Sunday, 3 February 2013

Becoming Withered - Answered Prayer ( Sunday Sermon Review )

February 3, 2013 - Sunday Sermon Review
( from my home church I attend regularly )

Topic - The Fig Tree Withers
Text -  Matthew 21: 18-22
Speaker - Pastor Ben

Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Thought for the week: Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.
 quote from Corrie Ten Boom

The service began with singing of several songs including "Your Grace is Enough" and "I'll Fly Away".

We are continuing on in our Matthew series. We are in Matthew chapter 21 and today we studied verses 18- 22 where is says this:
18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Here is some of what Pastor Ben said.
Jesus looks for figs and when he doesn't find any, he withers the tree.
It was not the season for figs.
Pastor Ben compared this to your apple tree in your back yard. If Jesus came in the spring, looked at your apple tree, He would find no apples. You would be disappointed if He withered your tree. It wasn't the time for fruit to be ready.

Jesus is driving home a point. It's symbolic.
The prophets of the Bible often did bizzare strange things to make a point. eg. Jeremiah.
Jesus is also a Prophet and as a prophet does this symbolic act.

Point #1
Judgment results as a failure to bear good fruit.  (Read Isaiah 5:1-7)
The people of God are like a vine and are to bear good fruit.
By their fruit you will know them.
A good tree bears good fruit.
A bad tree bears bad fruit.
If the tree or vine bears bad fruit - you must work with the tree, the vine. 

This is Jesus's last week before His cruicifixion.
He has just cleansed the temple, now he withers the fig tree.
We must take this story in context.

What type of fruit is God looking for?
Galatians 5: 22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

God looks for this kind of fruit in our lives. Are these qualities evident in our lives? - love, joy, peace, etc in growing measure?
Failure to produce these fruits results in our lives becoming withered.
These fruits are the result of a life that pursues God.
Drive yourself closer to God, Seek Him more.
Fruit is not instant, takes awhile to grow.

Point #2
When you pray to God, He will hear and respond.
God will listen to your prayers.

Jesus is about to send his followers ( disciples ) out on a great mission.
This was about 500 people sent out to take His message to the ends of the world, and God gives them this amazing promise that he will hear them.

Jesus is not promising them comfort.
Some preachers will take this out of context and imply this means anything you might like to have. eg. relaxing time and pray for a pizza, and boom you should have it. This is not what Jesus means here.

This is about God's mission - taking the gospel to the ends of the world.

Faith is loyalty - it is not just believing.
Faith and loyalty toward a sports coach is a good example.
You are loyal to your coach, you believe in what he says, you obey what he says.
Same with our loyalty toward God.
We trust God with our lives.
Lord, I will be loyal to You!!
Loyalty is obeying God even if you do not understand.

Doubt is not about asking questions.
God invites us to bring our questions to Him. He loves to communicate with us. He loves it when we ask Him our questions.
Good example of this is Moses at the burning bush.
Asking question is not doubt and it is not wrong.

If we are loyal to God, mountains will be moved.
We are warned of judgment when we fail to bear good fruit.

God answers the prayers of His people.

Today's Christians are complacent.
The Canadian Church is described as the "frozen chosen".

We have the very mission that the disciples got. It applies to us.

We are called by God to bring His Word to this world - to our family, our friends, in our workplace, to the ends of the world!

Jesus didn't get his followers from the local Seminary. He chose ordinary people - people like us.
We are not talented enough or smart enough but Jesus chooses us anyway. His Spirit works through us and in us!

Jesus gave us this promise - God will hear us when we pray!
If we are loyal to God we will see mountains moved, prayers answered.
We will see amazing things!!

Closing song - " I Am Free to Run"


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