Summary: Get God involved, He is able.
God is the variable in the equation that changes the outcome
Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Mat 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Mountains really are hard to climb. The religious imagination has known this for a long time. That’s why mountains have come to symbolize the hardships and difficulties of life, whether it’s the hymn writer, M.E. Abbey, penning “Life is like a mountain railroad., "Ain’t no mountain high enough...."
• Mountains have always represented problems to be solved, obstacles to be overcome, crosses to be carried, burdens to be borne, troubles to be triumphed over, and difficulties to be dealt with.
• Mountains are problems. Death is a mountain. Sickness is a mountain. Troubles are mountains. Hardships are mountains. Family crises are mountains. Scott Peck, in his book "The Road Less Traveled" says life’s a problem. The truth of the matter is, life is filled with mountains. But Jesus reminds us in our scripture today that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will have to obey you.
Let’s examine why.
First, faith may not always change the outer circumstances of life, but it always changes OUTLOOK.
• Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 1, says, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." And, frankly, that makes all the difference. It’s not always what’s on the outside that matters, but what’s on the inside looking out that really makes the difference.
• You probably remember the great story of Hannibal crossing the Alps, and in this little book, I remember the pictures of the elephants and the donkeys and the army of Hannibal from Africa crossing the Alps to Italy . This was a great feat of military conquest. In fact, it was one of the greatest acts of military courage in human history. In our child story book, whether this part is fact or fiction I don’t know, but there was a story that went along with the pictures. And according to the story in our child book, it said that Hannibal , when he got to the Alps , was about to cross with his army when the army began to rebel. The soldiers saw these prodigious mountains before them. They saw this incredible barrier in front of them. They were afraid to move. They were ready to turn around and go home. But according to the childhood storybook, Hannibal rallied his troops and his armies by standing before them pointing toward the Alps and declaring, "Forward march, we see no Alps !" And with those words the army of Hannibal went forth. They marched off there map and would nt let the mountains stop their progress
Now, life’s obstacles may not always be that easy, but sometimes you’ve got to go into life and just declare, "Forward march; I see no Alps ! Forward march, I don’t see that problem. Forward march, I don’t see that obstacle. Forward march, I don’t see that hardship. Forward march, I don’t see that cancer! Forward march!"
Faith can change your outlook.. And if your outlook. has been changed, it doesn’t matter what’s on the horizon. In 2 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul, in dealing with his own eminent death said, "We walk by faith, not by sight." Faith changes your outlook.
That’s why the hymnwriter wrote
“All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside,
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who thru life has been my Guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell,
For I know whatever befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well!”
Faith can move mountains because faith can transform your outlook on life and it doesn’t matter what’s on your horizon.
Secondly, faith can move mountains because faith enlarges the possibilities of life.
• It’s sometimes helpful to compare how one verse is translated or spoken in one gospel and how it’s looked at in another. Sometimes Jesus says the same thing in a different way. In Luke’s version of today’s text, Jesus says, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.’" The imagery changes here a little. We begin to see how faith can create new possibilities that did not exist before faith.
o Faith enlarges the possibilities of life.
o Faith enlarges the options because faith brings God directly to bear on the situation.