Coming to Wholeness

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
— Mark 9:14-29

THE MOUNTAIN

Mark 9:2-7 - After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) 7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

>>>That’s the point in the history lesson where we pick up today. And we can be grateful that while we are in the valley, Jesus is up on the mountain above our situation, and we can lift up our eyes to where our help comes from, and know that He will come down and enter our situation.

On the mountain - God, “This is my son, whom I love, hear Him."
In the valley - Father, “This is my son, whom I love, heal him—if you can."

  • There are some things that God can show you on the mountain - transfiguration.
  • There are also some things that God can only show you in the valley - transformation.
  • Mark put these two events next to each other so we would know that the God of our mountain, is the same God of our valley. So wherever you find yourself, worship Him because He is God above it all.

THE VALLEY

At the foot of the mountain Jesus encounters His disciples who are arguing and frustrated because they have been unsuccessful at healing this boy.

Mark 9:17 - Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.
  • Is it possible that we think we have brought our “thing” to God, but we’ve only brought it to church?
  • Is it possible that when we say we’ve prayed about something, we’ve actually just worried about it a lot and called it prayer?
  • Is it possible that when we say we’ve brought something to God, we didn’t really bring it to God, we told ten people about it, or our Life Group about it, and when they couldn’t help us, we assumed God couldn’t help us either?

BRING THAT “THING” TO ME

It’s time that we brought our “thing” to Jesus.

Mark 9:19 - “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

When they bring the boy to Jesus, the situation, on the surface, gets worse.

Mark 9:20 - "When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth."
  • Sometimes, for God to make something better in your life, He has to expose it for how bad it really is.
Mark 9:21-22 - Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.
Mark 9:18 - Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid.
Mark 9:17 - I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.

You might not feel that you are possessed by a spirit today, but I bet there is something that has robbed you of all that God has promised you.

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” -Ephesians 6:12
  • Jesus told us that the enemy has come only to steal, kill, and destroy our life.
  • This morning we all have a different thing, but they are all working in the same way to rob us of something.

What seizes you?

What… desires, addictions, guilt, proclivities, past events?

YOUR THING

  • We all got “that thing”. We pretend like we don’t — especially here.
  • The father in our passage had a bit of an advantage… the thing he was dealing with actually got to the point where he could no longer pretend like it didn’t exists anymore.
  • The worst thing is the thing no one can see so you never show it, because until you bring it to Him it can’t be dealt with.
  • Bring your thing to Jesus!
Mark 9:22 - (Father) If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.
Mark 9:23 - (Jesus) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Anything - That’s pitiful
Everything - That’s powerful

*The connection is belief. Because sometimes the “thing” isn’t really the thing.

Mark 9:23 - “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

The man brought his boy to Jesus so that Jesus could heal him, but that wasn’t the thing that Jesus most wanted to heal.

Mark 9:24 - Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
  • Sometimes the thing you think you need, is not the thing you need the most.
  • Sometimes the thing you are praying for God to fix, is not the thing that He’ll fix first.
  • Sometimes we’re so focused on what we want God to do for us, that we miss what He first must do in us.
  • Sometimes we can get so focused on what we want God to change in our lives, that we miss that what God really wants to do is change our hearts.

BRING ME THAT THING

What is that thing? What is your thing? What’s the thing beneath the thing?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. - Romans 8:35, 37

COMING TO WHOLENESS

God is inviting you to wholeness this morning. He’s asking you to bring your thing, whatever it is, to Him. Will you? Will you bring it to Him again? Will you allow Him to go beneath the surface—to the thing beneath the thing?