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Matthew 17:14-21

Faith for More

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • October 27, 2019

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Faith for More

Matthew 17:14-21

Illus. Going for a drive.

Read: Matthew 17:14-21

Coming down the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus comes upon nine of His disciples, who, according to Mark chapter 9, were surrounded by a crowd and in the midst of an argument with the Scribes.It seemsthat the Scribes were arguing with the disciples regarding their inability to heal a man’s son who is possessed with a demon. 

The man had brought his son to the disciples for healing, but they were unable. They are puzzled by the outcome, and the place to which they had come, was that whatever was plaguing the man’s son, was more than they could manage.Jesus had previous given them authority for such a situation as this, but here their faith faltered. Though it faltered, He uses their lack of faith as an opportunity to show that their inability was not a closed door, but an opportunity for Him to underscore their need of faith for more.

In our lives we often find ourselves puzzled, perplexed, overwhelmed by the weight, rather than keeping our focus fixed on faith. Jesus had shown the disciples that no matter what situation had come, there was hope when it was in His hands. And for you this morning if you feel you are facing a closed door, unsure of what He has in store, I encourage you to have faith in Jesus for more.

I. Bring it All Before Jesus

Matthew 17:15-16, Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.”

  • The term lunatic here is used which refers to something related to the (moon). It is the same idea in the word moonstruck, which was an expression based on the ancient belief that madness was caused by the influence of the moon.
  • The belief was that the moon shining on one’s face for too long would drive a person crazy.

Mark 9:17-18, “[The man’s son is], possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”

  • His affliction is the result of demon possession. This man’s son was falling into fire and into water in an attempt to kill himself.
  • The boy was very ill and his condition was more than physiological or mental, but was spiritual as we know that he was possessed by an evil spirit.
  • The father’s desire, was for healing for his son, and he brought his son to Jesus’ disciples.
  • The disciples had been given authority to heal people plagued with evil spirits, and therefore, it seems that the man started in the right place.

Matthew 10:1-2, Jesus summoned His disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Mark 6:12-13, They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

  • As this father bring his heavily afflicted son to them, however, they are unsuccessful.
  • And as Jesus approached the crowd, this man comes to Him, falling on his knees, asking for mercy.

Matthew 17:16, I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.

  • Though the disciples’ efforts did not help, the father did not give up and gets all the way to Jesus.

Matthew 17:17, Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him at once.

  • The disciples’ inability to heal not only grieved the boy’s father, but Jesus as well.
  • Jesus points to their lack of faith as the reason for their inability.
  • Speaking to the disciples and the crowd, Jesus describes the generation as unbelieving and perverted.
  • The term “perverted,” (diastrepho) means to be bent or twisted in the wrong direction.
  • Here Jesus is referring to a spiritual perversion which is indicated by unbelief and has turned them from the path God has intended.
  • Though it seems their faith was focused in the wrong direction. The man was not diverted in his determination for his son’s healing.
  • After addressing the generation, Jesus addresses the man regarding his son: “bring him here to Me.
  • The reality that he could bring his son to Jesus, was exactly what he needed to hear and do.
  • Bring it all to Jesus. Pray continually, keep pointing your children toward Jesus, keep bringing them to church, keep pointing them toward God’s grace, let them see you running the race, bring them to Jesus.
  • The solution lies in Jesus.

Illus. Its right and good.

  1. Have faith that He is able
      • After verse 17, we understand from the book of Mark that the father said, "If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"
      • Jesus responded, "If you can? All things are

Illus. Believe.

Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

      • I think many people can relate to that answer; many people have faith, but they know they need much more and are asking for more.
      • But faith is not a thing unto itself; it is not faith in faith itself either, it is trusting in the One who is faithful.

Matthew 17:19-20, Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith…”

  • The disciples had been given the authority, they had done this type of ministry in the past, but in their current circumstance, were unable.
  • It seems that the answer to why they were unable is found within their question: “Why could we not drive it out?”
  • And there are many things we pray, many things that the Lord wants to do, even in our day, but the object of our prayers, and the object of our faith, has to continually be “He,” rather than “we.”
  • And here Jesus points to the disciples’ lack of faith, as the problem in their pursuit.

Illus. And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief…Matthew 13:58.

  • It was the littleness of their faith that Jesus pointed to.
  • They had done this in the past, but when it didn’t work the way it had in the past, when the formula they had become fixed on was not the fix, it rendered them with little faith.

Illus. Filled with faith.

  • Faith was Essential for His 12 apostles and in your life and mine as well.

Hebrews 11:6, Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

Hebrews 12:1-2, Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

  • The disciples had been given the power in Matthew 10, they had been commissioned. Yet here their faith is too small.
  • It seems perhaps they were trying to pull the power, without a connection to the source.

Illus. I can’t hear anything.

  • So, it is here, the disciples weren’t remaining connected to the source.

2 Corinthians 5:7, Walk by faith, not by sight.

Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

John 15:5, I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Ephesians 3:20, Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.

  1. Keep seeking the savior

Matthew 17:20-21, If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

  • Even faith the size of a mustard seed can do great things!
  • The mustard seed was the smallest seed known in that day, faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains Jesus says.
  • But from Matthew 13, we understand that the mustard seed starts small and grows quite large.

Matthew 13:32, “It is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree.”

  • Mustard seed faith then, is a growing faith, it may be small, but it is alive, it is not out there blowing in the wind. Rather, it is planted in the soil of hope, getting watered with the Word, becoming more deeply rooted before a mountain.
  • The expression “able to move mountains,” was a common figure of speech in that day which represented the ability to overcome great obstacles.
  • In verse 21, Jesus indicated something specific about what the disciples were up against.
  • He revealed that this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.
  • Interestingly, Jesus did not pray here, so He's not referring to stopping it all for a time of prayer and fasting.
  • He was referring to a life of prayer and fasting in preparation for spiritual victory.
  • Prayer and fasting are the opportunity to draw near to God, and come away from the world.

Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Illus. Ready for more.

Romans 8:28, And we know God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.

James 5:16, The effective prayer of the righteous man can accomplish much.

James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Matthew 17:14-21

When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

 

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