Fortner, D.S. – Discovering Christ in the Gospel Of Mark©

Discovering Christ in the Gospel Of Mark©

© 2008
Don Fortner
2734 Old Stanford Road Danville, KY 40422

Discovering Christ in the Gospel Of Mark is a 79 chapter commentary on Mark by Don Fortner (Baptist, Calvinist-Reformed).

This module was created by wlue777 in colloboration with David Cox. We would like to thank Rev. Don Fortner of Grace Baptist Church of Danville, KY to allow us to convert his works into these modules.

Table of Contents of Discovering Christ in the Gospel Of Mark

Discovering Christ in The Gospel Of Mark
1. Christ the Servant
2. The Beginning of the Gospel
3. Our Savior’s Baptism, His Temptation, and His First Disciples
4. Lessons From A Day of Miracles

5. A Sunday with the Savior
6. How can A Sinner Obtain Mercy?
7. Four of the Most Important Men in the Bible
8. New Wine in Old Bottles
9. The Lord of the Sabbath
10. Watch Him

11. They Watched Him
12. The First Twelve Preachers
13. The Glory of the Gospel and the Danger of Unbelief
14. The Master’s Family
15. The Parable of the Sower
16. Some Matters of Personal Responsibility
17. Spiritual Growth
18. The Parable Of Mustard Seed
19. A Parable Of Every Believer’s Life
20. A Madman who Lived Among the Dead

21. Who touched Me?
21. Who touched Me?
23. Is not this The Carpenter?
24. The Calling of the Twelve
25. John the Baptist Beheaded
26. They have nothing to eat.
27. Five Reasons for Good Cheer
28. The Religion of the Pharisees
29. Total Depravity
30. Mercy Needed, Mercy Sought, Mercy Given

31. Ephphatha!
32. He Hath Done All Things Well
33. Satisfaction Found in the Wilderness
34. Watch out for the leaven!
35. He saw every man clearly.
36. Get Thee Behind Me, Satan
37. Truths of Deepest Importance
38. Lessons from the Transfiguration
39. A Welcome Intrusion
40. Matters of Tremendous Importance

41. The Salt of Hell and the Salt of Grace
42. The Master Teaches about Marriage and Children
43. Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him
44. Our Savior’s Amazing Doctrine
45. Five Great Things
46. Jesus Stood Still
47. Christ Our King
48. Nothing But Leaves
49. Have faith in God.

50. Three Spiritual Evils
51. This was The Lord’s Doing, and It Is Marvelous in our Eyes.
52. Knowing Their Hypocrisy
53. The God of the Living
54. So Near Home, Yet Lost!
55. Temple Teachings
56. Lessons from a Certain Poor Widow
57. The Beginnings of Sorrows
58. Take Heed to Yourselves
59. The Abomination of Desolation

60. The Lord is Coming!
61. No One Knows
62. A God to Trust and an Example to Follow
63. A Good Work Done for Christ
64. Furnished and Prepared
65. Lessons from the Last Supper
66. A Great Savior for Great Sinners
67. Gethsemane
68. The Betrayal
69. They Led Jesus Away

70. Peter’s Fall and Restoration
71. Barabbas A Picture of Substitution
72. He Saved Others; Himself He Cannot Save.
73. What convinced him?
74. Why was He forsaken?
75. The Savior’s Burial
76. When the Sabbath was Past
77. When Jesus was Risen
78. The Great Commission
79. So Then

Discovering Christ in the Gospel Of Mark is a 79 chapter commentary on Mark by Don Fortner (Baptist, Calvinist-Reformed).

Excerpt 1 – CHAPTER 2 “The Beginning of the Gospel”

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”


There is much speculation about the evangelist Mark and his gospel. I will leave the speculations to the people who are interested in chasing rabbits. We will be content with what is revealed. The book we are studying is called, “The Gospel according to St. Mark. “It is “a joyful account of the ministry, miracles, actions, and sufferings of Christ” (John Gill).

The human author of this gospel narrative was John Mark, the son of Barnabas’ sister, Mary (Act_12:12; Act_12:25; Col_4:12). He is probably the same Mark whom Peter describes as his son in the faith (1Pe_5:13).

Mark’s Gospel is somewhat different from the other three. He tells us nothing about the birth and early life of our Lord. He gives us very few details about our Lord’s sermons. Yet he gives greater details than others about his miracles. Of the four inspired histories of our Savior, Mark’s is the shortest. Yet it is not in any way less significant. Mark used greater brevity than the others; but his narrative is just as important. Those who suggest that Mark simply copied down some facts from Matthew, or that he wrote what Peter told him to write both miss the purpose of Mark’s work and undermine the inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture. J.C. Ryle very properly observed that Mark’s gospel is, “The independent narrative of an independent witness, who was inspired to write a history of our Lord’s works, rather than of his words.”

As we go through these sixteen chapters, I hope we will read every word with reverence and that God the Holy Spirit will give us understanding in the things written in them. I quote Ryle again, — “Like all the rest of Scripture, every word of St. Mark is ‘given by inspiration of God,’ and every word is ‘profitable.’”

Passing by the incarnation, birth, and early life of our Savior, Mark begins his gospel narrative by telling us who Jesus Christ is, and his starting point is the ministry of John the Baptist, when the Lord Jesus was about thirty years old.

The Beginning

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (v. 1). — Obviously, Mark does not mean for us to understand that the gospel began at this time, or that he was the first to preach it. There are a few religious imposters like that around; but Mark was not one of them. The gospel of Christ began back in eternity, in the mind and purpose of God almighty, when Christ was in his decree “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev_13:8). It was preached by God himself to our fallen parents in the garden (Gen_3:15). It was preached to, believed by, and then preached by Job, Noah, Abraham, and the prophets of God throughout the days of the Old Testament.

By these opening words of Mark’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit simply means for us to understand that this gospel age, this dispensation of grace, began with the ministry of John the Baptist, which was introductory to and one with the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. John’s ministry announced the end of the legal dispensation, the fulfillment and termination of the law by Christ, and the dawn of this day of grace. This is not a guess, but exactly what the Scriptures state (Mat_11:13; Luk_16:16).

Excerpt 2 – CHAPTER 7 Four of the Most Important Men in the Bible

“And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”


May God the Holy Spirit, whose words these are, be our Teacher as we study this passage. May he be pleased to take the things of Christ revealed here and show them to us, effectually applying them to our hearts, that we may be instructed in the gospel of his grace.

Gospel Hardened

The first obvious lesson to be learned from these verses is that those who live under but do not believe the gospel are the greatest and most blameworthy of all sinners in the world. This is a truth that is strikingly illustrated by the history of Capernaum. No other place in Palestine enjoyed so many displays of our Lord’s miraculous power, so much of his presence, or so many words of instruction from his lips as the city of Capernaum. After he left Nazareth, our Master dwelt at Capernaum (Mat_4:13). Capernaum was the headquarters of his ministry. His sermons were often heard there. His miracles were performed there. He was both well known and very popular there. The people of Capernaum gathered in great crowds to see him and to hear him. They were astonished at his power, dazzled by his words, and awed by his Person.

“And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them” (vv. 1-2).

The opening words of this chapter would be very delightful to read were it not for one sad, sad fact: — Nothing that our Master said or did seems to have had any lasting, spiritual effect upon the hearts of the people at Capernaum.

Isn’t that amazing? The men and women of Capernaum lived under the bright, dazzling, noonday brilliance of the Sun of Righteousness. Yet, they were unconverted. Rather than being melted to repentance, they were hardened against Christ by their spiritually barren familiarity with him. It was against this city that our Lord Jesus pronounced his heaviest curse and condemnation (Mat_11:23-24).

Capernaum stands before our eyes as a beacon of warning. Never was there a people so highly favored as the men and women of Capernaum. Never was there a people more hardened against the gospel. Never was there a people more severely condemned by our God. Let us beware of walking in their steps!

The same gospel, which is a savor of life unto life to those who believe it, is a savor of death unto death to those who believe it not. The same fire that melts the wax hardens the clay. None are so hardened as those who are gospel hardened. From such hardness may God be pleased to keep us by his grace.

Blessings in Disguise

The paralyzed man in our text shows us a second very important lesson. — Great afflictions, trials, and sorrows are often the forerunners of great blessings.

“And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (vv. 3-5).

I suspect this poor, impotent man spent many hours every day of his miserable life asking, “Why did God do this to me? If there is a God in heaven, if he is good and wise and gracious, why did he give me these bum legs and mangled feet?” And I do not doubt for a moment that, from this day forward, he never ceased to thank God for that lifelong trouble which at last brought him to Christ and brought the forgiveness of sin to his soul! He would never have been brought by his friends to the Master had he not been in such a miserably helpless condition.

“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines Of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread, Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense; But trust Him for His grace. Behind the frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour. The bud may have a bitter taste; But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan His work in vain. God is His on interpreter And He will make it plain.”

William Cowper

Excerpt 3 – CHAPTER 15 The Parable of the Sower

“And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”


Of all the parables spoken by our Lord during his earthly ministry, none is so widely known and so little heeded as the parable of the sower. The parable itself is easily comprehended.3

3 Robert Hawker’s comments on this same parable and our Savior’s explanation of it in Mat_13:3-23 are so helpful that I give them to you in their entirety. — “Very happily for the Lord’s people, Jesus hath not left this parable of the sower to our interpretation, but hath given it himself, and which therefore supersedes all the labors of his servants. And so plain and clear is our Lord’s explanation of it, that a little child, under grace, may understand it. I detain not the Reader to add to what Jesus hath here said, but only to observe upon it what a beautiful vein of instruction runs through the whole of it from them that understand it not, (See also what is meant in scripture of the want of understanding. Job_28:28.) means not that he taketh away what was sown of grace in the heart, for grace implanted by the Lord can never be taken away, but that he causeth the graceless hearers to forget what they heard. In them, as well as all others of the unprofitable hearers, as children not of the kingdom, is fulfilled that striking prophecy of Isaiah, which, from its vast importance, is quoted no less than six times in the New Testament; namely, in this Chapter, verses 14, 15. Mar_4:1. Luk_8:10. Joh_12:40. Act_28:26. Rom_9:8.

When the Lord Jesus compares himself to a Sower, and the seed he soweth to the Gospel of his kingdom, we enter at once into the blessedness of apprehension concerning the whole purport of salvation. But when Jesus speaks of the devil, under the figure of the fowls of the air, catching away that which was sown in the heart, it should be remembered, that it is the ministry of the word, and not the grace of the Lord Jesus that is thus rendered unprofitable. The heart is sometimes put for the memory; as in the instance of Mary. And she kept all these sayings in her heart; that is, in her memory. Luk_2:51. So that by the devil’s catching away the word

In like manner, concerning the sun arising on the stony-ground hearers, we are not to suppose that our Lord meant the Sun of righteousness, for he ariseth not to scorch, but to warm, and with healing in his wings. But by the sun being up, is meant the sun of persecution, the drying, scorching heat of what the Church complained of, Son_1:6. the anger of men.

The persons here spoken of were never rooted in Christ, and therefore no dews of heaven to water them; and moreover the seed is said not to have fallen into the ground, but upon stony ground. And those men who, from hence, have argued of the possibility of falling from grace, should first have observed, that they never were in grace. It is impossible to lose that we never had. An union with Christ, brings after it a communion in Christ. These stony-ground hearers never had root, and, as such, could not do otherwise than wither away.

To the same purport is what is said concerning the seed sown among thorns, It is not supposed that the characters here alluded to, are the openly profane, and such as are inattentive to divine things, but rather such as make much profession. They have received conviction in the head, of the importance of salvation, but from never having felt it in their heart, and no saving grace having passed upon them, this world’s riches are preferred to the riches of eternity, and their hearts, like ground over-run with thorns, and wholly unfruitful.

By the good ground, into which the seed is cast, is meant an heart renewed, and made good by sovereign grace, for every man’s heart by nature is evil. And the different product from hence, is also wholly from the same grace, and not man’s improvement. But it is blessed for the soul of that man, whose increase is but of the lowest kind, that all is of the same quality, though not of the same quantity. The drop of dew on the blade of grass is as truly water as the ocean. And an union with Christ makes the blessed, the humblest soul as much as the highest. For it is all of

Everyone is familiar with the work of a farmer. He plows his fields, sows his seeds, tends his plants, and gathers in his crop. And every farmer knows that much of the seed sown is lost forever, bears no fruit, and is profitable for nothing. Yet, very few people appear to understand the spiritual implications of this well-known parable.

This parable is of universal application. So long as the Kingdom of God is in this world, so long as sinners gather as local churches to worship God in the name of Christ, hoping for grace and eternal life in him, this parable will be applicable. In it our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us plainly that the vast majority of those who hear the gospel of the grace of God preached, even the vast majority of those who profess faith in him after hearing the gospel, are unregenerate, lost, and perish under the wrath of God. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” the parable of the sower.

The Sower

The sower is the gospel preacher. Gospel preachers are like farmers sowing wheat. They broadcast the Word of God upon the ground, upon the hearts of eternity bound men and women. This is not a careless, thoughtless process. The preacher, if he is indeed a faithful, gospel preacher, has his heart in his work. He is not indifferent to those to whom he preaches, or indifferent to their response. God’s servants care deeply for the souls of men. They sow in hope of harvest (Psa_126:5; Ecc_11:1; Isa_55:11). The sower is the servant of God, who faithfully sows the seed of the gospel in hope of a great harvest.

The Seed

Jesus, and from Jesus, and to Jesus, all the glory.”

The seed sown is the Word of God, the gospel of the grace of God revealed in Holy Scripture. — “The sower soweth the word” (v. 14). We recognize, preach, and rejoice in the glorious sovereignty of our God, especially in the salvation of his elect. Yet, we recognize that God almighty has chosen to use specific means for the accomplishment of his purposes. — “It pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.” — “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” That is Bible language. God declares that he saves sinners through the utility of the Word (Jas_1:18; 1 Peter 23-25).

God has chosen to save his elect through, or by means of the faithful exposition of the Scriptures. And the Word of God is faithfully expounded and preached only when the gospel of Christ is faithfully expounded and preached. Rolland Hill was exactly right when he said, “Any sermon that does not contain the ‘Three R’s’ (Ruin by the Fall, Redemption by the Blood, and Regeneration by the Holy Spirit) ought never to have been preached.”

God’s servants are not just preachers. They are gospel preachers. They do not just preach. They preach the gospel. The sower is the gospel preacher. The seed sown is the Word of God, the gospel of Christ.

The Results

The results of gospel preaching are always exactly according to the purpose of God. We randomly preach the gospel to all who will hear us; but the results are not random. When God almighty sends forth his Word, his Word always accomplishes his purpose (Isa_55:11). It either produces life and faith in Christ, or it produces judicial blindness and hardness of heart (2Co_2:14-16).

“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (vv. 11-12).

Here, the Lord Jesus is quoting from the prophecy of Isaiah.

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isa_6:9-10).

The apostle Paul tells us essentially the same thing in Rom_3:3-4 and 2Co_2:14-16. Man’s unbelief does not in any way, or to even the slightest degree alter the purpose of God. Rather, even the willful unbelief of the reprobate fulfills God’s sovereign purpose

“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged” (Rom_3:3-4)

Excerpt 4 – Chapter 49 “Have faith in God.”

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”


The fig tree the Lord Jesus cursed dried up from its roots. No doubt its roots died as soon as it was cursed; but the disciples did not see until the next morning, as they passed by and saw it’s tender branches and leaves withered. Let every eternity bound soul be warned. — He who smites the earth with the rod of his mouth and caused the fig tree to wither with his word shall slay the wicked with the breath of his lips (Job_4:9; Isa_11:4). This fig tree was useless when green and flourishing with life, because it bore no fruit; but, when it was withered, it was used of God to arouse his servant Peter and made opportunity for the Master give us the important instructions here set before us about faith in God. We should never forget that all things were made by him and for him (Col_1:16; Rom_11:36), that all things were made for his glory (Pro_16:4), and that he uses all things for the benefit of his elect (Rom_8:28). Here, the Lord Jesus used the useless fig tree to teach us about faith in God. Faith, true faith in God, is that which distinguishes true believers from mere religious hypocrites. May God the Holy Spirit teach us that which our Lord Jesus here taught his disciples, that we may “have faith in God.”

Essential Faith

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (vv. 22-23).

When the Master said to Peter, “ Have faith in God,” he was reminding him and us of the lesson of the barren fig tree. — Faith in God is essential. Peter appears to have been surprised that the fig tree, which was cursed yesterday, was withered today. But the Lord Jesus here declares that all men shall likewise perish without true faith in God. It is not just faith that is essential. Everyone has faith in something. That which is essential is true faith in the one true and living God, the glorious, triune, eternal, sovereign, holy Lord God who has revealed himself in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Scriptures.

Believers are people who live by faith in Christ, who is God our Savior. It is written, three times in Holy Scripture, “The just shall live by faith” (Rom_1:17; Gal_3:11; Heb_10:38). Faith is more than an isolated act. It is more than a creed, a confession, or a ceremony. Faith is the believer’s heart attitude of confidence in the Lord God. This faith in God is the gift of God to chosen, redeemed, called sinners. It is the very root and essence of true Christianity.

Initially, it is trusting Christ alone as our Lord and Savior (1Co_1:30). But true faith is something more than trusting Christ to save me. — It is trusting Christ to rule me, protect me, provide for me, and do all things needful for me, according to his own infinite wisdom, goodness, and grace for all time and all eternity.

If we would know the true meaning and value of faith, we should often read and meditate upon Hebrews chapter eleven. It was by faith that the elders obtained a good report. — “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Our Lord used a proverbial saying in verse 24 to describe the great power of faith in God. This proverbial statement about removing mountains must be interpreted cautiously and soberly in this day of religious nuts, who have been taught by health, wealth, prosperity hucksters that if you want a million dollars, just trust the Lord for it; and show that you trust him by sending me all your money. Our Lord’s statement here is not a blanket promise that God will do anything we take a notion for him to do, as long as we have enough faith, or believe perfectly, without a doubt in our hearts.

What he is telling us is this. — True faith in our God enables believers to overcome great obstacles, accomplish great things, and triumph over great difficulties. Do you want to grow in the grace and knowledge of your Lord Jesus Christ? Do you want to be a strong, valiant believer? Do you desire to grow in spiritual maturity? If you do, pray for more faith and jealously guard that faith God has given you. Nurture it with the Bread of Life in the house of God, water it with prayer, and exercise it with consecration to Christ.

We must never imagine that true faith is perfect faith. The fact is no one on this earth has perfect faith. With regard to the salvation of our souls, the smallest measure of faith in Christ, because it is the fruit and gift of God the Holy Spirit, proves our saving union with Christ. A drop of water in the morning dew is as truly water as all the rivers of the world. It is the same in nature and in quality, though not in quantity. The same thing is true regarding faith. I say that specifically for the comfort and encouragement of God’s saints who are weak in faith and continually cry to him to increase their faith (Luk_17:5).

To those poor souls who are cast down because of the weakness of their faith, the Spirit of God declares, “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Php_1:29). Faith itself is the gift of God; and the measure of faith we are enabled to exercise is the gift of God, according as God deals “to every man the measure of faith” (Rom_12:3). Wherever this grace of faith in Christ is given, it proves the possessor of it to be a heaven born soul, elect of God, for only those who were ordained to eternal life believe (Act_13:48). Robert Hawker rightly observed…

“As to the act of being justified by faith, it is plain from the whole tenor of Scripture that while it is blessed to have strong and lively acting of faith on the person, work, and righteousness of God our Savior, yet the babe in Christ, as well as the strong man in the Lord, is as truly justified, because it is Christ which justifieth, and not the strength of our faith in Christ which contributes thereto.

By him, (saith Paul) that is, by Christ, all that believe, whether slender faith or strong faith, all that believe, are justified from all things (Act_13:39).”

Our Lord’s word to his disciples in verse 23 is sweet and precious. Faith in God, trusting the rich mercies of God in Christ and the faithfulness of his covenant promises to us in his Son, will remove all sin and all difficulties. He compares our sins and all the obstacles and difficulties in this world arising from sin to a mountain. He probably pointed to the Mount of Olives and said, “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” By faith in Christ, we cast the mountains of our sins into the sea of God’s forgetfulness, where God has cast them. As soon as we trust him, they are gone. And, as soon as we take any mountain of trouble in the hand of faith and lay it upon the broad shoulders of God our Savior who cares for us, the troublesome weight of care is gone. With the faith he gives, as with God who gives it, nothing shall be impossible (Mat_17:20; Luk_1:37). Blessed are they, who rest the whole weight of all things upon their faithful, covenant God and Father, who walk by faith and not by sight. “He that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa_28:16).

Praying Faith

“ Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (v. 24). — Here our Savior teaches us that faith, true faith, inspires earnest prayer. Prayer is not, as many ignorantly presume, a blank check waiting for you to fill in the amount you want. Prayer is a spiritual exercise, involving spiritual matters. I do not mean that prayer has nothing to do with carnal things. It has everything to do with the believer’s carnal things. But to the believer, his carnal things are spiritual matters turned over to the Master. So when our Lord here tells us that when we pray in faith, we have whatever it is that we desire, he is simply re-enforcing what he taught in the model prayer, by which he taught us to pray (Mat_6:9-13).

I do not pretend to know much about prayer; but I do know that those things our Savior taught us to pray for in Matthew 6 are the things for which believers commonly pray. In all our petitions before God, these are, essentially, the things we truly want, the desires of our hearts. And, if these are the things we really want from God, when we pray, we shall have whatsoever we desire.

• We want the honor of God’s name — “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
• We desire the establishment of God’s kingdom, that is the salvation of his elect — “Thy kingdom come.”
• We want the will of God our Father. — “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
• We trust our God to supply the daily provision for our needs. —”Give us this day our daily bread.”
• We desire God’s forgiveness of our sins. — “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors .”
• We want our God to protect us from temptation, sin and Satan. — “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
• We seek grace from our God to personally give praise, honor, and glory to him. —”For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

Are these the things that concern your soul? Are these the matters dearest to your heart? Are these things you ardently crave from God? “Believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” They are as sure as if you already possessed them, for it is written, — “The desire of the righteous shall be satisfied” (Pro_10:24).

Fortner, Don - Discovering Christ In Mark (wlue777)
Fortner, Don - Discovering Christ In Mark (wlue777)
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