Summary: The cause of our fruitlessness is a lack of prayer
Text: Mark 11:12-26
Title: The importance of prayer.
Introduction (Mark 11:12-14)
In order to set the stage concerning the importance of prayer let us begin by observing three things.
1.Jesus is identified as being hungry
“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.” (V12)
2.Jesus is looking for fruit
“Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit”(V13)
3.Jesus is very hard on fruitlessness
“When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ”May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”(V14)
a.He did not accept excuses
“When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.”
b.He did not hide his disapproval
“And his disciples heard him say it.”
c.He did not give the tree another chance.
“May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
In case we may think, “Thank God I’m not a fig tree” we need to understand this is not about fig trees but rather it is all about God’s people.
Our text begins by telling us that Jesus was hungry. Is Jesus hungry today?
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…”Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you…? The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me.”
Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat…They also will answer, ’Lord, when did we see you hungry …and did not help you?
He will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:35-45)
When you or I or anyone else is hungry then Jesus is hungry.
There is physical hunger and there is spiritual hunger.
Let me paraphrase verse 13, “and seeing in the distance a church (christian), he went to find out if it had any fruit.”
Jesus is looking for fruit. We just finished Revelation 2-3 where Jesus addresses seven churches and it is all about fruit.
To the church in Ephesus it was about love
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love..”
To the church in Smyrna it was about faithfulness
“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life..”
To the church in Laodicea it was about lack of fruit
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
In John 15 we are connected to Jesus so we can go from bearing no fruit to bearing much fruit.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to produce fruit in us.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
And what is the very first command God gave man in the bible?
“Be fruitful and increase in numbers…” Genesis 1:28
(whenever you are fruitful you will see an increase in numbers)
When Jesus returns the one thing he will be hardest on is fruitlessness.
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit…” (John 15:2)
What is the greatest reason for our fruitlessness? A Lack of prayer!
“On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone one to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "is it not written “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” But you have made it a den of robbers”
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
A lack of prayer will always be replaced with lots of something else.
We reinvent church
We major in the minors
We take the focus off God and onto something else.
In order to get back to prayer we must pay the price.
1.We must pay the price of change.
A.The only people that like change is wet babies.
B.If change must happen we all want to change slowly.