Westbrook Park United Methodist Church
March 8, 2020
      • Bible Trivia
  • O God Our Help In Ages Past (St. Anne)
  • Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
      • Genesis 12.1-2ESV

      • Genesis 12.3-4ESV

  • Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (Old 100th)
  • I Stand Amazed (My Saviour's Love)
  • What A Friend We Have In Jesus (Converse) response
      • Matthew 17.14-16ESV

      • Matthew 17.17-19ESV

      • Matthew 17.20ESV

  • Matthew 17:14 ESV
    14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him,
    Matthew 17:15 ESV
    15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water.
    Matthew 17:16 ESV
    16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.”
    Matthew 17:17 ESV
    17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
    We don’t know what exactly has transpired here to change the game, but JEsus is talking about their faith.
    faithless- it means they’ve lost their belief in something… the gospel or the gospel writer.
    Secondly, twisted- it means to deviate from what is considered moral or right or good.
    But the question that Jesus asks is most important. How long do I need to be here.?
    He’s asking how long he has to stay with them. WITH THEM?
    Secondly, He asks, how long do I have to “bear with you?” How long do I have to endure this?
    Matthew 17:18 ESV
    18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.
    Jesus does what the disciples couldn’t. The boy is healed instantly.
    There’s a nuance to the word, “Instantly”, that needs to be pointed out. We read that in the sense that it happened with the click of a finger. But there’s more to the word than that. “Instantly” also carries with it the nuance of being “in the nick of time,” or when it was critical.
    Apparently, the boy was to the point that his illness, these seizures, they were at the boys breaking point. He was having them more frequently and more intensely. So when it was most necessary that he be healed, Jesus does the job.
    Matthew 17:19 ESV
    19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
    Questions, Questions, Questions.
    We always want to know why we couldn’t do what Jesus did. Think about that statement for a minute.
    Jesus had given them the authority… they’d done it before. And now they couldn’t. And they want to ask Jesus why they couldn’t do everything they had previously been doing.
    What changed.
    You can deduct this much. Jesus cast out the demon… he had not changed.
    LOok closely at the question, “Why could WE not cast it out?” Something had apparently changed with them.
    Matthew 17:20 ESV
    20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
    Little faith. Little faith. The problem is your little faith. But then, almost tongue in cheek, If you only had faith like a tiny grain of mustard seed, you could move a mountain. Nothing will impossible. but you don’t even have that big of a faith. Your faith is so tiny it is small… smaller than a grain of mustard seed.
    This is a general statement. It is certain that this illness, whatever it was, was really a bad case of whatever it was. This boy was not only suffering with the seizures, they were often and with regularity. He uses the word “terribly” to point out the severity and the regularity of the problem.
    they were so bad that they threw him into the water, worse yet into open fires. It was a very difficult illness.
    This is not a complaint,, but rather a misplaced expectation on the part of the man. His statement that the disciples could not heal the boy is not a criticism, rather just a statement. NOBODY had been able to heal the boy, disciple or not. If you had a boy like this, you’d take him anywhere to get it fixed. You’d do anything to get it done. He’s probably been everywhere, with the same results. Nothing.
    Problem is, the disciples were doing this very thing. Remember that Jesus had commissioned them to do this very thing in Matthew 10.8
    Matthew 10:8 ESV
    8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.
    And they had been doing it. They had healed others,… so there was an expectation that it would happen again. Not only on the part of the father, but on the part of the crowd… and most importantly, on the part of the disciples.
    Yes, the father was disappointed, but I see the disciples as a bit surprised. Imagine, Jesus gives the word… you WILL do great things. and they do them.
    But suddenly, something changed. This boy is brought to them and what had seemed natural and normal wasn’t coming to them anymore. Something had changed. They couldn’t cast out the demons or heal the sick or raise the dead.
    I imagine, when they were doing it, it came easy to them. (Why wouldn’t it? It wasn’t them, it was Christ. But they simply had to have faith in him and go out and they were able to do what he had been doing.)
    So what’s happening here?
    If you’ve been here the past two weeks, this is going to sound familiar. But it is critical. We are talking about the “benefit of the doubt”… this morning, I think the benefit will come even when we are looking at others doubts. So stick with me.
    The context of this passage is critical. In Matthew 16 Jesus has asked his disciples who people say that he is. The response is Elijah, John the Baptist, one of the prophets. Then Jesus asks who they think he is. And Peter hits Jackpot! Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus loves this answer.
    Peter, people didn’t reveal this to you… God did. On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.... what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. etc.,etc.,
    Peters faith is not only right it is commended by Christ… but then....but then....
    The very next thing that happens, Jesus begins to tell his disciples how he is going to die. In Matthew 16.21-23 Jesus says he’s going to go to the cross. The text tells it best.
    Matthew 16:21–23 ESV
    21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
    I mean, talk about a roller coaster… that is Peter’s faith. ONe minute He’s praising Jesus as the Son of God and the next he doesn’t want to hear or accept the very things the Son of God is saying. He’s wishy washy. And so is his faith. He’s taking what He likes about God and buying it, but when the message gets tough He’s not into it.
    Jesus says, take up your cross. Maybe the cross for us sometimes is to accept the things Jesus says we don’t want to hear. Ever think of that?
    Next thing, the mount of transfiguration. Peter, James and John.... up the mountain. There they see Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah. 2 great characters representing the law and the prophets. Up on the mountain.
    2 great figures who also had done their share of work up on the mountaintop. 2 people who, like the disciples, had experienced the supernatural occurrence of events that would have bolstered their faith like you wouldn’t believe.
    It’s interesting, Elijah met the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18. Then, in 1 Kings 19.1-4, he comes down the mountain and wants to die!
    1 Kings 19:1–4 ESV
    1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
    sat down, asked to die, asked God to do it. What a pathetic way to celebrate Mount Carmel!
    Moses, in Exodus 32, goes up the mountain to be with God.
    Exodus 32:1 ESV
    1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
    Moses delayed to come down the mountain. So, let’s worship other gods. A golden calf will do.
    And Moses comes down angry!!
    Exodus 32:19–20 ESV
    19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.
    He’s hot!
    Now, just how long was Jesus up there on the mount of transfiguration in our story today? We don’t know, but it was for some time.
    And when he comes down we have our story of this boy with the seizures, with a demon, with no one to heal him. Remember, Peter, james and john are the only ones that went up the mountain. That leaves 9 standing here watching this man and his son… and unable to do a thing about it.
    I’ll never forget, 2004, I’m laying in the MICU of Aultman Hospital, 4 kids the youngest was 8 the oldest 13 and Dr. Jeff Miller comes in to my room. His father before him was a pulmonologist… at Aultman hospital. He has spent his life at Aultman hospital helping people live with pulmonology problems. He comes to my bedside and tells me my situation.
    Him and I alone, he starts out at my bedside and starts slowly walking to my window.
    “You know Mr. Adkins, I have to get tires on my car today. My car is down there in the parking lot. I have to leave here and walk out the door and cross the road to get to my car. As I cross the road, i could get hit by a car and die. That would be how I die. This is how you are going to die.
    You have a blood clot stuck in your pulmonary artery and it’s cutting off blood flow. You are in congestive heart failure and in the next 24-48 hours you will die. And I can’t do a * thing about it.”
    He wasn’t resigned, he was helpless. He was acknowledging that he had done all he could think of to do.... but it wasn’t going to be enough.
    As Jesus comes down the mountain, this man had done all he could do. But it wasn’t enough. He came to the disciples, who were commissioned to do the very thing that he needed to have done, but they couldn’t do it.
    And Jesus is angry. Look at what he says.
    Matthew 17:17 ESV
    17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
    How long do I have to be with you? How long do I have to endure this? YOu?
    Matthew 17:20 ESV
    20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
    All you needed was faith of the tiniest imaginable proportion, and you could move a mountain. But you can’t do anything.!
    You see, by now the disciples shoud have had faith. Moses isn’t set on the mountain before Aaron is melting golden earrings to make a golden calf. Elijah hasn’t been at sea level for more than 5 minutes than he is depressed and questioning his calling. And Jesus steps out of the play for 5 minutes and his entire group of understudies fall ill to “I don’t think I can-itis”.
    By this time, the disciples should have learned something. They should have had faith. they should have had the faith that God can do anything, and he had, through them, and he would do it again… but something happened… what happened???
    I’m going to speculate here. I don’t think they lost their faith, I think they misplaced it.
    Stay with me.
    When Moses is told in Numbers 20, that the people had no water, God told him to go to the rock and bring water for the people. Moses goes to the rock alright, and he shouts out to the people, how long do I have to put up with you rebels? And he strikes the rock and water comes out… and we find out something about Moses here.
    Moses thought the water flowed because of him. Moses thought he had something to do with the plagues of Egypt, crossing the REd sea, mannah from heaven.... he forgot that back in Exodus 4 he said he couldn’t even talk. And that was the heart that God could use. You see in time, after walking with his faith in God, he began to misplace it on himself a little...
    I’ll drag Elijah in here as well. He’d lived off food that birds brought to him, he’d lived off the meal from a widow and her son, he’d lived off a cruze of oil that never ran dry, he’d drank out of a brook until it ran dry....and in it all he saw the God that he placed his faith in providing his every need. Until one day, after watching God do an incredible and unthinkable act that should have bolstered his faith...
    God consumed the offering on Mount carmel, licked up the water, and destroyed the false prophets. But one voice of Jezebel threatening Elijah’s life he forgot that God would protect him and began to beleive he would have to himself… and he became weak and insecure.
    And here, the disciples, after being commissioned to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons in Matthew 10:8.... and having done those very things, suddenly with Jesus up the mountain for a few days they can no longer do anything seemingly.
    So Jesus is upset. He’s angry. How long do I have to be here? How long until you are going to get the message? How long do I have to endure this? Are you ever going to do the things I have asked you to do? Unless I’m here holding your hand? Bolstering your faith?
    The quantity of our faith, or the volume of our faith, isn’t the real issue. It’s having our faith in the right God that truly counts. You see, misplaced faith is worthless faith.
    And these disciples, just like Moses got to thinking the water from the rock was all about him.... and just like Elijah, thinking that defeating Ahab and Jezebel was all about him.... I think the disciples had become so accustomed to healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons… they forgot that it was about Jesus and not about them.
    Church, when Moses struck that rock to get water- he moved from trusting God to thinking it was about him. A dangerous transition.
    Church, when Elijah decided he could not survive with Jezebel hunting him down, he stopped trusting in the God that licked up the offering and the water on Mount Carmel…he started trusting in himself. A dangerous transition.
    Church, when the disciples couldn’t cast out the demons this boy dealt with, their faith was misplaced in believing if it was to be it’s up to me- instead of up to Jesus. A dangerous transition.
    And most of the problems of faith we have in our lives are a result of our transitioning from faith in Jesus to depending on ourselves. A dangerous transition.
    Truth is, they could not cast out demons any longer when this man came along. Even though they had done it before, they couldn’t now. And the dangerous difference is that when Jesus was with them they placed their faith in him but when he was gone for a short while they thought it was up to them.
    Bottom Line:

    A Well Intentioned Doubt Is Actually A Misplaced Faith

    Some of you here today know what I’m talking about. Because you’ve trusted him for some situation for some length of time, and now it’s at it’s crescendo and you’ve decided if it’s to be it’s up to me. AND WHAT WE ARE REALLY SAYING IS I DOUBT GOD IS GOING TO STEP IN SO IT’S ALL IN MY HANDS NOW. I’LL HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.
    You’ve trusted God for years that he will eventually change your prodigal child’s heart to return to him. But they don’t. So you determine that your child will be moved by something you do- like nag or complain or gripe or tell them you’re a failure or whaterver. And you’re doubting God’s ability and trusting your own techniques. A dangerous transition.
    Some of us have trusted for years that God will move our spouse or other significant person to know him and trust him. but they haven’t, and so now it’s up to you to do whatever it takes to push them into the kingdom. And you’re doubting God’s ability and trusting your own. A dangerous transition.
    Some of us have served Jesus with hours and hours of prayer. But it seems lately like God’s not changing those we’re serving, so we’ve decided to call it quits in that particular ministry. And again we’re doubting God’s ability and trusting our own. A dangerous transition.
    Some of us have served in a thankless position for a very long time and we’ve done it in His strength and not our own. But lateley, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. So we’ve decided to stop what we’re doing in order for someone else to do it in our place. And in that decision we’ve couched the hidden message that it’ll only get done if we do it, because no one else will. And again, we’re doubting God’s ability to raise up laborers and patting ourselves on the back for how well we’ve done things for so long. And it’s a dangerous transition.
    God said if you had faith like a grain of mustard seed you could move mountains. Wow.
    Note, he didn’t say you could do anything. Anything. He said move mountains.
    Your faith can’t redeem you, only Christ can do that. Your faith can’t forgive you, only Christ can do that. That’s why faith is so important.
      • Matthew 17:14ESV

      • Matthew 17:15ESV

      • Matthew 17:16ESV

      • Matthew 17:17ESV

      • Matthew 17:18ESV

      • Matthew 17:19ESV

      • Matthew 17:20ESV

      • 1 Kings 19:1–4ESV

      • Exodus 32:1ESV

      • Exodus 32:19–20ESV

      • Matthew 17:17ESV

      • Matthew 17:20ESV

  • Open My Eyes That I May See (Open My Eyes)