Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pentecost 16 - Proper 19

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42
Chartered February 25, 1838
Celebrating our 174th Year

Pentecost 16 - Proper 19
16 September 2012
Mark 9:14-29
Jesus the Great Physician
Lord Jesus Christ, our support and defense in every need, continue to preserve Your Church in safety, govern her by Your goodness, and bless her with Your peace;

Are there areas of your life that you cannot control? Are you searching for help at the right place? Are you learning to depend more completely on God? Do you rely on God even in the midst of doubt and fear? Is your belief mixed with unbelief? True faith is recognizing our own inability and the Lord’s power to save and heal. Jesus has the power to fix problems.

  1. The Search for help.
Vv. 14-19 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.  As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.

A.      The demon-possessed boy exposes our natural inability to control our circumstances.
1.       Sickness, poverty, accidents, and countless other situations remind us of our inability to do anything to save ourselves.
2.       This boy had symptoms of epilepsy, but the Bible clearly attributes this to a demon. This does not mean that all disease (or epilepsy) is demonic, but this one was as some may continue to be.

B.      This failure exposes the disciples’ inability to do the Spirit’s work with their own power.
1.       They had cast out demons before (6:12) but this case was more difficult (v.28)
2.       This event comes right after the mountain top experience of the transfiguration. How soon were they to forget what they had just experienced. 

  1. The Struggle for Faith.
Vv.20-26   So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

A.      Belief is often mixed with fear unbelief.
1.       The man shows faith by bringing his son.
2.       But he shows doubt by saying “if you are able…
3.       Jesus addressed the man’s doubts and fears, “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
4.       The man speaks the confession of faith, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!

B.      Christ has the ability to control what we cannot control. Vv. 25-27 “When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.”
1.       He could heal the boy no one else could heal.
2.       He could raise his from the dead if necessary, as he was telling them that He would Himself be raised from the dead. (8:31, 9:9-10, 9:31)

C.      Our inability is linked to our failure to rely completely on God. Vv. 28-29 “After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.”
1.       The disciples who had been with Jesus throughout these many years just couldn’t get it.
2.       This man, despite his flaws, hung in there believing even in the midst of his unbelief.

This man’s prayer, mixed with fear and faith, speaks to us today. Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief. Help me when I struggle. Help me when I’m facing misery, fear and doubt. Help me when the way is not so clear and the future unknown. Lord I believe – have mercy – rescue and save!

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