Belgian Christadelphians

Moving Mountains

by JB 

Moving Mountains

Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

1. This is a repetition of that which we find in ch 17:20. It seems to be a bit of a theme during this most important time in the ministry of Christ... getting 'others' to believe. I really feel a lot of urgency, rather urging from the Lord in these chapters, here he is trying to get the gob-smacked motivated. As the shadow of the cross draws nearer Christ increases the 'faith-load' of the believers.

As Christ performed miracles the people received them like kids shown a card trick, and said, "Cool!!! Do it again"... what Christ wanted to hear is "Wow! How'd you do that?" Look at the all the Gospels - not many people asked 'how' a miracle was done - but Christ was always ready to tell them…

2. Verse 20 of chapter 21 is a real insight into human nature and how we think at times.  Matthew 21:20 The disciples were amazed 'at how soon the fig tree withered'... what did they expect?! They had seen healings, raisings, feedings - all instantaneous - and now they, 12 grown men, are standing around a dried-up stick in the turf in awe of how 'soon' the Word of the Son of God took effect. …

3. Notice the lapse - it was overnight at least. Christ knew that the timing would make a lesson in this case. He could have called down fire from heaven and had the tree burnt to a cinder within seconds - but not for this miracle. The miracle in this case would be if the disciples got the message. And the ‘lapse’ is what we need to understand about moving mountains. Not because moving mountains should take a long time but that the energy to move them is growing within every ‘believer’ – have you thought of yourself as that type of believer?

4. D.N.A. - D.N.B... is my funny way of remembering the two greatest problems that we have with prayer. Imagine you've just bought a whiz-bang, top of the range appliance - does everything, slices, dices, splices, makes a lovely bordelaise and a mean cup of coffee. Only thing is, you bring it home and it doesn't work. You consult the manual... 'Aha, look at that’. “We've had a problem with the circuits in this model - cut the red wire, then cut the blue wire - machine should work”. You wonder why they didn't do it for you in the first place but you go ahead and do it anyway and violá it works. - Oh, the wires?... Well, they are "D.o N.ot" and "D.o N.ot B.elieve"!

James and John tackle these in their epistles. DNA and DNB are real problems for effective prayer. Move beyond them, create a habit, a natural circuit breaker to rid your life of them. 'Do ask' and 'do believe'. One thing that surprises me from my own experience is that we generally work the whole faith and prayer thing backwards... and fail miserably. We say, 'I don't believe God wants such and such, so I won't bother Him with it'. It's an interesting exercise in the childlike faith that gets rewarded - Just ask!... then set to work on believing. Trust me, it fixes a lot of our doubts and fears about prayer... And it does work.

I am more guilty than anyone else I know but to get the faith thing right we have to indulge in less 'staggering'. Remember Abraham, Romans 4:18-21. Fully persuaded! …

Ask "now" to move the mountain... then do the believing part!

5. By way of small digression, 'what right we have to ask for something' is often an inhibitor to prayer and faith. What right do we have to ask? Well, there are many schools of thought and each of them will differ on what is being asked also. I just love that passage where Christ is questioned 'by what authority' he is able to do what he does in the eyes of God... ha! imagine that... same chapter 3 verses on Matthew 21:23 - wonder why?

John 14:13-15 loom large in this reckoning. John 14:13-15

6. So can we move mountains or not? Well, there's a couple of ways of answering this, and, they are both YES! Ah, it's tempting to bow-out on a whole lot of technicalities and explain how it either can or cannot be done but... it can be. That's it. Short answer. Done.

No, I haven't tried it. As far as mountains go, the closest one to me could be the one your living on - so I've not got past the 'asking' stage. If no one lived there and I could safely assume I wouldn't hurt anyone in asking for it would I still try? The short answer is no. My faith just isn't 'up there' yet but I'm working on it.

But, allowing for my forgivings, forebodings and faith-a-little-less-ness is it possible? Absolutely. To do so I would have to put my whole, unmitigated faith in God - that's right, that's how this kind of faith works - I do the leg-work, the hard work in building it... and then I give it away, give it to God, place it in His care - can I trust Him with it – I can and He delivers, He makes it work. I know, tough isn't it - but we didn't ask for an easy lot, we just asked for salvation.

7. What we can entrust to God, can, will, and has moved mountains. The history of planet earth is missing a couple of hours - even the scientists account for this with Joshua asking for the sun to stand still and Hezekiah's 10 degrees backwards. If God can move an entire planet, moving a pimple thereon is no challenge. …

8. Christ's test in Matthew 17 and 21 is brilliantly deep in perception - yet simplistic in it's practise. This is what I love about this faith thing we have here to master. It takes a lot to build a photocopier, technology, know-how, lots of moving parts - but it's practicality is simple... just push one button!. Faith is similar - you spend a lot of time building it and then you just press 'Ask'.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

God says, "Press 'Ask' - then build the machine"!

This is the faith that moves mountains!!! …

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. – This is a great contrast to a mountain in the sea… it is not tossed about at all is our faith like that.

We read in John 14 that if we love Christ we, keep his commandments. We are commanded to partake of this bread and wine. As we do this morning remember that other commandment of Christ, those special specific areas in your life, right now, that it touches… Believe!

So, let’s go flip a mount or two - whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.