Dr. Ed Young - Your Faith Can Move a Mountain
The most misunderstood word is the word love. The word love is abused so many, many times when we utter that word. The second most misunderstood word is the word faith. We misuse faith all the time. We abuse that word. We have the idea of faith is believing something that is contrary to common sense. Most of us think faith is like that little girl in Sunday school when asked what was faith and she said, "Faith is believing something that you know in your heart is not true".
And a lot of people have that idea about faith. It's some kind of mysterious thing. It some kind of mystical thing. It's some kind of esoteric thing. And we really do not put content in it and people are running around saying oh, I've got a whole lot of faith. I've got strong beliefs. Faith can get me through anything. But we realize faith just floating out there without content, without an object is totally ineffective. It's misdirected, it's abused faith. My friend Lee Strobel said that faith is like pornography. That'll get your attention. And I think he's exactly right. He reminded us of in 1964 when the Supreme Court was trying to make a decision as to where to draw the lines and to define pornography, that deadly disease that's infiltrated all of our society.
And so Justice Potter Stewart said, he said, "I cannot define it in a simple sentence but I know it when I see it". And that's true of faith. It's hard to define it in a simple sentence but we know it when we see it. The best definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11. And we know that it is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. But what does that mean? You're probably wondering now tell me what the substance of things hoped for, what does that mean? What is the evidence of things that you can't see? What does that mean?
And that definition would just float out there in oblivion except the writer of Hebrews has a long list of men and woman who lived by faith. He said, "By faith, by faith Abel. By faith, by faith Abraham. By faith, by faith". And suddenly you see faith is not something that you accumulate and you might pour into a container and say I've got a little faith and I want more faith. You can't measure faith in terms of quantity. You just can't do it. In fact if you would take a picture of faith, the picture would be blurred because real faith is always moving. It is never static and stationary. And therefore when we look at faith we have to say man, what exactly is faith? How does it operate?
All of us would stand and say I want more faith than I have. And we have two tremendous stories of faith. One is a faith that took place on top of a high mountain. The other is faith that took place in a low valley. Now no one knows for sure which mountain in Israel is the Mount of Transfiguration. A lot of people think it was Mount Hermon. I like to think it was Mount Tabor because I've been on Tabor and I've never been on Hermon. But you could debate that but Mount Tabor is where we know that Jesus took those three intimate apostles, Peter, James, and John. He had announced to them that he was soon to die and they didn't get it. And then on top of that he added a little phrase that I'm sure totally confused the big three.
We see it there in Matthew again. Not in chapter 17 but chapter 16 verse 27. It says for the son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father. Does anybody know what the glory of His Father means? The bottom line, I don't think those apostles knew. He told them, "I'm going to die. I'm going to go to the glory of my Father," and they just sat there like we do. Said, "The glory of our Father, wonder what that is". And then it says after six days Jesus took the big three. Left nine down in the Valley of Jezreel, the foot of Mount Tabor and they went to the top of the mountain. And we read what happened, verse, chapter 17 of Matthew. Six days later Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother and led them up to a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured. We get our word metamorphosis.
In other words, Jesus in the flesh suddenly was turned inside out and his glory was revealed. It wasn't a masquerade. A masquerade, you hide the outside. But he took the inside and revealed it. It was turned outside and the glory of God was revealed. You say what is this glory like? It's like the glory that Jesus had in Philippians 2 prior to creation when he was there with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The glory of God, it was that glory. It was the glory we'll see in Revelation 1 in his second coming. It is the glory of God. He was transfigured.
There was a metamorphosis and suddenly his inside was revealed in god-man, the glory on top of that mountain. Transfigured was the son of the living God and then did a description of it. He was transfigured before him and his face shone like the sun and his garments became white as light. Can you imagine faith shining, your face shining as the sun, your garments as white as light? The transfiguration, what a marvelous, supernatural moment in the history of man on top of the mount. And then we see what happened. It gets better.
Verse three, behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him. There was Moses who was the prince of lawmakers. He was the predictor of the coming of the Messiah. There was Elijah who was a precursor of the coming of the Messiah. Remember Elijah was to come before. We see that in John the Baptist. And here is Jesus now transfigured. The glory of God, the purity of God, the holiness of God, the light of God being revealed in him. And now he's talking with Moses. He's talked with Elijah. The lawgiver that God we know in Christ fulfilled every law and the prophet, the king of the prophet we know in Christ all the prophecies were fulfilled.
What a moment when the transcendent became imminent, a supernatural time. If we'd been there I'm sure you'd say I'd be in awe and wonder and amazement and praise. But I want you to see something here. There's a time to speak and there's a time to be silent. Count Zinzendorf said he could be silent in eight different languages. And of all times if we were there we'd certainly at least be silent. But here's old Peter. My, my Pete. Look at verse four. He said Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah".
While he was speaking, Peter's still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, Shekhinah, the presence. And behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him". And when the disciples heard this they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. God the Father spoke as a Shekhinah of God fell upon that group. Jesus transfigured, oh me, and there was Moses and there was Elijah. And now God speaks and the Shekhinah came. And these three apostles fall to their face. And God said, "Listen to him. Listen to him".
And then I love this little verse. I've loved it for years and years. And Jesus then went to Peter, James, and John. They were flat down. It says, "Get up, it's all right. Get up, get up, it's all right. Don't be afraid". And lifting up their eyes they saw no one except Jesus himself. It's not Elijah, Moses, and Jesus. The cloud came. Elijah and Moses were gone and Jesus stood alone preeminent, son of the living God. Jesus stood alone. Would you say that's a mountaintop experience? And on that kind of experience the only way we can respond is with a resounding... With a resounding...
Now we have mountaintop experiences but if you just stay on the mountain as Peter said, let's build a tabernacle. Let's just stay up here. The kingdom is gone. Boy, this is it. Who would want to go anywhere else? But mountaintop experiences, we have them so that we will be equipped to be effective when we go down in the valley. It's the mountaintop of glory and it's the valley of ministering and meeting need. If you're in the valley without having been on the mountain you run out of ammunition. The valley empties us in service, in love, in ministry. And unless we go back on the mountain and get filled, get full again, we won't be effective in the valley.
People who just live in the valley, they get tired, they get empty, they get jaded, they get ineffective. They get dull and boring and the same old SOS that they go through. They're not interested in anything. They burn out and they burn up. So we have to have the glory of the mountain to be effective in the valley. We need Mount Tabor because we'll go down to the Valley of Jezreel. This is true of every life. And I want you to look and see what happened. Verse nine, and they were coming down from the mountain. Top, bottom. The Mountain of Transfiguration, wow. And now we see a wow in the valley.
Matthew 17:14 following. When they came to the crowd a man came to Jesus falling on his knees before him, saying, "Lord have mercy on my son for he is a lunatic and very ill. For he often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to your disciples and they could not cure him". Now I want you to now take and just flip over with me to Mark. Keep your place there in Matthew. Chapter number nine reading verse 23 following. And Jesus said to him, "If you can all things are possible to him who believes". Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief". Verse 25, when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering he rebuked the unclean spirit saying to it, "You deaf and mute spirit, I command you. Come out of him and do not enter him again".
Now back to Matthew picking up chapter 17, and Jesus answered and said, see the parallel, "You unbelieving and perverted generation. How long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to me". And Jesus rebuked him. The demon came out of him and the boy was cured at once. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out"? And he said to them, "Because of the littlest of your faith. For truly I say to you if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting".
And in this story that I read you have some illustrations of faith. First, do you have no faith. Look at verse 14. Jesus said, "the unbelieving and perverted generation". Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in a generation that more and more has no faith. No faith in the transcendent, no faith in God. No faith in his son, no faith. In fact, in our lifetime we're seeing more and more the secularization of everything we're about. America has basically forgotten its Judeo-Christian roots. And as this secularization of our society comes more and more people stand up and say I don't have any faith. I have no faith in all of that. It started with the Enlightenment and it has progressed all the way through our Western culture until today.
No faith, a generation of no faith always becomes just exactly what Jesus says, perverted. That which seems to be right to them is really wrong to almighty God. A perverted, confused, mixed up generation. There is no faith. Also, there is little faith. Remember when the apostles after Jesus had healed the boy the apostles moved to one side, the nine who where there who tried to heal him? And they said, "Why couldn't we heal him"? See, Matthew 10, they had been sent out on a mission by Jesus. They had healed folks. The lame had walked. The blind had seen. And now they say, "Well, why couldn't we heal this boy"? And Jesus said, "You can't heal when there's a absence of prayer and fasting".
In other words, while Jesus was gone that period of time they didn't stay obedient in the discipline of the faith. They thought healing was just a formula. Bang, bang, bang. Pour some oil, lay your hands on, bip, you're healed. Look, it worked! And it worked again and again until finally it was a magical thing and not a supernatural God thing and they couldn't heal the boy. They had little faith, little faith. They had faith in the manipulation of the methodology of healing in the name of Jesus and therefore it didn't work. And then we see in that same story I read doubting faith, doubting faith. That's what I read in the gospel of Mark parallel to this.
Now look at the situation. These nine guys, I don't know how long they tried to heal the boy. I don't know what gyrations they'd been through in prayer and everything else but they'd been ineffective. He was still epileptic. He was still demon-possessed. And the other gospel tells us he couldn't speak and he couldn't hear. He was the only son of the father as Jesus is the only son of God. A lot of parallelism there. And then we see they couldn't do it. And then they come and Jesus goes to the father and the father said, "Can you heal my boy"? And Jesus in the other gospel passages asked how long has he been sick, what's the nature of his ailment and the father tells him. And then Jesus says something to that dad that's rather remarkable. This is doubting faith, by the way. Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible".
Now if you'd been that dad, what would you have told Jesus? Oh, I believe you can do it. I don't have any doubt about it, you're Jesus. No, no, no, no. All of his nine followers had failed perhaps over a period of time and the father was honest. When you and I begin to try to deceive and lie to God we're in monumental trouble. He said, "Lord, I believe, I believe you need it but help now my unbelief. I believe you can do it but I doubt it". That's what the father said, "I doubt you can do it". So on a scale of one to 10, if a 10 was healing faith to the max how much faith do you think that father had? Think he had six? Did he have a four? I don't think he had a one. I don't think, he had about a .0005 faith, just a little touch of faith because he'd seen failure by the doctors, failure by the magicians, failure by the apostles.
And now Jesus came and he just had just a little bit of faith but he was honest with the Lord. He said, "Do you believe"? And he says, "I believe but I've got some big doubts". And in the next breath, bang! Jesus healed the boy! Hmm, Jesus healed the boy and that little bitty faith became mountain-moving faith. The boy was whole. And that's the way faith operates in every single life. And Jesus says, "If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed". It would be a black mustard seed about 39/1000 of an inch long. Jesus said if you have that much faith you can say to Mount Vesuvius move to South Texas and bam, it'll be moved. Mountain-moving faith. What does that phrase mean, that wow expression? Oh, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move, what does that mean? Mountain-moving faith was a proverbial expression.
For example, I saw a guy the other day. He'd been driving let's just say a little bitty car and he says, "You know, I've got a bigger car now". And I'd say, "Well how big is it"? He said, "That car I bought is big as Dallas". Now you know literally that car is not as big as Dallas but it's a proverbial expression that we use. Somebody says well you're making a mountain out of a molehill. Is that what you're doing? No, you're just exaggerating something. It's a proverbial expression. That's what this is, mountain-moving faith. And it was used when the rabbis would take the Torah and interpret it to the people. And when a scholarly, skilled rabbi would interpret scripture in such a remarkable way they would say about that teacher that you know, you pulverized that text. You flattened out that text, that you just moved mountains away from that text so we can really understand it. That was the phrase that was employed. So mountain-moving faith.
Remember, faith is not how much you have of it. It's the quality of it. And God can take just a smidgen of faith and do amazing things. Little boy, end of the day everybody coming out of the office building went down and stood on the curb in the middle of the block. Not on a corner but he stood right in the middle of the block on the curb. Had a little satchel on his back, was standing there. Cars going by. Businessman came down, saw the kid there, and he said, and you know, he said, "Son, what are you doing? Why are you standing here"? And he said, "I'm waiting for the bus to pick me up". The man said, "the bus doesn't stop in the middle of the block. It will stop only if you go to the corner there and you turn left, go across the street. Go another block up on that corner. That's the bus stop. That's where the bus stops. He'll not pick you up here". Little boy said, "I've got a lot of faith the bus'll pick me up right here".
The businessman said, "Son, I don't care how much faith you have. The bus is not going to stop for you in the middle of the block, not here". He said, "Well I've got faith that it will". Businessman said, "You're wasting your time". You know, the businessman gave the kid good advice, didn't he? I've seen a lot of people like that. I've seen all, I've got a lot of faith that this is gonna happen or that's gonna happen or this is not gonna happen. I've just got so much faith and I believe it's gonna happen and their faith is not based on anything, right. And it just doesn't happen on that kind of faith, right. Because it's just nebulous kind of generalization of faith.
You know, that kind of nonsensical faith of I just got a lot of faith. I'm gonna believe and I'm gonna keep on believing. I'm gonna have faith and more faith. And then that little lad said, "Well I have faith the bus gonna stop here". Businessman said, "No way". Good advice, the businessman. But about that time big old bus coming down the road. The businessman turned and looked back and said, "I want to see his reaction when that bus goes zipping by". Little boy standing there. Here comes the big bus. Comes right up to the little boy. Comes over that direction, said... The bus door opens. Little boy puts his sack over his back. Stepped off the curb. Walks up the steps of the bus. The bus door opens. He gets on and he turns around and looks at the businessman. He said, "Mister, the bus driver is my daddy".
Listen carefully. When your Heavenly Father is at the wheel your faith is placed. There's an object of your faith and that kind of faith that we demonstrate when the Heavenly Father is at the wheel, all we have to do is step off the curb and step up those steps and enter that door and our Heavenly Father will take you on the ride of a lifetime.