Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shepastor: “From Convulsion to Conversion”

Mark 9: 14-29 The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit
14When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever 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.” 19“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20So 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. 21Jesus 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. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” 24Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evila spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.b” KJV version says 9:29 in this way… 29And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Shepastor: “From Convulsion to Conversion”
There are so many poignant lessons in this text, but today, Shepastor will focus upon a few. It’s interesting to note that the text in the NIV says 14When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
It appears that the people may have been upset and the religious leaders may have been mocking the disciples because they could not liberate the boy from the oppressive spirit that was tormenting him. The boy was so oppressed that he could not speak. He was tormented, and torn, dashed about and afflicted, bruised and beaten – beaten down so bad that he could not speak,and the disciples could not free him. One can imagine that the crowd was angry because after all these were they that walked closely with Jesus. They saw them in his inner circle. They saw them out on the boat with him. They saw them up close with Jesus, hanging around as he taught, walking with him everywhere he went, so they assumed that because of their apparent close affiliation, they also had the power that Jesus had to heal.
What they did not realize was that everyone who looks like they are walking with Jesus does not necessarily walk in the power of Jesus. Observation 1: Looks can be deceiving. Just because people look like they are filled with the spirit of God, look like they walk in the power of God, look like they possess what God gives His children to do great and mighty things in His name, does not necessarily mean that they are filled with God's Spirit. Just because they walk into the church every Sunday, does not mean that they are walking in the Spirit of God’s love, grace, peace and deliverance. Just because people are religious, it does not make them righteous. Just because people hang out with someone that may walk in Holy Ghost power, does not necessarily mean that they have it themselves.
Sometimes people just go along to get along. Sometimes people just like being in the “in” crowd. So they hang out with the “right” folk. The problem is that their religion, their relationship, their commitment is only skin deep. They have not really understood what it means to seek the Lord, walk in the power of His might and stand upon His promises. It’s not that these blessings are only available to a select few, it’s that few truly seek to have them. In another place Jesus said, “broad is the path and wide is the gate that lead to destruction and many there be that go in there at. But straight is the gate and narrow is the path that leads to life and few there be that find it (Matthew 7: 13-14).” The disciples could not heal the boy because they had not yet been converted. Although they were walking close by Jesus – they had not yet been converted. They were friendly observers but their hearts had not truly been changed. Therefore they did not have the faith or the power to heal or help break the chains that bound the boy.
Jesus called the disciples, “faithless.” Similarly, Jesus told Nicodemas, “unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).” In other words, there are some things that you will not be able to see, to do, to comprehend, to understand unless and until you have been converted, changed, delivered, set free, born again! The disciples hadn’t gotten there yet, but they would.
Observation Two: Consider the condition of the boy and the response of the demons to Jesus. The scripture says that when the evil spirit saw Jesus coming, it began to tear, throw down and convulse the boy. The evil spirit did not want to let the boy go. If every time a person came near someone and they subsequently began to foam at the mouth and convulse, the first natural inclination would probably be to draw back – to go away because it may appear that matters were being made worse. But in Jesus’ response we have a profound lesson. Before deliverance, before cleansing, before, healing, before restoration, before complete and total conversion, often there is a convulsion.
Often there is great resistance to changing from the unhealthy to the healthy, from the broken to the whole, from the dirty to the clean, from the dysfunctional to the functional. The demonic spirits that robbed that boy of speech and of a beautiful life shrieked when they saw Jesus. Frequently, as God is bringing about a change for the better, a change for the holy a change for what will bring Him glory – demons will begin to throw convulsions or what we used to call it “fits.” This occurs because the devil does not want us to be free. Therefore, he makes the conversion process look so terrible that often we will stop the healing process before it has a chance to make the situation whole. Individuals may act up so terribly when change begins to happen that people may say, “This is too hard - just forget it!”
Thank God, Jesus didn’t stop the healing process for this boy because the demon inside of him began to convulse. Sometimes when we ask for healing, we will have to go through convulsions. We have to know that on the other side of the convulsion is conversion. It must have been difficult for the boy’s father to believe that his son would ever be healed. It seems that he wanted to believe but he’d been disappointed so many times before. He therefore said a humble and powerful thing – “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief." This man was honest with Jesus. He didn’t pretend – he said outright, “Lord, I want to believe you but this unbelief is still hanging on to me – HELP ME TO BELIEVE!” That is a legitimate prayer! God wants our honesty, our humility, our abject poverty of spirit. He already knows that we can’t do it on our own. He wants us to come to this conclusion along with Him. Jesus did not rebuke the man for his struggle to believe. He honored and blessed him for his honesty.
In the end, the boy was healed, the man’s faith was helped and the disciples learned a powerful lesson. They asked Jesus, “why couldn’t we heal the boy?” Jesus replied, “this kind goeth not out except through fasting and praying.” If you want to walk in the power of God, every now and then you’ve got to pray and fast. You’ve got to give something up. You’ve got to surrender. You’ve got to humble yourself and lay prostrate before the Lord and say, “Father fill me, use me, stretch me. Father break this stronghold, break this demonic force in my life and in the lives of those around me. Lord, deliver, bless and heal!” God will answer, God will move, God will deliver, God will give you a break through! Don’t fear the convulsion – it is the step before the conversion.
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Until next Wednesday In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris

1 comment:

  1. As God begins the transformation process in my life I wont fear the convulsions! Thanks for this powerful message