice.
4 – Forgive those who have wronged us.
Read Matthew 6:9-13 and Mark 11:25
It is difficult to imagine that forgiveness would play a significant role in moving mountains, but it does. Harbouring grudges, no matter how much faith we possess or how many Scriptures we cite, will prevent us from experiencing God’s blessings. The process of forgiveness is not always easy, but Jesus forgave our trespasses through His death on the cross. The example set by Christ is one we should follow. As He taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, it is our responsibility to seek forgiveness, but it is also our responsibility to forgive others.
It is possible that some believers have not experienced a breakthrough because they continue to hold on to a past hurt. Pastor Eric is not implying that the wrongdoing should be excused, but rather that they should let it go or else they will be consumed by it.
It is said that a rattlesnake, when cornered, can become quite upset and begin biting itself. That is exactly what happens when we harbour hatred and resentment towards others: We begin biting ourselves. We believe that we are harming others when we hold on to grudges and hatred, but in reality, we are harming ourselves the most.
A wise man once said,
Resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.
Grudges lead to this outcome; therefore, Pastor Eric urges us to forgive those who have wronged us.
Read Psalm 19:14
Pastor Eric concluded his sermon by citing the words of David in Psalm 19:14.
May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.
Pastor Eric then prayed that our voices and mouths would echo God’s Truth and that the beliefs we hold in ourselves would be aligned with our words. What we say is impacted by the power of our hearts.
Watch the video here.