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Praying to Move Mountains

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
March 30, 2022 8:00 am

Praying to Move Mountains

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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March 30, 2022 8:00 am

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If you have faith in the real God, then you can have a conversation with your problem. Dr. Tony Evans talks about how to put our problems in their place. We will see mountains move, and we will see God's power in this house. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. The Bible promises God will do anything we ask according to His will. But today, as Dr. Evans takes us to Mark chapter 11, he'll explain God has two different kinds of will, and he'll help us understand how that knowledge affects the way we pray.

Let's join him. In this passage today, Jesus talks about moving mountains, and it is introduced by a fig tree. Peter says to Jesus, Jesus, verse 20, the fig tree that you cursed yesterday has withered today from the root up.

So when we go back to yesterday, we find in verse 12, Jesus is hungry, and Jesus wants to get something to eat. He looks and he sees a fig tree in leaf. That is, the leaves were out. When the leaves are out on a fig tree, that means they are figs. But when he goes over, he discovers there are leaves with no figs.

Let me put it another way. There is an external reality with no internal reality. There is external show with no internal meaning. There is the look of figs without the reality of figs. There is the fake of figs without the genuine reality of figs.

In other words, it was trickery. We're dealing with leaf Christianity, Christianity without substance, but it looks good on the outside. The church looks good. The people look good. The preacher's good. The choir's good.

The activities are good. Everything is good, but there's no reality, no figs on the tree. If there is no life, even though you show leaf, all you're doing is withering. All you're doing is withering because there is no life. It's like a cadaver with no life.

It's going to decay. So he then says, you must put confidence in God, his will, his way, his word. What do you do next with your mountain?

Here's what you do. He says, whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea. So Jesus is probably on the Mount of Olives, 15 miles downhill is the Dead Sea. He says, if God is working for you, you can say to this mountain, be moved, and it will relocate itself. The problem is the mountain. You want to get the mountain off of you.

You want it to relocate itself away from you. He says, if there's figs on your tree, there is life. You have faith in the true God, then you can do with your mountain what you saw me do, Peter, with mine. I spoke to it. He talks about praying to God, but then he talks about speaking to your mountain.

Prayer is when I talk this way. My mountain is what I'm experiencing out here in my daily life. He says, if there's figs on the tree, real life, you're not withering. If you have faith in the real God, not the God of your own making, his will, his word, and his character, then you can have a conversation with your problem, because the mountain is your problem. And when you speak to your mountain, it says the mountain will relocate itself, means get out of your face.

The mountain will relocate itself. Now, we talk about talking to God, that's prayer, but we don't often have a conversation with our mountain. You remember when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, and he actually had a Bible study with the devil. You know, he took the Bible and he opened it up and he quoted the Bible to the devil, having a Bible, because the devil was his problem. And he literally talked to the mountain, which was his problem. See, Bible studies aren't just for you and other Christians.

Learning God and learning God's will, word, and character is so you can have a conversation with your problem. Okay, let's put it this way. All of us have electricity. Electricity is power. It is connected to your home. So your home has access to power.

So now you can run your appliances, you can turn on the lights in your house, you can plug things in so the clock can work. You have power because you have a relationship, assuming you paid your bills. You have a relationship with the power company because they get the power.

You don't have the power. The power is in the electric company, but you have the relationship because they're connected to your home, so therefore you have access to power. However, the electric company is not going to come on and flip the switch in your house. Neither will they come over and turn on your lights or turn on your appliances because they give you access to power. They don't give you implementation of power.

You have to implement what the relationship has accessed. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you've got access. If you are bearing fruit, you've been paying your bills, and now you have access to flip the switch to see God move mountains, things that are too big for you to handle out of your life because he is a mountain-moving God, to see your ability to speak into a situation and see God transforming. Now this raises a question, and the question is in what Jesus says after this, and it's a question in everybody's heart and mind. He says, all things with which you pray and ask believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

Whenever you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against anyone so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. In verse 24, he makes a staggering statement. Whatever you have asked for, believe you have received it. In other words, you haven't received it yet, but believe you have received it, even though you haven't received it. So you expect it, but you haven't received it.

So let's follow this. We're assuming you're a fig Christian, not a leaf Christian, because leaf Christians wither. We're assuming you have faith in the God of the Bible.

We are assuming you are praying, and we are assuming you are speaking with that information to the mountain. He says you are to do so with faith. So let me say this, because he goes into believing. Faith again is not a feeling. Faith is an action. We walk by faith. Faith is movement, not mouthing, walking, not talking, living, not lipping. Faith is not your conversation or your emotions. You can feel faithless, but be functioning full of faith, because your actions are faith, even though your emotions may be in doubt. So when he talks about not doubting, he's talking about not being double-minded or moving in conflicting directions. Let's put it this way. Have you ever walked down the street, come to somebody, and you went that way, and they stepped over there, and you went over there, and they stepped over here, and you went over there.

And when you moved, they moved until you all worked out who was going to go where, and you walked around one another. In other words, you were going in two different directions. God is saying, decide which way you're going. Are you going to go my way, or are you going to go my way on Sunday and the world's way on Monday, my way on Tuesday and your family's way on Wednesday, my way on Thursday and the secular culture's way on Friday?

Are you going to do this and dance around? Because then you're double-minded, and the Bible says, let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord. So if you're dancing, if you're a dancing Christian, going back and forth, you're committed to God sometimes, not committed to Him other times, that's a leaf Christian. And that kind of Christian does not move mountains. Now, how do you know if this is a mountain God wants to move?

That becomes a question. The difference between God's unconditional will and His conditional will. God's unconditional will is what He decides to do regardless of what anybody else does.

In other words, He's going to do it, period. His sovereignty has decided, this is what I'm going to do. And no matter what you do, don't do what somebody else does that doesn't do, nothing will change. Because this is my unconditional will, that is, it's not tied to any conditions. I'm just going to do it because I have my prerogative to do it.

We do that in our lives. Some things we decide to do, we don't care what the kids say, we don't care what people say, we decide we're going to do it. That's an unconditional decision. But then God has a conditional will. His conditional will is, I'm not going to do it until you do what I told you to do for me to do it.

In other words, it's tied to a condition. It's tied to you fulfilling something that God wants done. That's His conditional will. The reason why God tells us to pray is so that we can link into His conditional will. Because His unconditional will is going to happen whether we pray or not. But His conditional will only happens if we obey, if we pray, if we believe, and if we have figs on the tree.

That is, we are full of divine life operating within us. So that's condition. So many of the things that we pray for, we don't get because we didn't meet the conditions. It didn't fit God's conditional will. Because if it's His unconditional will, it's going to happen regardless. But if it's His conditional will, it happens if.

Only if certain factors are made. And that's why in the Scriptures, we're told that we have to qualify for certain things to happen because it's tied to His conditional will. So, how do you know if something you're asking for is unconditional, He's going to do it or not do it anyway, or conditional?

Let me answer that two ways. Number one, many times you don't know. Many times God is silent on whether it's unconditional or conditional.

So guess what you do? You treat it like it's conditional. If you're not sure, then you treat it like it's conditional. And you do everything you're supposed to do so that if it is conditional, you've met all the standards for God to fulfill His conditional will regarding that situation. Dr. Evans will tell us about another secret of God's conditional will in just a moment. But first, today's message, Praying to Move Mountains, is part of Tony's current series called Igniting Kingdom Prayer, a look at how to bring heavenly power to bear on our earthly problems. And now we're offering all 12 lessons in this two-volume audio collection as our gift when you make a contribution to help support the ministry of the alternative. You can get the details and make the arrangements for receiving this powerful teaching series at tonyevans.org, or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are ready 24-7 to help you.

That's 1-800-800-3222. We'll get back to our teaching time with Dr. Evans right after this. It's beyond a Sunday sermon, a chance to really dig into the Bible and the kingdom in a new way, anytime and anywhere, because it's all online. The Tony Evans Training Center, in-depth courses on all kinds of topics, cultural transformation, intro to expository preaching, Jude, John, Hebrews, Old Testament, New Testament, and so much more. These aren't sermons. They're teaching courses to help you engage, understand scripture, and not just to hear about, but to explore the kingdom of God on your own.

Find out more at tonyevanstraining.org, tonyevanstraining.org. But then there's another answer, 1 John 5, verses 14 and 15 says, and we have this confidence that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know he hears us, we know that he will grant what we have requested. So here's another secret to God's conditional will. When God is operating on a conditional will, and he wants you to qualify to move this mountain that you are facing, what he will do is give you an inbred confidence, or a sense of assurance, or a sense of peace, or a sense of for realness that this thing is going to happen. Now, what he doesn't tell you is when it's going to happen, but he gives confidence that God, you heard that, and God, you're going to do something.

Some of you know what it is. For God to have told you he's going to do it, but he just didn't tell you when he's going to do it. Why? Why does he tell you with this security that I'm going to without telling you when? Because when God is doing something big in your life, he has to do two things at the same time, prepare the thing that he once done and prepare you for the thing he's doing.

Both things have to collide. If you are not being prepared, then you're not ready. You're like the children in the wilderness because you're not ready for the promised land because you won't meet the conditions. But he also has to get the promised land ready so that when you arrive there and he's ready to move the mountain, the mountain is already ready to obey. So he creates a clash between your preparation and the preparation of the mountain to be moved, and he gives you that internal confidence that I am at work.

If he doesn't give the confidence and you're not sure, then you treat it as conditional because you leave his sovereign will in his hand. We are going to treat it like it's unconditional. We're going to treat it like a mountain is going to move. I'm going to make sure there's all the figs I can get my hands on. I'm going to make sure I pray. I'm going to make sure I trust. I'm going to make sure I believe God.

I'm going to make sure I speak to the mountain. I'm going to tell it what God told me to tell it. But after I've told it, it's in the hands of Almighty God of whether it's conditional or unconditional. But what I don't want it to happen is I don't want it to be conditional and I didn't do what I was supposed to do.

But then one more thing, and it's an important thing. He says, whenever you're standing praying, forgive. If you have anything against anyone, so your father in heaven will forgive you.

Okay, watch this. Unforgiveness will keep you with your mountain. That's one of the conditions.

So let's talk about that. The Psalmist says in Psalm chapter 66 verse 18, if I have not confessed my sin in my heart, God will not listen. So you can keep God from even hearing your prayer if you're not willing to address your own sin. A lot of people want God to move a mountain while they don't want to move their sin.

And that's a conflict of interest. You can't ask a holy God to move a mountain when you don't want to move the sin that keeps you from the holy God that you're asking to move the mountain. So that means you must identify and address sin in your own life and seek God's forgiveness. But in seeking God's forgiveness for you, you must offer it to others who owe you.

In other words, don't burn a bridge over which you yourself will need to cross. He wants you to offer that forgiveness to others. One of the reasons why some mountains don't disappear is unforgiveness. Disguise is not necessarily reconciliation. You can forgive without being reconciled. For example, suppose the person you need to forgive has died. You can't reconcile with them. Suppose the person you need to forgive, you don't even know where they are anymore.

You can't reconcile with them. Or suppose the person you need to forgive doesn't want to repent, doesn't want to say I'm sorry, doesn't want to confess, then you can't reconcile with them. So sometimes people marry forgiveness and reconciliation and make them the same thing.

Those are not the same thing. Forgiveness can lead to reconciliation, but forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness is where you are not seeking revenge against the offender. I am not seeking vengeance.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord, I will repay. You are not seeking to repay. Now you can repay in a lot of ways. You can repay physically, you can go around wishing they were dead.

That's a psychological or mental repayment. You want them hurt. You want, you're carrying around bitterness and resentment because of what they did. And you are carrying around that feeling of wanting them to go through a vengeful experience because of a legitimate reason that you have.

But what God is saying is you're blocking me moving your mountain. Because what you're wanting from me is my forgiveness for you. Well, if you want my forgiveness for you, you've got to be willing to offer it to somebody else. Now, unless you have the right view of God, you're not going to do that because you think I'm going to repay this. I'm going to get my posse to repay this because you shouldn't have done that to me.

And I'm going to get you for doing that. Well, what you just did, you didn't have faith in the God of the Bible. You just put faith in you and your posse because the God of the Bible says, if you let me handle it, vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord, I will repay. So you got to have faith in the God of the Bible, which keeps you from needing vengeance for yourself, not necessarily reconciliation, but vengeance for yourself. See, the reason why Joseph, Joseph could forgive his brothers for selling them into slavery, putting them in a hole, selling them to the Ishmaelites. He said, I forgive you. And the reason I can forgive you is you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.

God is so big, he used your mess to create my miracle. Unless you have that view of God, you will do the wrong thing because you don't have faith in God. And you'll do the wrong thing while talking about God.

Yeah, I'm trusting the Lord while I get them back. So you'll do the wrong thing in the name of God. I'm trying to create for me, for you, for us, this bigger view of God, that we have faith in that God, that we are life Christians, not leaf Christians. We don't just come to church on Sunday. We want to make this house a house of prayer, not just a house of preaching, a house where we cry out to God and where we see miracles happening here. I want people to come not for the preacher or the sermon, but because of the power that's happening.

God's a change, miracles are taking place, sicknesses are healed, marriages are restored, sins are overcome, addictions are canceled. That's why they come. And then if they come for that, the preaching becomes extra because they're coming for the power of God in this house. That's what we're crying for.

And so if you meet the qualifications, you want to be an authentic life Christian. You want to cry out to God in prayer and in faith. You're going to speak to the mountain and you're going to forgive those who need to be forgiven, whether that's writing a letter, sending a note, making a call if those people are contactable, or just acknowledging to God if they aren't, I release them.

Lord, I don't feel like releasing them, I don't even want to release them, but I do know I want my mountain moved. So because I want my mountain moved in the name of Jesus Christ, I release them from their offense against me, I'm going to let you handle them because I need you to move this mountain in my life. Dr. Evans will come back in a moment with a final word of encouragement about seeing God move the mountains in your life. But first, I wanted to let you know that for a limited time, the popular film Journey with Jesus, starring Dr. Evans, Crystal, Priscilla, and Anthony Evans, is available to stream online. In Journey with Jesus, you'll travel the streets, fields, and synagogues where Jesus walked and visit the locations where some of the most powerful events recorded in the Bible took place.

Previously shown nationwide, only in theaters, you can now bring this extraordinary experience right into your living room. Find out more about streaming Journey with Jesus at toneeevans.org. And that's the same place to go to get your own copy of Tony's complete 12-part audio collection of messages we've been going through called Igniting Kingdom Prayer. This powerful resource is yours with our thanks when you make a donation to help us keep this listener-supported program on the air.

Again, the place to go for details is toneeevans.org or call 1-800-800-3222, where one of our friendly team members will be happy to assist you with your resource request. That's 1-800-800-3222. For many people, prayer is just a friendly thank you to God before a meal. But tomorrow, Dr. Evans will explain how easily it can become your only defense when things get desperate. Right now, though, he's back with a final word of encouragement for today. When we qualify for the mountain-moving work of God, we will see mountains move, things that God once moved. We'll see them moved, and we will see God's power in this house, and that's what I want. So yes, we've got a mountain. You have mountains, and if you don't have one, keep living. You're going to have a mountain, something too big for you to move. Just make sure that when you face your mountain, you have qualified for the conditional will of God to see that mountain move. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 05:35:59 / 2023-05-14 05:45:25 / 9

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