Text: Luke 17:20-18:8
Summary: Absolute faith in Jesus is produced through persistent prayer, believing that nothing is impossible with God and trusting that Jesus will do it.
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” 22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Father, we humbly surrender before you. We know the day is coming when Jesus will be sent back to this earth, He will come a second time. We know that the body of Christ at that moment will be raptured into the heavens. But Lord, we ask that when you come back to earth and you look among the people who are still on this earth, we pray that among all of us here that it can be said of us that there is faith in us, a faith that endures to the end. No matter what tribulation, no matter what hardship, no matter what difficulty we face, we want to be a people with absolute faith in Jesus Christ. Teach us today how we can increase our faith. We look to you now, Lord. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen
The main point for today is absolute faith in Jesus is produced through persistent prayer, believing that nothing is impossible with God, and trusting that Jesus will do it. I’ll say it again. Absolute faith in Jesus is produced through persistent prayer. Believing that nothing is impossible with God. And trusting that Jesus will do it. Another word for faith is trusting that Jesus will take care of whatever is before us.
You notice that Luke 17 is talking about the end times. Then Jesus seamlessly moves on to the persistent widow parable. And I think it’s meant to be read together. In the last days, if we are fortunate or unfortunate enough to be present in the last days right before Jesus returns, it is a high possibility that many believers will lose heart. Many believers will lose their way. Many people who’ve been following Jesus and have salvation up until that point, will in that final moment, or days, months and maybe years, they will let go of Jesus. They will lose heart, they will lose salvation.
Jesus is encouraging us that absolute faith in Him is produced through persistent prayer. So if you’ve lost your heart today, as it says in Matthew 24 that in the end times lawlessness will increase and many people’s hearts will grow cold, if you find that your heart is growing cold toward the Lord, today’s message is for you.
I want to talk about how we can build up our faith through persistence. There is a rapture theology and I know what I said in the past and the Lord is revising that theology. I think I was reacting to the people who say that believers will not have to suffer that much. And there is a strong impression from God that it is simply not true. We are people that no matter what we face, we must endure to the end. And so if we are in easy times, and we have just a handful of difficult moments, we need to endure it to the end. If we are pre-tribulation or post-tribulation, whatever you believe, whatever we face in life, no matter how difficult, I pray that we would endure to the end. That’s all that I know. We need to endure to the end.
And there are different camps. There’s post-tribulation. There’s pre-tribulation. There’s postmillennial and amillennial. I’m just going to put the millennial kingdom to the side, I’m not going to address that today. I want to talk about tribulation. Jesus is talking about how it will be in the last days. And he ends that segment with persistent prayer. He says just as in the days of Noah so it will be in the days of the Son of Man right before He returns.
We know how it was in the days of Noah. Noah was the only person who was building the ark. You could say, in a sense, he was taken out of judgment because the whole world was judged and just a handful of people, eight individuals, were saved. And who knows if all eight had similar faith but we know Noah had faith. The people who are connected to Noah, the children who are grown up by that point, maybe their faith was not that strong but they had enough trust in the faith of their father. Maybe the wife’s faith wasn’t as strong but she had trust in the faith of her husband, and all eight of them boarded the ark, and then the rain fell.
They were taken out of judgment into the ark. Luke 17 mentions Lot’s wife. We don’t know if all of Lot’s family have the same level of faith. We don’t know, but Lot was taken out of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was taken from that place and taken out of judgment. We know what happens to Lot’s wife. She looks back. And so as believers, may we never look back. Why did she look back? I don’t think it was curiosity. There was something there in Sodom and Gomorrah that she longed for.
As people of God, we need to renounce our life. We need to hate father, mother, wife, children, even our very life. We need to hate it, we need to renounce it. Then Jesus says you are qualified to follow me and be my disciple. Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt. Let that be a memorial, a warning and a sign for all believers, we never follow Jesus and look back. We don’t put our hand to the plow and look back. We don’t look up elsewhere, except up to heaven. Jesus is coming back. We look up to Him.
As Jesus wraps up, He gives an indictment of most people in this world that as Noah is hammering the ark, most people are mocking him. Most people are just going on with their life. They’re eating, drinking and busying themselves with getting married, planting, building and busy with life. It reminds me of the parable of the great banquet that many people are invited to. Many people are called but so many people give excuses.
And may we repent of all the excuses that we give. I know we’re all busy. I know we have lives to lead. We have to provide for our family. I know work can be hectic, but there are no excuses. You can’t go to the Lord and say, Lord, I was actually under a very difficult project at work. You don’t know how much pressure I was in. There is no excuse. There are no excuses, we must at any moment be ready to drop everything. Drop everything in our hands. Let it all go and follow Jesus out of whatever situation we’re in.
Noah and his family were taken out of this earth for a time, while the rains of judgment fell. Lot’s wife was taken out of Sodom and Gomorrah, while the sulfur and the fire rained down upon that city. And Jesus ends this with, as it was in the days of Noah, and as it was in the days of Lot, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man.
33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?”
I found that question so odd. Why did they ask, where Lord? First, I thought they were asking where these people are being taken because those who are left are just left. You don’t have to ask where they are. They’re here and they are under judgment. Where are they taken? That doesn’t quite make sense either. They’re taken to be with the Lord.
I think he’s saying, where is this going to take place, Lord? Is it going to be like Noah’s day? Is it going to be worldwide? Is it going to be like Lot’s day and is it going to be a single place, a single city? We know the answer. When Jesus says, where the corpse is there the vultures will gather and there will be death strewn across to the ends of the earth, it’s worldwide, just like in the days of Noah when Jesus returns.
1 Thessalonians 4
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
We know from Luke 17 and Matthew 24, whenever it talks about the return of Christ, it is not hidden. There’s nothing about a hidden middle return of Christ. When Christ returns, it is as bright as lightning. Jesus will come from the east to the west. He’s going to come and everybody on this earth simultaneously will see the coming of the Lord. He will descend on clouds, it is not hidden.
There’s no secret rapture as far as I can tell, but 1 Thessalonians 4 talks about the body of Christ being raptured and we meet the Lord in the air. It starts with those who are already dead in Christ. They are the first to be resurrected and they will meet the Lord in the air. And this meeting is going out to meet an official like if King David is returning from war, and you see him from a distance, out of respect for the king, you will go meet him. You’ll go out of your way. You’ll leave the city and you’ll go meet him out of respect for the king.
This is the same idea when Jesus is descending from the clouds. We see him as clear as lightning from the eastern sky to the west. We will meet him in the air, starting with those who are dead in Christ, everyone who’s gone before us. And then anyone who’s left who is still alive, we will meet him in the air. We will be raptured in that moment before final judgement falls on the earth like it did in the days of Noah, like it did to Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Lot.
All I know is that believers, we will have to suffer tribulation. I wish this weren’t so. I hope I’m wrong. I really hope I’m wrong. I really hope I don’t have to go through tribulation. For the sake of the elect, tribulation is so severe that God knows that if it is prolonged too much, nobody will be saved. It’s that difficult. And so He will shorten the days.
How do we protect against losing our heart? If you are in this last generation, there is a great chance that you will lose heart as lawlessness increases. As you look at the news, can we all agree that lawlessness is increasing? Right is called wrong, wrong is called right, up is down, down is up, everything is upside down. Can we all agree that lawlessness is increasing? As somebody commits a small crime they are punished to the maximum sentence of the law. Other people who are in the elite, they commit far worse crimes and they don’t even get a little slap on the wrist. There is lawlessness and it is increasing worldwide. There’s a great chance that as lawlessness increases, our hearts can grow cold. As tribulation increases, many of us can lose heart.
Even on a small daily basis, weekly basis, don’t you encounter situations where you just find yourself losing your heart, even for a moment? The way I describe it, it’s like your heart just stops. You just feel energy sapped out of you. Like when you read an email, when the server for me goes down. This weekend I was up till four, I couldn’t fix it, it just went down, and in that moment, there’s a loss of heart. It’s like the energy is sapped from you. Your heart stops. And I know some of us here are suffering with huge mountains in front of you. Mulberry trees in front of you. And you don’t know what to do with these situations. Far worse than I can even imagine, far worse than I’ve experienced in my life.
So how do we protect against losing our heart and protect against our love for the Lord growing cold? It is through persistent prayer. In Luke 17, the opening verses, Jesus says ing, don’t stumble the little ones. And He says, pay attention to yourself so that you do not stumble the little ones. If you stumble them, you should tie a millstone around your neck, you should just die. Pay attention. And then He gives an example of somebody who sins against you. Of course, you forgive him the first time. But if he sins against you seven times in a day, are you going to keep forgiving that person?
Jesus says, yes you must keep forgiving seven times in a day without frustration. And this is the heart of the Lord because how many times do we ask for forgiveness from the Lord? And how many times does the Lord forgive us? Way more than seven times in a day. We sin and we don’t even know we’ve sinned, and the Lord forgives us. Whenever we ask, He forgives us.
And the disciples hear things that are relatively easy, just forgiving somebody, you might think, okay, that’s impossible. I can’t forgive the same person for doing the same thing seven times in a day. Yet the Lord says, you need to forgive. You need to pay attention to yourself so that you don’t stumble one of the little ones. And they think this is so hard. The disciples evaluate the level of faith that they have, and they say, I don’t have a faith that can pay attention to myself so that I don’t say something or do something that might stumble somebody else, a little one.
They understand that their heart is not filled with mercy. Of course, they might forgive once, but seven times, I can’t do that, Lord. So they say, increase our faith. Don’t we often want that same thing? We ask the Lord, increase our faith. We need more faith just to face this situation, just to get through this day, just to get through 2020 COVID, increase my faith, Lord.
And the Lord gives an interesting answer because the disciples say in v.5 increase our faith. The Lord says in v.6, If you had faith like a great mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in this sea and it would obey you. This reminds me of Matthew 17. So please turn with me there.
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
When we cry out, increase our faith, the Lord’s answer is, you just need a little grain. It’s a non sequitur, it doesn’t even flow. Jesus says you just need a little grain. And if you have a little grain, did you know that mulberry trees can be uprooted? Have you ever tried to uproot a tree? You might as well try to move a mountain. This tree with deep roots, you cannot easily uproot it. It’s like a mountain. It’s the same analogy. See if you can do it, you cannot do it.
But when we say increase our faith, we’re saying, through persistent prayer we are learning, nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is impossible with God. If God wills, we can’t do it but God will do it. This mulberry tree can be uprooted in Jesus name. Not only do we believe that nothing is impossible with God, we believe Jesus can do it ultimately. This mulberry tree with deep roots, if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, it will be uprooted and cast into the sea. This mountain in front of us that we think is immovable, that nothing can move this thing, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, if it’s sincere, if it’s genuine, this mountain will move.
Before the mulberry trees, before the mountains, before even the small bush, even before the house plants, do we have faith, let it be even smaller than a grain of mustard seed. Do we have faith that nothing is impossible with God and Jesus can do it? That is how we grow our faith through persistent prayer.
You see in the Matthew 17 account, there are two types of people. There is a man with the boy. And there are the disciples. The man with the boy brings his disciples brings the situation, his epileptic son to the disciples of Jesus, and Jesus calls this man, oh faithless and twisted generation. And how many times do we have situations and we reach for some other solution first. If you’re sick, you reach for the medicine cabinet first. You reach for the doctor first. If you have a a prayer topic, you reach to your friend first, you reach out to your pastor first. Jesus calls this kind of a person faithless.
Who you reach out to first demonstrates whether you have faith at all. If it’s to Jesus, then there is something. It might not be a lot of faith. But if you reach out to somebody else or something else other than Jesus first, then that is a faithless person. It’s not even sufficient to bring it to the disciples. You must bring it to Jesus first, then you bring it to the disciples, and then you bring it to the church, then it’s a prayer topic. But first, we believe nothing is impossible with God. We come to God and we present the situation, the mulberry tree, the mountain, the little shrub in the backyard, the little house plant, we bring the situation to the Lord. And we believe nothing is impossible. Jesus can do it. Of course he can do it.
In everybody’s eyes, this father is a person of faith. Although Jesus says he’s faithless, this person is bringing the situation to believers, so of course, he’s a person of faith, right? I call this counterfeit faith. A faithless person is a counterfeit faith. They are bringing prayer requests to the people of God. They attend church but it is counterfeit. You only know this if you can watch that person’s prayer life. First of all, is there a prayer life? When the situation of a mountain is in front of you, or an email that comes in through work and it’s an emergency, who’s the first person you go to? That will show you, do I have faith at all, or is it counterfeit?
Do I depend on myself and do I turn to myself first? Then it’s counterfeit. The first question we have to ask is, is there prayer at all? And if there’s prayer, how much? And if there’s some prayer, who do you pray to? All of these questions are important. It has to be prayer that is persistent. It is prayer that is directed toward God believing that nothing is impossible with Him. It is prayer that leaves the situation at the feet of Jesus, saying Jesus, I can’t do it but you can. Persistently praying like this, this is how we increase our faith.
You don’t have to ask the Lord, I have a mountain in front of me, how should I pray? Should I pray for you to move this mountain? I have this mulberry tree that’s in my backyard, I’m annoyed, I don’t want it there anymore. I wish it could move but there’s deep roots, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to pray. We don’t have to wonder how to pray. Every situation, small things and big things alike, we don’t have to wonder how we should pray. We should pray with absolute faith in Jesus persistently until that mountain moves or that mulberry tree is uprooted and cast into the sea.
If you pray, saying Lord, I don’t know what your will is, I don’t know if you’re going to do this, I think it says in James, you are a person who is doubting, you are like a ship at sea. You’re double-minded. Don’t be like that. When we pray, we believe nothing is impossible with God. You pray that persistently. You bring the situation to Jesus. And we say, Jesus, you can do this. I can’t do this but I’m giving you the situation. You do this persistently. That is how we increase our faith.
The disciples, they are better than the faithless father and the faithless generation, the counterfeit faith, but their faith is still so small. Many of us can identify with the disciples. Sometimes we have absolute faith. Sometimes the situation is too big. The mountain is too big. I don’t even know how to pray. Jesus says, you of little faith. You have little faith. We need to get to a point where we repent of counterfeit faith. And then we repent of even small faith. We think we may have some faith but Jesus says, what faith you have is even smaller than a mustard seed. It’s like you need a microscope, is there any faith? In the end times, people will need a lot more than a half a grain of mustard seed size faith to endure. That’s the point of Luke 17 moving on to Luke 18.
These people who will have to undergo perhaps a tribulation unlike has ever been seen on the face of this earth, they will need much more than a half a size of a mustard seed faith. And this is not just for a mountain to move. This is for somebody’s faith to endure to the end. You need a lot of faith. When all of the nation’s hatred is turned towards you, and you feel like Elijah, you’re the only one left. You’re the last man standing, last woman standing. And Jesus knows it. He says when I come back, will there be any faith on earth? Of course, the dead in Christ, they’re going to be raptured. They’re going to meet Him in the air. But will there be any man, woman, child standing on earth who will be raptured before the final fires of judgment fall and this whole place is burned up, and a new heaven and new earth is established right in this very place.
Jesus wonders, is there going to be faith on earth. We should be praying for an increase of our faith. How do we increase our faith? Through persistently praying to our Heavenly Father believing that nothing is impossible with God. Did you know it’s so impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God? And all of us are rich. That’s why in many places Jesus says, it’s unrighteous wealth. I think it’s even in Luke 16, unrighteous wealth, use it to make friends who will welcome you to the kingdom. Use it to bless other believers, that’s what we’re supposed to do with unrighteous wealth. If you hold on to it, if you hoard it, if you love it, if you love money, did you know that it’s almost the most impossible thing for you to enter the kingdom of heaven if you love money?
Because either you’re serving God and you despise money, or you love money and you despise God. It’s one of the two. It’s such an impossible thing, but God does impossible things. He saves rich people. Hallelujah. Because all of us in America would be in trouble. If God did not save rich people, all of us would be in trouble. Thank God He does impossible things. So we bring impossible situations to the Lord. And we ask, Lord, save me. Lord, heal my son, heal my daughter. Lord, this situation is so overbearing. I feel the energy-sapping out of me, I feel my heart is stopping. I’m forgetting to breathe, I’m so stressed, so burdened. I’m losing heart. The lawlessness is increasing. I’m not even motivated to read my Bible. I’m not motivated to pray.
I want to say, if you are busy with life and you’re having a hard time even carving out a half-hour or hour of devotion to the Lord, I want to give you a little tip. There will be seasons of your life when you will have more time and you’ll get to enjoy large chunks of the Word of God. Before I started working full time again, I enjoyed large segments of time just sitting before the Word, and now I’m in a totally different season. Probably like many of you, I just cannot even find time in a day to open up my Bible and pray. I want to give you a suggestion.
If you have 10 minutes to read your Bible or pray and you have to choose, I want to say, why don’t you pray. It doesn’t say in Luke 18, read your Bible persistently. No, it says pray persistently. We actually know so much of the Bible. Even if you went with what you heard last week, even if you just sat on a single word that spoke to you in this past month or year, and you just kept praying through it and praying through it and praying through it, I think you’d be okay. And so if you are pressed for time, this may sound sacrilegious, but it’s okay to put your Bible on the shelf for a season, or just read it for a brief few moments, find a verse, find something that speaks to you and just spend whatever free time you have sprinkled throughout your day persistently praying.
Because in the end, it’s not those who know their Bible really well who will endure to the end. It’s not the people who are theologians and professors of New Testament theology who will endure to the end. Only those who are good at praying will endure to the end. That’s why it doesn’t say read persistently, it says pray persistently. Pray persistently, knowing that nothing is impossible with God.
This mountain in front of you can move, you want to get to a place where first you just say it. You may not believe it but you want to say it. You want to say, this mountain I know can move. I don’t believe it. But I’m going to say it. I know this mountain, this mulberry tree can be uprooted. This mountain can move. Your heart is not there because there’s not even a grain of mustard seed yet. It’s just a little half a grain. You’re still moving from faithlessness to some microscopic little grain of faith.
You want to start with saying, Lord, I know my heart is not quite there but I want to say nothing is impossible with you. Don’t be double-minded. Don’t say, well, the Lord didn’t tell me to pray this way. No, the Lord told you to pray this way. He told you. You don’t have to ask, well, how should I pray about this mountain or this mulberry tree. The Lord told you. He says this mountain can move. If you have faith, this mulberry tree, you can dig around it for months, you will not be able to uproot it without a gargantuan amount of work and a lot of machinery,
But God tells us in His Word, you should pray with faith for the mulberry tree, not just chopping it down, but with all of its roots to be uprooted and cast into the sea. That’s how the Lord wants us to pray. Why don’t we pray that way? It’s because we don’t even have a grain of mustard seed size faith. So we’re still transitioning from faithlessness to a little bit of faith. Eventually, we want to get to a place that no matter how difficult the situation, we know Jesus will get us through. Nothing is impossible with God.
I was working on a down server during an upgrade which started on Friday night at 9pm. Still going four in the morning on Saturday morning. And no matter how many times I tried, the server wouldn’t come back up. And unlike my previous time when I was working back in 2010, that was the last time I was working in this type of a corporate setting, I remember the days when I was under stress and I lost heart. There was pressure and I stopped breathing and I was under stress. I remember not really praying to the Lord much in the moment. Maybe after, I would bring the prayer request to the other church members, kind of like this father just bringing the situation to the church, not really believing that Jesus can do it.
But this time around, one of the reasons the Lord is putting me through this season, I hope it’s short, is that He wants me to do work differently this time around. He wants me to at every moment when I have a choice. I can be a person of faith or a person who loses heart, a person who stays in unbelief, a person who thinks this mountain is so heavy. I’m digging around this mulberry tree and I can’t get this thing uprooted. And you’re putting all the pressure on yourself, you’re turning to other sources for help such as people, tech support, the church, other disciples of Jesus, and you don’t bring it to Jesus directly.
The Lord is putting me through this season because He wants to see is Ray different now? Has he learned to pray persistently? Will he bring this situation to me? I’m going to test him. I could have wrapped it up in a couple hours but I’m going to stretch it a little bit. I want to see what he does. And thank the Lord, I did go to sleep at 4:30am. I woke up and God gave me fresh eyes because I was praying throughout 9pm, 10, 11, midnight 1, 2, 3, 4 in the morning, I was praying throughout. God gave me fresh eyes in the morning and by 2:30 in the afternoon, I got it through. I gave glory to the Lord because He did it.
When we are pressed into a corner and there’s a crisis or a situation, who will you turn to? Do you turn to Jesus persistently? Do you turn to your Heavenly Father believing nothing is impossible with Him persistently? This is how we increase our faith.
My brother is a cardiologist and cardiologists are probably one of the hardest groups of people in the world to believe that Jesus heals. Can I just put that on record, a cardiologist, a doctor, somebody who is so trained in the ways of medicine, who is a professional drug-pusher of pharmaceuticals, because that’s what I call it, professional drug-pushers. If they’ve been so trained this way and they trust the education, they trust the science, they trust that the medical studies are fair and unbiased, it’s the hardest group of people to convince that Jesus can heal.
And so my brother started sharing with me about a month ago that he was experiencing some acid reflux. So we’ve been praying for him at our church at our Wednesday prayer meetings. But he told me two Wednesdays ago that actually it was a lot worse than he led on. The doctor saw some esophagus lining that had been worn down and so they were worried that it has a 5% higher risk of cancer over lifetime. They wanted to give him acid blockers from now until the day he dies. They were prescribing other medication for him.
At the time I didn’t know how hard it was so I pressed him a little bit, because it didn’t sound so bad. I said, before you take that medication every time, why don’t you pray to the Lord and ask Him, first of all, should I take this? And after He gives an answer, take it or not take it, but believe that Jesus can heal you. And that’s just generally how I prayed.
And then two Wednesdays ago when we were having our weekly Bible study that’s been going on for years now, he shared that in this past month, every time he ate, he was in so much pain. He would be doubled over in a fetal position with even just a little bit of bland rice. That’s how much he was suffering. But he took to heart what I said a month ago. He said he would have the pills in his hand and doubled-over in pain, and he would pray.
To me, that is such a miracle for a cardiologist who trusts in this stuff blindly and instinctively without question to pray whether or not to take the medicine. Because when I first told him, why don’t you pray about taking this drug, he said, well, I believe God can heal. Jesus can heal of course, but He uses medicine. He can heal through medicine. That was his answer and so I said okay, if that’s what you believe, I dropped it. But what I found out was he actually took to heart what I said. And so as he is doubled over in pain multiple times a day, lasting for hours, he is praying to the Lord. Sometimes he takes it, sometimes he doesn’t. But he’s believing that Jesus can heal.
And what he shared with me two Wednesdays ago is that he experienced zero pain for the last four days. and then he shared again this past Wednesday, it’s been 12 days. No pain. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. God can even convince a cardiologist that nothing is impossible with God and that Jesus can heal. Let’s pray.
Father, we come to you and believe that you really are God. Nothing is impossible with you. That is what it means when we say you are God, you are Creator, you are Lord. Of course, if you will it, nothing is impossible with you. So persistently we ask that you would take our faith and increase it. We want to commit from this day forward that we will be persistent in prayer for small things and big things. We repent, Lord for our counterfeit faith. When we encounter emergencies and stressful moments, who do we turn to first? If it wasn’t you, then we’re faithless. How persistent were we? Maybe we had some faith but it was small. Maybe we came to you but we didn’t believe that you can uproot mulberry trees and move mountains. Increase our faith.
Forgive us, Lord of counterfeit faith. Forgive us, Lord, of little faith. Increase our faith at least to the size of a mustard seed. If you so choose to delay your return and allow us who are living here at present to witness you coming on the clouds across the eastern sky, Lord we pray that we would have not just a mustard seed size faith. We pray that we would have sufficiently large faith to endure all the tribulations. It will be so difficult that if you did not shorten the days, all the elect, every single one of us would be lost. I pray that you increase our faith in times of peace. Teach us how to fight spiritual battle on our knees persistently.
Teach us, Lord. We give up so easily in prayer. We don’t really believe that you can move mountains. If the disciples had faith that mountains can move in Jesus Name, they would have been able to heal this person, but Lord, you wanted to teach them a lesson. And you’re teaching all of us a lesson. Our faith is too small. Too little. It needs to increase to the point that we can confidently say to every mulberry trees in our life, to every mountain, be uprooted and cast in the sea, you will move, in Jesus Name.
We don’t know how long it will take. We know the answer is certain, that in the end times, we’ll have one predominant prayer if we’re living in the end times. It’s, Father, my adversary is slandering me. The religious system is out to get me. I’ve been accused day and night. The spiritual battle is intensifying. Father, I want justice from my adversary. And just as certain as the answer is given from the righteous judge, we know that every mountain will be moved. We know the answer already. It’s a matter of our faith.
We know the answer with a mulberry tree, we already know the answer. It’s an issue of our faith. I pray that in this community we will see many mountains move and many mulberry trees move because you’re increasing our faith through persistent prayer. We commit to it, Lord, from this day forward. We’re going to be persistent, believing that nothing is impossible with God, and that Jesus, you can do it. Thank you, Lord. We pray that you meet us, Lord Jesus, in the partaking of your Lord’s Supper. Increase our faith as we lay every mulberry tree and every mountain at your feet. Thank you. In Jesus Name, Amen