Sermon on October 13 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 11:12-26
A sandwich story: a fig tree, Temple and fig tree again. A picture that what you see, or think you see is not always reality.
1. ARE WE GOOD-LOOKERS, OR FRUIT-BEARERS? (v12-14)
- What looks like a promising tree …
Passover took place in April. The time when any fig tree should at least have little nodules of fruit.
The leaves of religion can cover up a heart that is far from God
- … is a decaying tree
A picture of the nation of Israel as predicted in JER. 8:13
‘I will take away their harvest declared the Lord…there will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them.’
Beware! It is easy for the busy-ness of life and rightness of actions to cover up a love for Jesus that is lukewarm.
2. ARE WE INTO CHRIST, OR CONVENIENCE? (v15-18)
- When God is not honored, we slide fully into consumer-comfort
Jesus does not clear the Temple of foreigners (non-Jews), but for the nations.
Do not expect those who don’t know Jesus to act differently. If your life has been invaded by His holiness, you will be holy.
- When God is not honored, we slip foolishly into divided devotion
What happens in the Temple is a glimpse of what was daily in the heart (Jer. 7:9; Mat. 15:8)
Identify anything keeping your heart from devoted love for Jesus- and ask Him to give you a pure heart and steadfast spirit.
3. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH JESUS? (v15-22)
- Praying is real faith, expecting!
Do you trust God enough to receive an answer you won’t like, or to open or close a door you did not expect?
- Forgiving is real faith, working!
If I have a stony heart that will not forgive, I will be as phony as those in the Court of Gentiles, looking good but no faith.
‘I know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you. I love you just like anyone else and I’m not going to hope you rot and die…I wasn’t going say this in front of my family, I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want for you. Give your life to Christ.’
(Brandt Jean, whose brother Botham was shot by Amber Guyger).
Who is ‘the house of prayer’ for all nations? His name is Jesus. Are we reflecting Him and bearing His fruit? You cannot truly know Jesus and be in His presence, and not be shaped more into His likeness.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. How would you respond to someone who says that Jesus was unreasonable and bad-tempered in cursing the fig tree?
2. In what ways were the fig-tree and temple alike?
3. What is the definition of fruitlessness in regards to a Christian? A church? A denomination? What fruit does God see in you and our church?
4. What is your prayer-like like? When do you pray and how do you pray and why does this matter? Are you known to be forgiving? Why might that be considered to be the fruit of all fruit?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/A. Carlos Herrera