6/11/2000 6:00 PM
Mark records the story with a seeming break in the middle. The fig tree had life, but no fruit, because it wasn't time for figs yet. Different things bear fruit at different times. It wasn't the season for figs. Jesus cursed the tree for not bearing fruit out of season. He did this to teach a lesson. Christ looked on the Jews of that time and there should have been fruit but there wasn't any. We could put off bearing fruit for God until a future time. We can become procrastinators. We need to bear fruit now. Seek God that our life will be fruitful today. There is a season for bearing fruit. Spiritually we can bear fruit year round. It depends on the condition of your soul. We can't point a lost world to a God we don't know. We must know God first. We need to be in the place where we can do a work for God. We need faith in God to make our efforts have meaning. Jesus went to Jerusalem and cast out the moneychangers out of the temple, and did other things. Jesus' house is still a house of prayer. The church is a spiritual building. The church does not stay in the building when we leave. We come together to come into the presence of God. Prayer is very much a part of our worship. These had changed the place of prayer into a place of buying and selling. We aren't here to market our ideas. We aren't here to buy and sell ideas. We are here to get what God has to say. In the religious world today, and in times past, there is much buying and selling of ideas. "Light is sown for the righteous." The word of God is for everyone and should not be copywritten. The gospel doesn't need to be sold to only those that have the money. The gospel is for everyone. Instead of the word of God being preached, men are preaching their ideas from the word of God. The difference between the two is this: one is teaching the word and writing it on people's hearts. The other is to twist the word to prove a point. The church is not a hiding place for robbers, but a place to come before God. God's house is a house of prayer, and his people are a praying people. We should be acquainted with God. When they saw the dried up tree it was the opportunity Jesus wanted. Jesus told them, "Have faith in God." What God says, WILL happen. Faith in God is the important thing if we would know God. Anything that would try to destroy that faith should concern us. The church is a house of prayer. The encouragement to pray is to bring the desires on our heart. It's not the saying of the prayer, but the desire on the heart. Our prayers should be an expression of desire. A desire for help, a desire to reach out to God, to come into his presence, a desire to show our appreciation for God. When prayer becomes an expression of our desire, taking hold by faith, prayer can be a wonderful thing. As we believe, we can receive from God. Be faithful in prayer, but remember it isn't JUST a ritual you go through. Whatever God blesses is blessed and whatever he curses is cursed. We want to have a strong faith. God keeps his promises. We need to increase in faith.
Acts 6:5, 8
As people, there is progression in faith. The spectrum of faith ranges from no faith to full of faith. Those with no faith need to find God. We should be headed toward "full of faith". Stephen was full of faith and this made the miracles possible. It is a work in us that brings the "full of faith." God doesn't change. He is faithful and trustworthy. We can trust God. God can work that we can have faith in him. We can have confidence that God can fill us with faith. We, too, can be full of faith. God is just the same today. Jude encouraged the building up of faith through prayer. Even little faith can work, but it can grow. We can add to faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:3, 4
"We thank God because your faith groweth exceedingly." He was happy to see the increase that was there. We might have trials of a different sort, but our faith can grow exceedingly. There will be things come to hinder our faith. A praying people will be a people of faith. The two just go together. God is not indifferent about things down here. Prayer is needful for God's people. It builds up faith. Pray and believe and you will receive.