Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19970122.htm
MARK: GOSPEL OF THE SERVICE OF CHRIST, GOD'S SERVANT
Part XLIII: Learning To Pray For RESULTS In FAITH
Lesson: True spiritual production comes through effective prayer that trusts God to do His revealed will on a given matter, and a prayer that comes from a believer who harbors no sin. cf. Jn. 15:7-8.
- As Christians, we naturally want to achieve things for God. In fact, God wants us to achieve great things for Him as well: John 15:8 informs us that our heavenly Father wants us to bear much fruit, to be very productive for His glory.
- However, not all believers are always very productive. Dry spells are reportedly too common.
- Jesus encourages and directs us regarding being productive in Mark 11:12-26 as follows:
- Learning To Pray For RESULTS In FAITH, Mark 11:12-26.
- Jesus put a curse on an unproductive fig tree as a symbol of His coming judgment on unproductive Israel:
- As Jesus prepared to enter Jerusalem to judge the temple site following His triumphal entry, He passed by a fig tree that had its new spring foliage out but was absent of figs, Mk. 11:12-13.
- Though it was not the regular fig harvest, fig trees that produce in a given year always have small, edible first fruit buds that spring out on the branches before the leaves come; since the tree had leaves but no first fruits, it would not bear later, Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 157.
- This fig tree aptly pictured Israel: Israel lacked real spiritual productivity though it was filled with the ritual "leaves" of religious fervor; it had failed to accept Her Messiah, making all religious efforts futile!
- Accordingly, Jesus put a curse on the tree, a picture of His curse put on Israel in the ensuing temple complex cleansing, Mk. 11:14 with 11:15-16.
- The disciples noticed the next day that the tree had dried up from the roots us, something that would have taken a miracle to do in such a short time period. Astounded at this tree's sudden change, Peter made reference of it to the Lord, Mark 11:20-21.
- Jesus immediately used the disciples' attentions to teach them the significance of faith to be productive in stark contrast to Israel's experience, Mark 11:22-26:
- Without trying to explain the symbolism in the fig tree, Jesus immediately responded to Peter's exclamation with the charge to "Have faith in God." (Mark 11:22)
- Jesus explained that the disciples could do enormous works like moving the Mount of Olives into the Dead Sea if they really believed God's Word regarding the matter, Mk. 11:23, Ibid., p. 158. We explain this example as it can be misapplied by people:
- Jesus was not trying to get the disciples to move the Mount of Olives into the Dead Sea, for prophecy holds that this Mount has to remain where it is for Christ's second coming, Zech. 14:4-5.
- All Christ taught was that humanly impossible achievements such as moving the mountain into the sea were achievable by faith in God. That implies the request heeds God's will, cf. 1 Jn. 5:14-15.
- Thus, all that God wants to achieve He will achieve if we but pray about it in faith!
- Another condition for achieving great things through prayer is offered in Mark 11:25-26: along with praying within the will of God, the believer cannot harbor the sin of an unforgiving spirit against his brother, Mark 11:25-26. Due to abuses, we must theologically clarify this condition as we ll:
- We are not always to forgive a party; if the party has not confessed or shown evidence of a repentant spirit, we cannot forgive in accord with the example of John the Baptizer in Matthew 3:4-9.
- Thus, we can only forgive when true repentance is delivered; however, once true repentance has been delivered, we are obligated always to forgive and never to have an unforgiving spirit!
Application: To accomplish great things for God, (1) believe on Christ for salvation from sin to become a child of God, Jn. 3:16 with Acts 17:30 and 1 Jn. 5:14-15. (2) Then, confess any sins outstanding (1 Jn. 1:9). (3) Thus prepared , (a) check Scripture to see God's will on a given matter of need and (b) make a request for God's supply in accord with Scripture and (c) with complete trust in the Lord. You will achieve great things for God!