Statement of Faith Current Teaching Teaching Index
Four Immovable Mountains - Part One
July 2014

            The Bible acknowledges that every person starts life in a wilderness called SIN.  This sin nature puts every human being at enmity with God.  Here are some verses that will prove this.  The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).  Moreover; "When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin)” (1st Kings 8:46a).  "Every one of them has turned aside; they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good No, not one” (Psalm 53:3).  Isaiah 53:6 says; "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of its all.”  Isaiah 64:6 tells us: "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness are like filthy rags.”  Also look at Romans 3:23 it says; "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and 1st John 1:8 says: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  Sin is a universal disease.  No one can escape it deadly grasp!

            As we travel life's road through the Wilderness of Sin, we run into many mountains some large, some small.  These mountains (trials, tests, problems, or battles) stand before us changing our lives in every area, some for the better and some for the worse.  It has been said that: "a man who has never been scarred from one of life's battles is a man who has never lived."

            We as human beings have found many ways of dealing with these mountains.  Some use psychologists or psychiatrists, others use drugs or alcohol, still others use mind control methods.  Perhaps the saddest attempt to escape life's problems is by taking one's own life.  However, there is a way that God has given us that is much better and more effective in dealing with these mountains.  "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done” (Matthew 21:21).  However, those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord can only use this method.

            As children of the Almighty we know that not all mountains we face are placed there by the devil to destroy us; or that they are there because of our own disobedience.  All of them no matter who placed them in our path, are there to teach us and help us grow in faith, patience, endurance, and the knowledge of God (Romans 5:3‑5; James 1:3‑4).  We must all spend our lives walking through this wilderness we call Sin.  We can walk through the wilderness allowing it to control our lives and receiving the fruit that goes along with it.  On the other hand, we can by walking through it; by the power of God that dwells within us, (Acts 1:8) gain the rewards God offers.

            While we walk through this wilderness of Sin, there are four immovable mountains every person will, and must face.  These mountains however, can NOT be removed, even if you have all the faith in the universe.              These mountains are:

                        1.         Mount Olivet.                                     2.         Mount Calvary.

                        3.         Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb.            4.         Mount Moriah.

            Mount Olivet, better known as the Mount of Olives:  is located east of the city of Jerusalem, and is separated from Jerusalem by the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which is also called the Valley of Kidron.  Mount Olivet is also known as the "Mount of Corruption" and the "Mount of Offense."  Solomon took these names from the heathen altars erected there (1st Kings 11:7).  In the life of Jesus, four great events took place on this mountain.  They are:

            1.         The triumphal entry (Matthew 21:1, Mark 11:1)

            2.         The prediction of Jerusalem's eventual overthrow - this passage of Scripture is known as the                                  Olivet discourse (Matthew 24:1; Mark 13:1)

            3.         Where Jesus prayed and was eventually captured and brought to the High Priest (Matthew 26:30,                         36; John 18:1)

            4.         The Ascension (Acts 1:9)

            Mount Olivet is where Jesus faced His greatest trial of faith.  Mount Olivet contains within its borders the Garden of Gethsemane. It was there that the choice set before Christ all eternity balanced on.  Jesus put the choice this way; "Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).  Doing the will of the Father's would bring Jesus to the next mountain.  Doing His own will would allow Him to escape the cross, live as He wanted to, and as a result all mankind would be eternally damned with no chance at redemption.

            There will come a point in every person’s life where he or she will face this same choice.  You can face the rest of the wilderness journey on your own without God, and you will receive its temporal and eternal results, and then go into eternity without God.  The other option is to face the rest of the wilderness journey under the loving care of God the Father, and enter eternity in God’s loving arms.  Romans 6:23 shows us the two options available to us when we face our Mount Olivet.  "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Your two options are eternal life with God or eternal death alone.  If you choose to walk through the Wilderness of Sin on your own without Christ, no promises are given, not even the promise of living one more tomorrow (James 4:13‑14)!   

            There was a rich man who thought that he had tomorrows and he started to plan for them, but to his astonishment they were not the plans the Lord had for Him.  Look at Luke 12:19‑21 "And l will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink; and be merry.  But God said to him, "Fool!   This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”           

            The other choice when facing the Wilderness of Sin is walking through it with Christ.  If you choose to walk through the Wilderness of Sin with God you have the promise of His help and guidance and the ultimate promise of eternal life.  Once the Lord has brought us to the point that we realize we must make a choice, God brings us to the next mountain, Mount Calvary.  Once there we look up and see three (3) crosses.  "And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left” (Matthew 27:37‑38).

            Mount Calvary is located within walking distance of Jerusalem, toward the east.  "Golgotha," is the Hebrew name, "Calvary" is the Greek name.  These names mean; "the place of the skull."  It is named "the place of the skull" either because of the shape of the mountain or because it was a place of execution.  This mountain is in a prominent place near a public highway.  The Romans selected places of this sort, because they wanted everyone to see the executions in order to deliver a strong and direct message to all who would disobey or question their authority. 

            Mount Calvary is the mountain that Jesus and two criminals were crucified on, one criminal on the left of Jesus, and the other on His right.  Look at Luke 23:32-33, 39-43 it says; there were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.  And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."  But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."  Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."  And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

            The first cross we will examine is the center cross, the one in which our Lord Jesus Christ hung and died on.  It is called the "Cross of Redemption."  This is the cross where, the payment or wages of our sin was paid. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:23‑24). 

            The "Cross of Redemption” is the place where judgment is no longer held against us because of our sins.  The payment due for those sins has been completely paid for by the sacrificial death of Christ.  This paying for ones account is called Justification (Colossians 3:2‑4).  Justification is past tense in the Greek.  It simply means, "just if i'ed never sinned;" it is where Sanctification and Glorification start.  Sanctification is present tense.  It means to set apart for sacred use.  As the holiness of God means His separation from all evil, so carries the meaning of sanctification in regard to Christians, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2nd Corinthians 3:18). 

            Glorification on the other hand is future tense.  It means to be made glorious or honorable, it is to be in a place of dignity, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16‑17).

            Now let’s look at the second cross which is directly to the left of Jesus'.  This one is called the "Cross of Rejection."  Notice how the criminal, who is being tortured to death, knowing that he has no future, no hope, no chance of escaping death, and not knowing what awaits him after he dies, treats the man that, the criminal knows has done nothing worthy of scorn, abuse, or death. "Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, 'If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us” (Luke 23:39).  The word blasphemed means to speak evil of; to slander, to defame or to speak impiously of.  This verse shows that the word “blasphemed” speaks specifically of those who by contemptuous speech intentionally comes short of the reverence due God or of sacred things.  Please notice the word intentionally!  To blaspheme denotes a willful act, one deliberately done, an act without excuse!

            How many people today either by personal witnessing, hearing the radio, watching television, or even by going to church, are brought to the hill called, Calvary "the place of the skull?"  They; looking up at the center cross, turn a deaf ear, a cold heart, a blind eye and a dead conscience, and go the way of the left cross, the cross in which the blaspheming criminal was crucified on.  They ridicule that which is the perfect demonstration of God’s true love.  They scorn the eternal work of salvation, slandering (who they call) the fool who hung there.  Because; to those who think they are wise, the message of the cross is but foolishness!  "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1st Corinthians 1:18, 21).

            What difference is there between the ones who stand around looking at the work that was done on Calvary's cross, and for interest sake alone, ask what it's all about?, but never wanting to come to know the man dying there.  Never acknowledging what His death brought, never once offering to share in the wonderful free gift that was given.  And the ones that ridicules and laughs at the dying savior.  Are we by our actions, words and deeds taking the way of the left cross, "the Cross of Rejection?"  On the other hand, are our lives by all its physical, emotional, and spiritual actions, portraying our true faith in the finished work of Calvary?  In other words; "if you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

            The man who goes by the way of the left cross, is sent back to face the wilderness of Sin once again.  After some time, (only God knows how much time), this man will be brought back to the first mountain, Mount Olivet.  There he will once again be brought to Gethsemane, to face the same great decision faced before.  Will I continue in sin; or will I cry out to the Lord, "not my will but thine be done.”  With each rejection, the time it takes to go through the Wilderness of Sin and return again to Mount Olivet becomes longer, harder, and more painful.  While making the choice to continue in sin becomes shorter, easier, and less painful.        

            There is no escaping the unending road that leads left of Calvary's redemptive cross.  That unending road will always bring you back to Mount Olivet.  Once there you must face your sin once more and decide whether or not to run away from redemption, back into the Wilderness of Sin crying; I don't need anyone to help me, I can do it on my own.  Or, do I accept the realization that in my heart I know is true, “I am a sinner, and I desperately need the Lord to help me.  The latter decision leaves you facing the cross on the right.  "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:14‑15). 

            The other cross the one on the right of Christ, also has a criminal hanging on it.  He is in the same situation as the criminal on the left cross.  The only difference between this criminal and the other is his attitude toward Christ.  Notice what this dying criminal said; "But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong. Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 28:40‑42).  The tender and humble heart of this criminal got him a great reward.  Notice Jesus' response: "Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you,' today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 28:43).  This criminal faced his sin and wanted to be set free from it.  We know that this criminal had heard of Jesus because the Bible says Jesus' fame was spread abroad throughout all Syria and Galilee (Matthew 4:24, Mark 1:28), and we know that by his statement, "Lord remember me when You come into Your kingdom", that he must have believed in Jesus with all his heart.  Jesus rewarded that belief with eternal life.

            So there are your choices.  On one side of the center cross you have a sinner rejecting its redemptive sacrifice, which means facing your sinful life alone, without Christ, without help, without hope.  Or, on the other side a sinner who has received the work of the center cross, that sinner has eternal life in paradise with Jesus. Which are you going to choose?  Choose now this day!  Will you reject Christ's redemptive work, or receive His free gift of eternal life through the blood offered for you by Christ on the center cross.  Remember, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).  "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Romans 5:18).           

            What we have learned so far is if you decide to go to the left of the center cross you will end up out in the wilderness to face your sin alone, without Christ, without help or hope: until the Lord Jesus brings you back to Mount Olivet again.  The other option is to accept the work done on the center cross, take the road leading from the right cross and faces the rest of the wilderness journey under the loving care of God the Father, and enters eternity in God’s loving arms.  Both these decisions will lead you back into the Wilderness of Sin.  The great difference is the man, who goes to the right does not go alone!  "For He (God) Himself has said; "I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b).  The Amplified Bible puts that verse this way: "For He (God) Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  (I will) not, (I will) not, (I will) not m any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake, nor let (you) down, (relax my hand on. you), assuredly not!”  What a great assurance!  To know that no matter what we go through, He is with us!  God being with us leaves us with the guarantee that; "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

            God sends us out into the wilderness to teach us and help us to grow in the understanding of God and of ourselves.  "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work; that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:2‑5).

            Just as the Lord led the Israelites through the Wilderness of Sin for forty (40) years, providing for them, caring for them, teaching them, and showing them His glory, majesty, power, and love, so God will lead us!  Deuteronomy 8:2‑3 says; "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”

             While we are on this life’s journey we will, just as the Israelites did, run into many other people who are walking through the Wilderness of Sin as well.  Most of these people have never been led to Mount Olivet.  They have not faced their Gethsemane.  They need you to help them find the way.  In other words, the people we run across while on our journey through the wilderness are placed there to be witness to (Ref. Matthew 25:35‑40). 

            This wilderness journey which we are now taking will take a lifetime.  The road is one that will bring us time and again to a third mountain as well, Mount Sinai which is also called Mount Horeb, the "Mountain of God."

            We will look at the next two mountains next month.

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