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If I Can?
Mark 9:14-29 (NKJV)
Today, as we look to Mark 9 in the story about the demon-possessed boy, we learn how to put some possibilities into our prayers concerning what may seem impossible. What we learn in these scriptures, we also find in the testimony of Mary Beth Wheat as she prayed for her husband to be able to not work on Sundays and to be able to come to church as a family. A prayer that she not only prayed herself but a prayer that her children prayed and her church family as well.
In the scriptures, we see that the demon-possessed boy had been brought to the disciples for healing, but they were unsuccessful. The possibilities of change for this boy looked impossible until the father asked Jesus to do something, and he used the words “If You Can?”. Jesus responded with, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
The father asked Jesus “if you can,” but Jesus reminded the father, it’s not if I can do it, it’s if you can believe it.
Here’s what we learn for us to make the impossible, possible:
* If I can have more faith. & believe, it can be possible.
Jesus addressed them as a faithless generation. Maybe I can make the impossible possible if I have more faith and believe in God’s ability to make it happen.
* If I can have more desperation & anticipation, it can be possible.
The scriptures tell us that the people came running to Jesus. There was a sense of desperation and anticipation in the people that caused them to run to Him. Maybe I can make the impossible if I have more desperation and anticipation in God’s ability to make it happen.
* If I can have more resistance & urgency, it can be possible. Jesus asked how long the boy had been this way and his father said since he was a child. When Jesus saw the people running, He immediately rebuked the demon out. This boy had dealt with this demon for a long time. Isn’t it time we said enough is enough and resist the devil with urgency?
* If I can have more intensity & commitment, it can be possible.
Jesus said that this kind only comes out through prayer and fasting. The fasting added more intensity and commitment to making the impossible to become possible.
When Jesus got involved, the demons couldn’t handle it anymore. Isn’t it time that you rebuked some demons and defeats out of your life?
I’ve Learned I Can
Phil. 4:8-20 (NKJV)
Many of you are familiar with and maybe even fans of the Mission Impossible TV series from 1966 starring Peter Graves as Jim Phelps or the film series starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. Both are focused on a secret government agency called the IMF or Impossible Mission Force. For practical purposes to everyone else, this agency does not exist, because they take on secret assignments that would be considered impossible.
Today we start on a Mission, a mission called “Mission I’mPossible.” It’s a mission for you to believe in God and yourself. To believe in God’s ability to make the impossible to become possible.
We are going to start this mission in Phil. 4 where the apostle Paul reveals that he has learned that things he once would have thought were impossible, are possible. What he thought he could not do, he learned he can. These things that he has learned and practiced, he wants us to learn from him as well and to do it in our own lives.
Let’s see in Phil. 4:8-20 (NKJV) what we can learn that we can do:
* I can be content where God wants me. (v.10-12)
* I can be content or find sufficiency even when my circumstances change. Paul said that he could be content in whatever circumstance he was in. It’s a great reminder that our circumstances are always changing, but that doesn’t mean that our attitude has to change as well. We can keep a positive, stable attitude even when our circumstances change to the worse.
* I can be content even when my comfort level changes. Paul said that he has lived with plenty and he has lived in want. It’s naturally more comfortable to live with plenty than to live in want or need. How comfortable we are can change quickly. Our economy had been doing quite well until the coronavirus started spreading. When that occurred, the Dow dropped in one day the most it had ever in history. Well, that made things a lot more uncomfortable! We can still be content knowing that God is going to take care of us, even when the economy looks bleak right now.
* I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. (v.13)
* The action taken to do what is needed is dependent on us. Notice that Paul said, I can do. God expects us to move forward by taking action even in difficult circumstances of life. God moves as we move.
* The ability to do is what is needed is dependent on Christ. When we take the action, Christ strengthens us to continue to move forward. Christ gives us the power and knowledge to do whatever is needed in our circumstances.
* I can get all my needs met. (v.14-19)
* Sometimes God uses special people to meet our needs as he did with the Philippians for Paul. God positions people in our lives to help us along our way in life. Those special people may be people already in your life or it may someone that God brings into your life unexpectedly.
* Sometimes God uses His spiritual power to cause things to happen in us and for us. God has all the resources to meet all our needs in life. So it doesn’t matter what he can see or calcula...
The Renewed Church
Acts 2:36-47 NKJV
The word renewed or renew means to restore back to its original state or to revive.
One of my granddaughters has a doll that she has a sentimental attachment to. Recently one of the doll’s arms, that could rotate and lift up, broke off. Her mother told her that the arm probably could not be repaired to where it would move like it used to and would most likely just have to be glued stationary. My granddaughter excepted that, but obviously that would leave it in a broken state.
I hated for my granddaughter not to be able to enjoy her doll like she once did, so I got it to see if I could renew it. After a little experimenting, we were able to get it back to operating like it did in its original state. It was no longer broken, it was renewed.
Within Christianity and the church today, sometimes it seems like the church is broken and needs to be renewed and revived to its original state. To renew or revive the church, we need to go back to the origin of the New Testament church and see how it functioned. Then we can see what is broken and needs to be renewed.
Let’s look at the what God did with the original 120 disciples and what the original New Testament church looked like in Acts 2:36-47 NKJV
* They were sensitive and responsive to the word of God. V.36-37
When they heard Peter preach truth to them, they were cut to the heart and asked, what shall we do? They agreed with the word of God and they acted on it to change their lives. The Bible tells us to not be just hearers of the word but to be doers. We must be sensitive to what God is trying to say to us and make changes in our lives.
* They were filled with the Spirit. V.38
Peter told the earlier believers to repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was what filled them and sealed them as child of God. The functioning of the New Testament church was not to just follow some regiment or religious routine, but to follow the Holy Spirit. They were filled with the Spirit, worshipped in Spirit and truth and were guided by the Spirit.
* They were sensitive to the spiritual condition of their children. V.39-40
Peter told them that the promise of God’s Spirit was for their children and to save them from this perverse and crooked or corrupt generation. They understood that it was up to them to make sure that their children and the next generation was changed and grew in the ways of God.
* They were reaching the lost for Christ. V.41, 47
The church wasn’t just worshipping as a group, they were reaching others with the Gospel of Christ. They knew what they had experienced and they didn’t want anyone else to miss out on Heaven as well.
* They were committed to growing in God’s word. V.42
They continued learning God’s word as a large group and as a small group in homes. They realized the importance of growing in God’s word and living it out on a daily basis.
* They believed in and experienced miraculous acts of God. V.43
They believed that nothing was too difficult for God. Any need that they had,
Physical Obedience Brings Spiritual Release
Ex. 17:8-13 (NLT)
God had Moses go to the top of the mountain, and he took Aaron and Hur with him. God instructed Moses to hold his staff high above his head during the battle, and as long as the staff was raised and his arms were stretched out right toward the heavens, Joshua and his men would have the upper hand in the battle.
The Israelites had been wondering for a long time and started to question if God was even real, even after God provided manna from the sky and had water flow from a rock – they still questioned and were uncertain – so God had Moses perform a physical activity so that the power of God could be seen.
As long as Moses’ arms were held upright toward heaven, toward God, Joshua was winning. But if his arms fell, Joshua started to be defeated in battle. This carried on until the sunset and Joshua was victorious.
SOMETIMES GOD COMMANDS US TO DO A PHYSICAL ACT FOR SPIRITUAL RELEASE!
1 Timothy 2:8 (NLT)
Paul writes – in chapter 2 – instructions about worship…
PRAY WITH HANDS LIFTED TO HEAVEN!
* I feel like I love God, so why show it?
* I feel like I am humble, so why bow on my knees?
* I feel like I have the Holy Spirit in me, so why shout amen, why clap my hands, why walk to the altar to pray?
* God knows my heart, so I don’t need to do anything.
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN GOD WANTS YOU TO PERFORM A PHYSICAL ACTION!
How many times have you stood in this very church feeling the Holy Spirit run through and, just before a physical action took place, you stopped it–because you did not want to be the one? But, then when you left this church all you could think of was, “Man, I wish I would have gone to the altar. I wish I would have raised my hands to the Lord. I wish I would have said ‘amen.’ The Lord was leading me to move and I stood still.”?
Remember back before you were saved. Be honest. Did you go to the altar the first time you felt the Spirit move in you? Or, were you waiting on someone else to move first? Don’t let your lack of physical movement slow down salvation! God wants to move you for a reason!
PHYSICAL ACTION BRINGS SPIRITUAL RELEASE!
Renewing Our Commitments
Ps. 37:1-40 (NKJV)
Early in my ministry as a pastor, I received an unusual request from a couple in the church to do a wedding ceremony for them. The reason it was unusual was that they were around 70 years old and I thought they were already married. Then they told me that they were wanting to renew their wedding vows to each other.
This couple had been married for 50 years and they wanted to renew and refresh their commitments to each other and to God in front of family and friends. It was the first time that I had been asked to do that, but it was exciting to see that you are never too old to renew what’s most important in your life.
In Ps. 37, the Psalmist gives us some key areas to consider concerning our commitments as Christians. They are areas that are essential to reminding ourselves about no matter what age or stage of life that we are in.
Let’s look at Ps. 37 together and see what we need to consider renewing in our attitude and actions as Christians:
* Renewing our commitments requires renewing our attitude. Renewing our attitude about how we approach life in the following areas:
Stress Less v. 1 & 7 – When we hear the word fret, we usually think of becoming worried and frustrated. That emotion is definitely addressed throughout this Psalm, but it also carries the meaning of being angry or frustrated. Specifically about how others are doing better than you. The Psalmist is reminding us to not worry or become angry but to leave things in the Lord’s hands.
Trust More v. 3 & 5 – We are reminded to lean on the Lord’s faithfulness to care for our needs and trust Him to take care of our every need, including our finances. We are to continue to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord and not to take drastic measures. He will meet all our needs if we do what is right in His eyes.
Surrender Completely v. 4 – The word delight in the original Hebrew means to make oneself pliable. The Psalmist is implying that we need to totally surrender everything to the Lord and make ourselves as clay in His hands. The more that we surrender to Him, the more blessings we receive and more delight comes to our lives.
Rest Patiently v. 7 – The expression here is to take a pause in our actions and await further guidance and action from the Lord. It’s a reminder that we are not to take action without His leadership. Sometimes we just need to get refreshment and guidance from the Lord before we go further.
* Renewing our commitments requires renewing our actions as well. Renewing our actions in everyday life in these areas:
Our Calendar v. 23 – Verse 23 reminds us that the Lord establishes the steps of our lives. If we are going to be committed to the Lord’s will, we have to follow His plan and let Him guide the planning of our schedule.
Our Finances v. 7, 21, 25 – There are several verses in this Psalm that talks about a struggle and concern about finances and looking at others that seem to be prospering. Most people struggle with finances at some point in their lives and the more that we try to leave God out of our finances, the more we struggle. God does not leave us begging when we trust in Him.
Our Careers v. 35-38 – The Lord has our future in His hands. The Lord promises to give us a future that will bring us peace. The more we delight in the Lord’s way, the more peace we find in what our careers and life will be.
Our Families v. 25,
Luke 3:1-18 (KJV)
What type of Christian are you: Round-a-bout, Yield, or Stop?
(Opening testimony by Ray Rynes with sermon beginning @ 29:20)
Great Words from God!
Pastor Bret Yaeger effectively delivers the Word of God in a practically and concise manner. I enjoy taking his teachings and applying them to my personal life.