Spiritual Authority

Spiritual Authority

J.C. Thompson |

In today's message, we see Jesus exercise spiritual authority over a deaf and mute spirit in a young boy. We'll learn how we can exercise spiritual authority given to us by God in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Spiritual Authority – Message 4
J.C. Thompson
July 17, 2022

A. Introduction (Mark 6:7)

Today we are continuing our series entitled extraORDINARY, which is a series where we are looking at Jesus’s extraORDINARY interactions with His disciples who were ordinary men. We are searching for ways in which we can learn to live in that life that God calls us to live in through His son Jesus.

So, we’ll be in Mark chapter 9 today, you can turn there.

To give context to this story, here is something that Jesus charged His disciples with in Mark chapter 6.

Mark 6:7 (NLT)
7 And He called His twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits.

This is a big job description!

Mark 6:13 (NLT)
13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

The disciples found success in this responsibility that God gave to them.

Could you imagine what that would have felt like? Probably something like this…

Avengers or some sort of superhero saving the world.

If that is you being asked to do that? If that is you that just saw Jesus doing something incredible how do you respond?

Today we will see how the disciples responded when faced with a challenge after their victory.

B. Exercising Spiritual Authority involves...

1. Confronting chaos. (Mark 9:14-19; John 6:68b. C/R: Isaiah 55:10-13)

Earlier in Mark 9, Jesus took Peter James and John up a mountain in order to be alone with them.

In this moment, Jesus’ appearance was transformed. Later in this series we will talk more about this instance.

Today’s passage happens as Jesus, Peter, James and John come down from the mountain and come upon a situation of chaos.

Mark 9:14–16 (NLT)
When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet Him.

“What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.

Jesus comes upon the remaining disciples embroiled in an argument with the scribes.

Jesus immediately gets to the heart of the matter of this chaos by asking, “What is all this arguing about?”

Jesus here is coming down from what is another transformative experience for a few of His disciples and immediately is thrust into a combative situation.

I want to draw out for us Jesus’ intention of entering into this situation. He does not sit by waiting for it to sort itself out. He also does not do what many of us do in the midst of conflict by trying to get everyone to just stop arguing.

No He gets into the middle of it and seeks for them to go to Him for the solution rather than his disciples.

This is what we must be about as disciples of Christ, we must not run from conflict or chaos, but enter into it. But we enter into these situations pointing towards Christ’s words and not ours.

Mark 9:17–19 (NLT)
One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so You could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked Your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.”

I think it is important to note that while Jesus asked the entire crowd what was going on, it was not the disciples or the scribes that answered Jesus. It was a man that was searching for healing for his son.

The scribes did not want to argue with Jesus and the disciples were probably embarrassed at their lack in being able to provide a solution for this man’s son.

Jesus when speaking of the faithless people here, who is He talking to?

I believe it is pretty obvious that Jesus is speaking to the disciples here. He would have been concerned about their faith because He is leaving the keys of the kingdom to them.

We see in Jesus’ response a desire to finish His work, a sorrow over their unbelief.

Jesus was gone a day and the disciples couldn’t rely on Him in His absence?!

The disciples should have responded in faith again, not living out of the overflow from past victories. It is the same with us.

Instead of going to the well again, we rely on past things that God has done or said, but the Word of God should be sought daily to find truth for our life.

How do we know this truth? We must be continually bathed in the words of Christ. Peter knew this to be true of Jesus.

John 6:68 b (NLT)
“...You have the words that give eternal life.”

The Word of God is like a fine marinade. Softens us, prepares us, and is necessary to bring our tenderness and flavor in what could be considered a tough, lean meat.

Ill: When we are put in situations of chaos or just simply have an opportunity to minister to others, are we prepared with the words of Christ? Have we spent time in His presence to be ready for exercise our faith?

If we are going to exercise the authority that Christ has given to us, we must step into conflicts knowing the truth of God.

2. Compassion for suffering. (Mark 9:20-22; Colossians 3:12. C/R: Isaiah 49:10; 54:10)

A boy’s father in the midst of this chaotic situation steps through the crowd to share with Jesus what has been happening.

Mark 9:20–22 (NLT)
So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if You can.”

When the evil spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy. I think it is important for us to understand that Jesus’ presence provokes a violent response from the spirit.

If you are not careful you can domesticate all this “spiritual stuff” into niceties. This demon was afraid of Christ and responded to His presence in this way. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil not just teach His way out of it.

It could have been easy for Jesus to just have healed him right then and there, but Jesus didn’t do that. He asked a question, “how long has this been happening?”

Why would Jesus ask this to the father?

It could have been a number of things… Amount of time or depth of understanding the suffering?

I think that Jesus wanted to feel more closely connected to this father’s heart for his child. Remember, Jesus is still omniscient, meaning He knows the answer to the question.

But to hear this father’s recollection of his son’s suffering would have drawn their hearts closer together.

Kids in the room. Often times your parents are asking you what is going on at school, in your life, even though they know, because they love you and want to feel more closely connected to you.

So rather than just give them to head nod or the idk, why don’t you actually take the time to share what you are feeling with your parents?

Parents, sometimes you need to just sit with your kids and listen. This is especially important when your children are teenagers. In student ministry we instruct parents that they are moving from regular intervals of time where you have them to a whenever they are ready to talk, drop everything moment.

Jesus is not only concerned about what ails you, He is concerned with how you are carrying what ails you. He isn’t some force of healing walking around the earth, He is a person. God is concerned with you and not just your situation.

He calls us to be concerned with these things as well as His followers.

Colossians 3:12 (NLT)
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Ill: When you are faced with someone who is suffering, or down and out or isolated from society, are you responding in kindness and compassion or neglect or contempt?

2. Confidence in calling. (Mark 9:23-27; 1 Peter 4:11. C/R: Ephesians 2:2-5; 1 Timothy 6:12)

After Jesus hears the plight of this boy and the father’s connection with him. Jesus responds to the father’s proposition.

Mark 9:23 (NLT)
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Jesus here makes sure to let this man know that Jesus absolutely has the authority and the ability and the willingness to heal. But did this man have faith that Jesus could heal his son?

It is important to understand that Jesus is not just giving a personal response to the father, but is also teaching publicly. He is instructing that faith is really what matters.

Mark 9:24 (NLT)
The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

This is a wonderful, encouraging sweet picture of a father’s limited faith. He had just seen the disciples fail and casting the evil spirit out of his son, who has been struggling for years! He doesn’t want his faith to be the reason that Christ does not heal.

But he also recognizes he has some small shred of faith.

So, he begs Jesus, not to heal his son, but trusting what Jesus just said is true that anything is possible for those who have faith in God, to help him increase his faith.

Mark 9:25–27 (NLT)
When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, He rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” He said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”

Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.

The crowd growing was Jesus’ cause for the timing of this exorcism.

Remember Jesus was not wanting to attract too much attention because it was not the right time for Him to go to the cross.

Do we have the same authority as the disciples to do what the followers of Jesus were doing? Is our authority the same as Jesus?

First, we must recognize that we are followers of Christ first. So, we are subject to the authority and leadership of God. What He says goes. So, our authority is definitely not the same as Jesus.

Second, there is a particular call to Jesus’ disciples that is not to us. And also, the spiritual activity of the enemy is more outwardly pronounced than it is in our day. Because Jesus is a bigger enemy to Satan than you are.

But God has given us some authority and a role to play in His kingdom and most specifically through the church.

1 Peter 4:11 (NLT)
Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.

Our service to God is authorized by God by the giving of gifts to those who have been born again for the purpose of building up the church.

Just be careful taking verses that are addressed to particular groups of people and applying that to you.

You have a calling, but it is not the same as the calling of the people we read about in the Bible.

Ill: What has God called you to do? Are you following His call or running from it?

4. Contingent on God’s work. (Mark 9:28-29. C/R: Psalm 135:6-7; James 4:13-16)

Mark 9:28–29 (NLT)
Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with His disciples, they asked Him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”

Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”

The disciples after this incident seek counsel from Jesus in order to understand why they had failed to cast out the evil spirit from the boy.

I love this picture that Mark gives to us in his gospel. After a failure, the disciples inquire of Him to help them understand and to assist them for the next time they find themselves in this situation trying to figure out why they had failed.

Jesus was instructing the disciples, that the power to heal, to teach, to cast out demons, to encourage is God’s work. We must depend on Him and not on our past, our skills, our experiences, or anything else.

The disciples more than likely had been riding on the high of previous successes of being victorious over evil spirits had not depended on God and instead depended on their own efforts.

This failure is what we will experience if we attempt to do God’s work in our own power.

God’s work is only accomplished through faith. Faith that is alone empowered by God.

This man’s little faith was enough to see God’s power work in the life of His son. It was not the disciples’ faith but the faith of a suffering father for his child that tapped into God’s power.

For us today it is the same. Prayer and God’s Word should be our primary tools of ministry. Why are these the tools? Because God says that they are.

God’s work is accomplished in God’s way by God’s people.

Ill: Have you been trying to accomplish God’s work in your own power? Are you tempted to seek the credit for God’s work in your life?

As believer’s we are called as partners with God into His work.

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