Mark 11:20-33 Faith, prayer, forgiveness, the authority of Christ. Free written sermon

RC Sproul – To put our trust in God is the obligation of every creature made in His image. To not trust God is to impugn the integrity of His word and His character. Who would have the audacity NOT to trust their Creator? Why did Jesus give this command to have faith after the cursing of the fig tree and the condemning of the temple?

One of two things –

  1. That the disciples are amazed at the ability of Jesus to speak to a fig tree and have it die. What kind of power is this? Jesus says it is the power of faith. So perhaps this is a lesson between faith and power.
  2. More likely to point out a problem of infidelity – of faithlessness. The temple had become a model of unbelief.

One of the most hijacked and difficult passages:
Whatever you ask believe and you will receive them, have them.

Sproul – It gets hijacked when you take this text out of the context of the entire Bible – to look at this scripture alone –

Pray to win the lottery; Francis Chan – a friend said “I have met another woman – pray for my divorce.” Francis said, I’m not gonna pray for that. But the man himself was.

We have this idea that prayer is a request for God to do whatever we want. And if He does not do what we ask Him to do our prayer is not answered. Not true – still Sproul – Reminded that in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus pleaded with the Father to let this cup pass from Him – what was God’s answer? No. What was Jesus’ answer to the Father’s answer? Then Yes, I’ll do it.

That is the prayer of faith – the prayer of faith is not magic, but it IS trusting God.

A philosopher that I cannot remember the name of said one time, “We do not have the insight to know if anything is good or bad.”

David wanted to build a Temple to God – God said no. David’s son Solomon would build it. What did David do? Pout? No. It’s a template for how we handle God’s No.

  1. Review what we have without the dream – always something to be thankful for.
  2. Keep on dreaming and praying.  Most prayers are well intentioned prayers.
  3. Don’t blame yourself – not a lack of faith. God has his reasons.
  4. Redirect energies. David got the materials together to help Solomon.

NIBC – The high experience of forgiveness cannot be given to a heart that knows nothing of the forgiving spirit. Bishop Charles Gore – “Only merciful men can be forgiven.” Being unwilling to forgive only eats at the un-forgiver doesn’t it?

Jesus’ authority questioned – By what authority? All authority on heaven and earth had been given to Jesus. And HAS been given to Jesus.  Not just a question for the scribes and Pharisees – for every person walking on earth today.

Jesus says you answer my question I’ll answer yours. What about John the Baptist? Was His baptism from heaven or from men? The scribes and Pharisees knew the answer – could not say the answer.

The scribes and priests knew that if they said from heaven – Jesus would ask why they didn’t believe him. If they said from men, the crowds would turn on them for every person in every countryside town knew John was a prophet.

Let’s review to see what Mark is doing here:

Really sums up salvation – Faith, prayer, forgiveness, the authority of Christ.