Summary: This message teaches of God's grace in helping us overcome setbacks in our faith.
“Broken Wings of Faith”
Dr. Steven G. Cook
A. Read Text - Mark 9:14-29
B. Jesus, with Peter, James, and John, had been on the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus had allowed them the privilege of seeing a glimpse of His glory.
C. Peter had wanted to build three tabernacles and stay “On the Mountain”, but the Lord told them that they had to “Go Down into the Valley of Human Need”.
D. It is here that we pick up the story - As they came from the mountain, they encountered a father whose son had a “dumb spirit”- the boy was demon possessed.
E. The father had brought the boy to Christ (vs. 17-18) because the disciples could not cast out the demon from the boy.
F. We read in Matt. 17:20-21 that the reason that the disciples were unable to exorcise the demons was because of their lack of faith.
G. The Lord Jesus uses this opportunity to teach all of them a lesson concerning FAITH.
II. “Broken Wings of Faith” (James Larkin Pierson)
A. I read a story once about a pastor in North Carolina who had invited James Larkin Pierson (Poet Laureate of NC) to church.
B. Mr. Pierson told the pastor that he may not want him to attend hyis church because he had not always been a God-fearing man.
C. James Pierson had written a poem entitled, “Broken Wings”, in which he wrote, “When questions rise and doubts allure, and faith has broken wings.”
D. The poet continued to explain that he had experienced many doubts and questions since he had first attended church. However, it was NOT the doubts and questions that had broken his wings of faith, but rather his inability to deal with them.
E. C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “As a SIN, UNBELIEF grieves the Spirit of God, but as a WEAKNESS, Unbelief, mourned and confessed, secures the Spirit’s help.”
F. As we read this story of UNBELIEF - both the father’s and the disciples’ - Can we not relate to their problem?? Haven’t we all had moments in our lives in which we have said, “Lord, I Believe, but help thou my Unbelief”???
G. Certainly there have been times in our lives when we have rejoiced to mount up on Eagle’s Wings and soared to lofty heights by Faith.
H. But is it not also true that we have been down in the valley of human need where we have found ourselves doubting God???
I. We ALL have a kindred spirit with the men in this story!
III. Common Misconception of Christian Life - No Problems!
A. Sadly, there are many believers who are misled into believing that Christians never experience difficulties in life.
B. This is not the teaching of the Word of God - John 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:12 - God has not promised to “deliver us from the valley of the shadow of death”, but He has promised to “go with us!”
C. When a Christian goes through such a valley of despondency and doubt, he is like a “Bird with a Broken Wing” - flapping its one wing relentlessly, going in circles, unable to get off of the ground.
D. Some people suffer from “heart dropsy” - they have fallen down in faith, and they don’t have the heart to get up!
E. It is sad when believers react this way to circumstances, yet they often do.
F. It is during these times that we should encourage one another; not stand back and take pop shots at them like the enemy!
G. The Christian life is not a “straight upward climb” as though we were mountain climbers! Rather, it is like the “building of a mountain road” - we find ourselves having to wind around the mountain steadily, moving from side to side, as we ascend to the top!
H. We are not mountain climbers - We are road builders!
IV. Great Men of God Whose Suffered “Broken Wings of Faith”
A. Jeremiah - (Jer. 12:1-4) “Why do the wicked prosper so?”
B. Rebekkah - (Gen. 25:22) “If it be so, why am I thus?”
C. Elijah - (1 Kings 19:1-4; 18) “…now, O Lord, take away my life”
D. John the Baptist - (Lk. 7:18-28) “Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?”
E. Peter - (Gospels) - denied Christ 3 times
F. All of these great men of God had times in their lives in which they experienced “Broken Wings of Faith”!
G. There is no disgrace in genuine doubt or questions.
H. Tennison wrote - “There lives more faith in honest doubt, than in half the world’s creeds!”
I. One preacher wrote concerning Job - “They (his backslidden Baptist friends) had their theology, but Job had his God! They had their little answers, but Job had his big questions which had more honest religion than all of them!”