Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The “tree” and “mountain” in our way

Luke 17:6 “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”

Mark 11:22-23 “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast unto the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

There are many things which can hinder our walk with the Lord….but these two are specifically said to be removed….by faith….by believing the Lord.

Sycamine trees, or sycamore trees are trees with fruit like figs…..with deep roots.

For the emphasis here….in the removal of it…is the roots.

“Be thou plucked up by the root…and be thou planted in the sea…”

(Most trees have as much root beneath them as the limbs coming out from it.)

For the scriptures say,…we need to be diligent in dealing with our “roots of bitterness”.

Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

These points of bitterness, “trouble you”. They spring up at an unsuspecting time, and hinder our attitude, prayers, and love.

We all have these points of bitterness…..something from our past—whether long past…or not long ago—where someone has hurt us….and we have not forgiven them.

Maybe we have tried to “forget it”…..or shrug it off….but the Lord says, “forgive from your heart”…

For if you read the beginning of the chapter…..Jesus is talking to his disciples about offenses and forgiveness.

“Take heed to yourselves:”. Again be diligent

“If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him…”. Tell him his fault, and maybe you will find that it was not a willful act (trespass)….

…but an oversight…a mistake.

….not that it will hurt the less…

…so Christ says, “by faith..the faith of a mustard seed…you can say to this hurt….this resentment which has rooted in your heart and mind…these thoughts against this person or persons which have hurt you… thou plucked up and cast into the sea.”

How freeing this is!

Truly, forgiveness is the casting of the injury and sin against us,…the trespass…into the sea…out of our sight….and out of our emotions…

…as the Lord casts our sins out of HIs sight.

Isaiah 38:17 “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.”

Forgiveness is the making the thing broken….whole or healed.

Therefore forgiveness is first for the Lord’s sake….for He wants us to be whole…with nothing between He and us.

Then it is for the other person’s sake….for a sin against their soul, injures it, whether they believe it or not.

Then it is for our sake….for forgiveness is tearing away the bonds they have placed on you…and being healed.

And our forgiveness…is whether they ask for it or not.

We need faith to forgive….for forgiveness is difficult.

Faith lays hold on God’s power…..and when faith is even as small as a mustard seed…it can encourage the other graces within us….under the power of the Holy Spirit….and give us the victory in this situation. (1 John 5:4)

Then there is the hinderance of a mountain.

(Mark 11:21-22 “…whosoever say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt…but shall believe…he shall have whatsoever he saith.”)

Three times the removal of “this” mountain is spoken of.

(The other two are Matthew 17:20, 21:21)

It is a specific mountain….a hinderance….an impossible, hard, unflinching hinderance.

And it is to be removed! A mountain….that thing that hinders me….removed!

(And three times in the scriptures (Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17, 27) it is spoken…”Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”)

“This” mountain maybe misunderstanding….which has hindered our hearts from believing the Lord completely.

Mark 8:17 “And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them….perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?”

When we do not understand the Lord’s Word….our ears are dull to what He is telling us….and we do not follow Him as we should.

“This” mountain maybe grief… Proverbs 15:13 “….but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

Psalm 147:3 “He (the Lord) healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”

“This” mountain maybe a certain set of circumstances….something which is hindering your getting the Lord’s Will accomplished….

…..which often times can be traced back to our unbelief about the work…

…as when the disciples failed to heal a man’s son….

“And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” Matthew 17:16

“And when the disciples asked Him why they could not….Jesus said, Because of your unbelief:… “ Matthew 17:19-20

We do not often see the gravity of the sin of unbelief….

…that is why we must have faith in God…

….and our faith must be in exercise.

We must keep turning our eyes to Jesus Christ.

You can describe faith (as I often do) as seeing God always before you.

But you can also say that faith….holds on to God.

Faith is the foundation of all other graces….and without the exercising of it, these other graces of hope, love, peace….fall.

Faith is the act of seeing, and believing, and knowing, and reaching out for….

…and it is all toward God….who can do all things.

Lord, increase our faith.

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