Do or Do Not, There is No Try (Mark 9:14-29)

And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. 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.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into 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!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf 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 and lifted him up, and he arose. 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.

- Mark 9:14-29

1. Faith Fuels You

a. To him to believes ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE

  • My favorite line in this scene is when Luke approaches Yoda after raising the X-Wing from the swamp and says “I don’t believe it” and Yoda respond with “That is why you fail” What an great reminder about our faith. Everything starts with faith and belief. Faith and belief are the foundation of Christianity.
  • This verse can be taken extremely out of context to fit certain beliefs.

b. Faith fuels the ability not the permission

  • Faith does not give us permission to do anything, it enables us to do anything
    1. If I just believe hard enough, I can make the NBA, or make $1 million
    2. Faith is not a genie in a bottle, allowing us to do whatever we wish (This is why we don’t say that people who don’t get healed didn’t have faith)
    3. Peter had the ability to walk on water towards Jesus, but began to sink, why? Because he began to doubt
  • The disciples had the FAITH but lacked the preparation
  • The father lacked faith
    1. If you can?! Of course Jesus could! The father doubted Jesus ability
    2. How many have had lack of faith or belief after a discouraging event?
      • This father had already gone through the failure of the disciples. Then these disciple’s teacher comes and the father thinks, your disciples already failed, if you can could you please help us.
    3. When you experience let down in life, it’s difficult to believe.
    4. That’s where this father was. He lacked faith because of his experience.

2. Prayer Prepares You

a. Prayer is what prepares you to accomplish anything the Lord wills, if and when the
time comes

  • Why did Jesus fast and pray in the wilderness for 40 days? Preparation.
  • Why did Jesus often withdraw to the wilderness to pray? He was preparing.
  • Michael Jordan prepared for basketball, he didn’t come to the gym, shoot one air ball and say. “Good practice, let’s hit the showers.” (Talent & Preparation)
  • The question is, do you desire spiritual power and faith but are unwilling to spend time in the spiritual gym?

b. Prayer is what fulfills and fully activates faith. (Wood + Accelerant)

  • Faith with little prayer is like a campfire with little kindling or lighter fluid.
  • We throw a little lighter fluid and newspaper on the wood in the morning and before meals and expect a big bonfire explosion but end up with a blip.

c. Faith without preparation results in spiritual defeat.

  • In the clip we played earlier, we saw Luke Skywalker working on his training as a Jedi Knight. Some events happen that cause Luke to leave his training early, much against the recommendation of Yoda, and face Darth Vader to try and save Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the rest of his friends. The problem was that he left his training early and wasn’t prepared to face Darth Vader. This resulted in him getting severely beaten, his arm lightsabered off and took a very high fall down the ventilation system of Cloud City. It was not a good day for Luke to say the least. We see the disciples also face defeat in Mark 9:18
  • “So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
    1. The disciples were not prepared to deal with this demon and when they attempted to take it on, they were defeated and incredibly embarrassed.
    2. Can you imagine the feeling of attempting to cast out a demon in front of a crowd, only for nothing to happen?!
    3. This was not the only time that the disciples faced a situation that they were not prepared for. In Matthew 26:40-41 we see the disciples sleeping instead of praying in the garden of Gethsemane
  • “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
    Matthew 26:40-41 ESV

    1. As a result of this lack of preparation and prayer, the disciples end up abandoning Jesus. One of the disciples, Peter, at an earlier point assures Jesus that he would NEVER abandon Jesus. We see this in Mark 14:48-50
  • “And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the
    temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” And they all left him and fled.”
    Mark 14:48-50 ESV

    1. When opposition and testing came to their faith, they failed and fled.
  •  Have you ever been in a place where you felt spiritually defeated?
    1. There is a good chance that you were not spending enough time in prayer. It was in the disciple’s time of most weariness that they most desperately needed to pray.
  • What is the natural response to feeling defeated? Discouragement.

d. Don’t be discouraged if you pray and nothing happens.

  • We don’t always know or understand why God allows things to happen in our lives. When we face defeat, discouragement, trial, failure and setbacks, we can have the temptation to doubt our faith. This is why prayer is so important. It helps us to get in alignment with the will of God.
  • Prayer & Preparation is a process. We are starting basketball practice with the school boys, and some of the first practices can tend to be pretty rough. They’re shooting airballs, having troubling dribbling and struggling with the fundamentals. One of the boys, during our first or second practice, shot the ball, the ball bounced off the backboard, and hit him right in the face!
  • Master the Fundamentals! The boys want to scrimmage before they have even come close to diligently practicing the basics. The disciples wanted to cast out this demon and have their chance to do a mighty work and they fell on their faces. Often we want to do what we think are the mature Christian things and yet we haven’t mastered the basics of reading our Bibles and praying everyday.



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