Why Can I Not?
Mark 9:14-29 (KJV)
14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.
15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.
16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch 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 was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Thomas Aquinas a Roman Catholic Scholor who lived between 1225 and 1274 is said to have visited the vatican. The Pope said Sir Thomas the church can no longer say as Peter did "Silver and gold have I none" for we have all we need.
Thomas responded but neither can we say what followed. "But such as I have give I thee, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk"
Thomas understood a great truth that many people will never grasp.
The real measure of success for a church or a ministry is not how fine its buildings are; how large its offerings are; or how great the crowd is.
The real measure of seccess is whether or not we are operating in the power of God.
We live in a time where everybody wants to be successful. Every church wants to be the biggest chutrch; the richest church; the most influential and so on. Some measure seccess these days in millions of dollars, tens of thousand of attendees and world wide fame and attention.
Sad thing is God has a different standard for determining the success of our ministry.
Jesus teaches us in this passage of scripture what we need to be successful and the disciples did not have it and they failed miserably.
We are told in verse 18 of this text that the disciples of Jesus failed in their attempt to cast out a demon from a little boy. The boy’s father summed up their efforts by saying “…and they could not.”
He was right! He came to these men hoping to find some help for his family, but he found that these men had no help to offer. They could not! Why did they fail?
They failed because they lacked spiritual power. They lacked spiritual power because they were missing the one ingredient that assures spiritual power.
Let me set the stage foe you. Jesus in the first 13 verses of this chapter has taken Peter, James and John up tp Mt. Hermon. There they witnessed the transfiguration. They say Jesus along with Moses and Elijah, they heard them talk about Jesus' impending death on the cross.
These men had seen Jesus in all His glory, but they had to come down off the mountain sometime. And when they do reality sets in, they are met with a world struggling to get by.
When Jesus and the three disciples come down from the mountain, they find the other nine disciples engaged in an argument with some scribes, v. 14. It seems that a distraught father had brought his demon possessed son to Jesus for healing. Jesus was gone up on the mountain when he arrived, so he asked the disciple to heal his son. They could not cast out the demon and the scribes are mocking them for their lack of power.
Jesus walks upon this scene and asks for an explanation, v. 16. The father, in agonizing detail, describes the pitiful condition of his son. Every verb the father uses in verse 18 is in the “present tense”. The father’s language describes a horrible, ongoing situation of demonic torment.
The saddest aspect of this whole scene is not the condition of the boy; the spirit of the scribes, or the anguish of the father. The saddest part of this whole account is the powerlessness of the disciples.
The modern church has everything it needs to exist. Most churches have nice facilities in which to meet. Most churches have skilled people preaching and organizing the work of the church. Most churches have all the money they need to do the things they want to do. Many churches have all the people they want to fill up their pews and to do the jobs that need to be done around the church. But, most churches lack what they need most: The power of God.
The church tells the world they can find help if they will come. The church says, “If you need God, we can help you get to Him. If your life is broken, we can show you how God can fix it. If your family is coming apart, we can show you how God can put it back together again. If you are lost, we can show you how to be saved.”
We say we have what people are looking for, but do we really?
Most churches in our day lack genuine spiritual power. There is no touch of God. There is not power of God. The world comes in and there is no help in the church for their condition. What does the world do? It stands around us and it mocks our weakness. Many look at the church and say "And they could not"
Jesus hears the father’s story and commands the boy be brought to Him. When he arrives, the demon in the child recognizes Jesus and attacks the boy again. The child is gripped by convulsions, and he wallows on the ground, foaming at the mouth, v. 20. It is a pitiful scene.
Here is this child writhing on thr ground, Jesus ask his father how long he has beeb that way, the father says sinse he was a little child.
Then the father looks at Jesus and says this: “but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”
See the father came trusting that the disciples could heal his son, but they could not. So now his faith in Jesus is reduced to "if" you can do anything.
Jesus rebukes the father for his doubt and commands him to place his faith in Jesus for the healing his son desperately needs. When the father hears this, he makes one of the most honest and transparent prayers in the entire Bible. He looks at Jesus and says, “Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” He is saying, “Lord, I do believe in You and in Your power. But, my faith is weak! Help me to grow in my faith.”
Many times people will look at us as Christians and adopt an opinion of who Jesus is by what they see in us. When the lost come into a church and all they see is a dead, cold apathetic bunch of people they assume that Jesus is just as lifeless, just as powerless and just as dead. We claim to have something to offer the world, but all the world finds most of the time is a cold, dead religion that can't help anybody.
It is time the church told the truth about Jesus. He does change lives, Knowing Him is exciting, His church is alive and actice in the world. His gospel has power. We should never be guilty of false advertising. We need to live up to what is written on the sign out front.
Just as Jesus took this poor, dead boy by the hand and lifted him up into a new life, Jesus can do the same for all who come to Him by faith. He can lift that dead sinner out of his sins and into a new life in Christ, 2 Cor. 5:17. He can lift that cold, apathetic church member out of his complacency and into a new life of joy and blessing, Rev. 3:20. He can lift that burdened believer out of his fears and give him peace that passes all understanding, Phil. 4:6-7.
When the episode is over and the disciples are alone with Jesus the 9 who failed asked Him why could we not do that.
Ever asked yourself why your prayers never seem to get an answer? Lord why do I pray for my children to be saved and they are still lost? Lord why do I pray for mom and dad, or some other realitive and they still are lost? Lord why do I pray for my finiancial situation and things never get any better? Lord why do I pray for my health and I just keep getting sicker and sicker? Do your prayers these days start out with Lord why?
Jesus gives us the answer in verse 29. These men failed and we fail because we like them lack spiritual disipline in our lives.
Prayer is a state of close communion with the Lord. Fasting speaks of a lifestyle of total submission and surrender to the Lord.
The disciples did not fail because they did not believe! They believed all right, or they would not have tried to cast out the demon from this child. They believed they could cast out that demon and when they failed, they were humiliated, amazed and dismayed. Their problem was they believed in the wrong things. They failed because their faith was in their words and the rituals they used and not in God. Their faith was in what they had done before. Their faith was in themselves. These men failed because they were not leaning on the Lord Jesus Christ for the power they needed.
We fail in the Lord’s work and we lack His power for the very same reasons. We lack the power of God in the modern church because we lack spiritual discipline! We are no longer a praying people. We are no longer a surrendered people. We are no longer a people who walk in total dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have become like the Vagabond Jews in Acts 19:13-17 who were trying to cast out a demon in Jesus’ name. They had the formula and they had the ritual, but they lacked the power of God to get the job done.
We have become like the Jews in Acts 19:13-17 who were trying to cast out a demon in Jesus’ name. They had the formula and they had the ritual, but they lacked the power of God to get the job done.
The truth is, there will be no power; there will be no glory; there will be no revival in the church until God’s people learn to lean on Jesus and on Him alone for what we need. What do we need?
Well we need 2 things; Prayer and Fasting. Oh great we need to pray 24 hours a day and not eat for a week. I hope that is not really your understanding of what Jesus said, but if it is that would explain why we have so much trouble getting results when we pray.
We need as individuals to pray. Pray in a way that seeks the face and the will of God. A prayer that comes to the throne of grace boldly as Paul said. A prayer that refuses to be silenced until the answer comes. We are co,manded to pray, Jesus promised to hear our prayers, He promined to answer our prayers. Prayer is the key that will open the door. But we need more that just an open door, we need the answer to come.
That is where fasting comes in. And no Jesus is not saying we should starve ourselves for any periods of time. That however is an element of fasting but that is not all there is to it. Jesus is saying we need to fast from worldly desires and worldly things.
The greatest tools the devil has today for filling peoples mind with filth is the television and the internet.
2 Corinthians 6:16-18 (KJV)
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)
1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Staying away from TV programs and Web sites that promote adultery, homosexuality, divorce, and fornication and anything else that is contrary to the Word of God can be said to be fasting. Paying the price for at the theater or bringing movies and entertainment into you home and life that is not fit to watch is wrong. For the social drinker, bringing alcohol into your home or having a social drink while out of town on a business triop is wrong.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Alcohol is one of the greatest evils in this world it takes the lives of thousands every day.
Well preacher you are taking all the fun out of living, No I am telling you why when you pray you are not thanking Jesus for all He is doing in your life instead you are always asking why me Lord?
God cannot bless a life nor a church that is not separated from the world.
Until we reach the place where we understand that the power of God does not come because of our preaching, our singing, our working or our manipulation of people and things. The power of God rests on us as we learn to rest in Jesus, John 15:5. The cure for what ails the modern church is found in our Lord’s words to the church in Ephesus; we need to fall in love with Jesus once again, Rev. 2:1-7.
We do not need new programs. We do not need more powerful personalities. We do not need new buildings, new trinkets and toys. We do not need to become more “seeker friendly”. We do not need to change our music or our message. What we need is simple. What we need is available. What we need is the power of God. That power will come when God’s people get serious about seeking His face; walking in His ways and leaning on Him for all we need. It will come then and only then.
We can either be a people who can or a people who could not. Which kind of people we are rests on us.