A DESPERATE DAD - MATTHEW 17: 14-21

DESPERATE TIMES. FAITHFUL PEOPLE  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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JESUS CHRIST IS OUR HOPE IN THESE DIFFICULT, DESPERATE TIMES.

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THE POWER OF JESUS OVER A DEMON
14 When they reached the crowd, a man approached and knelt down before him. 15 “Lord,” he said, “have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
17 Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and from that moment the boy was healed.
19 Then the disciples approached Jesus privately and said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 “Because of your little faith,” he told them. “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

BIG IDEA: OUR CONCERN FOR OTHERS CREATES DESPERATION IN US.

MOST OF US CAN IDENTIFY A SIGNIFICANT PAIN OR BURDEN THAT WE CARRY. THIS BURDEN IS NOT FOR OURSELVES, BUT ACTUALLY FOR SOMEONE ELSE...
IT’S A PAIN THAT WE CARRY AS A RESULT OF SOMEONE WE LOVE.
MANY UNDER THE SOUND OF MY VOICE ARE LIVING DESPERATE LIVES, AS A RESULT OF SOMEONE ELSE...
WE ARE DESPERATE, NOT FOR OURSELVES, BUT FOR THEM.
IT’S THEIR ILLNESS - THEIR ADDICTION - THEIR POOR DECISIONS - THEIR DISOBEDIENCE - OR JUST THEIR FATE...
DO I HAVE A WITNESS UP IN HERE?
IN OUR PASSAGE FOR TODAY...
JESUS AND HIS INNER-CIRCLE OF DISCIPLES ARE DESCENDING FROM A MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE, IN WHICH JESUS HAS BEEN TRANSFIGURED - TRANSFORMED IN THEIR VERY PRESENCE - SCRIPTURE SAYS HIS FACE SHONE LIKE THE SUN; HIS CLOTHES BECAME AS WHITE AS THE LIGHT...
AND AS LIFE AND CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE IT, AS THEY CAME DOWN, CROWDS CAME UP:
VS. 14 When they reached the crowd,
BELOVED, THIS IS AN OCULAR DISPLAY OF LIFE.
THIS IS WHY SO MANY OF US FIND OURSELVES IN DESPERATE SEASONS...
SOON AFTER EXPERIENCING THE MAJESTY OF THE MOUNTAIN, THE CROWDS OF THE VALLEY AWAIT US!
AS SOON AS WE GET THE VICTORY, DEFEAT IS OFF-STAGE READY TO INTERCEPT...
1 Time is filled with swift transition. Naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
14 When they reached the crowd, a man approached and knelt down before him. 15 “Lord,” he said, “have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
THIS DESPERATE DAD BURSTS UPON THE SCENE - STEPPING THROUGH THE CROWD - GAINING THE ATTENTION OF OUR SAVIOR - JESUS!
BUT NOTE, HE’S ON HIS KNEES, LITERALLY GRABBING THE KNEES OF JESUS - ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE ELSE - HIS SON!
HE’S AN ADVOCATE...
HE’S PLEADING FOR MERCY FOR SOMEONE ELSE...
HE’S DESPERATE FOR SOMEONE ELSE...
WHO, UNDER THE SOUND OF MY VOICE (IN-PERSON OR ONLINE), YOU’RE DESPERATE ON TODAY…NOT FOR YOURSELF, BUT FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
YOU’RE ON YOUR KNEES, FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, BECAUSE YOU NEED THE MERCY OF THE MASTER… YOU NEED THE POWER OF THE ONE WITH ALL POWER...
THIS DESPERATE DAD WAS OPERATING IN LIFE-SAVING FAITH...
HE HAD HEARD, AND LIKELY SEEN THE POWERFUL MIRACLES OF JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES...
Christian Standard Bible (Chapter 4)
So they brought to him all those who were afflicted, those suffering from various diseases and intense pains, the demon-possessed, the epileptics, and the paralytics. And he healed them. 25 Large crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
DADDY HEARD THAT THERE WAS HOPE FOR HIS SON WHO WAS STRUGGLING IMMENSELY...
MARK 9 DESCRIBES MORE VIVIDLY THE BOY’S PLIGHT: 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.
THEOLOGIANS LABEL THE BOY A POSSESSED - EPILEPTIC - LUNATIC!
THIS YOUNG BOY HAS SPIRITUAL - PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ISSUES...
BUT DADDY HEARD ABOUT THE POWER OF JESUS...
DADDY HEARD THAT HEALING WAS TAKING PLACE…
WATCH THIS, HEARING IS THE FIRST STEP!
IF THE DESPERATE OUT THERE NEVER HEAR THAT THERE’S HOPE IN CHRIST, THEY WILL NEVER SEEK HIM...
SCRIPTURE TEACHES US THAT FAITH COMES FROM WHAT IS HEARD, AND WHAT IS HEARD COMES THROUGH THE MESSAGE ABOUT CHRIST. (ROMANS 10:17)
HEARING IS THE FIRST STEP...
DAD HEARD THAT JESUS COULD HEAL HIS SON, SO HE GATHERED HIS SICKLY SON, AND MADE HIS WAY TO WHERE THE CROWDS WERE…BUT WAIT:
Christian Standard Bible (Chapter 17)
16 I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
WE HAVE A DESPERATE DAD...
A DISEASED LAD...
AND A DYSFUNCTIONAL CLAN...
BUT WHY DYSFUNCTIONAL? I BROUGHT HIM, BUT...
Christian Standard Bible (Chapter 10)
1 Summoning his twelve disciples, he gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness.
Christian Standard Bible (Chapter 10)
7 As you go, proclaim, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
HOW DO YOU WALK WITH JESUS? LIVE WITH JESUS? HAVE AUTHORITY FROM JESUS? AND YET CANNOT CURE THIS BOY?
PERHAPS THIS IS WHY OUR COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES ARE DROWNING IN DESPERATION: WHEN THEY COME TO US, WE CANNOT DO - PERFORM - OR OFFER ANY VIABLE SOLUTIONS TO THEIR SITUATION!
MY BROTHER, BISHOP TERRY LOVELL BROWN, SR. ENTITLED THIS PASSAGE, “THE IMPOTENT CHURCH.”
WE’VE GOT THE POWER - THE AUTHORITY - THE SOLUTION, BUT WE CAN’T SEEM TO HELP OR TO HEAL THE BOY....
WELL, JESUS RESPONDS TO THE REPORT FROM THE FATHER WITH THESE WORDS:
Christian Standard Bible (Chapter 17)
17 Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.”
JESUS CALLS HIS OWN DISCIPLES NAMES THAT HE HAD PREVIOUSLY CALLED THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES...
UNBELIEVING.
PERVERTED.
THE FACT THAT THEY HAD THE AUTHORITY, BUT WERE UNSUCCESSFUL IN HEALING, REVEALS A KEY FACTOR ABOUT FAITH: YOU CAN’T FAKE FAITH! THEY MISSED THEIR MOMENT, BECAUSE THEY FAILED TO BELIEVE WHAT WAS POSSIBLE- “The use of the two words, ‘faithless and perverse,’ indicates a sequence. A generation that loses its faith, becomes distorted, out of shape. - CONSTABLE
I SUBMIT TO YOU TODAY THAT A SIMILAR PHENOMENON IS OCCURRING IN 2022: WE DO NOT BELIEVE.
THE DEPRAVITY OF THE WORLD HAS CAUSED DISBELIEF IN THE CHURCH...
AND THIS IS WHY WE NO LONGER WITNESS...
THIS IS WHY WE NO LONGER SHARE OUR FAITH...
THIS IS WHY WE WALK PAST DESPERATE FOLKS IN OUR SCHOOLS, ON OUR JOBS, IN OUR COMMUNITIES, AND EVEN IN OUR FAMILIES....
WE DO NOT BELIEVE!
BUT I’VE BEEN PRAYING FOR US…THAT:
WHEN THE DESPERATE COME, MAY THEY FIND US FAITHFUL...
WHEN THE DESPERATE COME, MAY THEY FIND US PREPARED TO SERVE...
WHEN THE DESPERATE COME, MAY THEY FIND US WILLING TO WALK ALONGSIDE THEM WITH LOVE AND GRACE AND TRUTH!
WHEN THE DESPERATE COME...
JESUS EXPECTED MORE, BUT EXPERIENCED LESS: HOW LONG WILL I BE WITH YOU? HOW LONG MUST I PUT UP WITH YOU?
HE EXPECTS DISBELIEF FROM HIS FOES, NOT HIS FOLLOWERS....
HEARING IS THE FIRST STEP.
BELIEVING IS THE SECOND STEP.
AFTER JESUS HEALS THE BOY BY REBUKING THE VERY DEMON CAUSING HIS EPILEPSY, THE DISCIPLES QUIETLY INQUIRE OF THE LORD: “WHAT HAPPENED TO US? OUR POWER?”
THEIR BELIEF IN ACCOMPLISHING THE IMPOSSIBLE WAS SIMPLY TOO SMALL...
NOTICE THE PLAY ON WORDS:
JESUS SAYS, “IT WAS BECAUSE OF YOUR LITTLE FAITH...”
THEN JESUS SAYS, “IF YOU HAVE FAITH THE SIZE OF A MUSTARD SEED...”
THE DISCIPLES’ FAITH FAILED...
THEIR BELIEF IN WHAT THEY COULD DO “BY FAITH” DID NOT MEASURE UP...
THEY WENT THROUGH THE MOTIONS, BUT WERE NOT FUNCTIONING IN THE FAITH...
AND BECAUSE THEIR FAITH FAILED, THE BOY WAS NOT HEALED...
HOW DO WE FIX FAILED FAITH?
BELIEVE AGAIN.
PRAY HARDER.
STUDY DEEPER.
BELIEVE AGAIN.
BELIEVE THAT GOD CAN.
BELIEVE THAT GOD WILL....
JESUS SAYS THAT WITH MUSTARD SEED FAITH, YOU CAN TELL MOUNTAINS TO MOVE.
PARENTHETICALLY, MOVING MOUNTAINS IS A METAPHOR FOR DOING IMPOSSIBLE THINGS FOR GOD.
MOVING MOUNTAINS IS A METAPHOR FOR BEING USED BY GOD TO IMPACT CULTURE...
MOVING MOUNTAINS IS A METAPHOR FOR ALLOWING THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE LORD JESUS TO TAKE US PLACES WE’VE NEVER BEEN, IN ORDER THAT WE MIGHT DO THINGS WE’VE NEVER DONE!
IS THERE ANYBODY IN THE HOUSE READY AND WILLING TO MOVE MOUNTAINS?
HEARING IS THE FIRST STEP
BELIEVING IS THE SECOND STEP.
DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE IS THE THIRD STEP.
AS WE GROW IN OUR FAITH, WE LEARN THAT WITH GOD - ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
THE FACT THAT I’M STANDING BEFORE YOU, PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD, AFFIRMS THAT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE...
I WAS SINKING DEEP IN SIN - FAR FROM THE PEACEFUL SHORE - VERY DEEPLY STAINED WITHIN - SINKING TO RISE NO MORE - BUT THE MASTER OF THE SEA - HEARD MY DESPAIRING CRY - FROM THE WATERS, LIFTED ME, NOW SAFE AM I....LOVE LIFTED ME. LOVE LIFTED ME. WHEN NOTHING ELSE COULD HELP....LOVE LIFTED ME!!!
AND IT WAS THAT SAME LOVE THAT IN THE NEXT FEW CHAPTERS LED JESUS UP THAT FATEFUL HILL...
THE HILL WHERE THEY HUNG HIM HIGH AND STRETCHED HIM WIDE...
THE HILL WHERE HE HUNG HIS HEAD AND FOR ME HE DIED...
THAT HILL WHERE AS HE HUNG - THE SUN REFUSED TO SHINE...
THAT HILL WHERE HE DIED… DIDN’T HE DIE?
HE DIED, UNTIL THE IMPOSSIBLE BECAME POSSIBLE...
HE DIED, SO THAT THE DESPERATE WOULD HAVE A PLACE FOR HEALING..
HE DIED, SO THAT THE ONES WE’RE ADVOCATING FOR WOULD EXPERIENCE DELIVERANCE...
BUT HE DIDN’T STAY DEAD...
EARLY SUNDAY MORNING - ON THE THIRD DAY.
HE GOT UP WITH ALL POWER IN HIS HANDS...
POWER…TO SAVE YOUR SOUL...
POWER…TO MAKE YOU WHOLE...
POWER....TO MAKE YOU A DISCIPLE...
POWER…POWER....POWER....
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