Thursday, March 17, 2011

Let’s Go to the Other Side

By Chet Nowlen

One afternoon Jesus and His disciples were walking by the lake when Jesus saw a boat (probably Peter's boat) and said, “Let’s go to the other side.” Jesus fully expected that He and his disciples would arrive safely on the other side and did not doubt that what He said would happen just as He said. He was so confident that this will happen, just as He said it would, He took a nap on the way. When the storm arose Jesus was asleep and the storm did not disturb His sleep. The storm that came against what He had said, but did you notice the storm did not cause Him to doubt or become fearful? He did not doubt or become fearful because He knew what He said will come to pass. I will explain this in more detail later.

Now the disciples, on the other hand, did not understand the power of Jesus’ words, nor did they understand the power of their own words at this time. When the storm arose they feared for their lives and they could not understand why Jesus was not fearful as everyone else in the boat were. Let’s read what the scripture says:

Luke 8:22-25 (King James Version)
“22Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”

The disciples woke Jesus saying to Him “Don’t you care that we are about to die?” The disciples thought that Jesus was so passive that He didn’t care that they were going to die in that storm. When we are in a storm of life our emotions can cause us to not think clearly and this is what caused the disciples to forget two things. Number one they forgot Jesus had already told them they were going to the other side. And, number two the disciples had been with Jesus and had heard Him preach and they could have used their own faith filled words to calm the storm.

How could they have calmed the storm? How did Jesus calm the storm? Jesus spoke the storm and it obeyed His words. Notice Jesus said to the disciples, “Where is your faith?” Why did He ask them that?” He asked them that because He fully expected them to use their faith in that situation.

One thing I find interesting is what Jesus did not say, “Now let us pray about this!” He did not ask the disciple to hold hands and pray. No, He took action and spoke out loud to the storm and the storm obeyed His words. Jesus used the God kind of faith by speaking faith filled words. When we face the storms of life we have a tendency to talk about the problem to others and even ask others to pray for us and with us about the storm. “What’s wrong with this?” you ask. Well, when we do this we are relying on the faith of others to help us get God to do something about the storm. The truth of the matter is God has done all He’s going to do by giving us His word and He expects us to use our faith based on His words to overcome the situations or storms of life.

God used His faith in His own words because He knew everything He said would come to pass just as He said it would. And, Jesus used the same faith principle. He used the God kind of faith knowing in that whatever He said He knew would come to pass, just as He said it would. God spoke of things that are not as though they were. He spoke of things that hadn’t happened yet as if they had already happened and Jesus spoke the same way. What they both said came to pass, just as they said. God expects us to use our words in the same manner.

Your words are an expression of what you believe internally. What you believe or have faith in is what words you speak. You speak faith in what you believe. There are two sides of faith. There is a positive side and a negative side. The negative side is a reverse side of faith called fear. Both are faith in what you believe about yourself and what you believe will happen in you life. You can have faith that the good blessings of life are already yours or you can have the negative faith (fear) that the bad things in life are already yours. You see what ever you expect is what you will get. Right now you have what you have and you are what you are based on what you internally believe and accept about yourself:
  • You are what you expect
  • You are what you believe
  • You receive what you expect
  • You receive what you believe
Every word Jesus spoke is written for us to use as example of how the handle the storms of life that come against us, to overcome the evil one that wants to destroy us, and to acquire what we need in this life. Jesus gave us some examples of those that live by His sayings and those that do not live by His sayings:

Matthew 7:19-27 (King James Version)
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Notice the tree in verse 19. We will talk about another example of fruitless tree later in this lesson. But, for now look at verses 21 and 22. These same two kinds of people found are also found in Luke 6:46-47 – those that listen and do what Jesus told us to do and those that do not do what Jesus told us to do: Luke 6:43-49 (King James Version)43For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

In Mark 11:11-14 Jesus and His disciples were walking down the road from Bethany back to Jerusalem and Jesus was feeling a little hungry. Jesus fully expected to see figs on the tree when he approached it. When Jesus arrived at the tree he noticed there were not any figs. He noticed a fig tree covered with leaves in the distance and because the fig tree has leaves means it should have figs ready to eat. Jesus spoke to the tree and said, “No one ever shall eat from you again.” Remember we read earlier in Matthew 7:19 “19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” These are the people that Jesus will tell to leave Him and will be cast into the lake of fire that was designed for the fallen angels.

Mark 11:11-14 (New King James Version)
11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. 12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

The next morning as Jesus and the disciples passed by the tree the disciples noticed the tree has withered to its roots. Jesus said to the disciples, Have faith in God at all times, whoever says to this mountain (storm or situation in your life) be lifted up and cast into the sea and does not doubt at all in his heart but believe what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you desire ask for it in prayer, saying it out loud, believing that it is already yours you will get what you asked for.

Mark 11:20-24 (New King James Version)
“20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
22 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.” (*Translation in the greek is past tense and this word is actually believed meaning past tense - Believed means that it has already happened.)

The disciples thought it rather strange that Jesus could talk to a tree and it obeyed Him. Remember they also thought it strange that He could talk to the storm and it obeyed Him. Knowing they did not understand He explained how they too had the ability to speak of things that are not as though they were by giving them the example of speaking to the mountain and casting it into the sea. Jesus was teaching them to use the God kind of faith by speaking of things that are not as though they were. Jesus used this in everything He said and His expectation is for us to do His sayings.

The withered tree is a parallel example of an individual that does not do the sayings of Jesus. Since he does not obey the sayings of Jesus he is unfruitful and is worthless. Notice in Matthew 19 Jesus said that not everyone that says to me Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven. He will say to the Lord, but I did this and I did that in your name. And Jesus will say, “I never knew you!” Why did Jesus not know him? Because he did not know, understand, and follow the words of Jesus. This example also is the group of people that heard the good news of Jesus Christ, but rejected the free gift He offered them. These people have a form of godliness, but they never took the time to get to know God and Jesus through their words. Matthew 7:26-27 “26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

Here are more scriptures about the importance of our words:

Matthew 12:33-37 (New King James Version)
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart[a] brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 15:10-20 (New King James Version)
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” 12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” 15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Here’s another parallel that relates to the tree that does not bear fruit or the person that does not do the words of Jesus:

Matthew 25:14-30 (New King James Version)
14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

In conclusion I would like to focus on “The God Kind of Faith” as Jesus described in Mark 11:24:

Mark 11:24 (King James Version)
24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Now I know this is a very controversial scripture among certain Christian denominational thinking and perhaps it’s been abused by other denominations, but Jesus said it and that settles it for me. I think Jesus’ words have not been fully understood. Notice He said, “. . . when you pray . . .” this is where we open up a can of worms. Remember I said earlier about the storm and what Jesus didn’t say? He didn’t say let us pray, instead He took action by speaking to the storm Himself. Now He prayed to God often and God revealed to Him what to say and what to do. Jesus didn’t need to pray at this time because He was already prayed up and God had already told Him what to do.

In this scripture I don’t think He’s referring to the common types of prayer that we think of when we pray. If you could listen to a recording of all of your prayers that you’ve ever prayed to God I don’t think you will find the words that Jesus is describing when He said, “believe that you received (past tense) them, and you shall have them.” If you were to hear a recording of your prayers I’m afraid you would find some of your prayers are filled with your not believing that you have already received your request. I’m very guilty of that myself. I have found that I have prayed with lack of trust that God will do just what He said in His words. Any lack of trust is just the opposite of this scripture.

I think Jesus is not speaking of just prayer alone. Notice in verse 23 Jesus tells us to speak to the mountain with our words. He’s telling us to speak to the problem, the need, the lack, the sickness, the disease. He does not tell us to talk about the problem to friends, family, pastor, or neighbor. No, He tells us to take action and tell the circumstance in life what you want it to do. Then He goes on to say, “. . . and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe (believe that is has already happened – that its already yours) that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

Jesus is telling us to get our words in line with His words. We are expected to take the God kind of faith in our words by using His words to overcome in every situation we face in this life. Jesus is telling us to use the God kind of faith by saying whatever God had to say and believe what He said and without doubting that whatever he said will come to pass.

So how do we do this? Jesus gave us the key when He talked about those that listen to His words and followed His words for every word that Jesus spoke were words that God told Him to say. The lesson here is to spend time getting to know every word that Jesus spoke and apply them in your life. Speak what Jesus said and believe what He said without any doubt in your heart and your reward will be when you stand before Jesus He will say to you, “Well Done . . .!”

Get to know Jesus and His words.  Do what He did and says what He said.  His words are action words Now its up to you to "do these sayings of mine" by taking action by speaking words mixed with faith, i.e., "Let's go to the other side!"