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The 60: Frail Faith Unexpected - Mark 9:14-29

Frail Faith Unexpected:  Mark 9:14-29

Debrief offers an abridged outline of the Sunday sermon for individuals or Community Groups alike, to re-engage the content of the Sunday sermon.  This outline is far from complete, but serves to give a track or road map to walk through the content of Sunday in another context during the week

This idea of being on the mountain with God and coming down the mountain to be with people is seen throughout the Bible. It’s the interplay between the jounrey INWARD To God and the journey OUTWARD to the world.

What tension do you experience coming down the mountain?

The Failed Faith of a Demonically Drunken Community

The boy in this story is not the only one who has been harrased by demons.  The crowd has been harrased by demons in a way they don’t even see.

“Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.”  The idea here is that we shouldn’t be under the influence of any other substance…….any other presence other than the indwelling Presence of Jesus by His Holy Spirit.

The Community in Jesus’ day had drunken their fill of Religion and Rebellion, which are both Demonically Influenced, and were under the influence of, under the control of what they had been metaphorically drinking.

The Bible says that Religion is Demonically Influenced: (1 Cor.10:20; 1 Tim.4:1)

The Bible also says that Rebellion is Demonically Influenced: (1 Jn. 5:19)

Much of the time what we look at as Demonic we also think of as Demonstrative……. The truth is that Demonic influence can come in the midst of everyday, ordinary Religion and Rebellion.

At the end of the day, the goal here is to get you and me to trust in something or someone else other than Jesus

This community has tried, for the entire life of this boy, solve this problem through their best thinking (Rebellion) and through sprituality (Religion),  but they can’t.  So they’re excited when Jesus shows up, because they know enough about Him to know that maybe He can. (“If you can.....”)

The Frail Faith of the Disciples

On the one hand we have to give some credit to the disciples, that even while Jesus and the leaders of the disciples are on a retreat of sorts, they’re continuing on with the work of the ministry.  BUT, they’re relying on their own Prowice and Power to do it.  Sound familiar?

If you consider yourself a Disciple of Jesus, this scenario will be your scenario.  People who are drunk on Religion and Rebellion will come to you with their sin, saddness and suffering, looking for the help of Jesus.  What will you have to give them?

The Disciples gave them (1) Their Personal Strength and (2) Their Past Success (Mark 6:13) - And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

For the Discipels, Frail Faith meant Forgetfull Faith.  They Forgot to Pray!  They forgot to do the most foundational, the most essential thing.  They tried to cast out a demon without praying.

Jesus says plainly that the reason they couldn’t do it is because they lacked faith - “Because of your little faith…….” – Matthew 17:20

Little (oligopistia ) = small or young faith; poverty of faith

Jesus makes an unquestionable connection between a lack of prayer and a lack of faith.......between the lack of prayer and a small, young, poor......Frail Faith.......”This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

How is Prayer Connected to Faith? - It declares our dependence on God, that He is the only one who can Hold us and Help us.

This is a good example of how far the disciples have to go…….but it’s also an encouragement to remember just how far they will come. (Acts 3:1-10)

The Frail Faith of a Dad

The Disciples are there, the Religious Leaders are there, but this Dad is the only one that admits he doesn’t have what it takes to deal with what’s in front of him.

This is saving faith:  Faith in Jesus instead of oneself.

The Faith of this father was Frail, but he was honest about it, and asked Jesus for help with his unbelief. 

This Dad actually has more Faith at this point then the Disciples do.  In Matthew 17, Jesus tells the disciples they couldn’t cast out the demon because they didn’t have enough faith, not even the size of a mustard seed.  But we do see that the Father does have faith, although frail.

The Faithfulness of a Gracious God

Jesus was really, sincerely disappointed.  He didn’t allow them to see this as a justifiable shortcoming…….He includes the Disciples in His public rebuke.

Jesus can be Righteously Annoyed with His Disciples, while at the same time not loosing one once of Affection for them.

Jesus might be Annoyed with this generation, just like He was annoyed with that generation, but He won’t Abandon us, just like He didn’t Abandon them.

The bottom line this morning is that EVERYONE has Frail faith…….BUT Jesus is faithful despite our frail faith.

Jesus is Faithful to this Dad and his son despite the faithlessness of his community, himself, and the disciples.

When we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself…… - 2 Timothy 2:13

“Everything is possible for him who believes.”

The emphasis is not on the quantity or quality of our faith, but on the power of the One who we are joined to by faith.

“This is very good news.  Through Jesus we don’t need perfect righteousness, just repentant helplessness, to access the presence [and power] of God.” – Tim Keller; Kings Cross; pg.121)

Diving In
Diving In offers a few questions to help you re-engage the concepts from Sunday. Feel the freedom to use all of the questions, or to simply camp out on just one. These questions aren't intended to answer all the issues that surface through the thrust of this weeks' message, but to simply raise them and allow you time and space to process them, ideally in the context of your Community Group.
  • How have you seen the community at large around you ‘drunk’ with the doctrine of demons?  How have you experienced the intoxicating affects of doctrines of Demons, either through religion or rebellion?
  • Do you sense you are trusting someone or something else more than Jesus?  Have you been ‘drinking’ at the wrong fount?
  • How might you be relying more on your personal strengths or past success instead of the Person of Jesus?
  • When was the last time someone came to you with their sin, sadness and/or suffering.  Did you pray?  What kid of counsel did you give them?  Was it your best thinking, or what you sense God was saying?
  • What does your regular practice of praying and fasting look like?  How do you see your prayer life connected to the vitality of your faith?
  • Does Jesus have good reason to be annoyed with you?  How does knowing He has not lost an ounce of affection for you despite any annoyance with you make you want to respond to Him?
Deep End
The Deep End is a short and simple formation exercise you can use to dive deep into your heart before God. Feel the freedom to divert from the directions if that makes it easier for you to connect with Jesus in this exercise.
  • First, quiet your heart before the Lord. If you find yourself distracted by various thoughts (things on your “To Do” list, etc.), don’t “fight” the distractions, but rather spend some time praying over those things. Hopefully soon your heart will quieted down and you will be able to hear the Lord speaking to you.
  • After this, take 5-10 minutes to read and meditate on Mark 9:19.
  • As you do, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what Jesus would be righteously annoyed with in your life today.  Don’t resist the things He reveals to you.  These may be things that have been true in your life for quite some time.  The truth of it may sting a bit, but allow the Spirit to be the save that heals you here.
  • After take 5 minutes to read and meditate on Psalm 139:17-18.  Allow the Spirit to remind you just how much you are adored by God.
  • End your time with a prayer of thanks, thanking Jesus for being patient and longsuffering with you.
Our digest section is all about helping you to memorize and meditate on God's Word so you'll be able to better digest it.  Take some time to commit these short verses to memory this week:

And Jesus said to him, "'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes." – Mark 9:23

My hope is that these simple exercises in The 60 will help what we discovered during this week be distilled, and deepened in your heart and life with Jesus.



For The Elders