Sunday School Material 3-6-16: Powerful Faith

(Mark 9:14-29; 3/6/16)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus casted out an impure spirit and coaches His disciples on how to handle such situations. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to prayerfully trust and obey God today.

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Read Mark 9:14-16

I. Prelude. In our Sunday School material The teachers of the law are arguing with Jesus’ disciples. When the people see Jesus approaching, they go to greet Him. Jesus inquiries about what they are arguing about.

Applications –

- From the mountain to the valley. Notice in vs. 14 that when Jesus came down from the mountain of transfiguration, He came down into arguing and stress.

In like manner, we should not be surprised when after we have experienced a high time in the Lord (e.g., great worship service, victory in some area of our lives, or something wonderful happens in the community) that trouble comes into our lives. Let’s work on having the faith needed to both enjoy the mountains and face the valleys of our lives.

Read Mark 9:17-22

II. Problem Analyzed. In our Sunday School material a man in the crowd tells Jesus the issue is that a boy was brought to Jesus’ disciples, and the disciples could not heal him. Jesus responds with a rather harsh tone – “you unbelieving generation … how long shall I stay with you”? (i.e., remember that Jesus’ entire public ministry was about 3 years in length).

The man (i.e., the boy’s father) informed Jesus that the boy has had this spirit trying to kill him, since the boy’s childhood.

Applications –

- The killing of our children. Notice in vss. 17-22 that the impure spirit/demon was trying to kill the child. In like manner, the devil is still trying to kill our children.

Whatever pleasure the devil promises or provides, it is only the cheese in a mouse trap, and we are the mice. The devil’s end game is our destruction. Let’s work on diligently raising the children in our families, churches, and communities.

We should work as if we are trying to saving our children from being destroyed by the devil, because that is exactly what we are doing.

- Being helpful. Notice in vs.18 that the disciples were expected to do something about the problems of the people. In like manner, there is still the expectation that disciples of Christ should be able to help solve the problems that people have in their lives.

First, we should strive to use whatever God has given us to be helpful. God often gives us the ability to learn how to be more helpful. Second, we should always remember that no matter what else we do, without salvation, a person is ultimately doomed.

Casting out demons, emotional deliverance, social services, and financial accomplishments without salvation are all vain. Let’s work on being helpful in especially the area of evangelism.

- Growing in the Lord. Notice in vs.19 of our Sunday School material that Jesus expects especially those who claim to belong to God to believe in Him.

As we try to understand why Jesus is so assertive with the people, remember that the more God invests in you, the more He expects out of you. Let’s work on growing in the Lord. We should not be at the same level year after year.

Read Mark 9:23-27

III. Problem Solved. There is an exchange about Jesus’ ability. In our Sunday School material the father asks for help with his limited faith. Jesus casted the impure spirit out. And Jesus lifted the boy to his feet.

Applications –

- Fait in God’s ability. Notice in vss. 23-24 that God is able to do whatever needs to be done, and we are called to live as if we believe this is true.

First, we should thank God that there is nothing too hard for Him. The devil and his demons are no match for God. Second, we should appreciate that we can have some faith and yet not enough.

In other words, we can have inadequate faith. Third, we should work on our faith development by prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word with the support of other believers. Let’s work on our faith in God’s ability.

Read Mark 9:28-29

IV. Problem Explained. In our Sunday School material Jesus goes indoors. Jesus’ disciples asked Him privately, why they could not cast out the impure spirit. Jesus told them that this kind of comes only by prayer.

Applications –

- Prayerful obedience. Notice in vss. 28-29 that Jesus explained to His disciples, at the right time, that some things call for more prayer.

First, we should work on timing. There was a time to simply take the rebuke of Jesus and a time to ask questions. In like manner, we should seek to know what season we are in.

Second, the idea that some things require prayer implies that we can become too self-reliant. Without the Lord, we cannot do anything. We should make sure that we never think of ourselves more highly than we should.

Third, even though the King James Version of the Bible talks about prayer and fasting, the earlier manuscripts don’t include fasting. Fasting can be helpful, as long as it helps us discern and obey God’s will. Let’s work on prayerfully doing what God is calling us to do.

Conclusion: Let’s work on prayerfully trusting and obeying God today. God has much for those who obey His will. 

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