“Depend on the Messianic King in Cosmic Conflict”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Mark 9.1-29
Turn to the book of Mark, chapter 9. Two weeks ago was the last time we were in the book of Mark, so I would like to recap what was found in chapter 8. And the reason why I want to do this this morning is because there are parallels with the way Mark has put together chapters 8 and 9. And reviewing this will help us to understand our passage this morning.
So if you look back to chapter 8 at the beginning of the chapter, we have the feeding of the 4000, a miracle. And then beginning in chapter 8 verse 11, we have two sets of people who are spiritually blind concerning who Jesus really is. And then in verses 22-26 we see that Jesus has the capacity to heal the physically blind. And as we noted, this is used by God to illustrate that Jesus also has the power to heal the spiritually blind. We saw all the different references to sight and blindness. And you remember that the point of this is to emphasize the correspondence between physical sight and spiritual sight. The multitude of different words for sight helps us to be more aware of this. So we drew the correlation. And we could have asked at that point then, what are the disciples spiritually blind too? Or better question would be whether they need to spiritually see? What must they understand?
They must understand what is found from chapter 8:27 until the end of the chapter. And what we saw in these verses two weeks ago was that the disciples of Jesus must understand 3 things. Number 1 they must understand who Jesus is in verses 27 to 29. Peter gets it right in chapter 8:29 at the end of the verse, “you are the Christ.”
And number two, they must understand his mission. Verse 31, they must understand that he must die and rise again. Peter doesn’t get this and he rebukes Jesus for this in verse 32. Jesus responds by rebuking Peter in verse 33.
And thirdly, not only must they understand who Jesus is, that he is the Christ, and not only should they understand his death for sin and resurrection, but verses 34-38, they must also deny themselves and follow Christ. They must lose their lives…for the sake of those previous two things, for the sake of who Jesus is and for the sake of his death and resurrection. The must sacrifice themselves for the sake of the gospel.
And at this point as a reader you’re thinking, “Really? Should I really lose my life for him? Should I forfeit my soul for the sake of who Jesus is and what he has done? Should I give up the gaining of the whole world for the sake of losing all of my life, my plans and my ambitions for the sake of the gospel? And who is it again who is asking me to do these things? Maybe being reminded of who He is would help me to do this.”
And so Jesus gives a declaration of who he is in verse 38. Mark 8:38 (NASB) “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
“Oh,” you say, “that’s right, he is the ‘Son of Man’ and he is the one who will ‘come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.’ “
But how do I know that? I mean, from the disciples perspective, here is this man once again standing before them and declaring these things that they should take up their execution device and follow after Christ and lose their lives for the sake of who he is and what he has done. That’s quite a commitment I would say.
How do I know that he really is who he claims to be? And now as the story unfolds in chapter 9 and it’s as if Jesus, knowing the needs of his disciples, proceeds to prove that he is who he says that he is. And he proves who He is through the Transfiguration.
And so we get into chapter 9 and we still have the same issue. We still have the identity of Jesus and what He’s come to do at issue. Who He is, what has He come to do, and what ought our response to him be? In chapter 8 we saw that he is the Christ who has come to die and rise again and our response should be to deny ourselves take up our cross follow him and lose our lives for his sake. Here in chapter 9 what we will see emphasized is that he is the Son of Man who is coming to die and rise again and that our response should be to depend on him. Let me show you that briefly as we skim the passage.
The very last verse of chapter 8 Jesus describes himself as the Son of Man. This title has reference to Jesus being the messianic King over all peoples of the earth. I’ll show you that in more detail later.
Now, in 9:1-8, this Son of Man is transfigured before them and verse one tells us the interpretation of the Transfiguration which is that this is a taste of the glorious splendor of the King over this kingdom. We have the pronouncement from the heavenly Father in verse seven that Jesus is the Father’s beloved son.
And then as they are coming down from the mountain, Jesus again emphasizes the fact that he is going to die and that he is going to rise again from the dead. Mark uses this discussion as they are coming down from the mountain…he uses this as a transition into the next story. And so that discussion in verses 9-13 serves to show us something so that we better understand the next story and it’s this: vv.9-13 demonstrate that the disciples still are not getting it. They are not getting the fact of who Jesus is. Jesus is the messianic King from Daniel chapter 7, which we’ll look at. And they are not understanding that this Son of Man must die and he must rise again from the dead.
And then in the remainder of our text, from verses 14-29, we have multiple descriptions of cosmic warfare between Jesus and Satan. Mark piles on terminology that refers to spiritual warfare. And it is from these verses that we will have our preaching point this morning. And the major preaching point is faith, as it’s found in verse 19 “unbelieving” as well as verse 24 “believe” and “unbelief” as well as verse 29 “prayer.” And what will argue is that all of these terms have reference to dependence on Christ.
So as we put that all together this morning, I would like to preach to you to “Depend on the Messianic King in Cosmic Conflict.” Dependence on the Messiah is the great conflict of the ages. Will there be faith in those who claim to be His followers?
The Messianic King Transfigured: A Preview of the Powerful Coming of the King (9:1-8)
In the first eight verses of chapter 9, the Holy Spirit has inscripturated for us a unique look at the person of Jesus. What we see in these eight verses is the messianic King transfigured. And what is the Transfiguration? The purpose of the Transfiguration is to give a preview of the powerful coming of the king in the future, a preview of the powerful coming of the king in the future. And it is precisely this point that Jesus is the Son of Man, that he is the messianic King, that the disciples do not understand. And they not understanding this is the point in these eight verses from vv1-8.
Mark 9:1 (NASB) And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
What we have here is Jesus declaring the Transfiguration before it happens. This is Jesus’ purpose in the Transfiguration. And notice how Mark begins verse one, “and he was saying to them.” This seems to be a continuation of the previous story. And he was saying to them at that time.
And I made reference earlier that as the Son of Man, Jesus is the messianic King. You will notice once again in chapter 8 verse 38 he refers to himself as the Son of Man. Up to this point in Mark’s gospel, Jesus refers to himself only two other times by this title. And by far, in all the gospels, this is the title that Jesus uses of himself most often. And starting at the end of chapter 8 and running into the end of the gospel, Mark’s gospel has the title Son of Man 12 times, but he has only used it two times previous to this point. And my point is that all of a sudden Mark is giving emphasis to this title of Son of Man. So, we need to understand why he’s emphasizing this.
And we’ve noted this before, but let me remind us that when Jesus uses this title, Son of Man, he’s referring to Daniel chapter 7. Specifically Daniel 7:13-14, where Daniel says, 13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. [And now notice that this Son of Man is clearly the king.v14…] 14 And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
So Mark now in the second half of his gospel is highlighting Jesus as the Son of Man. It all begins right here. And so it is significant that this emphasis begins right here when Jesus is transfigured before them. There is a relationship then between Jesus as the Son of Man and the transfiguration and the kingdom. The Son of Man has a kingdom as Dan. 7 says. So, as the Messianic King then, Jesus is displaying the, v.1, power of the coming king of that kingdom.
The correct understanding of the Transfiguration then is that Jesus is giving a preview of what will happen in the end times as it’s described in v.38. You read v. 38 and you want a preview of what the Son of Man, the Messianic King, will look like when He comes like that? Ok, you got it. It’s found right here.
So the Transfiguration is a preview of the powerful coming of the messianic king.
And you remember up until this point in this section, Jesus desires that we spiritually see who he is, what he has come to do, and our response to him. And it’s this Transfiguration that gives us proof concerning who he is. He is the Messiah and he is the promised messianic King who was to come from Daniel chapter 7. And it’s the Transfiguration that gives us this proof. And now that we have more proof concerning who he is, we will be more motivated to respond to him like we should. He demands… He is the one who demands of you that you lose your life for His sake and the gospel… That you lose his life for who he is and what he has done.
Now, the story unfolds in Mark 9:2 (NASB) Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John, and *brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them;
So Jesus is transfigured before them which means that he has changed his essential form in some way. It is not extremely helpful to say that we get our word metamorphosis from this Greek word and how that’s what butterflies do, they change. It’s more helpful to look in the context to see what actually is going on.
Verse three Mark 9:3 (NASB) and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Also, Matthew 17:2 (NASB) And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
Luke 9:29 (NASB) And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.
So that is what is happening. But remember the interpretation. The interpretation of this is that the disciples are getting a preview of the powerful coming of the messianic King. That’s the major point. The other major point of the passage is that the disciples are not getting it. And that’s what we have in the next three verses.
Now, Mark 9:4-6 (NASB) 4 Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter *said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified.
Whereas Peter’s comment in verse five seems hospitable, it is in fact a demonstration that Peter really does not comprehend who Jesus is. Let me explain. There you have Elijah Moses and Jesus. Who is superior? Well, in the minds of Jews, Moses did miracles, Elijah did miracles, and sure Jesus has done miracles. And so the question is will Peter and the disciples put Elijah and Moses on the same plane as Jesus? They shouldn’t, because Jesus is superior; He’s the Messianic King that’s transfigured as a taste of the power He has in His kingdom!
And Peter’s response in verse five indicates that indeed they are on the same plane. Let’s make three tabernacles or tents. And everybody gets one. And they’re all the same. So Peter seems to indicate that they all have equal standing. But that’s not the case. And humorously Mark notes that verse six Peter said this because he didn’t know what else to say because he and the disciples were scared.
But now verse seven clarifies who Jesus is Mark 9:7 (NASB) Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”
“You must listen to Jesus. He is the beloved son; focus your attention on him,” the voice out of the cloud says. And then all of a sudden verse eight they look around and they don’t see anyone except Jesus.
What’s important to note about verse seven is the voice out of the cloud. The last time we had a voice out of the cloud was in Mark chapter 1. And I would like us to turn over there now. Mark chapter 1.
Let’s read Mark 1:9-13. And as we do, notice the voice out of the clouds in verse 11 and then the cosmic conflict in verse 13.
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” 12 Immediately the Spirit *impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
So my point here is that after the father’s voice declaring Jesus to be his beloved son, the son of God, immediately after that Jesus is in cosmic conflict with Satan in the desert in verse 13. So, first the heavenly voice of the father and then the Satanic conflict in the desert.
Now, turn back to chapter 9. The same thing is going on here. We have the Father’s voice and satanic conflict.
After verses nine through 13 of chapter 9, which we will look at here, we also have in verses 14 to 29, cosmic conflict. So just like in Mark chapter 1, so it is in Mark chapter 9. In chapter 1 we have the voice from heaven and then the cosmic conflict with Satan in the wilderness. Now in chapter 9, we have the voice from heaven making a similar confession and then, we have phrase upon phrase and word upon word to emphasize the demonic nature of the illness of this little boy. Again, Father’s voice then satanic conflict in both chapter 1 and chapter 9.
Interestingly then, as well, just like Mark piles on words in chapter 8 to refer to spiritual blindness and physical blindness and eyes and seeing, so also here in Mark chapter 9 especially in verse 18 we have Mark piling on words to refer to the demonic nature of this illness. In the major flow the story, the point is that lack of spiritual sight is demonically inspired. Not understanding who Jesus is, what he has come to do to die and rise again, and not comprehending our response to him…that’s all Satanic. It was Satanic when Peter rebuked Jesus that he would not die and rise again because Jesus says to Peter get behind me Satan. Peter’s lack of spiritual insight was Satanic, Jesus is saying.
And now in chapter 9 what we will see is that the lack of dependence on the messianic King is also satanic. Whether to exercise faith and dependence on Jesus is the cosmic conflict of the ages.
But before we get to that in verses 14 to 29, we have this story in verses 9-13. And the role of this story is to demonstrate once again that the disciples are not getting it. This bleak description of the disciples, that they aren’t getting it, stands in stark contrast to the faith of father of this little boy the next story. Let’s look at the bleak description of the disciples.
So, the Transfiguration is over. Jesus has accomplished his purpose in doing this for them, which is to give them a preview of the glorious coming of him as the messianic king in the end times. And it serves as well to prove that he really is who he says he is. And this further motivates us to trust him and to commit our lives to him. He has proven in the Transfiguration that he is the messianic King and that he has come to die and rise again and that we should lose our lives for his sake and the Gospel’s.
And now they’re coming down the mountain, Mark 9:9-10 (NASB) 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead. 10 They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant.
So you can see then, that they are not understanding. They have to discuss with one another what it meant for the Messiah to rise from the dead. But the Messiah would in fact die and the Messiah would be raised from the dead…they had to discuss this. They did not understand what this meant. So I have a question and that is why on earth would they not understand what it means to rise from the dead? It means resurrection, of course. Why is that so difficult for the disciples?
And it’s important to know the answer to that question in order to understand this passage. They had to discuss with one another when it meant the Messiah would die and rise from the dead. They had to do that because of what they were taught their whole lives. They were taught their whole lives that when the Messiah came he would immediately usher in the kingdom. And when he came he would rescue Israel from their enemy and set up the kingdom on earth right then and there. The Jews had no concept of a dying or rising Messiah. And that’s why they are so confused at this point.
So they are trying to put all this together. They know what happened on the mount of Transfiguration, for one, they saw Elijah. And now they’re thinking about what they know about Elijah with reference to the coming of the Messiah. So they recall together with the scribes taught about Elijah from Malachi 3:1 (NASB) “Behold, [Yahweh says, I] am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.
As well as they would be discussing with one other …Malachi 4:5-6 (NASB) 5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
And so they are talking with one another about these passages let’s say and what the scribes would teach about those passages.
And so their whole thinking is similar to what Peter’s thinking was after he confessed that Jesus was the Messiah. The Messiah can’t die!? That doesn’t make sense! If you would look back at Mark 8:31-32 (NASB) 31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
Peter, by rebuking Jesus, is saying that the Messiah can’t die! And now, they have just seen Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration. So they are likely thinking that okay, here’s Elijah. Just like the scribes have taught that Elijah must come first and then the Messiah will usher in the kingdom of God. So, Elijah came. So, now must be the time when the Messiah will usher in the kingdom of God on earth right now, because Elijah has come. And so when Jesus now says the Son of Man must die and rise again, they’re discussing all of what this should mean and they’re wondering about Elijah. And so they asked verse 11…
11 They asked Him, saying, “Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
And behind this statement is their inability to understand and believe and grab a hold of Jesus statement by faith.
I mean, they would say, the scribes say Elijah must come first, that is, the scribes say Elijah must come first before the Messiah comes. We just saw Elijah on the mountain and he has come. And you are the Messiah, right, so you are going to usher in the kingdom right now, too, right… just like with the scribes have taught us?
No, no, this is my beloved son, hear him! And so in Jesus’ explanation in vv.12-13, he does clarify Elijah’s ministry, but he also describes his own ministry. He says that the scribes are right but he clarifies that even though the disciples don’t understand that the Messiah must suffer, the Scriptures testifying that the Messiah must indeed suffer.
Mark 9:12-13 (NASB) 12 And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 “But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they did to him whatever they wished, just as it is written of him.”
So, in reality, and in keeping with the point of the passage, the actual understanding of Elijah’s ministry is secondary to the major point. These verses show that the disciples need once again further clarification on the nature of the ministry of the Messiah. And although they were discussing with one another what rising from the dead means, they go ahead and ask not about that, but about Elijah and what the scribes say about him. Aargh! Why didn’t they ask Jesus about what they were discussing?
What is the nature of Elijah’s ministry? Notice how Jesus puts it verse 12 “Elijah does first come.” So, Elijah is coming. Now notice verse 13 when Jesus says, “but I say to you that Elijah has indeed come.” So in a sense of Elijah has already come. How are we to understand this? Well the fact that Mark does not give us the understanding that Matthew does is to make the point that I’m making. Mark focuses on the fact the disciples don’t get it. And by just reading what we have in Mark, we don’t get it either. And that’s Mark’s point. We don’t get it. That is a reason why you have to either do a more detailed study of John the Baptist’s life or cross reference this same story in Matthew to understand what this is actually talking about. Mark’s point is that you don’t understand and now by not understanding you are in the shoes of the disciples and you are really sympathetic with them.
But anyway, Jesus teaching on the nature of Elijah’s ministry is, if you would allow me to oversimplify the issues, that John the Baptist is a down payment, sort of speak, of the coming Elijah. We learn this by cross referencing this same story in Matthew.
Matthew 17:13 (NASB) Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.
So John the Baptist is kind of a preview of the coming Elijah in a similar way that the Transfiguration is a preview of the coming of the Son of Man and his kingdom.
TRANS: So what we have seen up to this point is that Jesus is the messianic king. And we know that he has come to die for sins and rise again bodily from the grave. We also know the disciples are not getting it; they don’t understand.
So it was just Jesus and the three disciples Peter James and John who were with Jesus on the mountain Transfiguration and it was a discussion between the four of them that we have in verses 9-13.
And what we’re going to have in verses 14-29 is a display of the cosmic conflict of faith. “We see in this whole passage in chapter 9 up until verse 29 is that we should depend on the messianic King in cosmic conflict, in spiritual warfare. Specifically in the context is the cosmic conflict of the ages which is, are people going to depend upon Jesus as he desires or not?
And you remember in the introduction to this message when we pointed out together that the last time the heavenly Father pronounced Jesus as the beloved Son at his baptism in chapter 1, Jesus was in cosmic conflict with Satan in the wilderness. And now, we have had the Father’s pronouncement once more in the voice from the cloud on the Mount of Transfiguration that Jesus is the beloved son, and now what we have in verses 14-29 is once again cosmic conflict with the forces of Satan. And Mark really makes a point of this. But let’s tell the story.
Mark 9:14-18 lays the groundwork for 2 conflicts in this passage. One is the conflict of faith and spiritual ability of the disciples and the other is Jesus’ power over the demons. Notice these two conflicts in these verses.
14 When they came back to the disciples [Jesus, and the 3 disciples, when they came to meet up with the other 12], they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15 Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. 16 And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18 and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”
So you can see first in verses 17-18 that they are rushing to Jesus to see if this messianic king might display his cosmic power over the forces of the king of the evil kingdom of Satan. As well though, we see at the end of verse 18 the bringing in of the disciples into this magnificent story of cosmic warfare. So the question after reading into verse 18 is will Jesus exercise his power over this demon and will the disciples come to understand how they too have the ability to cast out demons.
Of course you remember that Jesus gave the disciples power to cast out demons in Mk. 3:15; 6:13.
And by comparing the other accounts in the other gospels on this story, Mark clearly emphasizes the demonic nature of this illness as opposed to the others. Verse 17 the man says that his son is possessed with the spirit which makes him mute” as well verse 18 “seizes” as well as how this demon “slams him to the ground” and the boy “foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and stiffens out.” So you can see all the details of this demonic possession.
And so of course here Jesus must respond. Mark 9:19 (NASB) And He *answered them and *said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!”
When Jesus says, “O unbelieving generation” he’s referring, not to the father, but to the disciples who were unable to cast out the demon. The father knew the disciples of Jesus had this ability from Jesus to cast out demons, but the disciples were unable to do so. And Jesus knows that their inability to do so is because of their unbelief.
So now the tension is heightened. How will the disciple’s lack of faith be resolved especially as it relates to cosmic conflict?
Will Jesus find the faith in someone there that he might cast out the demon?
And so now they, verse 20, bring the boy to him Mark 9:20-22 (NASB) 20 When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”
And so as the father of this boy explains the nature of this demonic possession, in verse 22 the father with great distress reveals some what of the condition of his heart and he says “if you can do anything.”
And Jesus latches onto that statement in verse 23. Mark 9:23 (NASB) And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”
Jesus takes this opportunity to clarify that the spiritual possibility of all things, especially here in the realm of cosmic conflict, is available to the one who believes. And in a marvelous expression of faith with knowledge of the frailty of his own self, the father cries out in verse 24 Mark 9:24 (NASB) “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
And so as a great contrast to the disciples who did not have the faith to cast out this demon, the boy’s father does and Jesus receives this man’s testimony in verse 24 as genuine faith. The way that we know that is because Jesus casts out the demon.
Mark 9:25-27 (NASB) 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” 26 After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up.
So the boy’s father cries out in desperation that he does believe that Jesus has this cosmic power over of Satan’s forces of darkness, which only the messianic King has. And in humility he realizes that at best he does still have unbelief in his heart, yet he cries out for help for that unbelief. But Jesus receives this as genuine faith.
His statement indicates that he is entirely resigned to Jesus. For those believers who wrestle with whether or not they have faith…you can take this verse and if you can claim it as one who believes, but that you know you have unbelief, but you’re willing to ask for help with your unbelief, Jesus receives this as genuine faith.
And of course the major point here is that dependence on Christ is the key to unlocking the operative power of God in cosmic warfare.
And then in the last two verses we have a private time with Jesus and the disciples.
Mark 9:28-29 (NASB) 28 When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
So then, believers in Jesus participate in this cosmic warfare. Jesus is the victor and it is faith that is the actual victory. The cosmic conflict of the ages is the issue of faith in Jesus. Faith alone in Jesus saves and faith in Jesus unlocks his power in cosmic warfare between him and Satan. The disciples of Jesus were unable to cast out the demon because of their unbelief and lack of prayer dependence on Christ and the father’s faith unlocked the operative power of God in this cosmic workfare of Jesus against Satan. So you can see then that the obvious application for us is depend on the messianic King in cosmic conflict.
You will experience spiritual warfare. You will experience spiritual warfare every day. Are you ready? Have you really prepared yourself? How would you know if you have prepared yourself were not? Today this morning every morning will you depend on the messianic King who has the power in this cosmic warfare? You do not have power. You have been given faith to believe in the one who has the power.
So, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
And I can’t help but to apply this to us as we make serious plans to go out into our community and to reach every door and every soul for Christ. The cosmic conflict of the ages is faith in Christ. As we go out as Christ’s disciples to proclaim the gospel of Christ in this community and as we seek to proclaim him as the Messiah, will you depend on him to open up the eyes of the understanding of the people? That is our job. We must trust him that he does the work. Are you prepared in your heart to do this work? Do you have faith in him to use you to reach out into the community?
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Mark 9.1-29
No doubt as we seek to reach this community for Christ, we will experience opposition. Though people may display it on their faces and their countenances and their voices, know that behind all of that is satanic influence. Just like when Peter when he misunderstood Jesus and his mission and he rebuked Jesus for saying that Jesus would go to the cross and Jesus proclaimed get behind me Satan…. Jesus knew right well that it was Satan who was behind Peter’s spiritual blindness. So it is with anybody with whom you share the gospel and they reject it. Paul says that the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.
I don’t know about you, but by God’s grace, I believe God through our efforts sharing the gospel and preparing all this material and spending all this time, God is going to save souls. He is going to change people’s lives and illuminate their understanding and give them faith and repentance in him and a desire to grow and hunger for him! May we depend on Jesus, as the messianic King of all the ages, in our cosmic conflict.
Number 596: Faith is the victory. In the cosmic conflict in the spiritual realm, it’s faith that is the victory as we’ve seen in our story this morning.