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Micro-Faith and Mountainous Obstacles, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
August 2, 2021 7:05 am

Micro-Faith and Mountainous Obstacles, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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August 2, 2021 7:05 am

The King's Ministry: A Study of Matthew 14–20

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Today, from Chuck Swindoll. We live in a day when demons are seen as some kind of fantasy heroes, as though they are in charge. They are not in charge. We have nothing to fear in the presence of the supernatural because we have the Savior. And when we listen to Him as we should, we learn what a point, and that's to Him, because He will take over and handle what we cannot handle. In Matthew chapter 17, we read about a distraught father who approached Jesus with his ailing son. The boy was demon-possessed and was often overcome with dangerous seizures.

Matthew describes the miracle of his healing and the incredulous disciples who looked on. They wondered why their attempts never succeeded. Jesus said, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could move mountains. So what barrier are you facing?

Is something getting in your way? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues his message about micro-faith and mountainous obstacles. What a privilege it is to pray. Praying is not simply talking with our eyes closed.

It is connecting with the one who hears our every thought, our every word. You bring before Him what is on your heart. I'll do the same as I lead us.

May we bow. Thank you, Father, that You care. Of all things, You care about each one of us, and You care about each of us the same. You play no favorites. You don't alter your plan because some have a certain position in life or they make a certain amount of money or because they are influential in the other's lives.

Your plan is your plan. You do according to your will in the angels of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, no one can stop you or start you or change you. You are our God. Give us a sense of release and peace in that. May we find comfort in it.

May we be relieved from feeling that so much rests on our shoulders. Show us from these words that you've recorded through Matthew's pen, show us the things we need to hear. I pray that you would keep them simple.

Guard me from being obscure, oblique in the things I say. So that when we leave, we understand not only what you have written, but that you mean this and that it's for our good and it's for your ultimate glory. Thank you for caring, for working, and for protecting, for guiding, for comforting. Watching over the events, not simply of those things around the world that are international, but the events that happen in our own homes, places where we live, where we work, in our cars, with our families. Thank you in advance for the way you will work this week, doing what you please, and give us relief that we are privileged to be a part of that plan. Take care of those who today are in dangerous places, and those who work with people who are sick, and those who are on the street watching over those who are there. We pray that you would give protection to those who are our protectors. Now Father, these offerings that we give come from hearts that are full of gratitude, and that's why we give with great joy. In the name of Jesus, our Master, our Lord, we pray and we give, everyone said, amen. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scripture studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled, Microfaith and Mountainous Obstacles. And when we are at those crossroad moments in life, we get our best thoughts. They've been distilled through fear, fear of the unknown, fear of what this means or may mean to my world as I've always known it. Those are moments when he gets our attention. In the section we're looking at today, in Matthew 17, 14 to 21, just a few verses, all of this revolves at the foot of a mountain. Let me show you something.

You may have missed it in a previous message when we dealt with it. Look at chapter 17, verse 1, and you will see that the Lord led three disciples up a mountain, happens to be Mount Hermon, most likely, and the three are named Peter, James and John. So he selected three of the 12, took them with him and they went up, at least along the slopes of the mountain. Jesus is what is commonly called by theologians, transfigured. What does that mean? Look at verse 2. As the men watched, the men would be the three disciples, Peter, James and John, as they watched Jesus' appearance was transformed. Your Bible may read transfigured.

Then it explains what that means. His face shone like the sun. So there was a brilliance, there was an aura, there was a shining that came from his face that they had never seen before, had never been there before. His clothing became white as light.

So he is a glow, if you will. The three disciples are seeing this, but no doubt they're stunned about what they see. And then something occurs that's phenomenal. Look, suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. They have not lived for over a thousand years, more than that for Moses. Out of eternity, they appear and the disciples see them, Matthew records it, and Jesus converses with them.

We're not told what the dialogue was about, but they were talking together. It's all phenomenal. And so Peter, good old Peter, always ready to do something practical, always ready to do something. So he says to them, Lord, it's wonderful for us to be here.

That's a great beginning, but unfortunately he went on. If you want, I'll make three shelters of memorial. In other words, let's just stay here. Peter misses it.

He thinks what we want is sheltered. One for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah. That's it. I'll do it. I'll find the wood, I'll build a shelter.

No, no, no, no. Now, while Peter is coming up with that bright idea, please observe what happens. As he spoke, it's verse five, look at your Bible, as he spoke, another phenomenon occurs. A bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said, this is my son, my dearly beloved one.

Literally. This is my beloved son who brings me great joy. And then the most important of all, listen to him. The disciples were terrified they fell down on the ground.

I would imagine. And Jesus came over and he touched them. And he said, get up.

Don't don't be afraid. When they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone. And they saw only Jesus.

Finally. They've got their gaze right. In mountaintop moments were to fix our eyes on Christ. Look only at him. Listen only to him. If more was said, we're not told. Now, this is what I call a sacred moment.

Because he says to them, as they're on their way back down the mountain, look, verse nine, he commanded them. Don't tell anyone what you have seen until the son of man has been raised from the dead. Part of the reason is you can't describe it in words. We do our best to understand it when it's in print.

But we have to imagine something like the transfiguration. We don't even know if there were more things said. So don't try to tell anyone anything about this.

Just remember what happened to you. I don't know if many of you listen to Christian music, but every once in a while, if you do, you'll come across the singing of a duet by Larnell Harris and Sandy Patty. I mean, is there a better couple to sing a duet than Larnell and Sandy? They sing a piece that has to do with words that came from those who saw the Lord at the resurrection morning. I quote from the refrain, I've just seen Jesus. I tell you, he is alive. I've just seen Jesus, our precious Lord, alive. And I knew he really saw me, too, as if till now I'd never lived.

All that I'd done before won't matter anymore. I've just seen Jesus, and I'll never be the same again. That's where the disciples were. They had seen a manifestation of the deity that resided in the Christ, in the Lord Jesus, that no one else had ever seen.

Only the three of them. And they'll never be the same again because of that mountaintop moment. Now then, all of that prepares us for what they then faced. Soon as they got to the base of the mountain, they're hit in the face with raw reality.

There's no period of preparation. Soon as they step down onto flat land, they meet a crowd and a father. A large crowd waiting for them, a man came and knelt before Jesus. Before you go any further, imagine the man in front of the crowd kneeling. That took a bit of courage in itself. Chances are good you've never done that.

I've never done that. But the man in that moment of great need is so preoccupied with the need, he doesn't care what anyone may think. He falls down on his knees and he pleads for mercy on behalf of his son.

Look at it. He said, Lord have mercy on my son. He has seizures and he suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.

Don't go any further. Have you ever witnessed a seizure? Most haven't. When you have, you never forget it. It's a writhing, tragic scene, often called an epileptic seizure.

I read in the Webster's that seizure's definition is an act of seizing, the state of being seized, and then a sudden, often acute paroxysm as an epileptic convulsion. To see this in a broader light, we need to read Mark's account of the same event. Hold your place. Look at Mark chapter nine. Again, the same event told by another eyewitness. Verse 17. One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won't let him talk. So along with this, Matthew doesn't mention, the boy is mute. He's lost his ability to speak. And whenever the spirit, this spirit seizes him, note the word, it throws him violently to the ground.

Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn't do it. Verse 20. So they brought the boy, but when the evil spirit saw Jesus, which tells you spirits can see, they have intelligence.

They may be invisible, but they are not invincible. Notice when they saw Jesus, when this spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion. He fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. I take it back to Matthew now, that when he was thrown into the fire or the water, this evil spirit controlling him, threw him in the direction of open fire and toward a pool that would be deeper than the boy could swim in. And there was a life threatening scene.

It was absolutely, absolutely tragic. And when you read your Bible and you come across settings like this, pause. Forget about the time and how far you're reading and let your imagination take you to that scene. Enter into the world of that father. What I did was imagine back when my children were smaller and as if it had been one of my boys or one of my daughters. Suddenly my heart went out to this dead and to think he would go to some of the other nine disciples and ask them to help and they couldn't.

They couldn't do anything about it. And I'm sure the father must have thought if they can't, what hope is there that I ever find relief for my son who can't even express how he feels because he's not able to speak with the evil spirit in him. Jesus doesn't waste time. When he hears this, he told the disciples to bring him to him. And notice at the very end, they brought the boy here into verse 17. Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy and it left him.

What does that mean? How did this exorcism occur? The details are not spelled out, but you know how much it took from Jesus to release the boy, to take the demon out? One word, out.

Exit. Remember the words of Martin Luther, and though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear. For God has willed his truth to triumph through us. The friends of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him out.

Could have been just one word. We live in a day when demons are seen as some kind of fantasy heroes, as though they are in charge. They are not in charge. We have nothing to fear in the presence of the supernatural, because we have the Savior. And when we listen to him as we should, we learn where to point. And that's to him, because he will take over and handle what we cannot handle, which seems to be at least one of the major themes of these verses of Scripture.

Look at this. When Jesus first responds to them, it sounds like he's cruel. How long do I have to put up with you?

Bring me the boy. Well, I imagine there's a little frustration because he has been with them for many, many, many months, and they're still trying to do things on their own. They're still trying to take care of things in their own strength. Sound familiar? In spite of all we have heard over all these years, things happen and we still mess it up by getting in the middle of it, thinking we need to fix it.

When is the last time you really fixed anything that was impossible? You can't. Quit trying. You know what you need? Jesus tells us what we need when the disciples ask in verse 19, why couldn't we cast out the demon? He said all you need is the size of mustard seed of faith, smallest seed known in that time of any seed on earth. All you need is a tiny, tiny amount enough to point to me.

Leave it with me. As the writer of the Hebrew says, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, just focus on him. I don't mean that as a bromide or as a cliche. I mean that sincerely and seriously.

You're facing a mountainous obstacle. Learn where to point. Your need is not enormous amount of faith.

That's nonsense. All you need is enough faith to point to the one who can handle the situation and leave it with him. You know who learned that? The three disciples on the mountain. I think it was the nine disciples who weren't able to help this father.

The three kept their mouths closed because Jesus had told him not to share it, but I believe they thought in their hearts, if they would only turn it over to him, we've seen a side of him they haven't seen. We've seen Jesus in his full deity, and we're never going to be the same again. And I love it when we read, from that moment, the boy was well.

The ending of our passage reads, nothing would be impossible. When is that true? When we leave it all with him. Now, there are many things we could say by application. I've left you a little room at the bottom of the outline regarding how this relates to life as we know it. Three thoughts came to my mind when I was preparing what I've shared with you, and here they are.

Each begins with the word never. Never forget what the Lord taught you in a mountaintop moment. That's why you want to write it down. That's why you want to memorize what the Lord showed you. There are certain places in my life where I can go back to and I was up against a mountainous obstacle.

Some of my own making, often not of my own making, but they were huge. And the Lord broke through and showed me some things in those moments that only he could have shown me, and it was a breakthrough in my own life. And I've not forgotten it. It's been the foundation of much of my ministry. It's drawing upon the things he has shown me when I've been alone with him, listening to and learning from him. Well, we're midway through a message from Chuck Swindoll based on her study in Matthew 17 entitled Microfaith and Mountainous Obstacles, and this is Insight for Living.

To learn more about this ministry or to see what resources are available for today's topic, please visit us online at insightworld.org. Chuck's description of the panicked father resonates with us because most of us understand what it's like to hold a sick child with no means to provide instant healing. So along those lines, what's the mountain or obstacle that you're facing today? Maybe it's the physical suffering of someone you love.

Perhaps it's a spiritual mountain. For some, it's a hang up with the church because the place where you grew up was steeped in legalism. Unfortunately, that heritage gave you a twisted view of what it means to walk in truth and grace. Well, if there's one book in Chuck's collection that's been known to liberate readers from the grip of legalism, it's the one I want to recommend right now called The Grace Awakening. The timeless biblical principles in Chuck's book, if applied, will guide you toward a God-centered lifestyle as you learn to walk in truth and grace.

To purchase a copy of The Grace Awakening, go to insight.org slash offer or give us a phone call if you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. And then as God prompts you to give a donation, please follow His lead. Your contribution is channeled directly into helping others like yourself learn to walk in truth and grace. Recently, we received a note that said, Chuck, I grew up listening to you with my father. And then this person added, after a rebellious period, it was your radio ministry that I searched for to find renewed focus on the Lord. Well, that's a wonderful outcome, and it was made possible in part by people like you who support Insight for Living. To give a gift today, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888 or give a donation online at insight.org.

I'm Dave Spiker inviting you to join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues his message about moving mountains, Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Microfaith and Mountainous Obstacles, was copyrighted in 2017 and 2021. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-18 13:37:51 / 2023-09-18 13:46:03 / 8

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