The demon possessed boy needed someone else to petition God for his release. Besides praying God’s armor for yourself, pray it for others. And PRAY for God to help you and others in their lack of belief Pray for wholehearted belief…because with that anything is possible!
How do we believe better? How do we believe more? How do we believe in Christ Jesus ‘Wholeheartedly’? Wholehearted belief results from relational investment, trust & commitment. When you believe in something wholeheartedly you have OWNERSHIP. How does that happen? God ultimately makes it happen!
We have a role to play: The practices & attitude of Discipleship to Jesus Christ! Where do we start? How do we respond to God working in our lives? It is simple: We are to ask God to help us in our unbelief. The way HE does this is to 1st make us all FAT: Faithful / Available / Teachable. This is how we become wholehearted in our belief in Jesus. It is an intentional seeking of God to grow our faith by BEING A FAT Disciple. Who needs to grow like this? Who is less than wholehearted in their belief? Based on Scripture, it is Jesus Christ’s chosen Disciples [that means all members of His Body].
The Disciples couldn’t cast out the demon in the boy. They had done it before… The disciples lack of belief was their problem, they didn’t fully believe in Jesus. The disciples did not have the preparation in prayer that was necessary [Jesus did].
Today’s passage is a lesson for all those who call themselves Christ’s Disciples AND those who are to become Disciples of Christ. Let’s see what God’s Word Says!
Mark 9:14-29 [NLT]
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet Him.
- The four of them return from the mountain [not sharing what happened]
- A crowd had gathered to watch some Scribes argue with Jesus’ Disciples
- When Jesus shows up people are drawn to Him like no one else
16 “What are you arguing with them about?” He asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 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.”
- Jesus gets right into it: ‘What is the dispute’?
- The father of the boy speaks up. This is not a hypothetical argument
- The boy’s condition was diagnosed by his father: it was an evil spirit
- And what the Disciples had done before didn’t work on this boy
19 “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.” 20 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.
- Who is Jesus calling an ‘Unbelieving Generation’ [You People]
- Jesus is disappointed in the halfhearted faith of His disciples
- The demon reacted to Christ’s presence [The demon knew fully who he was]
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “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.”
- Why does Jesus ask about the duration of the issue?
- He discerns that this is ‘Demonic Possession’ vs ‘Demon Activity’
- Anyone can be the target of demon activity, only unbelievers can be possessed
- His father believed the demon wanted to kill the boy, so he was desperate
- He saw Jesus as a source of help but not as ‘God All Sovereign’
- He, like the Disciples, did not fully believe in who Jesus was
- This is what you call ‘Half-Hearted Belief’ [‘If you can’]
- Jesus is like; ‘Obviously you don’t know who I AM’
- The problem is not with Jesus it is with US!
- Jesus says: the only thing limiting the blessing of God in your life is your belief!
- Jesus confronts him with truth: ‘You don’t fully believe who I am’
- The response of this man is an example for us, all of us, Disciple or not:
- He says: ‘I believe You [God] please help me believe whole heartedly!’
- This is what Jesus wants from those who put their faith in Him: Ask for more!
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8
- It seems like He wants to minimize the commotion
- He calls the demon by name and commands it specifically [All Sovereign]
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
- During it’s forced exit, the spirit takes one last shot…
- Jesus drove the demon out and then perhaps brought the boy back to life
- It is the new life that occurs when someone is freed from demonic control
- Why did they seek privacy before being debriefed?
- They had driven out evil spirits before, why not this time
- The entrenched nature of a demon possession call for high level warfare
- This was the next level in their training and they needed a new kind of training
- They needed more prayer training [As do we]
- Prayer to prepare and prayer to fight
What do you believe Jesus can do? What can HE do on your behalf? What is possible for YOU as a wholehearted believer in Christ? Do you think Jesus wants His Disciples to believe in HIM wholeheartedly? We all have need to grow like this!
If you believe half-heartedly in Jesus Christ you will: Serve halfheartedly / Give halfheartedly / Worship halfheartedly / Study Scripture halfheartedly / Pray halfheartedly / Love halfheartedly
Do you want to believe wholeheartedly? If so God’s Word today is telling YOU how! Do what this man did: ask Jesus to help your unbelief. But you have to start with some faith. ‘I believe, help my unbelief’!
Have you ever asked God to cause you to believe more fully in Christ? Do you believe in Jesus enough to confront demonic forces? How is your prayer life preparing you to overcome evil?
APPLICATION: What to Believe & How to Prepare
OUR NEED: Wholehearted Belief In Christ
Midtown Church Statement of Faith [Compilation of ‘Creedal Statements’]
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father and the Spirit, by whom all things were made; who was conceived and incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified for us, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again according to the scriptures and ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, our High Priest interceding on our behalf, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son who with the Father and Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets; His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service.
We believe in one holy universal and apostolic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, one baptism for the remission of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation. We believe that the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head.
We believe in the God inspired original manuscripts that encompass the cannon of scripture as affirmed at the council at Carthage in 397 A.D. (except for the Old Testament Apocryphal Books). The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of God’s will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.
We believe that man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost, and only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.
We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only those who have come to all encompassing faith in Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus become children of God.
We unite in inviting all men to confess the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man, with a rational soul and a body. He is of the same reality as God as far as his deity is concerned and of the same reality as we ourselves as far as His humanness is concerned; thus like us in all respects, sin only excepted.
OUR NEED: Prayer Preparation
Pray The Armor of God
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~ Ephesian 6:13-16