Notes On Mark’s Gospel (79)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Mustard-Seed Faith (Chapter 9 Verses 14-32)

The feelings of failure on the disciples part is understandable (vv28-32). But even those are all part of the plan, are they not (Romans 8.28)? But the question is asked of the right person, and in the right attitude. With all our failures and sins, there is only one Person to bring them too, and it is only when we come to him in a teachable frame of mind, with the humility to learn, and a determination to get it right, that we make any spiritual progress. But our Lord is a willing, and superb teacher, come, he says, and learn from me (Matthew 11.28-30). But do you not find, the sad thing today is, that so many professing Christians do not seem to want to learn, to go on in their Christian lives and experience. Okay, we may have got it all wrong before, but we get that behind us and press on towards the mark of our calling, and it is a jolly high one too (Philippians 3.12-14). Not one to be taken lightly. And is not the Lord going to ask us what we have done with what he has given us (Matthew 25.14-31)? He has given us life, spiritual gifts, access to him by prayer, what more can we need. Are you living in a powerless state, like these disciples here (v28)? Then why? If you have grace in your heart there is no need for it.

Jesus answer (v29) is given more fully by Matthew, “because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17.20), and of course some versions remove the much neglected discipline of fasting. Can Christians be so adversely affected? Yes, they can. We need to guard against unbelief (Jeremiah 17.9), against hardness of heart, sliding into a powerless cultishness, that clings to useless tradition, that is irrelevant to, and utterly careless of, the human need around us. We need always to be spiritually sharp, with a cutting edge that is able to penetrate not only the sins of the world, but as here, the powers of evil, the forces of darkness. When God’s people are fully empowered by God’s Spirit, one of the marks of it are, the forces of Satan are driven back. It is one of the reasons why the devil’s influential darkness increases in our society today, because God’s people, the Church, find themselves in the exact same condition as these disciples were here. I know it is! The answer? In one word, Jesus! (John 7.37; Luke 11.9-13; John 4.14). To be renewed in those inward graces again. But it begins with YOU!

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

Sermon Audio

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