“‘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 9:23-29
“’His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”’ (Mark 9:28). The answer lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. ‘This kind can come out by nothing but’ concentrating on Him, and then doubling and redoubling that concentration on Him. We can remain powerless forever, as the disciples were in this situation, by trying to do God’s work without concentrating on His power, and by following instead the ideas that we draw from our own nature. We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him.
“When you are brought face to face with a difficult situation and nothing happens externally, you can still know that freedom and release will be given because of your continued concentration on Jesus Christ. Your duty in service and ministry is to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there anything between you and Jesus even now? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it as an irritation, or by going up and over it, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ. Then that very problem itself, and all that you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way that you will never know until you see Him face to face.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
The last sentence of the first paragraph of the Chambers quote is very strong language. There are a lot of folks out there who jump on the bandwagon when things are going well. There is a great deal of volunteerism today – no belief required, often not even encouraged, just do. Jesus said that we should not stop people from doing good ‘in His name,’ but are these people slandering and dishonoring God?
I have known people who claimed to not have a relationship with Jesus at all, but they go on church mission trips and sing the praises of how everyone should go on one – just for the good feeling that it gives you. I think Jesus’ comment about how they have already received their reward applies, but do they slander and dishonor God?
But let’s get rid of the ‘doing good deeds’ thing for a moment. There is an old joke about a new boy scout who was having trouble understanding the scouting slogan, Do a Good Turn Daily. The scoutmaster said that it was doing some nice act for other people with no thought of a reward, like helping an old lady across the street. The next week, the scoutmaster asked the young scout if he was successful. He said that he was, but it was really hard helping that old lady across the street. The scoutmaster asked why that was, and the boy said, “She didn’t want to go!” So, with that said, and all the ramifications that might make to the quotes above, we will look at what Chambers said without the good deeds.
Someone who does not have a relationship with Jesus is not among the true believers. This person is not saved. In pretending to be saved, one could say that they were dishonoring God. In rejecting God’s gift of salvation, is that not dishonoring God? If they were vocal about their lack of faith during their service work, going to church, etc., people would speak of the hypocrisy. As a result, would that not be slandering the church, if not God. What is their statement of “no faith”? Since they do not believe, how can they glorify God by their actions?
Yet, we are not to judge. I feel that this is a good use of Matthew 7 regarding not judging. God will sort the wheat from the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30), tares for you KJV folks. I know of two mission trip workers who accepted Jesus as their Savior during a mission trip. God will work that out.
As for the disciples who did not go onto the Mount of Transfiguration, they tried to cast out this demon and they failed. Yet, the Holy Spirit had not come upon them yet. They followed Jesus, but how much of Jesus’ teaching did they understand until Pentecost. A fellow blogger noted that in Matthew 28, as Jesus gave them the Great Commission, some had doubts. Yes, but Pentecost was just around the corner. With the help of the Holy Spirit, their doubts would be gone.
Jesus came to earth to save those who believe (believe, trust, and have a relationship) in Him. It is not a matter of a ‘religious experience’ that you had years ago. If Jesus is in us, He will be cleaning house. Changes will be made that are obvious. I think it was Max Lucado who said that this sometimes is not very pleasant. Jesus isn’t just sweeping the floor and throwing out a little trash. He is tearing down walls. He’s building a mansion. After all, He, the King of kings, intends to stay for a while.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.