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Sermons from Mountain Rest Baptist Church

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Mark 11:22-25 Hindered Prayer

Do you every feel fruitless and spiritually withered up inside? Do you ever feel as though you drying up, even when you pray? Do you feel powerless, as though your prayers are hitting the ceiling and bouncing back or worse, that your prayers are hindered? It’s amazing how your spiritual life affects every other area of your life. What do you do when you feel fruitless or feel as though your prayers are hindered? The question of fruitfulness as a Christian is really a question of prayerfulness. Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” The statement, “have faith in God” implies you will accomplish much if you trust him. When you stand praying – forgive. How do we fix our problem of personal fruitlessness? Last week, we observed Jesus rebuke a fruitless and barren fig tree. He cursed it and it withered on the vine. The fig tree symbolized the fruitless and barren Jewish religious system. Peter made a statement, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed is withered.” Jesus, in his omniscience knew Peter was amazed. How he responded to Peter’s statement reveals how he understood what Peter said. Peter asked, “How did you do that?” Or, “how did your prayer get answered?” Jesus said, Have faith in God. If you want bear fruit or receive answers to your prayers, you must put your faith in God? How can we fix the problem of fruitlessness? How can we fix that dried up and withered feeling that gnaws at our belly? We cultivate faith in God. How do we know we have faith in God? Faith in God is facilitated in prayer. Yes, faith is practical, and may mean taking a step forward, but, the first step of faith is always prayer. Do you want to be fruitful and flourish on the vine? Fruitfulness is facilitated when you pray in faith. Fruitfulness is also facilitated when you forgive others.

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Mark 11:12-24 Fig Jam

A stressed-out woman was on a busy boulevard tailgating an honest man. Suddenly, the light turns yellow, just in front of him. He does the honest thing, and stops at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating woman hits the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she misses her chance to get through the intersection with him. As she is still in mid-rant, she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer orders her to exit her car with her hands up. He takes her to the police station where she is searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door. She is escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer is waiting with her personal effects. He says, "I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the "Choose Life" license plate holder, the "What Would Jesus Do" bumper sticker, the "Follow Me to Sunday School" bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. " “Naturally I assumed you had stolen the car.” (sermon illustrations.com) Honest personal evaluation. There is a natural assumption, if you are a Christian, that you will bear fruit that looks like you are a Christian. Do people see that you bear fruit, or do you have leaves, yet, no fruit?

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Mark 10:46-52 The Vision of Blind Bartimaeus

It’s amazing how much more valuable something is when you don’t have it, or worse yet, you lose it. Think of a man who lost a prized possession, he’d virtually do anything to get it back. History records the name of this man as ‘Blind Bartimaeus.’ The text doesn’t reveal how long he was blind. We know he lost his vision, rather than having been born blind, because he asks Jesus to help him regain his sight. This account takes place in Jericho. There were two cities named Jericho. The OT Jericho and the NT Jericho. They were about five miles apart and fifteen miles from Jerusalem. Mark and Matthew say this account took place when they were leaving Jericho, whereas Luke says it took place as they were entering Jericho. Commentators believe this account took place somewhere between the two locations. Blindness was common in that geographical location even as late as the 1800’s and early 1900’s. It was believed that somewhere around 20% of the adult male population had vision problems blindness of some nature. The environment is presumed to contribute to the vision problem. Some believe it is due to the desert winds which blow sand across the land. Winds which come off the Sea of Galilee. The combination of wind and sand scratch and wound the corneas of unprotected eyes. Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Our world is filled with blind people, spiritually blind people who have had the truth presented to them, yet, have never seen Jesus as healer or Savior. There are many who see perfectly physically but live in absolute blindness to the Lord. Jesus alone can heal blinded eyes. As much as Bartimaeus desired to receive his sight, there was nothing he could do to bring about healing. Through the encounter Bartimaeus had with Jesus, we see a great spiritual lesson that applies to all people. Bartimaeus represents all who have been set free from blindness, who have found enlightenment and follow the master. This account reveals why a person should trust in Jesus for more than mere physical healing.

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Mark 10:17-31 Theology of a Camel

Jesus was set out on another journey. Mark introduces us a young man searching for something…looking for hope. The young man is often called the Rich Young Ruler. Matthew tells us he was a young man; Luke describes him as a ruler. And Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us he was rich. What we know is he was a man who had two things, everything and nothing. He was wealthy and successful, but he turned away from Jesus who is really the greatest treasure. He was searching for something to satisfy his empty longing, but missed the solution because the price was too high. What was he searching for? He asks quite clearly, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” He was looking for eternal life. He came to the right source for answers, but he missed it. What did he miss? He missed eternal life, which was the very thing he was looking to obtain. He missed Jesus for worldly treasures. The only way he could attain eternal life, was by trusting Christ as the way to receive eternal life. A study of eternal life in Mark 10:17-31 will make it clear, it is essential to trust Christ for eternal life.

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Mark 10:13-16 Childlike Faith

Today we look at Jesus’ tender call to all people. He calls all people to respond to the invitation for salvation by faith. V 15 says, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” What does he mean when he tells us we must have childlike faith? How can you and I be more childlike? And why is it so important to become like a little child that Jesus would make it a requirement to get to heaven? This story appears in all three synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The event obviously penetrated the memories of each of the authors. Why did the disciples rebuke those who brought the children? They probably thought Jesus was too busy or too important to be bothered by such insignificant persons. They thought they were doing Jesus a favor, by managing his schedule and keeping the little people away. What they hadn’t quite realized is that Jesus came for insignificant people – and these men were in that group too! In fact, Jesus was so upset that Mark describes him as “indignant.” Other English translations say he was “much displeased,” “incensed,” or even “angry.” The word only appears in the New Testament seven times? It’s the word used to describe the rest of the disciples when they heard that James and John were trying to get the best seats in the new kingdom. They were indignant! It’s the word used to describe the Pharisees when Jesus kept healing on the Sabbath. And it’s used to describe the chief priests and teachers of the law when Jesus cleansed the Temple. And it’s used to describe the disciples when the lady used a whole bottle of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. Something touched these men in the depth of their souls. Jesus was indignant that his disciples would keep away the little children! Jesus tells us it is essential to have childlike faith. How do we exhibit childlike faith? He describes three essential practices for childlike faith.

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