Summary: exposition on Matt ch 17
THE LACK OF SPIRITUAL POWER
Matthew 17 v. 1 - 21 in national life , in church life (lethargy), in family life (problems), and in personal life (defeat)
1. The circumstances of this lack v. 1 - 13 Jesus on the mount of transfiguration
v. 1 The separation of the three, Peter, James, & John - saw something they never forgot 2 Peter 1 v. 16 Peter said we were eyewitneses of His majesty, John 1 v. 14 John said "we beheld His glory, as of the only begotten of the Father"
v. 2 The speech of the two - Moses the law, and Elijah the prophet, both spake of His decease Luke 9 v. 31"spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem"
v. 8 The supremecy of the one "then they saw Jesus only" v. 5 hear ye Him
2. The contrast of this lack i.e. with the faith of this Father v. 14 "a certain man"
v. 14 This man :-
(a) had an active faith i.e. he came to Jesus
(b) a humble faith v. 14 "kneeling down"
(c) an objective faith v. 15 "have mercy on my son" it was :-
A personal problem "my son"
A pertinent problem Luke 9 v. 38 "my only child"
A protracted problem Mark 9 v. 21 "of a child"
A perplexing problem v. 16 "they could not cure him"
(d) a persistent faith - I came to you - to the right person, with the right purpose, with the right plea, v. 15 "have mercy"
(e) a teachable faith, Luke 9 v. 24 `"Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief."
3. The consequence of this lack v. 16 "they could not cure him"
(a) The defeat of the disciples "they could not cure" - Matthew 10 v. 6 - 8 they had already cast out demons but not in this instance
(b) The disappointment of the Master v. 17 "O faithless and perverse generation"
(c) The disdain by the multitudes (scribes etc.) - here is a picture of the disciples looking to Jesus to relieve their embarrassment
4. The cause of this lack v. 17 - 20 "because of your unbelief" Note:-
(a) Faithlessness led to sinfulness v. 17 "O faithless and perverse generation"
(b) Sinfulness led to prayerless v. 21 "but by prayer"
(c) Prayerlessness led to carelessness v. 21 and fasting,
The defeat was not in their methods, their messages, nor their motives - but in their unbelief
5. The calamity of this lack
(a) Has God failed? No "he will have all men to be saved"
(b) Has the gospel failed? No "it is still the power of God unto salvation"
(c) Has the Holy Ghost failed? No "greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world"
(d) Has Christ failed? No - Christ healed the boy
(e) Has faith failed? No - v. 20 "if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed",
it is personal - "if ye" powerful - "mustard seed", purposeful, it removes mountains i.e. difficulties, and practial - it shall remove
(f) have you failed? v. 20 through unbelief or lack of faith, v. 21 or lack of prayer, v. 2 or lack of self-denial.
G.D. Watson sites :-
(1) Union with the Holy Ghost
(2) The Crucifixion of self
(3) Having no confidence in creature ability alone
(4) Using appropiate truth
(5) Willingness to fail
(6) and Constantly acknowledging the presence of the Holy Ghost as the secret to Spiritual Power
6. The cure of this lack v. 17 "bring him hither to me"
The source of salvation - was in Christ alone
The sufficiency of salvation v. 18 the demon departed
The soundness of salvation v. 18 the child was cured from that very hour