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All Things Possible

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
September 11, 2022 7:00 pm

All Things Possible

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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September 11, 2022 7:00 pm

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I have your Bibles with you today. Turn with me, if you would, to 9th chapter of the Gospel of Mark, and we're going to be looking at verses 9 through 13 to begin with. As they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

So they kept this matter to themselves questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. And they asked him, why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come? And he said to them, Elijah does come first to restore all things. How is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt?

But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased as it is written of him. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, we come before your throne now to lift up those in our congregation who are struggling and going through rough times right now. I pray for Chris Williams, that Lord you would be with him in power.

He was terribly hurt this week, injured, and is in the hospital recovering. Lord, he needs your help. I pray that you put your loving arms around him and help him to recover quickly. I pray Heavenly Father for Maiden Zimba as she is in the hospital and has had a stroke and it's affected her mind.

I pray, Father, that you administer her, give her peace that passes all understanding, bring healing to her body. Heavenly Father, the scripture before us today is a great challenge. It's a great reminder to us that we are and will be in spiritual warfare until either we die or Jesus returns. Father, this passage reminds us to refuse to depend on self or programs or abilities or even our knowledge to help us to learn what the disciples learned.

That is our dependence must be on you and you alone. Help us not to be alarmed or distressed by uncomfortable situations or flagrant evil demonic attack. May these situations remind us to run to you for wisdom, power, and assurance. As I studied the passage, this passage this week, I was moved by the disciples' compassion for this young boy who was so bound up physically, emotionally, emotionally, and spiritually. Lord, give us at Grace Church that same kind of compassion. Help me to preach your Word faithfully this morning.

Help me to preach it with clarity. I pray that Jesus will be exalted. I pray that you'd edify this congregation for it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus and the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. I want you to picture this in your mind. Jesus, Peter, James, and John are coming down Mount Hermon. It's a mountain that's 9,000 feet tall and there is great joy in these three disciples.

Where does that joy come from? They have just experienced the transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus stood before them and began to radiate his glory. As I shared with you last week, this was not a situation where the glory of God came down and descended upon Jesus. This was a situation where the glory of God, his Godness, emanated from within and went out.

He stood there and he became so bright, brighter and brighter and brighter, till he was as bright as the noonday sun. And then, to add to their shock, all of a sudden two men appeared there before Jesus. These two men didn't walk up. They didn't climb up the mountain to get to him.

They just appeared. It was Moses and Elijah. The Scripture tells us that they had come there to talk to Jesus about his decease or his death. They've come to, I believe, prepare him for his crucifixion. Perhaps they said to Jesus, Jesus, you remember how our heavenly father, how he told us what was going to happen, how he told us that you were going to go to the cross to be a substitutionary atonement for the sins of your people.

And you, Jesus, agreed that you would go to the cross and you would suffer the hell of every child of God who would ever live. As they're doing that, all of a sudden impetuous Peter jumped up. And Peter jumped up and said, Lord, would you like me to make for us three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah? And then, just as quickly as Moses and Elijah appeared, all of a sudden they disappeared and there was no one left there that Jesus and the disciples watched him. His glory diminished and diminished until he was just his normal self. And Jesus turned around to the disciples.

He said, it's time for us to go. And then they walked and they walked right back down the mountain. They kept walking right down the mountain and they knew they were going to the place where the nine other disciples had camped out. Peter, James, and John are literally filled with joy and excitement. And I'm sure that Peter said to himself, man, I can't wait to tell my wife about this. I can't wait till I tell my brother Andrew about what happened. I can't wait till I'm able to tell my friend Matthew about what took place.

They are going to be having a life change like we had and they're going to be so excited. That's what Peter's thinking. Jesus can read their thoughts. And Jesus stops. He turns around to them and he says to them, guys, do not speak this out to anyone else. Keep this to yourself.

Keep it quiet. Don't say a word about this until after I have been raised from the dead. Look at me at verse 10. Verse 10 says that they kept the matter to themselves but were questioning what the rising of the dead might mean. They believed in a general resurrection. They knew that the time was coming when Jesus is going to return to this earth and when that happened, the just and the unjust, the sheep and the goats, are going to be resurrected and there will be the judgment day and then He will usher in the new heavens and the new earth.

They knew about that. This is not what Jesus was talking about and they knew it. For Jesus was talking about His own resurrection that was going to take place in just a few months after He's been nailed to a cross. Three days later, He would be raised from the dead. So they did. These three obeyed Jesus's command.

They kept it quiet until Jesus died and then three days later, He was resurrected. Can you imagine how tough that would be? Man, if I had seen Jesus transfigured, turned dazzling gloriously white, I would be saying to myself, man, I can't wait till Cindy hears about this. Man, she's going to go bonkers. This is going to be great for her.

She's going to love it. And then I would not be able to say a word. Well, that's kind of how Peter, James, and John must have failed. But while it's still just Jesus and the three, they ask Jesus a question and they say to Him, Lord, why does the scribe say that Elijah must come first? Surely the appearance of Elijah brought this thought to their mind, brought this question up.

Remember a few weeks ago, we were looking at Peter's great confession of faith where he said, Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. But before that, Jesus asked all the disciples this question, who do people say that I am? One of the disciples jumped up and said, some say that you're Elijah.

And why would they say that? Because in the last book of the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi had prophesied that Elijah was going to come back, turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers. Now Peter, James, and John, they knew that Jesus was not Elijah. They knew that. That thought never even entered their mind. But they said, Jesus, we want to know when is Elijah coming back?

When's that going to happen? And Jesus said, Elijah has already come, and they did to him whatsoever they wanted to. In other words, they killed him. Now folks, this idea about Elijah returning was a big deal in Israel. When they had Passover meals once a year together, they would always have an empty seat, an empty chair, and they'd put it at their tables for each family. And they would have an empty plate, they would have a glass of wine there, and that was supposed to be for Elijah. And for anticipation that Elijah is coming back, and they believe that. Also, still goes on today with Orthodox Jews.

They still do that same thing every Passover. So Jesus said that this prophecy has already been fulfilled. Elijah has already come to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, the hearts of the children to the fathers. Elijah has already come to preach a message of repentance and to get the world ready for the Messiah. That's already taken place. A very interesting statement that's made, not here but over in the Gospel of Matthew, where the Gospel of Matthew is dealing with the same subject.

But this statement is added. Matthew 17, 13 says this, then the disciples understood that Jesus was speaking to them of John the Baptist. I think Jesus was saying, they murdered John the Baptist, and they're getting ready to kill me. Well, after the experience of a lifetime, Jesus, Peter, James, and John walked down the side of Mount Hermon. They get down where the disciples are, and all of a sudden they realize it's not just the disciples. There's a huge crowd there.

There's scribes, there's just people there to watch, and there's all kind of confusion and arguing and just junk that's going on. Now, have you ever heard people talk about a mountaintop experience? A mountaintop experience, they're saying, you know, that's a time when you're on just an emotional high. And they say, that's great to have these mountaintop experiences, but sooner or later you got to come back down to the real world. And when you come back down to the real world, it's going to be tough once again. I'm not sure that this story that we're looking at here is not where they got that from.

Well, I want to share with you today five points. The first point is demonic activity. Look with me at verses 14 through 18a.

And he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. Can you feel what Peter and James and John must have felt when they got to the foot of the mountain and they say all that confusion and arguing and all that stuff going on? You've probably experienced that. You've gone to church one Sunday, and man, it was just a glorious day the whole day. You got there for Sunday school, the teaching was powerful. You heard the sermon, it rang your bell. The music was so great, it just lifted up Jesus. Then you came back Sunday night. You experienced the same thing, and you went home, and you were just rejoicing because the Lord had been so real and so good that day. You got up the next morning on Monday, and you were just spiritually still pumped up, and then you got to work.

Ah! Boom! The bottom falls out. Your boss is in a bad mood. Your secretary calls and says she's got COVID.

Won't be in for two weeks. And then you got customers calling in. Everybody's mad, and they're disturbed. And your boss tells you, you got to work through lunch.

And not only that, but you got to stay late, and you just breathe a sigh of frustration. Look, that's what the disciples were experiencing here. I can hear them say, let's forget about all this stuff down here and just go back up on the mountain where it's just us three and Jesus.

I have felt that way a lot of times. Folks, this life is a sin-soaked world. When the crowd sees Jesus, what do they do?

The crowd runs to Him. This reminds me a little bit of Moses coming down from Mount Sinai. You remember Moses and Joshua. Moses had just received the Ten Commandments.

He's got the stone tablets in his arms. He's walking down with Joshua. They get about halfway down, and they start hearing noise. It's sensuous noise, frivolous noise.

It's noise of something that just sounds wrong. And then they finally get down to the foot of the mountain, and Aaron, Moses' brother, has been talked into making them a golden calf. And people are over there, and they are worshiping the golden calf. Needless to say, Moses was not a happy camper. And folks, in this passage, Jesus is not a happy camper either. Jesus hears the scribes screaming at the nine disciples, and Jesus says to the disciples, what are you discussing?

Before they can answer, a man says to Jesus, my son is mute. He has been constantly attacked by demonic spirit. That spirit convulses him. That spirit makes him foam at the mouth. That spirit stiffens him up and makes him rigid as a board.

Jesus, we brought him here because we knew that you could help him. You weren't here, and the disciples have not been able to help. Some liberal scholars have laughed at this idea that this malady was demon possession. They have said that this boy just had a problem with something that was akin to epileptic seizures. And they said that this thing is just kind of crazy, and it's not normal. It's just a physical malady, what it is. And so the disciples didn't understand it. They have never seen this kind of thing go on before, so they don't know that it's a medical problem, something like an epileptic seizure.

They don't realize that, so they're just kind of going along with it. Well, folks, this was not a medical issue. This was a demonic attack. Jesus did not tell the disciples that this boy needed a prescription pill. This was a problem with demons, and Jesus agreed with the Father.

John MacArthur had some good insight here. He said this, demons had been actively doing Satan's bidding in the world ever since the fall. They did not usually make their presence known, choosing rather to operate covertly by disguising themselves as angels of light. During Jesus' earthly ministry, however, they launched an all-out assault against Him, manifesting themselves more often openly and to some degree more willingly than is their normal practice.

But Jesus unmasked them, forcing them to reveal themselves even when they were unwilling to do so. This demon would likely have preferred to have remained undiscovered in the boy, although his father had discerned that his son's condition was the result of demonic activity. Others may have diagnosed him as having some kind of mental disorder. In fact, in Matthew's account of this incident, his father described his son's symptoms as those of a lunatic and epileptic. Those symptoms may have stemmed from the physical battering the demon inflicted on his unfortunate victim.

Luke records that the father spoke of the demon mauling his son, using a verb that could be translated to crush, to shatter, or to break in pieces, vividly describing the violence of the demon's assault on the boy. Folks, in today's world, we see similar reactions to the reality of demonic activity. We have liberal theologians who totally reject even the possibility of demonic existence. They view it as just a fairy tale.

They view it as nothing but just misdiagnosing a medical problem. And then we have people in our society today who are actually worshipping the devil. The devil who hates them with a bitter hatred. And then we have those who are just radical extremists, and they say that everything is a problem of demons. If there's an accident, if there's a sin, if there's a dilemma, if there's some problem, then it's got to be demons that did it.

They see a demon behind every bush. Folks, we need to be wise, and to be wise is to be biblical. The biblical stance is this, that we are to put on the whole armor of God, that we might stand against the wiles of the devil. We have more than the devil to fight. We have our flesh to fight.

We have the world to fight, as well as Satan. That takes us to point two, the disciples' weakness. Look at verse 18 b through 19. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able. And he answered them, O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?

Bring him to me. The interjection O here expresses emotion on Jesus' part. He is speaking primarily to the disciples here, and the disciples' weak faith was painful to Jesus. Jesus had empowered them. Jesus had taught them. Jesus had commanded them to go out. Jesus had been an example to them, and they had gone out, and they had done spiritual warfare before. But in this situation, they had no success at all.

No success at all. They had used the Lord's name. They had commanded the demons to come out of him. They had tried all of this.

Nothing worked. And the demon had thrown this boy to the ground, convulsed him, and he was actually foaming at the mouth. Folks, Jesus is not happy with these disciples. He calls them a faithless generation and says, how long shall I be with you?

In other words, how long shall I have to put up with you? Jesus calls these guys... He calls them men of little faith.

Jesus is thinking ahead to his crucifixion. He knows that time is soon coming, just a few months down the road, when he's not going to be able to be with them. He's not going to be able to personally, vocally speak to them about what they need to do. He's not going to be able to help them out. He's not going to be able to do for them physically what they can't do for themselves.

He is going to be in heaven. The Holy Spirit will help them, but he's not going to be there personally. Jesus calls these men, men of little faith.

Now, how do we view this situation? We say to ourselves, well doggone, the disciples were trying. They were doing what they've always done before. They were using the Lord's name. They were commanding the demons to come out. Just nothing was happening.

It wasn't working. So, in the back of our minds, what are we thinking? We're thinking, Jesus, you might be being a little too harsh here. What we need to realize is he's not being too harsh. The disciples are being too timid, and the disciples are not acting in faith. We're living in a society today that loves to be coddled. We don't like being corrected. We want to be patted on the back for just trying. Well, that doesn't build character, does it? That doesn't build character, does it?

It doesn't sharpen our skills, and it doesn't help us to strive for excellence. Jesus knew what was ahead for these disciples. All of them were going to be martyred for their faith, except John.

John was going to be thrown into a vat of boiling oil, and he's going to live through it. Jesus knew that once they got out on their own, even with the power of the Holy Spirit, Satan was going to attack them to try everything he could to keep the gospel from getting into the ears of a lost world. They were going to go out Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth. They were going to do that, but it was going to be a struggle against satanic attack. Folks, they didn't need coddling. They needed to get tough. They needed to have a bulldog stick to itness, and Jesus knew that, so he said, bring the boy to me.

Takes us to point three, desperate pleading. Look at verse 20 through 24. And they brought the boy to him, and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell to the ground and rolled about foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, how long has this been happening to him?

He said, from childhood. And it's often cast him into the fire and into water to destroy him, but if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. And Jesus said to him, if you can, all things are possible for one who believes. Immediately, the father of the child cried out and said, I believe.

Help my unbelief. Father was told by the disciples to bring the boy to Jesus. He took the boy by the hand, and he brought him right up to Jesus' feet. When that happened, there was an immediate demonic attack, and the boy started convulsing.

He fell down to the ground, shaking and trembling and foaming at the mouth. I wonder if the disciples' failure in dealing with that demon had given confidence to the demon. And I wonder if he said, I've made a fool of the disciples, and now I'm going to make a fool of the disciples.

Lord! Well, if that's what he thought, he's got another thought coming. Jesus says to the father, he says, how long has it been going on? And the father says, since his childhood. He said, sometimes the demon will throw him into a fire that he might be burned up and die.

Sometimes he's thrown into a pool of water that he might drown to death. Remember the story in John chapter 9 about the man who had been born blind? And the disciples came up to Jesus and said, Jesus, why was this man born blind? Was it because of his parents' sin or it was because of his sin?

Jesus said, neither. But this man was born blind in order that the glory of God and the works of God might be manifested in him. And then Jesus put mud on the man's eyes, and he went out, washed his eyes, and immediately he saw and saw with perfect clarity.

And what happened because of that? God was greatly glorified. That's exactly what's happening here. This young man had been miserable, absolutely living in a literal hell all of his life. And then Jesus, just like this, delivers him from that demon. It's never to bother him again, and the boy is filled with joy, his parents are filled with joy, his friends are filled with joy, the disciples are filled with joy, and Jesus is greatly glorified.

Then the father gets antsy and says, if you can do anything, please take pity on us and help us. And Jesus says, if I can? If I can? If I can?

Really? You're asking me that question? He said, do you not realize the power that I have over the demonic world? Demons come into my presence and they absolutely tremble. Peter, James, and John are remembering just a little while back of what they saw up on top of that mountain, how Jesus just began to be transfigured before them, how the glory of God, the godness of God, began to emanate from his being and begin to radiate out into the world. And they remember seeing him like that. They said, man, we know exactly who this Jesus is.

We know exactly. And then they remembered Moses and Elijah appearing. And you know, I have a feeling that when Moses and Elijah appeared, that they not only talked to Jesus about his crucifixion, I think they bowed before him and I believe they worshipped him. So the disciples are standing there together, these three, and they're popping each other in the ribs and they're saying, did this father say, if you can, to Jesus?

So, man, they're getting ready to find out what Jesus can do. So Jesus says to the father, all things are possible to him who believes. The father says to Jesus, I do believe. Help thou not unbelief.

The man was honest enough to express his doubts and to acknowledge his lack of faith. Takes us to point four, and that is divine power. Verse 25-27. When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, you mutant death spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again. And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out. And the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, he is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, lifted him up, and he arose. The word got out quickly that Jesus was there and crowds started running to see what Jesus would do.

Jesus took complete control. He spoke to the demon. He called him a mute and deaf spirit. And then he said this to him, I command you to come out, and listen to this, and never enter him again.

In other words, that's it. Your control of this man is over, and you will never, ever, ever touch him again. The demon had no recourse but to leave, but as he left, he threw the boy into a convulsion again. The boy fell to the ground. He looked like a corpse. There are some Bible scholars who believe that he actually died and Jesus resurrected him from the dead. I don't know if that's true or not, but he looked like he was, and Jesus was dealing with him. Not only did the demon have to leave, I want you to know he left permanently.

He was never able to attack this boy to enter into him ever again. Folks, how glorious it is when the Lord cleanses your heart, when he takes a bad habit out of your life, and he removes it, and it's gone forever and ever and ever. I experienced that. I was 21 years old.

I wasn't a Christian yet. I had already developed a drinking problem. I would go out and drink too much. I'd feel horrible. I'd say, man, I'm never doing this again.

It's over. I'm not doing that ever again. Three days later, I'd be doing the same thing. Then I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was converted. My life was changed. My heart was transformed, and with that and with a strong rebuke from my friend Chip Sloan, I went to the Lord, and I took this habit to him, and I said, Lord, I know this habit that I have with alcohol is not bringing you any glory. This is nothing but a reproach on your name, and I'm asking you now by the power of your Spirit to take this from me.

I'm making a vow before you right now. I will never ever touch this again, and brothers and sisters, I can promise you it happened immediately. All of a sudden, the desire for it was completely gone, absolutely gone. In fact, when I smell it, even to today, it's deplorable to me. I have no desire for it.

This has gone on for the last 50 years. Not one desire. God gave me that victory. He gave me that victory. He gave me that victory, not just for a one-time shot, but forever and ever and ever, and that's the way it was with this boy. Folks, it was not a chore for him for the rest of his life.

It was joy, and with me with alcohol, it was not a chore anymore dealing with that. It was an absolute joy, for he took the desire away. Little boy is lying there like a corpse. Jesus reached down, took him by the hand, lifted him up. He took his hand, he put it on his dad's hand, according to Luke 9, and the little boy was a complete new person. He was no longer mute or deaf. He could speak with perfect clarity. There was no more convulsing.

There was no more stiffening up like a board. He was absolutely, absolutely free. This man had a prayer that he prayed to Jesus. He said, Lord, help thou my unbelief. You think this miracle did anything to that unbelief?

I'll guarantee you it did. Instead of unbelief, he had a steadfast faith in Christ. R.C. Sproul had a great comment here. He said, I can only imagine that this boy's father looked at his son and then looked at Jesus, and he was filled with faith because Jesus had done what he said he would do. In human relationships, it takes a long time to develop trust between people and only five minutes to destroy it. Who do you trust in this world? How much faith do you have in your spouse, in your children, in your friends?

When you can come to the place where you can put trust with people, with those things that are most precious to you, you found something priceless. But people let us down. They break our trust. Unfortunately, we sometimes project the mistrust that we experience in our relationships with other people onto our relationship with God. However, it is reasonable and rational to trust God always. Indeed, nothing is more irrational than to not trust God, because God is perfectly trustworthy. He has never broken a promise, and he never will.

He does not know how to betray his people. Amen? Point five, decisive prayer. Look at verse 28 through 29. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, why could we not cast it out? And he said to them, this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer. Jesus tells the disciples that their problem was a lack of faith, and they needed to deal with it. They needed to deal with this dilemma, and the way they're to deal with it was through prayer. Folks, when Jesus tells them to pray, he's reminded them to quit depending on themselves and start depending on God. What is prayer? Part of prayer is faith and dependence, because we know that our power and our ability is limited. Now, if you've got a King James version, you'll notice that the ESV that I read from leaves out a word.

I believe it's an important word. It's used in the Gospel of Matthew, but it's not used here in the ESV. It's in the King James, and what does it say? It says that this kind of demonic activity is only stopped by prayer and fasting and fasting. This coming Wednesday, our session has gathered together to ask you to fast and pray all day long. Don't eat and use that time of not eating to pray.

Get your heart ready for corporate prayer on Wednesday night. We're going to meet together at Wednesday night after we fasted for that day, and what does that fasting mean? The fasting is done in order that we might realize that our dependence is upon God and not upon us. Why are we calling for a day of fasting? Folks, we have some families in our church right now that are going through some difficult times.

I'm not going to mention the family's names, but there's some families, I believe, that are being attacked by the enemy. One of the ways that we defeat the enemy is not only by prayer but by fasting. We are asking you to come together, to stand firm, to fast and pray.

We're going to gather together corporately Wednesday night. I ask you to come. I ask you to fast. I ask you to minister to these families.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, this passage hit me hard. It forced me to look at my lack of faith. It helps me to remember that with God, all things were possible. Jesus, in this passage, you set a demon-possessed man free. You made him into a new creation. Every single person in this congregation has unsaved loved ones who are lost and need to become new creatures. Please help us to be faithful witnesses and then do in them what we don't have the power to do ourselves. And it's in Jesus' holy and precious name that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-26 16:48:27 / 2023-02-26 17:01:11 / 13

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