Curse The Figs

bearing fruit

Mark 11:12-14 and 20-24

What do we want to cover today

  1. Whats the fig and why does it matter?
  • Read V 13-14 and 20-21
  • Figs are all throughout the OT. It was fig leaves that Adam and Eve used to cover their sins. The prophets spoke of Figs and their fruit. The psalmist speaks of figs. All throughout the OT.
  • Jeremiah 24:2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
  • Jeremiah is describing Israel in captivity- some were good- some bad- based on their condition
  • I actually eat figs almost every day. They are quite good for you. High in potassium and fiber.
  • Fig trees in The Bible often represent the Nation of Israel, and this time is no different
  • Seems odd- Jesus walks by and randomly curses a fig tree and tells it its going to die? No- Has meaning!
  • When there was a fig tree that was bearing fruit that would symbolize prosperity and blessing for the whole nation
  • If there wasn’t a fig tree or the fig tree was dead, this would symbolize rejection and judgment
  • When Jesus cursed this fig tree, he was saying this- the fig tree (Israel) wasn’t producing any spiritual fruit (figs) therefore, Jesus cursed the tree to declare that it would never produce fruit again
  • This wasn’t symbolic. It was a declaration of the death of Israel in its present form- remember this is the week leading up to the crucifixion.
  • The tree of Israel would never again produce any spiritual fruit after Jesus satisfied the law
  • Israel had appeared much like this tree- leaves indicating that had fruit (Outward sacrifices and ceremonies) but tangibly barren- much like Israel- a religious system that wasn’t producing fruit!
  • This connects with what Pastor Jay was talking about with the Temple- Jesus curses the fig tree, he clears the temple, then he says to his disciples- you have more power than you realize!
  • What does it mean to you?
  • God cuts off things that don’t bear fruit
  • John 15:2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
  • Read Matthew 7:15-20 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
  • Its clear that God is in the fruit business- things that don’t bear fruit are worthless to him and get thrown into the fire!
  • Israel was a fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit and he destroyed it because of its lack of fruitfulness.
  • Praise God the Bible gives us a very clear indication of what type of fruit that we should be producing in our lives- Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
  • If you don’t have these fruits, you should be concerned! The point isn’t to try to produce these fruits but to be transformed by the Holy Spirit in such a way that they are naturally produced!
  • You can’t make the fruit, but you can be filled by the HS and produce it!
  • I’m not saying God is going to curse you, but if Jesus can come to a point to curse the chosen people of God, there is a point to the end of God’s patience where he wants his way.
  1. What is the mountain?
  • 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done,
  • Its really difficult to be a preacher and have to teach what the word of God actually means. It comes against common thoughts, and against Christian music that permeates our midst
  • The mountain specifically referenced here in this scripture is not referencing the “mountains” in your life that need to be removed
  • The mountains of your bad decisions, your relationships, your debt, your pending dismissal from your career for malfeasance are not these mountains.
  • It makes for a great song, it just doesn’t make for great theology. There are scriptures that describe what God can do and will do for the believer but this isn’t the one.
  • Yes, believers are able to wrought miracles, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, but moving a literal mountain has currently not been accomplished
  • This mountain is the religion of the Jews.
  • note that Jesus did not say, “a mountain.” Jesus said, “this mountain,”
  • great hermeneutical importance. He is not speaking about “any mountain,” He is speaking about a specific one.
  • Obviously, “a mountain,” and “this mountain” makes a difference in how one interprets what Jesus was referring to
  • Mountains in the Scriptures symbolize nations and people (Isa.41:14-16, Zech. 4:7).
  • Exodus 15:17 God that would “plant” Israel, “in the mountain of Thine inheritance.”
  • Throughout the Old Testament the nation was spoken of as “Mount Zion”
  • The disciples were well aware of this and understood the implication of Jesus’ words.
  • “this mountain” was a standard expression among the Jewish people for the Temple Mount.
  • Think about this- Jesus basically tells his disciples to pray for the destruction of Israel and the temple. – Say to THIS mountain- The defunct jewish religious system and IT will be destroyed
  • What does it mean to you?
  • Have some correct theology! Don’t believe wonky theology! I get it man, I’ve believed it, I’ve probably even preached it! But when I was studying it out this week, I was like “dang it”
  • So, if I preached that this scripture was to move a mountain, I publicly apologize and ask for your forgiveness. God can move mountains, and I think that the early disciples were able to be used to move big mountains of sin, disease, helplessness and destruction, They were able to be instrumental in the creation of Christianity and changing lives, but no literal mountains
  • Here’s a bigger point- and honestly the biggest mountain of this world. True LOVE
  • 1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
  • Whatever mountains you can or can’t move based on your faith is worthless if you don’t have love. Learning to LOVE will be the biggest mountain that Jesus can do in your life.
  • Having the TRUE love of Jesus in your life will transform how you love other people.
  • Love is the most important motivation when it comes to what you do and how you do it
  • Oswald- The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us. The tendency today is to put the inspiration out in front- to sweep everything together in front of us and make it conform to our definition of success. But in the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, and is the Lord Jesus Himself. The goal is to be true to Him- to carry out His plans.
  • The plan of God is to operate in LOVE. Love HIM. Love PEOPLE but operate in LOVE
  • How do you know if you’re operating in love?
  • Whats your motivation? Your own recognition? Your own satisfaction? Your own Desires?
  • Staying at Grand Island- What kind of demands do I have a right to? I’m lucky to even be in the house. Shower didn’t drain. AC was too cold. Door didn’t lock. Ran out of pizza. Turn out lights.
  • If you never forget your place in the kingdom, you never become a person that makes demands
  • Many people I know do stuff for God and its get personal satisfaction of a job well done
  • To be able to look back and say “I did that and I did it well, I’m an accomplished person”
  • But where’s the love? If there’s no love, its worthless! Even if you could move a mountain, if you could heal the sick and raise the dead but no love, its worthless.
  • The first fruit of the spirit is LOVE in Galatians 5:22!
  • 1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
    1 Corinthians 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed
  • 1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
  • Christians should be the most loving people in the room. Towards other Christians and others
  • Forgiving, serving, being nice, making it about other people, being patient, Slow to take offense
  1. Have Faith in God prayer prayers that can be answered
  • he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
  • This is an interesting portion of scripture as well.
  • “whatever things you ask when you pray” and “believe that you receive them and you’ll have them”
  • In addition to the “moving a mountain” scripture, this is another portion that is misunderstood. Often times a Christian will read this scripture, and assume, that ‘whatever’ means ‘whatever’ and ‘ believe you’ll receive them’ means whatever you can dream up you can get.
  • Also- the dependence of outcome becomes the level or ability of belief of the person
  • This is difficult-
  • Language gets meaning from usage. “is everybody here” doesn’t mean that Justin Beiber is here
  • Using “everybody” or “I’ll eat whatever you give me” doesn’t mean you’d eat a brick.
  • The “whatever” in Mark 11:24 sadly, isn’t an all inclusive word- much to the chagrin of prosperity
  • Limiting- James 4:2-3 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
  • According to James, your “whatever” wont work if you’re asking to “spend it on your own pleasures”
  • No amount of belief can trump a sinful heart bent on satisfying their own desires.
  • Limiting 1 John 5:14 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
  • Limiting- Mark 11:25 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
  • Apparently vengeance isn’t allowed- you have to forgive people.
  • So what prayers will be answered? I would say- pray for the right things!
  • People pray for more selfish things that anything, and then wonder why God doesn’t answer the prayer?
  • The truth is- you probably would stop serving God if he gave you what you wanted
  • 1 John 5:14 is the strongest text on this matter, “If we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” The right things to ask for are things that accord with God’s will.
  • When Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours,” he
  • Was encouraging you that if what you ask is in accordance with god’s will, you can believe it, and it will be yours!
  • But this is only possible if we know what Gods’ word says, and what the heart of God is in any situation.
  • Example- God is ok with people dying. It doesn’t bother him. It bothers us. We always say, if God loved me, why would he let this happen? I don’t always know the answer, but I do know that everyone dies eventually and even after 90 years you still love them and want more time.

Beliefs that put you in a position to have your prayers answered.

  1. Everyone can be saved
  • Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
  • This means- that you shouldn’t doubt your salvation. God want to save you!
  • Your prayer for salvation should be connected with Mark 11:24 Believe you have received it!
  • You can be 100% sure that you are saved if you have called out because ITS HIS WILLL
  1. If God is what you seek first, all your needs will be met
  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
  • Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
  • But whats your desire? An easy life or a life glorifying God? Meeting your needs? Or having God be proud of you.
  • It is a constant battle to not succumb to the god of selfishness. He is around every corner.
  1. God eventually works things to His God
  • Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
  • “in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”
  • This means when you go to God in prayer, you must believe that he is a rewarder of those who seek after him in faith
  • Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
  • This prayer is always answered- if you place your trust in Jesus. In prayer, you know that he is going to reward you, and that he knows what is best for you.
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