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December 2, 2007 PM

MK 9:14-29

INTRO: The boy of whom our text speaks was a tragic case. Not only was he apparently unable to speak or hear and had the symptoms of epilepsy. The synoptic gospels attribute the boys tragic situation to a "foul spirit" (9:25). The father described the effects of the demon's possession of the boy in such a graphic way. Anyone would have to have the deepest sympathy both for the boy and his caring father. And sadder yet is the fact that the boy was an innocent victim. This was not a disease he contracted from careless contact with another. It was not a congenital condition in the true sense of the word. The demon simply chose him and "possessed" him! The Devil does not care who is hurt by his evil, and he certainly did not care that this situation was horrible for all concerned.

    1. Mk 9:18 - "...and they could not..."
      1. remember Mk 6:7 - Jesus had given them power over unclean spirits
      2. something, however, is very much amiss here - they have failed here
      3. what has happened? (more about this later)
    2. Mk 9:14-16 - the failure results in opportunity for critics!
      1. people do watch for the failure of disciples - and pounce
      2. any opportunity to discredit Jesus' disciples is a "positive" for them
      3. so, we need to be so careful about our lives - words and deeds
    1. Mk 9:17-20 - "...I have brought unto thee my son..."
      1. the boy's situation was truly tragic ... he "pineth away" (withering)
      2. apparently, the father had intended originally that he find Jesus
      3. but Jesus was on the mount ... and he only found the nine apostles
    2. Mk 9:21,22 - The boy's "condition" was "of a child"
      1. doubtless, this father had suffered long and much for his child
      2. notice "if thou canst do anything..." - the sound of uncertainty?
      3. did the apostles' failure contribute to the father's uncertainty? perhaps - a disciple's failure invariable reflects back to the disciple's master! (2 Sam 12:14)
    1. Mk 9:23,24 - "...if thou canst believe..."
      1. notice how Jesus uses the man's words to Him to respond
      2. the man had apparently questioned Jesus' power to cast out the demon
      3. but it is not the power of Jesus which is "defective"! it is apparently faith
    2. The great possibilities of faith - "all things are possible to him..."
      1. to approach a need in hopelessness is to fail from the outset
      2. this entire incident is set in faithlessness - Mk 9:19 ... seeds of failure
      3. and faith must act in faith to accomplish the seemingly impossible
    3. Belief in the presence of unbelief?
      1. within the infancy of faith there continue to be questions, doubts, fears
      2. what one of us has not experienced just this phenomenon? we believe - but nagging doubts of human experience are still there
      3. but we must act in that infant faith as this man did ... and in acting we pray for an even stronger faith as he did ... remember, faith as the grain of mustard seed is capable of incredible things (Mt 17:20)
    1. Mk 9:25-27 - "...come out of him, and enter no more into him..."
      1. once again, the Lord commands the demonic kingdom as Lord!
      2. the demon is not only commanded to come out but not to reenter him
      3. although the demon had to obey, he would not leave the boy without one last damaging effort - so damaging that people said, "He is dead"
    2. But all things were possible with the Lord in the presence of faith!
      1. "Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose"
      2. I suggest to you that faith is always uplifting - triumphant
      3. but that faith must be well placed ... in the Lord
    1. Mk 9:28,28 & Mt 17:19,20 - "Why could we not cast him out?"
      1. in contrast with previous experience they have now failed
      2. what was the problem?
    2. Jesus identifies two problems they had - faithlessness and prayerlessness
      1. faith and prayer are the "activators" of power ... their connection with their power had become "faulty"
      2. absent prayer, faith will grow weak ... and discipleship will be troubled

CLOSE: We cannot face the great challenges of our lives without prayer and faith ... not an succeed through them. Notice what is said at 2 Tim 1:7. We have been endowed with a spirit of power ... but, precious friends, that powers in only accessible in the presence of prayer and faith!

Cecil A. Hutson

02 December 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)