First Christian Church
September 12, 2021 1st Service
      • Bible Trivia
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  • Praise Him Praise Him (#12)
      • 1 John 4:14CSB

  • Lead Me To Calvary
  • Rock Of Ages (#342)
  • The Solid Rock (#526)
  • INTRODUCTION
    Have you ever been desperate for something—like, when you’re thirsty or hungry and are desperate for anything that will fill you?
    Or if you’re in a lot of pain and will take anything to take the pain away?
    Our doubt can come from disappointment, but doubt can also desperately drive us to search for answers and help.
    Today as we continue in our series, “Help My Unbelief, Dealing With Doubt,” we are going to look at an interaction that Jesus has with a father.
    Jesus met a father who was in desperate need of Jesus to heal his son, but the father struggled to fully believe.
    The man’s son was possessed by an unclean spirit and would go into convulsions.
    This man was desperate; he had been let down the child’s entire life to this point.
    I want to read verses 17-19 for context.
    Mark 9:17–19 (CSB)
    17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak.
    18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.”
    19 He replied to them, “You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.”
    This man heard Jesus was in town, so he decided to give it a shot.
    In our text today, we will see a desperate man dealing with an issue most people struggle with.
    Some people cannot seem to overcome this issue, the struggle to believe.
    We want to believe, but something inside of us will not allow belief to happen.
    If you are a Christian, then what do you do when you struggle to believe?
    Are you a terrible person? Has God rejected you for your doubt?
    Will the church kick you out?
    Are you afraid to share your struggle because you think you are the only one dealing with doubts?
    Today, I hope to answer some of these questions with you.
    Big Idea of the Message: We can believe God and struggle to believe at the same time. But Jesus will accept us, even in our struggle
    We need to know that doubt is not a place for us to live forever, but in some seasons we may struggle with it, and if we do not understand a few things about doubt, Satan can use our doubt to drive an deep and wide wedge between ourselves and God as well as our Church family.
    Let’s turn to the Gospel of Mark 20:20-22
    Mark 9:20–22 (CSB)
    20 So they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into convulsions. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
    21 “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father. “From childhood,” he said.
    22 “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
    SERMON

    I. Struggling through desperation.

    Imagine as a father, or a mother, seeing your child from childhood going through what this father and son were experiencing.
    How would you feel.
    Jesus asked the father how long this stuff was happening to the boy.
    The man answered, since childhood.
    For the parents with us today, you may think the kid was about 2 when this possession happened.
    It would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?
    You can feel pain in the words of this man as he explains the situation to Jesus.
    The fact that this father came to Jesus with this problem shows that he WANTS to believe that Jesus can do something to help them.
    In verse 22 the father appeals to the compassion of Jesus, yet we can see the man has his doubts.
    Notice the father says, BUT IF you can do anything. Have compassion for us and help us.
    The father without knowing it, shows a weak faith.
    This may in part, stem from the failure of the disciples to cure the boy served to weaken the faith he originally had.
    This is true with us today.
    When one doctor fails to cure, it lessens our faith in the efforts of another.
    In Matthew’s account we read...
    Matthew 17:16 (CSB)
    16 I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
    A healing of the son would relieve both the distressed father and his son.
    The father wants to believe, but he also does not want to get his hopes up too much.
    I would imagine the failure of the disciples to heal the boy was extremely deflating given the fact they were able to cast out demons.
    For the father, the failure of the disciples was another punch in the gut.
    Who knows how many others failed this man and his son in the past?
    There are times in life when the mountain looks so high that nothing can help you.
    Many times our life circumstances can cause us to doubt.
    This is what the father is experiencing at this point.
    Doubt can flow from a sense of desperation and hopelessness.
    What in your life has caused you to doubt, and if you are in that state, are you just going to give up or are you going to reach out?
    Let’s look at verses 23-24.
    Mark 9:23–24 (CSB)
    23 Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.”
    24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”

    II. Struggling to find hope.

    The father is standing before Jesus with his son.
    The father did not let his desperation lead him to give up, instead he followed a second path one can take when overcome by desperation and doubt, he dug deeper, searching for the hope.
    Jesus responds to the father’s call for help.
    There are a few ways we can interpret the response of Jesus.
    Most of the commentators I studied on this verse follow along the line as James Burton Coffman.
    These words must be understood as Jesus’ rebuke of the father’s lack of faith, and so the father accepted them.
    It is as if Jesus had said, “Look, any man who has faith will not set any limit on what the Lord is able to do.”
    As Cranfield (Bible Commentator) observed: “The father, instead of doubting the power of Jesus to help him, ought to have had a faith like that of the leper in Mark 1:40.” James Burton Coffman- Commentary on Mark)
    I believe there is some truth to that thought.
    Jesus would be saying, IF I CAN?
    You do not think I can do this?
    The response of Jesus (v. 23) picked up the words of the father.
    Jesus explained, “As for your statement, ‘If you can do anything,’ the answer is that there is nothing deficient in My faith, and therefore it is certain that I can perform the will of God in this matter.”
    This comment would also cause the man to examine his own faith.
    The father did precisely this and reacted with the cry that in some sense expresses the feeling of all believers at various times: “I do believe; help my unbelief” (v. 24). (Homer Kent Commentary on Mark)
    Jesus was saying my faith in the Father is 100%, where are you in your faith?
    It’s vital for us to realize that Jesus did not reject the father here when he spoke of his struggle with belief.
    Jesus did not say, well your faith in me is weak, so therefore, I reject you, goodbye, wish you and your son the best!
    The man believed, but he also felt his faith was weak.
    The word translated “unbelief” in Mark, means “weak in faith” (Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 9th ed. [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009], 57).
    The man is holding this tension between believing and yet still having questions.
    “It was still mixed with unbelief. So in a beautiful display of honesty, he asked Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief” (Merrill C. Tenney, “John,” in John & Acts, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary 9, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981], 703).
    Have you ever been there, in limbo land between faith and doubt?
    This story is one of desperation, hope, and healing.
    The statement of the child’s father is complex, yet also comforting for anyone who struggled with doubt: “I believe; help my unbelief!”
    The man at that moment believed that Jesus could perform this miracle, yet he still struggled with doubt.
    He had seen others try and fail.
    Maybe he sought different healers and doctors to help his son, only to be let down every time.
    Even Jesus’s disciples could not help the boy (Mark 9:17–18).
    When disappointment becomes the norm, doubt may be your natural reaction.
    Let’s turn to verses 25-27 for a concluding thought.
    Mark 9:25–27 (CSB)
    When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, 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.”
    Then it came out, shrieking and throwing him into terrible convulsions. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

    III. Struggling to find a solution.

    The father asked Jesus to help him with his faith, and Jesus delivered in a big way!
    Jesus did not tear this man down because of his struggles.
    When you are struggling, do not be afraid to take those struggles to Jesus!
    We should also have people in our church family who we can confide in also!
    However, that can be difficult to do at times.
    Christians can be harsh toward other believers who are struggling with doubt.
    We sometimes have a theology that leaves no room for questioning or struggling with our walk in Christ.
    We see faith as unwavering loyalty—no questions asked.
    But the Christian community is important for those dealing with doubts.
    Jesus showed the father that his faith, weak as it was, was well-placed in Jesus.
    God can handle our struggles and doubts.
    I am not suggesting that we languish in doubt for the rest of our lives, but I am saying that struggling with doubt is not the end of the world unless you take the path of quitting.
    Jesus was the solution, Jesus also understood why the man had doubts.
    Jesus knows why you struggle.
    Jesus has a heart for you and He will be there for you.
    When this life is over, all of the struggles of life will be behind us!
    CONCLUSION
    “It is possible to go to heaven with a lot of doubts, and it is possible to go to hell with a lot of certainty—people do it every day” (interview with Dallas Willard, “Doubt: The Elephant in the Room,” Renovaré, https://renovare.org/articles/the-elephant-in-the-room).
    You are not alone, so you are not the only one who struggles.
    God shows compassion to those with struggles and doubts, and we as a church have an opportunity to show that same compassion.
    Our application point, our challenge for today is...
    We will not hide our doubt but will bring our unbelief before a loving God as we will seek others in our church family to help us overcome our doubts!
      • Mark 9.17-18CSB

      • Mark 9.19CSB

      • Mark 9.20-21CSB

      • Mark 9.22CSB

      • Matthew 17.16CSB

      • Mark 9.23-24CSB

      • Mark 9.25-26CSB

      • Mark 9.27CSB

  • Have Thine Own Way
  • Sweet Hour Of Prayer (#640)
  • We Are So Blessed

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