March 10, 2013 – Pastor Tim – “Living a Live of Love” – Click to download
Mark 11:22-23, “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
We rejoice in verses 23-24, and we are quick to quote those verses—I am sure we have all heard a sermon or two on these two verses—but do we ever stop to think that verse 25 goes right along with them? Verse 25 begins with the word “and”, a conjunction. In other words, verse 25 joins what Jesus is about to say with what He just said. “AND whenever you stand praying…” He is still talking about praying in faith, just as He was in verse 24. And what are we to do as we pray? “… if you have anything against anyone, forgive him.”
I believe that unforgiveness can be the main reason why faith doesn’t work and why people fail to receive whatever they are praying for. Many of us know it is wrong to hold something big against someone, but, it really doesn’t hurt us if we hold just a little something against someone—does it?
Well, this text says, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone…” (Mark 11:25) The King James Version says, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any:” Did you ever look up the word “ought” in the dictionary? It means duty or moral obligation. We have a duty and a moral obligation, as believers to, as verse 25 says, forgive anything at all—little, big or middle-sized! In the Song of Solomon 2:15 we are told, “…The little foxes spoil the vine…” So many times, it’s not the big things in Christian’ lives that keep their faith from working and their prayers from being heard. Rather, it’s the little things—just a little “ought.” If our prayers and our faith don’t work, I think unforgiveness would be a good place to start looking. Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart;?Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,?And lead me in the way everlasting.”
There is another text that helps us understand the connection between Mark 11:25 and the verses preceding it. Notice what Paul said in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” The sign of the New Covenant is not whether or not we have been circumcised or not, but is seen in our love. Faith works by love.
If there is no love, faith won’t work. And forgiveness has to do with love, doesn’t it? God loved us and forgave us. Did He forgive us because we deserved it? No. He forgave us because He loved us. In Ephesians 4:32 we read, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Why would Paul have to write to Christians and tell them to be kind to one another? He had to tell them because they were living in unredeemed bodies. Paul told them to forgive each other “…even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Not because we deserve it.) How?? We can forgive even as God forgives us. Why? Because the Bible says that God is love. 1 John 4:8 and 16, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” And in Romans 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” The kind of love that God is, has been poured out in our hearts—our spirits, our inward man. That love is in there. We don’t have to pray and fast for it. If we are saved, we have it. If we don’t have it, we are not saved. It is just that simple.
1 John 3:14 says, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” John is talking about spiritual death. And how do we know that we have passed from spiritual death unto spiritual life? We know “…because we love the brethren.” That is how we know we are saved.
Does the Bible say, “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love them that love us or are good to us? No. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” (1 John 3:14) If we are born again, we have the life and love of God in us. Hallelujah! Thank God we can learn how to walk in God’s love and the importance of walking in love and forgiveness. It is important because it marks our salvation, not that we are saved by out works of love, but they are a direct manifestation of the proof of God working in us.
Walking in love makes a difference! Every step out of love is sin. If we miss it—and being human, we are prone to miss it—just get back as fast as we can to walking in love. It is unsafe to walk out of love because Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
So don’t wait! Stop, right now and say, “I’ve missed it. Forgive me, Lord.” Get back to walking in the God-kind of love. Have no ill will or unforgiveness toward anyone. Our faith will work when we walk in love—our prayers will be heard in heaven!
So how do you spell victory?? L O V E Love…forgive…love…
As believers…acts of love and forgiveness…lead us to victory!!