14 Jul 2019
Many people think that mountain-moving faith must be of great faith. Actually, Jesus says that all it takes is a mustard seed faith. In other words, in what may seem surprising to us, Jesus is saying it doesn't take much faith for impossibilities to become realities. It only takes faith! The focus, you see, is not about how great our faith is. The focus should be on how great our God is! Thomas Watson said, "A weak faith can hold on to a strong Christ. " Mustard seed faith in a great God is the key to move mountains. EM Bounds said, "Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer can move God. " Prayer is the expression of faith. Christian living is not just about right thinking. We need power. And power belongs unto God. And so besides thinking right, God's people must be praying right. Discover in this sermon how mountains of stress, anxiety, fear, lust, pornography, bitterness, pride and many more can be moved by faith and prayer in your life!
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We are now in the book of Matthew and in particular, Matthew, chapter 17 and this is a series on “Beholding Our King”, “Beholding the Lord Jesus Christ.” I like you to be reminded, last week we ended off by looking at how Jesus went up a high mountain together with three of His disciples - Peter, James and John. Today, we are going to continue with another message about mountains but not about climbing mountains, but about moving mountains.
In Matthew 17 and verse 20, Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain …” probably the exact mountain, Jesus went up on, “… you will say to this mountain move from here to there, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” I want to say right off the bat, this is probably one of the favourite verses for people who buy Toto or buy 4D, or want to strike it rich.
This is a favourite verse for people who are longing to have a Ferrari or a nice bungalow. “Oh! What a promise from the Bible that God will move mountains in my life! That God will grant me what is impossible in my own strength! Wow! What a verse!” And I think health and wealth or prosperity false teacher would love this verse. They will preach this in churches and say to the people, “If you want to be rich, just believe and you will have it.”
And there are even people call the, “word of faith teachers”, these by the way are false prophets. The word of faith teachers would say to you, “All you need to do if you want a Ferrari, if you want a bungalow, if you want more zeros in your bank account is to visualize it, believe it and say it.” They actually teach you that you can speak things into existence because that's what this text, they say seem to tell you, “Say to this mountain and it will move.”
So, this is a very dangerous text if you misinterpret it and misapplied it based on selfish reasons and lusts. I don't think that's what Jesus is teaching at all. Jesus is not saying, “That our God is a genie in the bottle, who we rub and who will do our bidding.” Not at all! Because the Bible is very clear , “You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” [James 4:3]
God is not a servant who will do my selfish biddings. He is the great God whom we serve. So, when we pray, when we ask, when we believe, it is not believing that God will do what I want, it is believing that God will do what is in his will. If we … , “This is the confidence that we have toward him that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.” [1 John 5:14]
Nevertheless, I want to remind you that we can also swing to the other extreme. Instead of saying, “God will do what we want,” we may swing to the other extreme that says, “Actually God cannot do what we ask him to.” That's also equally wrong! I think the biblical understanding is - God can and will move mountains when we have faith in him, when we seek Him in his will.
So today, some of you today are facing mountains in life. I think this is a very encouraging message. Maybe you're struggling with stress and anxiety and I realize there are more and more people who are facing this mountain. They can't move forward in life because they are crippled; they are paralyzed with fears, with anxieties, with panics, with depression.
I realized there are people today who are struggling with addiction to some sinful habits. Maybe pornography and they can't seem to break out of it. There are some people today who are trapped in bitterness and unforgiveness. They somehow know it is right to forgive but they can't seem to have the grace to forgive.
There's a huge mountain in their spiritual life, it's killing them, they are stagnating in their walk. And this is where we need to say, “God, you need to move these mountains.” There are those who are facing mountains at home because their loved ones are outside the faith and there seems to be no way through. There are those who are facing mountains in ministry; in their homes; in their relationships.
Well, this is a passage to remind us that our God who we serve is a God who moves mountains. How does he do that? And when does he do that? Well, there's a story I like you to join me in. This is a fascinating story, it's written in Mark 7 or Matthew 17 and there's a parallel in Mark, chapter 9. Same story, two different authors, giving two slightly enriched perspectives.
So, I bring you to Mark 9 and this is the story. Jesus had just gone up the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James and John. And now he came, he comes down the mountain and when he comes down to the mountain, comes down the mountain, he meets with the rest of the nine disciples. “And when he came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around the nine disciples. And he saw that there were scribes arguing with these nine disciples.” [Mark 9:14]
“What's happening?” you say. Well, one of them came to Jesus and brought the issue. He said, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, because he has a spirit that makes him mute…” [Mark 9:17-18] He is possessed by demons. He's now mute. And actually elsewhere, we are told that he's also dumb. He's, he's deaf. So, he's stricken with this demon possession and not only that, “… whenever the demon seizes him, he throws him down and he foams and grinds his teeth and he becomes rigid.” Sometimes, he throws himself in the fire. Sometimes, sometimes he throws himself in the water. That's what Mark would tell us.
So, this man brings this sad case of his own child to Jesus. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” [Mark 9: 21] He said, “From childhood.” “It's been a long time, he's grievously tormented for a long while now.” This is a serious problem! “So, I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were not able.” [Mark 9:18] “That's why I brought my son to you, your disciples can't do it! They cannot make it!”
Now, this is strange because Jesus earlier on, months ago, “Had already given the disciples authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out. [Matthew 10:1] And not only has he given them the authority, they have actually done it because Mark 6:13 tells us, “They cast out many demons.” So, this is not new territory, so this is not something unknown, this is not something they have not tried before. They have succeeded in casting out many demons before, “But now they were not able.” [Matthew 9:18] That's why there's this commotion!
Well, after Jesus had cast out the demon, that episode was over, but the disciples were puzzled. “So they came to Jesus privately and said, “Lord, why is it we could not cast out the demon?”” Probably, in their head they are thinking, “Maybe the demon is too powerful. This one - level ten one!” We cast out level one, this level ten. Wah! cannot lah! Is it the reason? Is it because we need more power? Is it because we had no skill? Why? Is it that we could not cast it out?”
The simple reason Jesus gave, as you have read already is, “You had little faith.” [Matthew 17:20] The reason why you could not do it, Jesus said, “Is because of your little faith.” Now, I want you to note something, which I think is fascinating. This might sound technical but I promise you, I try not to use any technical terms. This might sound long-winded but I think some of you may have always been wondering why.
But this is the issue, when we read – “because of your little faith”, this is what is written in your English Standard Version. This is what we use for our pulpit ministry here, our preaching ministry here. But at home when I read my Bible, I read it in King James Version and do you know what is the King James Version for this verse? So because of little faith is in the ESV is the one kind of English translation, another kind of English translation is the King James. And it actually says, “Because of your unbelief.”
Now, you say, “Pastors, quite similar what?” Well, actually yes, technically, it's quite similar. But I want you to know, it's two different words, two different concepts. Little faith is little lah. A bit lah! But little, alright! Correct? Unbelief is don't have lah! So, it's actually quite different. So, why is there a difference in your ESV and KJV? Why? “Because the translators’ English different lor?”
Well, that will be the usual response, people translate same words differently. For example, 吃饱了没有[chī bǎo le méi yǒu] jiak ba buay? jiak beng buay? Some of us would say, “Have you eaten?” Some will say, some will translate, “Have you eaten rice, already?” So same Chinese words, different translations.
We may think that's the reason, but actually it's not. If you look at the Greek text, you know that the New Testament is largely written in Greek, the Old Testament is largely written in Hebrew. The Bible is not originally written in English. So, to understand it for our day, people graciously helpfully translate the ancient languages into English.
So, the Bible was written in the New Testament largely in Greek. And in the Greek text, that people used to translate to the ESV and in the Greek text, that people used to translate to the KJV, the two words in the two different kinds of Greek texts are different. Because it is actually, “oligo-pistia” and “a-pistia”. The Greek text that is used for ESV - oligo-pistia. The Greek text that is used for KJV - a-pistia. You say, “Si mi lai eh!” [what is it? in Hokkien dialect]
Well, you don't have to understand Greek, all you need to know is actually the two Greek words are …? At least you can tell, right? They are? Different! “Bo seo siang”, different. Oligo is few, or small or little. “A” is don't have. You are apathetic means you have no passion. A-Pathic. So, no faith and little faith, two different Greek text.
Now, you say, “Wah! Jason, you're confusing me. I thought the Bible is one, how come you say got different Greek text? You mean God gave different Bibles, ah? Or God use different people to write different versions of the Bible?” No, no, no, no, no! Don't get me wrong. When the original writers write the Bible, for example Matthew, he wrote the book of … doesn't take a genius, Matthew wrote the book of …? Matthew.
How many did he write? One only lah! Where got time write so many, right? So, Matthew wrote only one Gospel of Matthew. One, that's all! Eh, but this one ah, very precious, this one very important. This is superb records of the life and times of Jesus. And later on, people understand this is inspired by God, this is God-given. So, this is so precious, we cannot just have one, we need to have more.
Now, you don't get Matthew to write again, but you take this original writing of Matthew and you copy it. Now, in those days, you don't have iPhone. If got iPhone, every page snap, snap, snap, snap, snap, easy to copy. But in those days, no iPhones, no photocopying machines, you got to copy by hand. You gotta take a very painstaking long process to make sure you copy accurately.
So, what they do is they have copyists to copy the original. They have two copies, then you have four copies, you have more and more copies and more and more copies. And then, they are distributed throughout the area, the known world then. I mean people have these copies, they sent to people who don't have and it spread all around the region. Now, don't, don't quote me on the exact location, I never check where they are lah! Just “agak, agak” [estimate in Malay] you know that there are more manuscripts all over the place.
And over time, you have more and more and more manuscripts. You see that! They are all supposed to be replicas of the original. Now, in those days, people don't record, copy number one go where, copy number two go where, who copy what. They, they do not have good records like this, so over time, we do not know where the manuscript are.
And actually the original is now … , you know when the original copy of Matthew is … ? You know where or not? Anybody knows? Probably disintegrated! I don't know! Nobody knows where the original is but people now, over time after this 2000 years, they have found and dug and discovered more manuscripts over time. Now, these are not the originals, mind you! They are the copies, copies painstakingly made by man. So, more and more copies are being found all over the region.
So, when they find these copies, these manuscripts, they take it together and say, “Wow! Thank God that we have the Bible. Not the original, but the copies left for us and let's get translating them into all languages, so that all peoples, they come to know God.” So, there were manuscripts that were discovered centuries ago, centuries are hundreds of years ago.
They have found them, they gathered them together in comparison to newer manuscripts, they were actually quite few. But at least a few hundred years ago, they had a decent number of manuscripts. They were fewer, they were also seen as less ancient copies. But they had enough, and that was the basis of some of the translations of the English Bible we have today, including the King James translation.
And then after the King James translation was made, people continue to discover more manuscripts. So, recently more manuscripts are discovered and amazingly the more recent discoveries give us more copies than what they had during King James’ time. And actually these copies, more numerous are also more ancient.
Today to date, we have about 5700 manuscripts discovered. That's quite a, quite a size! And most of it, the majority of it belong to the second category. They are discovered more recently. And that's the basis for more modern English translations of the Bible, like the ESV. That's why when you read the King James, they used the word, “a-pistia”, that's based on the, the manuscripts that were discovered centuries ago. And then they have the word, “oligo-pistia” which is more recently discovered.
Now, that's why, for example In Matthew 17:20, “You have little faith”, for ESV and “unbelief” for the KJV. By the way, if you have your Bibles, you may also want to take note that in the KJV, there is Matthew 17 verse 21, but if you look at your ESV, can you tell me something? There is … ? Hey, you all lazy, never open, look at me like … my face … not ESV you know. Look for yourself! I, I mean, when you read the ESV and KJV, don't you … “Eh, how come ah like that?”
In ESV, you don't have verse 21. So when you read the Bible, it's verse 19, verse 20 and then next verse is verse 22, “Eh, their numbering got problem, is it?” “How come they do not know how …?” No, it's not the numbering got problem, but they recognize that the older translations, they have verse 21. But in the more recently discovered manuscripts, that are more numerous and more ancient, there actually is not verse 21. So, scholars actually suggest this verse 21 is actually inserted by copyists themselves.
The inspiration of Scripture is inspired or the, the giving of Scripture is of God, but the translation and the transmission not necessarily so, there are human errors that may be inserted into it. Nevertheless, I want to assure you, though they are different Greek texts based on the different numbers of text manuscripts, generally the differences are very minor, they are few and they do not affect major doctrines at all.
But I want to say all that, so that we can be true to this text. We can be honest to this text because I think Jesus said, “It is because of your little faith”, but I want to say also, “Actually ah, when he say, “Little faith”, he actually means - no faith.” “ Wah! Pastor, you really jialat [in trouble in Malay] know. You talk so long, this text, text, text, this greek, greek and you're saying, “Actually the same thing!””
Well, I'm saying, “That the actual words is - little faith, but the meaning of little faith is actually no faith in that given situation.” Why do I say that? It's because of the way “little faith” as a phrase or as a word is used in the Gospels. So, you recall Jesus earlier said in Matthew, chapter 8:25-26, “Save us, Lord!...” I mean these are the disciples saying, “Save us, Lord! We are perishing!” And then Jesus said, “Why are you afraid? Oh, you of little faith!” “You, why? Why don't you believe me? Why don't you believe?”
In other words, they may recognize and believe Jesus is the Christ, but they don't have faith in that situation that Jesus will deliver them. They had no faith in that given situation. Second time this phrase is used in the Gospels of, in the Gospel of Matthew. Peter was sinking, he, he was walking on water. Wah! Then, he suddenly looked at the winds and the waves and he was terrified and he began to sink.
And Jesus said, “Oh, you of little faith!” [Matthew 14:31] “Why did you doubt? Why did you stop believing? Why did you not believe in this given situation?” And then, the third time we see, “oligo pistia”, is in Matthew 16 verse 8, “O you of little faith, why are you still talking about bread, worried that there is no bread, not believing in me.”
So, the reason why the disciples could not cast out the demon was because according to the words of Jesus, they had little faith - oligo pistia. Probably, referring to how they had faith that Jesus is the Christ, but not having faith that Jesus and his authority is enough. They had no faith in that given situation. Therefore, Jesus said, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed.” [Matthew 17:20]
So, no faith and actually all you need is small faith - like a grain of mustard seed. I actually thought of buying all of you mustard seeds and putting it on the chair but I scared people scold me for littering. So, imagine with me mustard seed, it's actually very, very tiny.
And Jesus is saying to the disciples, “The reason why you could not cast out the demon is because you have no faith in me. Because if you only had faith, the grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain move here to there, and it will do so. Nothing will be impossible for you!”
I think this is a fascinating little concept. We often think that when there's a great mountain, you need to have great faith, isn't it? “Wah! This is a big problem; a difficult problem, so I need to have big faith.” You know what Jesus is saying, “You don't need big faith. You need mustard seed faith.” It is not great faith only that moves great mountains, mustard seed faith also can move mountains.” Hmmm … scratch head. Why?
Let me try to illustrate this best effort. Don't laugh at me. Imagine you have a big mountain. Imagine it's so big that it looks virtually impossible to move. That's the situation here! To move this mountain, I suppose one thing I can try is using a tractor. So, I bring a little tractor. This tractor wants to move mountains, can or not? Cannot lah! Too small, lah! But if I say, “I bring a big tractor, can or not?” Can or not? Maybe can ah! So to move a big mountain, you need a big tractor but I also need to start the tractor.
So, in order to operate the tractor, I need a key. No need big! Small. A small key in a big tractor will do the job. Do I need to have a big key? “I bring a big key, move mountain!” “Siow [crazy/mad in Hokkien dialect] ah! The key doesn't move mountain ah! The key is useless in that sense.” All you need is a …? All you need is a…? A small key. And when the small key is inserted into a big tractor, then you can move the mountain.
In other words, I think what Jesus, not Jesus okay, what I'm saying is, “It is not about a big key. The key is a big tractor…” And if you replace some of these words, you will begin to understand. “It is not about the big faith but it's about a big God.”
[Not big key, but big tractor]
[Not big faith, but big GOD]
And so Jesus is giving us a concept that I think most of us would not realize! He's saying, “All you need is not big faith; giant faith; huge faith but mustard seed faith in a big God.” The focus of the Christian is not - how great is my faith, the focus of the Christian is - how great is our God. And I just need to believe Him.
So, I've a key statement for you. “For impossibilities to become realities …” For mountains to move. Something impossible, something real! “For impossibilities to become realities, it doesn't take much faith, it only takes faith.” Can you say it with me? One, two, three, “It doesn't take much faith for impossibilities to become realities, it only takes faith.”
You see, I think this is practical because many of us, we feel like there are mountains in our lives - stress, worries, sins, pornography, unforgiveness, bitterness, our parents not coming to faith, our ministry roadblocks. We, we see mountains in our lives and we and we are so paralyzed because we feel that our faith is not big enough.
So, we are always sitting there, waiting for more faith, more faith, more faith, more feeling. But Jesus is saying, “The key is not about whether you have giant faith or not, it's whether you have a giant God and whether you believe in this giant God.” So, we tend to make excuses for ourselves not to step out in obedience. Fascinating! There's a kind of a parallel in what Jesus is saying here with Luke, chapter 17.
In Luke 17:4-5, Jesus had been teaching about forgiveness. And He said to the disciples that, “If someone sins against you seven times in the day …” Now, don't think about someone who do something petty lah, can you just think about someone you really hate? I hope there's none but I'm sure there is. Someone you cannot take ah, someone you cannot stand and he keeps or she keeps irritating you, keeps hurting you, keeps backstabbing you, keeps gossiping about you.
You're not happy about it, but this person sins against you seven times in a day and, and now he says to you, “I'm sorry. I repent.” What do you do? When it's petty, you can say, “It's okay, I forgive you.” But when it's 深仇大恨 [shēn chóu dà hèn, deep hatred in Mandarin] , you know those like你化成灰，我都记得你 [nǐ huà chéng huī ，wǒ dōu jì dé nǐ] You, you turn into ashes, I also remember you， that kind of hatred. This person says you seven times, “I'm sorry.” Is it easy for you to forgive? Easy to talk, difficult to do.
So, the disciples understood the implications of this statement and therefore they said to Jesus immediately. What? “Increase of faith.” They did not say, “Yes sir, I'll do it!” They said, “Wah! Very hard lah! Rabbi. Gang Kor Jit Kuan [this type is tough in Hokkien dialect].” “Wa zai [I know in Hokkien dialect], I know I should do this but very hard lah! I need more faith.” “If only God you give us more faith, if only you help me with more faith, then I can do. But before I have more faith, cannot do. I need giant faith because this is a giant mountain. Increase our faith.”
And what did Jesus say, “Okay lah, I give you more faith lah!” No! He didn't say that! Jesus said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree…” [Luke 17:5-6] Jesus is like taking anything around him lah, it was a mountain, He says, “Mountain.” If it was a tree, he says, “Tree”, because the principle is the same. The principle is - you do not need giant faith, you just need faith.
And that's what we are saying, “A small key inserted into a big tractor is able to move mountains.” And Jesus is therefore teaching us, a mustard seed faith in a great God is able to move mountains. That's why Thomas Watson, he would say, “A weak faith can lay hold of a strong Christ.” That's the idea! That's what we need to learn.
So, when you see great mountains, remember the focus is not in your great faith, the focus is in our great God. He is the one who moves mountains. All we need is faith. How big? More also good… bigger also good, no problem but actually, all you need is mustard seed faith. Now, this concept is I hope clear to you now, but you will say, “But Jason, practically what does that mean? What does it mean for me to have faith? What does it look like in a real way?” “Is this just mere psychology?”
It's interesting again that when you study the Bible, different passages illuminate and highlight different spiritual insights. Matthew 17:20 says, “Because of your little faith.” The parallel passage in Mark 9:29 says, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but by prayer.” You notice something? One is faith. One is prayer.
What was the problem of the disciples? They had no faith! What was the problem of the disciples? They did not pray! So, they did not exercise faith. They did not pray. They could not cast out the demon, they were stuck behind the mountain because they were faithless and because they were prayer-less. And I learned that faith is best expressed in prayer. Prayer is the expression of my faith.
When we say, “Have faith in God.” It is not just psychology. It is not just thinking. It is not just considering. It is saying, “Lord, help me!” It is casting our dependence on God in the place of prayer. Christian living is not just making choices. Oh! Please don't get me wrong! Christian living involves making biblical choices but I'm saying, “Christian living is not just making choices”. Because not only must we make choices to obey, we must also pray to obey. Because the power to obey does not come from us. The power to change, the power to move mountains comes from God. So faith, my friends is best expressed in prayer.
You see, the disciples did not get what they wanted to get. They did not manage to cast out the demon. They might have tried many means. They might said a lot of words. They may have jumped all around, I do not know, but they just cannot do it. It's a picture of how James 4:2 tells us, “You desire and do not have, you murder, you covet you cannot obtain.” So you do all these things, you try your very best effort, you're energetic about your efforts. “But you do not have, you do not have because you do not ask.” [James 4:2] It's all about you!
I suppose that the disciples must've been casting out demons over time and they might have gotten complacent. They must've thought to themselves, “I could do this. It's easy! We've got it under control.” And so, they have left off the place of dependence. They have left off prayer. And how often it is true for our lives, when we began struggling with some sin, we were very prayerful. We were saying, “Lord, unless you help me, I cannot do it.” “My family situation is terrible, you need to come through for us.”
And so we were very dependent, we were very humble, we were praying. And after a while, when God gives you some measure of success, somehow we thought, “I did it!” And you slip off prayer and now sin has a grip of your life once again. Your problems seem to overwhelm you once again, and so you come to God and say, “Why am I still defeated in sin?” “Because of your little faith. Because this kind does not go out except by prayer. You have stopped praying, you have stopped looking to me.”
My friends, prayer is like taking the key of faith and inserting it into the tractor. That's what prayer is! Prayer is using the key. Prayer is faith exercise. This is not psychology. Psychology is to tell you think right and you will be right. This is theology. Think right, but you must also pray and depend on God who alone empowers you to do right.
So when you have a worry, it's a mountain. When you have stress, it's a mountain. When you've pornography, it's a mountain. When you have unsaved loved ones, it's a mountain. When you’ve broken home relationships, it's a mountain. Don't think those problems away! Don't say to yourself, “I'm going to think rightly, so that I will not worry. I'm going to guard my thoughts so that I will not fear.”
You know what? You will fail because you are a little key that has no power to move the mountain. But use that little key, insert it in prayer in a great God. Because God says, for example, in Philippians 4, “Be worried for nothing but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your supplications be made known unto God and the peace of God will come, the mountains move …”
Why? Prayer and supplication. Sure! Think correctly but thinking alone is not enough, you must pray. Pornography is not fought with will power, it's fought in God's power. When God's people believe and pray, “God, give me your love. Show me your purity. Let Christ live his life through me.” That's what Christian living is all about.
So, EM Bounds, a Christian pastor and author, I think very well known for books and writings on prayer, he says, “Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer can move God.” How cool is that! So, when we talk about mountain moving faith, people would think about big faith. Oh, when I learned about Matthew 17, it's not about the big faith, a small mustard seed faith will do. But this faith is exercised in prayer on our knees, in a great God who then moves mountains.
And this is therefore the tremendous encouragement, nothing will be impossible for you. You know why? Because you have a great God. We have a great God! There is no mountain too big for a great God.
Now, we certainly let as I've mentioned right at the beginning, this is not a verse for us to abuse and to say, “God, you must do what I want.” This is a verse we believe in, this is a teaching we believe in, believing that God is wise and sovereign and loving and he will always do what is best for us. And whatever is best for us, He can do it.
So if you are struggling today with mountains, worries, fears, I hope you know how to take your key and use your key every single day. I met with a brother struggling with anxieties and fears and he shared how he had always thought he could get his mind under control, he could sort of regulate his thinking. But over the past one or two weeks, he realized that's not going to work, thinking alone is not going to work, he's got to pray.
And so he tells me, that each day he prays hundreds of times. “Lord, Your peace! Lord, Your peace!” And he learned that the secret to moving mountains is not just Christian thinking, it's praying. That's important! And he realizes that prayer to the Christian is like the oxygen tank to the scuba diver. You can't live without it. You can't move without it. The just shall live by faith.
I pray that God will move mountains in your life as you exercise faith in prayer. When someone cuts your lane, you, you pray. You deal with the problem ASAP. You know what is ASAP? You deal with the problem ASAP. You know what is ASAP? As Soon As Possible? Sorry, wrong lah, you all! Never listen to the sermon. You must deal with a problem with - Always Say A Prayer. That's how you deal with it because if you resort in your own strength, you're going to fail. You're still going to be angry, you're still going to be vicious, you're still going to be vengeful. You need God to move that mountain.
You know what's the greatest fear for Gospel Light, in my mind? Exactly what's happening in this passage! “Ay, we cast out demons what! The church is doing well what! God has provided 40 million what! We see people coming here what! We have good people here what! What! What! What! What! What!”
And we all reasons to say, “We've got it under control.” And then, one day we realize, “How come we are dying? How come there's no life change? How come we are struggling in our church life? How come there's so many carnal, so much carnality, infections and divisions? Why?” Because God's people have forgotten to pray. We are too capable. We are too resourceful. We think it's all about this little key moving mountains.
Oh friends, know it's the big tractor that must move mountains, is the big God who must move mountains. I want to encourage you to pray. I know you pray at home, I hope. I know you pray maybe in your care groups but you know it's sad that as a church we have few in prayer meetings. We dedicate times just to pray and to some of you, you may say, “Aiyah, can pray at home what!” “Aiyah, travel so far to just pray a short while!”
Let me tell you, that prayer time is inserting key time, it's when God really moves in a great way. Would you join us in prayer? Would you be a person of prayer? Would you walk by faith, live by faith? Don't hide behind excuses today, mustard seed faith would do. Remember, it doesn't take much faith for the impossibilities of your life to become realities, it only takes faith.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together. I believe the greatest mountain in any life is the mountain of sin. And there is no man who can move this mountain, but God is the only one who can move this mountain from our lives. What did God do? God sent His Son, Jesus Christ that he might go to the cross and die to pay for our sins. And so the Bible says, “Whosoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life.” He will be saved! It is faith in Jesus that moves the mountain of sins away from your life.
Perhaps, you're here with us for the first time. Perhaps, you do not know Jesus, I want to say to you today, “You can be saved from your sin, not because you are good, not because you are capable but because God can move the mountain of sins. Jesus paid it all!” So, before anything else, I want to say to you, “Would you be willing today to turn from your sin, repent of your sin and believe in Jesus? Would you even right here, right now, cry out in your heart?” “Lord, I can't save myself! I'm a filthy; unworthy sinner. I look to Jesus, I believe in Him. Save me!” That's faith expressed in prayer.
And this is the promise - whosoever believes in Him shall not perish. That's the promise! Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Would you believe that? Doesn't take much faith, it takes faith. Just believe!
Some of you today are struggling with mountains of sin, of fear, of lust. mountains in your ministry, mountains in your family, mountains in your personal life. And you have struggle long and hard, trying to move that mountain, but of course, it is all futile! What is the arms of men? They are weak! But today we speak of a great God who spoke this world into existence. We speak of a great God who will one day eliminate all sin. We speak of a great God who is all powerful.
“All power belongs to me,” God says. And all you need is that mustard seed faith, that small little key. Right here, right now, would you say, “Lord, forgive me for my fleshly arms of strength. Forgive me for having forgotten to depend. Forgive me for my prayerlessness, for my faithlessness. That's why ministry is not progressing. That's why life is not changing. That's why I'm still struggling. That's why! That's why!” This is why. But let this be a day of repentance. Let this be a day where we will always say a prayer.
Turn on the tractor humbly and see God move mountains in your life. Let's see God move mountains in Gospel Light for His glory. Let us be a people of faith, let us be a people of prayer. God can move mountains and faith and prayer can move God.
Father, thank You for Your Word today, teach us how sweet it is to trust in You and Your Son. May your people today experience the victorious Christian life as we not just think but pray to obey. Thank You and may these lessons be burned in our hearts. We pray all this in Jesus’ Name. Amen!
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