Summary: Faith is only as good as what you place your faith in; Jesus says “Have faith in GOD”
The Virtuous Kingdom: Evidence of the Reign of God in the Human Heart
The Virtue of Faith
Sermon concept: Faith is only as good as what you place your faith in; Jesus says “Have faith in GOD!”
We are looking at Mark chapter 11 for the next few weeks. We have chosen to look at it from specific vantage points … to look at some of the Kingdom virtues God has imparted to the believer. The chapter shows our sovereign King making His way into his Holy City and temple for an official inspection. In doing so, He declares His reign.
“The Virtuous Kingdom: Evidence of the Reign of God in the Human Heart” is an appropriate title for such an event.
We have looked at three virtues already.
† In verses 11:1-11 we discovered the power and importance of living a lifestyle of worship
† In 11:15-17 we praised God for the great gift of prayer. There are so few parameters with prayer and so many blessings! We dare not neglect such a privilege.
† In 11:12-14 & 20-21 we sensed the need to take spiritual inventory and make sure that our spiritual fruit gives evidence of spiritual life.
In coming weeks we will look at forgiveness and submission.
But today we will look at Mark 11:20-24.
20In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
22"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ’Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
I think that is enough of the story for today. We will pick up right here next week.
Vickie and I were visiting my daughter and son-in-law in Ithaca a few weeks back. I am an early riser so instead of disturbing everyone I slipped out of the house, found a small diner at the top of the hill, and had breakfast. I got there before the newspapers arrived. When I asked the waitress she said she too was waiting on the newspaper because she “hadn’t read her horoscope yet.”
Other patrons arrived, asked for newspapers, and received the same comment.
After my meal she returned with a pot of coffee and asked if I’d like anything else. "Only a newspaper" I said with a smile.
Again she reiterated that she hadn’t read her horoscope and was anxious for the papers to get there too.
"Well, I can tell you your horoscope." I said. She waited curiously.
“The living and loving God says: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11).
His son, Jesus, says, ’I have come to give you life, and give it ’to the full.’” (John 10:10).
"Yea, I know." She responds, "But I need something for today. Something … more specific.”
End of conversation.
Now I know those verses about the future are not highly individualistic. They do not say "on such and such a day ..." But they are certainly specific and "for today" ... not to mention accurate, trustworthy, and true.
Have you ever read a horoscope? You might as well read a fortune cookie!
Here are a few (without the astrological sign attached); please tell me how these are more trustworthy or pertinent for today than the words of Jesus.
• "Lucky for you, you’ll get a great opportunity for a ’do over’ today -- you will finally get your chance to take the advice of friends and associates …."
• "You’re finally ready to move on in your life, so take the bull by the horns and get going!"
My point is that this young lady, like millions of people the world over, is trusting something faulty and unreliable. She is looking for answers to life in all the wrong places. When we do that we get all the wrong answers for living … not to mention dying.
You heard me quote Psalm 20:7 earlier in the children’s sermon: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
That’s what Jesus is encouraging His disciples to do. They were surprised to see the fig tree had indeed withered and Jesus response was simple and succinct. "Have faith in God."