Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Don’t let failure robs us of faith in God. Develop your faith in God through a lifestyle of prayer and communion with God.

Failure has a great impact in our lives. Once beaten, twice shy.

• When we failed, we are hit by discouragement, fear and even doubts, that we can ever succeed.

• That makes the second or third attempt more difficult.

Put ourselves in the shoes of the father for a moment.

• He was a worried father, looking for a cure for his son. Little hope, but heard of Jesus.

• Brought him to see Jesus but could find Him – away up on the mountain.

• Nine of His disciples were there and so they were asked to help.

• The disciples prayed but it failed. Nothing happened.

Why were they powerless this time? They had similar ministry in the past – 6:13 “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”

• Jesus reacted with these words (9:19), “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?”

• Jesus gave the answer when the disciples asked Him privately later – Mark 9:29 “This kind can come out only by prayer.” They should have prayed!


Apparently the disciples did not trust God fully at this crucial moment. They trusted themselves.

• They might have taken for granted that a simple word and everything will be fine.

• Or that they had come to believe that the power was inherent in themselves, like a magician waving his wand (pronounce: want).

• Whatever it is, the disciples did not exercise believing prayer. They were probably relying upon themselves rather than God.

And we see the impact of this failure:

• First the father began to doubt if Jesus can really do anything for his son.

• And the teachers of the law began arguing with the disciples over this failure. A large crowd had gathered.

And then Jesus came, with his other 3 disciples Peter, James and John.

• What a contrast here – on the mountaintop, the 3 disciples were having a great time with the Lord, seeing a miraculous transformation of Jesus, God’s glory and power….

• And then at the foot of the mountain, the other 9 disciples were failing miserably in ministry, struggling with a failed attempt to demonstrated the healing power of God in their prayer.

• And it was causing a great commotion.

The desperate and hurting father said, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (9:22)

Jesus immediately fixed the IF clause – He corrected him straight away: “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” (v.23)

Doubt has set in. Naturally, you noticed.

The initial attempt was a failure and it has now affected his approach to Jesus.

Bro/sis, don’t let failures rob you of faith.

Whether it is the failures of others, or your own failures. Or some unforeseen circumstances, or things that did not work out right.

• In an imperfect world with imperfect people, in an imperfect church with imperfect Christians, we are bound to see failures after failures.

• We must not let these setbacks rob us of faith in God. He has not changed and He will not fail.

• Setbacks and failures in life will not change Him or His ability one bit.

What is important is advice Jesus gave, listen to it carefully:

“Everything is possible FOR HIM who believes.” (v.23)

• It’s about YOU! It doesn’t matter what really went wrong with the disciples. It doesn’t matter if the teachers of the law do not believe. You must believe!

• Others may have failed. Some may have fallen. But you stand firm and keep your faith in God.

• We must be determined not to let doubt sets in. Focus on God. Don’t build your faith in people.

My faith is not build upon what I see – in people or circumstances - but what God has said.

• This means that my life or yours has only as much of God as our faith permits. The promises of God are appropriated only by faith. Apply this today – in your studies, work, and ministry.

• God is looking for a people who will believe Him and take Him at His word no matter what the circumstances say or what other people are telling us.

Joshua and Caleb were two such people who took God at His Word, even though they had seen the same enemies the other spies had seen. The majority was wrong!

• That’s why God gave a wonderful compliment about Caleb in Num 14:24, “My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly.”

• As a result of this willingness to side with God’s promise, Caleb and Joshua got to enter the land.

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