WHEN THE MOUNTAIN DOESN'T MOVE: PART I
1. We have been studying the subject of faith.
2. In the last lesson, we talked about mountain moving faith.
a. The faith that believes in the heart, speaks to the mountain, and the mountain moves. Mark ll:23
b. Mountain moving faith changes things.
3. In this lesson, we want to deal with those times when the mountain doesn't move, when your prayers don't get answered.
4. Without revelation from God, I cannot tell you specifically why your mountain didn't move -- there are often factors involved that only God knows.
5. But, there are general principles about mountain moving faith listed for us in the Bible.
a. We can study these principles.
b. Then, perhaps you can analyze your situation and determine why your mountain didn't move.
B. We have an instance in scripture where people came to Jesus and said -- why didn't this work? Matt 17:14-21
1. The disciples asked basically the same question we've all asked -- we prayed and it didn't work. Why?
a. Jesus told them it was because of their unbelief (lack of faith).
b. When you exercise mountain moving faith, it works -- faith works.
2. Jesus mentioned another time when He was not able to do the works He wanted to do -- because of unbelief. Mark 6:1-6
3. People get very touchy about this area.
a. We must be open to the possibility that something in our faith may be lacking; that is the only answer spelled out for us in the Bible.
b. When you say: this didn't work and I know I have faith -- don't tell me I don't -- you've closed off a whole area of discussion.
c. When we say the problem may have been your faith, it doesn't mean you aren't saved, sincere, or committed; it doesn't mean you don't love God or that you are bad or sinful
d. Mountain moving faith is very specific and certain elements must be present in order for your mountain to move.
e. If one or more of these factors is missing, the mountain will not move. (We see that in Matt 17.)
4. In these two lessons, we want to consider these points:
a. Five elements which must be present in order to effectively exercise mountain moving faith.
b. General facts about mountain moving faith.
c. If the problem is with our faith, what is it that we are exercising when we think it is faith but it isn't?
5. If you are going to effectively exercise mountain moving faith, these elements must be present:
a. You must know what faith is.
b. You must know that every believer has faith, but your faith must grow and develop if it is going to move mountains.
c. You must know God's will in / for your situation before you can exercise mountain moving faith.
d. You must be fully persuaded (completely convinced) that what God has promised, He will do.
e. There must be a past tense elem
ent to your faith.
C. You must know what faith is.
1. Faith is agreement with God.
2. Three things are necessary:
a. You must know what God says.
b. You must believe His Word not matter what you see or feel.
c. You must express your agreement (belief) by the way you talk and act.
3. Faith is not a strong emotion.
4. Faith is not depth of commitment to Jesus Christ. Mark 10:28; 4:40
5. Faith is confidence in God, based on knowledge of His Word.
D. You must know that every believer has faith, but that your faith must grow and develop.
1. God gives us faith. Eph 2:8,9; Rom 10:17; Rom 12:3 2. Yet, the Bible refers to degrees of faith: growing faith II Thess l:3; weak faith Rom 14:1; strong faith Rom 4:20; full of faith Acts 6:5; Perfect faith James 2:22; overcoming faith I John 5:4; great faith Matt 8:10; faithless John 20:27; little faith Matt 14:31
3. In John 20:27 Jesus told John to be not faithless, but believing.
a. The responsibility for a change in his faith was on John.
b. Jesus defined the faith He desired John to have -- the faith that believes without seeing.
4. Faith must be fed and exercised in order to grow.
a. We feed it with the Word of God. Rom 10:17; Matt 4:4
b. We exercise it by agreeing with God.
1. Speak what you believe; live, act as though the Bible is true.
2. Use what you have. Luke 17:5,6; II Cor 4:13
5. Without knowledge of what God says in His Word, you cannot exercise mountain moving faith.
a. The more you know and believe of God's Word, the greater your faith will be.
b. Rom 10:14 -- If you don't know that healing is God's will for you in your situation, you cannot exercise mountain moving faith.
6. There is a parallel between natural growth and spiritual growth.
a. Newborns need milk. I Pet 2:2
b. Christians grow to maturity by using what they have, putting into practice what they know. Heb 5:13,14
1. That is, for those who through constant practice have their spiritual faculties carefully trained. (Weymouth)
2. That is, for the man who has developed by experience his power (Phillips)
7. One reason why faith doesn't always work is because people try to exercise $1,000,000 faith when they only have $1.00 faith.
a. They try to believe beyond the capacity of their faith at their particular state of development.
b. Sometimes people are trying to believe for complete healing when their faith is only at -- I'll come through the operation safely.
c. Sometimes people are trying to believe for complete healing from a terminal disease when their faith is only -- I'll have a peaceful death.
8. Mark 8:22-26 Notice, it was necessary to pray twice for this man.
a. Was the power of God lacking that day? Was Jesus off that day? Did God change His mind about healing the man?
b. It had to have been something in how the man received that kept him from getting the full dose the first time.
9. It took Abraham's faith time to grow and develop; if he had a terminal disease, he may not have made it.
a. Abraham was fully persuaded that what God had promised, He would do. Rom 4:21
b. It takes time to become fully persuaded.
10. Jesus said the one who hears and does His Word has built his house on solid rock and he will stand the storm. Matt 7:24-27
a. Notice these points:
1. Building a house implies a passage of time.
2. Hear = feed your faith; do = exercise your faith.
b. Many wait until the storm is on to try to put up their house, and it is very difficult then.
c. That is another reason mountain moving faith does not work for some.
E. You must know God's will in your situation before you can exercise mountain moving faith because this kind of faith is about changing things. Is is right for you to change your situation?
1. At the root of faith is confidence in God.
a. Confidence that He will do what He has promised.
b. Heb 11:1 -- substance = ground or confidence
c. I John 5:14,15 We can approach God with confidence for this reason. If we make requests which accord with His will, He listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know the things we ask for are ours. (NEB)
2. You must have scripture for what you desire to change. Rom 10:17
a. People try to exercise faith for things God has not promised.
b. Faith will not work if God has not promised.
c. Or, they try to exercise faith when they aren't sure if it is His will or not.
3. Many of us have the idea that we always approach God in prayer with the phrase "If it be thy will".
a. There are times when that is appropriate, but there are times when it is not. b. The only time Jesus prayed "If it be Thy will" was in the garden. Matt 26:39-42
1. His purpose was not to change anything, but to commit Himself to the Father's will.
2. When Jesus prayed to change things, He never prayed "If it be Thy will". He knew the Father's will and spoke in line with it.
3. Therefore, He could be confident that it would come to pass.
c. The point is to see God's will accomplished in the earth. Matt 6:10
4. Notice two different approaches to Jesus for healing in Matt 8.
a. v1-4 When the leper approached Jesus, he asked for healing -- if it was the Lord's will.
1. Notice, the Lord corrected his thinking -- it is my will -- before He healed him.
2. Jesus revealed His will before He healed him, not by healing him.
b. v5-13 The centurion approached Jesus with complete confidence.
1. I don't need to see anything -- I only need your word. If I have your word, it is done.
2. You have authority to heal, and I understand how authority works -- just speak it and it will be so.
F. You must be fully persuaded (completely convinced) that what God has promised He will do.
1. James 1:5-8 talks about faith and wavering.
2. Double minded = half-hearted; in two minds; wavering between going two different ways; a man of two minds -- hesitating, doubting, irresolute.
a. He is not fully convinced that God will come through.
b. The result? He will not inherit God's promise.
3. If you've lived your whole life basing what you believe on what you see and feel (and you have -- at least until you became a Christian, and maybe even after that) that habit does not go away over night.
4. It took Abraham a period of time to get to the point where He was completely dependent on God's Word. Heb 11:17-19
5. How do you know if you are fully persuaded?
a. What comes out of your mouth -- not at church, but in the crisis?
b. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matt 12:34; II Cor 4:13
1. I believe God is going to help me. No, wait! I believe He is helping me -- or whatever I'm supposed to be saying.
2. You aren't fully convinced of God's Word; you are hoping a formula will get you help.
G. There must be a past tense element to your faith.
1. God has spoken; therefore it is as good as done.
a. So much so that I can speak of what is not yet visible to the physical eye as though it were already here.
b. Remember the lottery.
2. Jesus explained that in Mark ll:24 -- you must believe you receive when you pray.
a. That means: understand that your request (say healing) has already been provided through the Cross of Christ. God has already said yes.
b. It is now a case of you accepting His Word (believing it), and then He brings it to pass in your life.
c. So, you accept His Word that healing is yours, and then you rest in the confidence that God will fulfill His Word and heal you = you'll feel it.
1. You must believe you have it before you get it -- because you have His Word.
2. You have God's Word first, then, because you believe His Word, God fulfills it in your life = you feel better.
3. There is a sense in which you can say:
a. I was healed = Jesus already took care of this on the Cross.
b. I am healed = Because God has spoken, it is as good as done; God calls what is not as though it were so that it will become.
c. I will be healed = I will see and feel the results of what God has done and said.
4. I believe God is going to heal me someday is not mountain moving faith because it is all future.
a. It does not contain a past tense element.
b. How will you know you are healed?
1. When I feel better.
2. That is walking by sight, and that is not faith.
5. Think about this: what if someone said, "I know the Lord is going to save me someday".
a. If he didn't change his believing, thinking, and speaking, would he ever get saved?
b. He must receive what God has already done for him; then God will do it.
1. The prayer of faith (mountain moving faith) is based on confidence.
a. You find out God's will before you pray.
b. You don't pray to see what is going to happen; you pray because you know what is going to happen.
2. Abraham believed that what God had promised, He would do. Rom 4:21
a. God's promise was -- I have made you a father of many nations. Gen 17:5
b. This is called strong faith. Rom 4:20
3. The centurion in Matt 8 said:
a. Once I have your Word, Lord, it is settled.
b. You do not have to come to my house; it is done and I will see the results. That is called great faith. Matt 8:10
4. No matter how sincere you are, no matter how committed to the Lord you are, if one of these elements is missing from your faith, the mountain will not move.