Spiritual Warfare & Anorexic Christians
The Christian life is “a land of hills and valleys”. In one day, a believer can move from a taste of heaven on the mountain top to the attacks of hell in the valley. For more than two years, the disciples had walked in the presence of Jesus, the Son of God. They had watched Him interact with people and their situations, heard Him teach, and witnessed His miracles. They had lived by sight. But now they would have to live by faith.
This morning we are going to look at Spiritual Warfare and Anorexic Christians
Text: Mark 9:14-29
14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” 19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
This incident took place immediately after the transfiguration, and the contrasts between the two events are crazy, from one extreme to another.
The transfiguration happened on a mountain; this happened in the valley below. In the transfiguration, there was glory; here there was suffering. In the transfiguration God dominated the scene; here in the valley Satan dominated. In the transfiguration, the heavenly Father was pleased in His Son; in this incident, an earthly father was tormented over his son. In the transfiguration there was a perfect Son; here there was a persecuted son.
1. Spiritual Warfare; 14-18
1. Spiritual Warfare; 14-18
Jesus, Peter , James and John come down from the valley to find the other 9 disciples in the midst of a spiritual battle.
A demon possessed boy was brought to Jesus to be healed but He was on the mountain so His disciples stood in to heal him, but they couldn’t. When this happened the scribes took advantage of the situation to mock and discredit Jesus/ministry as a fake!
Satanic possession and spiritual warfare is real and alive today whether we want to believe it or not. Unfortunately there are no statistics of its frequency, because in the U.S. it’s not treated as a spiritual condition, but as a mental or physical abnormality. However, the same signs associated with possession can be easily seen in our society.
There are 7 CATEGORIES OF DEMONS in Scripture, their associated behaviors and the number of people involved:
Category of spirit Text Expression # US INVOLVED*
EVIL WICKED Mt. 12:45 VIOLENT 1.2 million
LYING SEDUCING 1 Tm. 4:1 OC-CULT 24 million
SICKNESS INFIRMITY Luke 8:2 SOMATIC 15 million
SPIRIT OF FEAR TIMIDITY 2 Tm. 1:7 PHOBIAS 41 million
BONDAGE ADDICTIONS Rm. 8:15 ALC/DRUG 45 million
DIVINATION SPIRITISM Act 16:16 SORCERY 3 million
UNCLEAN UNCLEAN Matt. 10:1 PORN/SEX. 40 million
Another stat associated with possession:
SUICIDE DESTROY Mk. 9:22 SUICIDE 1.3 million
It is NOT ASSUMED that ALL of these are demon possessions, but that they are expressing behavior that MAY BE associated with possession. And instead of receiving spiritual assistance, these people are mostly drugged, put into mental institutions, or told their behavior is ‘okay’ because it’s associated with some syndrome. They're told, “Just learn to live with it” or “Take the medicine.”
Spiritual warfare sometimes comes in the forms of doctors, friends, families, and even religious leaders who do not believe in the power of prayer!
 “But they could not”
The sad thing is that the man brought the boy to the disciples, but they couldn’t do anything. And the tragic thing about this hour is that the church is helpless in the presence of the world’s need. Right now, the organized church in desperation is reaching out, protesting and marching and getting involved in all kinds of things, and the world is actually criticizing the church because they feel it should get even more involved. But social matters are not our business! We ought to be able to help a poor demon–possessed boy today by presenting a Savior to him who will make him rational and who will bring him into a right relationship with God. Unfortunately, the same thing has to be said of the church, “They could not.” The disciples could not and we cannot.
McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Gospels (Mark) (electronic ed., Vol. 36, pp. 111–112). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
2. Anorexic Christians; 19
2. Anorexic Christians; 19
Jesus was livid with this “Faithless Generation”. There was not a single person present who helped the desperate child: not the father, not the crowd, not the disciples, and not even the religious leaders.
Crowd- most didn’t believe in Christ as the Messiah but they liked the miracles
Scribes- knew the scriptures but had no faith in them
Disciples [Anorexic Christians]- Anorexia is an eating disorder that begins mental/spiritual that affects the physical. It is a lack of appetite. The same pattern happens in the christian “a lack of spiritual appetite” that will affect the physical actions of service and ministry to the Lord. It’s called Complacency!
Appetite is one of the strongest indicators, to a doctor, of your health. Loss of appetite is an indicator of a much deeper problem.Our physical body needs nourishment 3X a day; so does our spiritual being. There are many Anorexic Christians! They’re leading a dissatisfied, unfocused lives.Many people come to church on Sunday and are satisfied with a pacifier sermon and a pacifier song – they make them feel good. But later, they’re still hungry, because they never ate anything substantial.
A. W. Tozer: "Before we can be filled with the Spirit, the desire to be filled must be all-consuming. It must be for the time the biggest thing in the life, so acute, so intrusive as to crowd out everything else. The degree of fullness in any life accords perfectly with the intensity of true desire. We have as much of God as we actually want.”
Pastor John Gaston, Assembly of God
The disciples had lost their spiritual appetite and were working off their past performances of casting out demons and healing the sick.
12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.
[28-29] Jesus told them later that they could not cast out the demon because of their lack of prayer/fasting. Prayer/fasting takes the focus off of self and puts it totally upon God and therefore we are prepared to deal with the worlds difficult situations. They weren’t living close to God. They had the power but prayer it what maintains it!
95 % of the All-Terrain Vehicles ever produced never leave the road. They are designed for a purpose for which they are rarely, if ever, used. A believer who has experienced the power of the Spirit and is not sharing Jesus is like a 4-wheel drive vehicle that is never taken off the road. They have power for a purpose they are not utilizing. Anorexic Christianity!
Anorexic Christianity places a stigma on the church and the power of Christ to save. Remember the father that brought his son to Jesus’ disciples who could not cast out the demon [v.18], “But they could not”.
[20-22] Look at what the disciples failure did to the fathers faith in Christ. “But if You can do anything.” He went from one who was confident when he brought his son to one that had doubt if Jesus could do anything for his son!
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
3. The Power of Faith; 23-27
3. The Power of Faith; 23-27
Jesus says “I’m not the problem, you are!” Faith has the power to overcome. Divine ability is not the problem, mans lack of faith is!
Jesus is the same God that parted the Red Sea, enabled a shepherd boy to defeat a giant, stood in the fire with the Hebrew boys, the same Lord that called Lazarus from the grave. What could we possibly need that He couldn’t supply?
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
“Lord I believe, help my unbelief”. Lord help my struggle with doubt. Give me an appetite for you again. Help my Anorexic Faith!
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Jesus rebuked the demon on the basis of the fathers faith to believe. This was a permanent healing where the demon could not return!
Faith is a gift of God. The faith that we possess was given of Him. If our faith is lacking, we must seek Him to increase our faith. Faith is a necessity in spiritual warfare and if we become anorexic in our faith, we harm not only ourselves but others also.
The outcome of our faith is dependent on our belief in His ability to meet our need! It has been said, “Faith isn’t simply believing God can; it is knowing God will.”
Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
Oh, glorious victory, that overcomes the world!