Summary: Does faith really work?

The Importance of Faith

The Book of Mark

Mark 9:14-28

I. Introduction:

A. How many times have you been in a place where you really needed something in your life, either physically or spiritually?

B. Yet when you talked to the Lord about it you just kind of half heartedly asked for help?

1. Not really sure that He would help.

a) Not really sure that He could help.

C. The end result is often failure and this failure stems from a lack of faith.

D. Faith as defined in Hebrews 11 is the essence or substance of things hoped for and the evidence or proof of things not seen.

1. It is the dependence or trust or confidence in something or someone.

2. Lack of faith then would be defined as a lack of dependence or trust or confidence in someone or something.

E. We exercise faith in some form all the time.

1. When you went out this morning to come here you exercised faith in your vehicle.

2. When you sit down in a chair you are exercising a degree of faith.

3. When you come to a bridge on a highway.

4. You may not articulate it but by your experience over time you have come to trust those things to work for you when you need them.

F. The Bible emphasizes the need for us to exercise faith in God.

1. We are saved by faith Eph.2:8-9.

2. We live our Christian life by faith.

a) Ro.1:17.

b) 2Cor 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

c) Gal.2:20

d) We cannot please God except by faith Heb.1:6.

3. The difficult part of all of that is that we exercise our faith without sight.

a) We can’t see God.

b) We have to take His word for it all.

G. When we fail to act in faith we limit what God can do through us.

H. That is what our text is about today.

1. The Lord begins His final journey to Jerusalem here.

a) From this point on in the book He focuses on teaching the disciples important lessons they need to learn before His departure.

b) Interestingly His first lesson and His last lesson are on the topic of faith.

2. Let’s look at this passage in two parts.

a) Helplessness without faith.

b) The Power of Faith

II. I Helplessness without faith.

A. What a contrast with what had just occurred on the mountain.

1. The transfiguration is the high point of Jesus ministry and the lives of the three disciples who accompanied Him.

2. But as they return to the plain below there is doubt and turmoil.

B. The effect of human faithlessness.

1. The Demon possessed boy and his father.

a) Matt. records that he was an epileptic which is the way the demon manifest himself.vs17.

(1) This resulted in the boy being injured in several ways vs.17-18, 22.

(2) It had plagued him all his life vs.21.

b) His father was deeply concerned for his son Matt.17:15.

2. The disciples were unable to help the boy and his father vs.18b.

a) He brought him to Jesus but He wasn’t there so he asked the disciples to help and they failed.

b) This was in spite of having been given the power over spirits.

(1) Mk.6:7

(2) They had used that power with some success Mk.6:30

(3) Here they had failed miserably.

c) The reason for their inability was their lack of faith Matt.17:20.

d) It may also stem from an over confidence in their own ability vs.29.

3. Their lack of faith gave occasion for the enemies of Christ to find fault again vs.14.

a) The scribes seized the opportunity to discredit them and by implication Jesus.

(1) They were disputing and debating with the disciples.

(2) As we have seen already they cared less about the little boy they were only looking for an opportunity to discredit Jesus.

b) Isn’t that the way it is even today?

(1) People leap on “religious” people when they make even the slightest slip up and their attack is often relentless.

4. Their lack of faith causes others to question God’s power vs.22.

a) This is the first time that doubt has crept into a request for help.

(1) The leper “if you will”

(2) The Syrophonecian woman “If I can just touch”.

(3) The centurion “just speak the word and my servant will be healed.

(4) These all expressed faith and confidence that Jesus was able to do what they desired.

b) Here the desperate father, because of the experience with the disciples was questioning Jesus’ ability or willingness to heal his son.

c) How tragic

5. But there is a bright side.

III. The Power of Faith

A. Things changed when Jesus arrived on the scene vs.14.

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