Luke 9:37-43



This week we are going to talk about faith.
Faith is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the church today...
It is even more of a confusing concept in the culture.
Faith is not wishful thinking.
It is not wishful thinking with some consideration of God mixed in.
Some people think, and teach, that faith has some intrinsic power to change things.
Star Wars - A New Hope debuted on May 25, 1977.
I was 5 years old.
5 year-olds are pretty impressionable and extremely imaginative.
If people really did have the power to create their own reality, I guarantee you I would be a Jedi.
It doesn’t work that way.
Unfortunately, some “bible teachers” teach that it pretty much does work that way.
It’s not just supposed bible teachers though.
Lot’s of folks believe in the power of positive thinking.
There is, of course, some benefit to thinking positively.
All the positive thinking and visualization in the world will not metaphysically alter reality.
God, and God alone can speak things into existence.
Let’s pray, and then read our passage together, and see if we can get a really good understanding of what faith really is.
Luke 9:37–43 ESV
37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. 40 And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41 Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples,
We might be tempted to read over this and think that it’s just another exorcism.
First, Jesus demonstrating complete power and authority over demons is something we shouldn’t get so used to that we just gloss over it.
Secondly, Jesus is clearly unhappy about something.
He said...
Luke 9:41 ESV
41 Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”
What is going on here?
Is Jesus reprimanding this Father?
If a demon was tormenting your child wouldn’t you ask Jesus to heal him?
I sure would.
Jesus is not rebuking the Father, he is rebuking these disciples who could not cast out the demon.
Let’s look back at what Jesus told them when he sent them out.
Go back with me to the beginning of this chapter.
Luke 9:1–2 ESV
1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
Here is the crux of the question...
What did Jesus say regarding the power and authority he was giving them?
v.1 he gave them power and authority over all demons...
well, except the really tough ones, right?
Over ALL demons.
Matthew will shed a little more light on this for us.
Matthew 17:14–20 ESV
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 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. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 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.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 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.”
So, you see here in verse 20 of Matthew 17 that Jesus was not rebuking this boy’s father, but the disciples...
their lack of faith.
Now, it is critical that we see the disciples weren’t required to work up enough power
in themselves
to cast out this extremely violent and powerful demon.
The thing they failed to do, that frustrated Jesus
they didn’t believe Him.
He said they not only could have cast out this demon, that was the purpose for which He sent them out.
So, I hope you are seeing what faith actually is...

Faith is believing God.

Not merely believing in God,
believing God.
Now, can I believe God for a miraculous healing in my life?
Not unless he tells me that I will get one.
I pray for many of you very often who suffer with cancer and other ailments.
I pray believing that God can heal you - immediately and completely.
Do I have faith that He will?
I have faith that he might...
He hasn’t told me that it is His will to heal any specific person in here.
If he did, I would call you, and we could start the celebration.
John 17:24 ESV
24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Faith is believing what God has said...
what you wish he would say.
I really hope we all understand the difference.
One is positive thinking - maybe with some religious overtones,
the other is the faith that pleases God.
I do need to add that faith is not only believing God...
it is also...
acting based on that belief.
Jesus would not have been happy with the disciples if they believed they could cast this demon out, but they just didn’t.
They were to believe what Jesus told them and then act on it.
Let’s look for further understanding of faith in that great chapter on faith - Heb. 11.
Hebrews 11:1–3 ESV
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Hebrews 11:4 ESV
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
Abel believed God when God told them what would please Him,
and then he acted on that belief by offering the acceptable sacrifice.
Hebrews 11:5 ESV
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
Enoch had his own private rapture.
because he believed God and acted accordingly so much that he was commended as having pleased God.
How do you please God like this?
I’m glad you asked.
Let’s look at the next verse.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:7 ESV
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Noah spent 150 years building a boat for the coming flood.
It had never flooded...
it had never even rained.
God told him that it would.
What did he do?
He believed God, and acted on that belief.
I hope we are seeing a pattern here.
Hebrews 11:8–10 ESV
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:11 ESV
11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
Hebrews 11:17–19 ESV
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Hebrews 11:20–22 ESV
20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
Hebrews 11:23 ESV
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
COMMENT - No promise from God, but operated by principle
backs against the wall
knew life was sacred and murder was evil
had to jump and trust that God would catch them.
Kind of like Daniel when he made an appointment with Nebuchadnezzar before he knew the king’s dream.
Hebrews 11:24–29 ESV
24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. 29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
Hebrews 11:30 ESV
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
Hebrews 11:31 ESV
31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
What did these people do?
They heard from God, believed him, and acted on it.
What about Moses parents?
Like we said, they were acting out of a Christian worldview and doing what they knew was right.
I don’t need for God to tell me that abortion is wrong and we need to stand against it and vote against it.
I operate from a Christian worldview, my mind having been renewed by the Word of God.
COMMENT on why I normally preach through the Word rather than give you ten steps to a better whatever...
I hope you see that faith is not something that you need to muster up on your own
in order to get God to do what you ask Him.
Exercising faith is not about getting God to do your will...
It is about you hearing from God, believing what you hear, and acting on it accordingly.
The first step is hearing from God.
How do we do that?
You come here on Sunday to hear from Him.
(we all know what I am going to say next…)
You read your Bible.

What do we do?

In order to exercise the faith that pleases God, we
Listen to what He says (elaborate)
Believe what He says because He said it (trust His character)
Do what He says for us to do...
God spoke
I believe God will wipe out humanity
Therefore I build the ark
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