Moving Mountains | Matthew 21:12-22
41 "Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name's sake 42 (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, 43 hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name. (1 Kings 8:41-43 ESV).
12 and Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” 14 and the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” and Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“ ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”
17 and leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
18 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. 19 and seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. and he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" and the fig tree withered at once. (Matthew 21:12-19, ESV)
“The tree had leaves; the leaves were a claim to have figs; the tree had no figs; its claim was false; therefore it was doomed. The Jewish nation professed faith in God; but in practice they were unable to recognize God’s Son; therefore they stood condemned.” – William Barclay
False worship is revealed by fruitless lives that end in judgment.
“If there is anything we can learn from this passage is that the green leaves of your religious practices cannot cover a fruitless life.” – Douglas O’Donnell
20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" 21 and Jesus answered them, "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' it will happen. 22 and whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."
When we worship the Living God and depend on him through faithful prayer, we bear fruit in this world and move the mountains God wants moved.
- Worship the living God.
Idolatry is giving someone or something the trust, loyalty, and devotion only God deserves. And, idols can be anything. Money. Work. Reputation. Family. Kids. Tradition. Friends. Education. Sex. Food. Football. Travel sports. Comfort. Significance. Control. The result of idol worship is fruitlessness because you are abiding in something or someone other than the living vine. You are abiding in lifeless, worthless idols.
- Depend on God through faithful prayer as you engage in his mission.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:3 ESV)
Prayer is intricately attached to our mission. By prayer, we ask God, in dependence upon him, to move the mountains in our lives that are in the way of mission. Prayer is the way we move the mission forward. We can build a better building, have better programs, and send more people on trips, but if we are not persistently and regularly depending upon God through faithful prayer to move the mountains of unbelief, hardened hearts, and our own fear and inability, we will be unsuccessful in reaching people with the gospel.
“Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer gives us the significance of frontline forces and gives God the glory of limitless Provider.” – John Piper