A Lofty View of the Church from the Book of Ephesians - Bob Sawvelle

Have you ever been concerned about your finances? Most of us have at some point in our lives. When Carolyn and I were a young married couple, we were distressed about the debts we had incurred. Like many married couples, we attended a financial seminar at our church during the summer of 1991 to gain principles and tools to aid us in financial stewardship. During the seminar, God gave me a “word” regarding our finances.

The meeting facilitator discussed setting financial goals, primarily to get out of debt. That’s when God spoke to me. Not an audible voice, but Holy Spirit spoke to me, “You will be debt free by October 1st, 1992.” I wrote this word on a piece of notebook paper and placed it in my Bible and began to pray over it.

We put into practice some of the biblical financial tools we learned from the seminar and we continued to pray and stand in faith based on the word received, that we would be debt free by October 1st, 1992.

During the summer of 1992, the Lord instructed us to sell a small franchise business we had started two years prior. By the end of that summer, someone offered to buy the business for twice our original investment. God was moving our “debt mountain” in the unseen realm! Soon, our natural realm would manifest God’s plan for this season of our lives.

On October 1st, 1992, we closed on the sale of the business and received a sizable check that paid off all our existing debts! The remaining funds God used as “seed” money to propel us into ministry and the mission field. It began with a word from Jesus, and his faith was released in our hearts to see our mountain move.

I want to discuss faith the next two weeks. I’ll begin this week by looking at the story of the withered fig tree in Mark 11:12-14, 20-26.

The backdrop is that Jesus has just entered Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion, and through a fig tree, illustrates an important principle about believing prayer and overcoming faith.

Keep in mind that faith is the connector to God’s Kingdom, it is the key that unlocks heavens resources. It’s been said that “faith is the currency of heaven.”

But, is faith something we “muster up?” Do we obtain more faith by believing “harder?”

The following day after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus sees a fig tree in the distance and walks toward it. As he gets close, he sees leaves on the tree, but there are no figs. It is not the season for figs, but Jesus nonetheless expects fruit on the tree.

In response to the fruitlessness of this fig tree, Jesus curses the tree, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” (Mark 11:14 NKJV)

The next day, he and the disciples pass by the tree again only to find that the fig tree has withered and dried up. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” (Mark 11:21 NKJV)

Understand that the withered fig tree also represents Israel and her unfruitfulness. So, while the law was unfruitful—a new covenant would produce fruit. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. Abiding in the life of Christ assures fruitfulness in every season. Being “in season” with God demonstrates your maturity and capacity for greater entrusted responsibility.

Jesus responds by saying, “Have faith in God!” (Mark 11:22) and explains the power of faith and prayer. Jesus then explains to his disciples,

I assure you that whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea’—and doesn’t waver but believes that what is said will really happen—it will happen. Therefore I say to you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you will receive it, and it will be so for you.” (Mark 11:23-24 CEB)

Faith to move mountains begins with believing God hears your prayers. God is ever present, all knowing, and hears your prayer—always.

But what mountain was Jesus referring to? A mountain, as illustrated with the fig tree, is any difficulty, hindrance, or impossible problem you are facing. Jesus demonstrates that faith provides an entry point for God to move amid impossible situations.

But, how can this be, “Whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you will receive it, and it will be so for you?” These are the words of Jesus—so have we limited Him?

Obtaining the “Faith of God”

Jesus told the man with the tormented son in Mark 9:23, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Jesus is not speaking of intellectual belief or agreement, but a heart-belief that is real faith. Only Jesus can give this type of faith—it is to the heart, not the mind.

Belief is an assurance of the mind; faith is an assurance of the heart.

When Jesus gives the word to Peter to “Come, walk on the water,” it empowers Peter to act in faith (Matt. 14:28-31 NLT). By the way, Peter was doing great until he “looked” at sea! Your sense knowledge of situations will move you out of faith every time—be careful to not lean on what your senses reveal!

Peter could have acted before the word, but that is belief, not faith. Many make the mistake of confusing their mental ability to believe with the imparted faith of Jesus.

When our church was two years old, God put on Carolyn’s and my heart to begin to look for a permanent building to meet in. We looked at several storefronts and pieces of property. While some of them looked promising, we didn’t have a “peace” or a “word” from Jesus for any of those buildings. You could say that we hadn’t heard yet, “Come, walk on the water!”

But when God’s faith is released in your heart, an assurance of answered prayer is discovered. Your prayers for the situation take on new boldness and confidence with God’s faith.

I love what German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke said, “I don’t want to play with marbles when God told me to move mountains!” How true. We are invited to move mountains with Jesus—why settle for less!

A terrific book on faith and healing, is by the late Dr. Charles Price, The Real Faith for Healing (you can find the pdf on the internet for free). He was touched powerfully by the Holy Spirit in the early part of the twentieth century and became a well-known healing minister. He said in his book, “You can believe a promise, but at the same time not have the faith to appropriate it.”

Very true. Many people have mental agreement with God’s promises but aren’t assured in their hearts of the answer.

Jesus is the author and perfecter of your faith (Heb. 12:2).

The writer of Hebrews, in mentioning OT heroes of faith, is giving us something more than a pattern to follow—we are given a new starting point in Jesus and New Covenant.

The OT cloud of witnesses points to the new race in Christ we are to run! We are to look to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. All true faith begins and ends with Jesus—the Alpha and Omega. When I want more faith, I must seek him!

“Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) In other words, Jesus, I need more faith!

You can have God’s faith as you learn to keep your focus upon Christ. The moment you take your eyes off Jesus, you lose sight of the primary goal of your faith. He is the goal, your destination and the reason you do what you do. Faith to move mountains begins and ends with Jesus.

He is your source of life, your greatest joy, and the motivation to ask audacious requests of the Father. Real faith is rooted in the nature and character of God. As you learn to trust Jesus more, his faith will be imparted to you. The genuine faith of God is to know Jesus well enough to know what he wants to do in any situation.

Heb. 11:1 AMP, “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

True faith is an expectant anticipation of the reality of the promise before the manifestation. Faith acts upon God’s revealed truth with an assurance of the answer.

You have the faith of God when you hear Jesus say “Come!”

Remember the church building we were looking for? After looking at many properties, we finally were led to our current church property—an older Wesleyan Church facility in central Tucson. I scheduled an appointment with the realtor to view it on a Friday. After walking through the property, I immediately had a “peace” about it and felt led to make an offer of intent to buy it. Carolyn’s head was spinning as I shared this with the realtor!

The next morning, I asked the Lord for a clear word. I needed a word like Peter received about walking on the water—Come! I heard the Lord say to me, “This is the property I spoke to you about. Don’t look at the size of the sanctuary or at the money in the bank account, for this property is a building block and stepping stone to the worship and revival center that I have spoken to you about.” Instantly, upon hearing that word, God gave me a “gift of faith” to purchase the building. We were a two-year-old church of 30 people with $2,000 in the church account—the property was listed for $510,000. But God!!!

Within 3 months, we raised several thousand dollars, took a second mortgage on our home to help with the down payment, and received a bank loan to purchase the property. We saw the “title deed” for the property in the Spirit, after Jesus said “Come!” before we had the property in our possession. Jesus gave us his faith for the building!

You can have God’s faith as you learn to keep your focus upon Jesus—he is the author and perfecter of your faith (Heb. 12:2).

If you want the faith to move mountains, learn how to hear, believe, and act upon what Jesus reveals. Real faith, the faith of God, comes from Him.

Real faith is rooted in the nature and character of God. As you learn to trust Jesus more, his faith will be imparted to you. Faith is to know Jesus well enough to know what he wants to do in any situation.

The same Holy Spirit who rose Jesus from the dead lives and abides in you as a follower of Christ. This truth is why Paul could declare with confidence,

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,Eph. 3:20 NKJV

Next week I want to continue with part two of “Mountain Moving Faith.”

Bob Sawvelle


For a more in-depth look at Mountain-Moving faith, watch this Passion Church video:

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