The Joshua Victor Theory

I Believe; Help my Unbelief!

September 17, 2012

Sermon on Mark 9:14-29 for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, on Jesus' healing of the demon-possessed boy. How Jesus responds to the plea of a troubled and doubting father, creates faith in him, and the father seeks further strengthening of his faith from Jesus. How this is a lesson for us in times of weak faith.

Sermon Talking Points

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  1. The account of the boy who Jesus healed of an unclean spirit follows right after the Transfiguration in Matthew 17, Mark, 9, and Luke 9. What scene was developing when Jesus returned from the mountain?

  1. How did Jesus react to the news that the disciples had been unable to cast out the demon? Why was their lack of faith troubling to Him?

  1. Describe the passionate plea of the father to Jesus. Why did Jesus stretch out His response, instead of immediately granting the man’s request? What was He seeking to do? Isaiah 42:1-3, 7; 50:4. How was He inviting him to have hope and faith? Matthew 11:25-30

  1. How does the father’s faltering but hopeful response become a model prayer for us when our faith is weak? Cf. Luke 17:5. When have you been weary and burdened to the point of giving up or losing hope? Why would the devil be delighted for us to be trapped in resignation? How does hopeless despair work in the devil’s favor?

  1. How does Jesus give and sustain faith? How does He enliven and support us? How do we know God is always willing to answer the prayer for more faith and for the power of His Holy Spirit? Luke 11:13

  1. Why is it essential that our faith/trust be in the right person—the true God? Why is this truly saving faith? Isaiah 43:10-11. Like faith, how does the power of prayer rest with God alone, and not our words or “formula” for prayer? Cf. James 5:16. To whom alone should prayer be directed? Matthew 6:7-13; John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5