Worship Service – September 19, 2021

Scriptures: 1 Peter 3:8-17, Mark 9:14-32
Sermon. “I Believe?”

Mark 9:14-32 · The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit
(14) When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. (15) As 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.
(17) A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. (18) Whenever 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.”
(20) So 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.
(21) Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” 22″From childhood,” he answered. “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.”
(24) Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
(25) When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
(26) The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” (27) But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
(28) After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
(29) He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. “
(30)They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, (31) because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” (32) But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

I would like to start my message today, by having us all stand and state together what we believe as Christians. In the Reciting of the Apostles Creed.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of a Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended to heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; resurrection of the body; and life everlasting. Amen.

Now today, let’s look at this account of the healing and faith, and then underscore 5 truths.
Jesus had been with Peter, James and John upon the mountain alone. There on the mountain He was transfigured in their presence, and Elijah and Moses came to visit with them. Peter wanted to stay there. You remember. He wanted to stay there and build three tabernacles. One for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. But Jesus wouldn’t allow that.
Here’s the “1st Truth” we need to underscore.
We can never stay on the mountain, we all have to leave that mountain. That place of excitement and joy and spiritual high and return the world we live in. Peter, James and John were taught that by Jesus.
Verse 14 tells us that on coming down from the mountain, they were greeted with confusion, conflict and confrontation. They saw a large crowd surrounding the disciples and teachers of the law and they were arguing. When Jesus asked the disciples what they were arguing about, before they could give him an answer, a man came forward,in desperate need. He explained his son was possessed by spirits that took his breath away, made him unable to talk, caused him to go into convulsions and to foam at the mouth and to grind his teeth. The young fellow would not eat, and he was wasting away. The father, in desperation, had brought his son to Jesus and seeing He wasn’t their, he asked the disciples to heal him and to cast out the demons, but they couldn’t.
Jesus and the disciples with him came back to reality of this world and it’s trials. Disappointed in the disciples and the teachers of the law, He addressed them with sharp words of disappointment: “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” Then, Jesus asked that the little boy be brought to Him.
In this father we have a picture of real despair, yet a burning hope. A picture of faith that struggles with reality. He can’t help but tell the awful, dreadful, condition of his son. Jesus asked him,”How long has he been like this?”. He tells Jesus:”From childhood”. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.”
Still painting that awful picture, the faith and the hope of this father comes to the surface: “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
Jesus interrupted him by repeating his words saying, “If you can.’” Then He gives us and this father the “2nd Truth”, that I would like us to underscore today. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
I’ve always admired the father in this account. I can identify with him as much as anyone in all of scripture. Not because he is a man who loves his son or because his boy is sick, probably an epileptic, subject to violent seizures. Or because the dad had heard about Jesus, who had been touring the countryside with a reputation for being able to heal all sorts of diseases, and he’s not quite sure what to make of the word on the street, but still brings his son in hopes that he can be healed. We all know that when it comes to your child, you do whatever it takes. This dad loves his little boy and wants to do something… anything…to help him.
I admire him because he wasn’t afraid to have his faith, what he believed questioned!
This dad is desperate. The medical men of the day had nothing more to offer than just a stick placed between the teeth to prevent injury to the tongue during an attack. The father knows nothing more to do, untill he hears about Jesus. So when he and the boy first arrive at the appointed place, Jesus is not there. So he asks the disciples to give it their best shot, but to no avail – the boy is not healed. No doubt, dad is now tempted to just give this up as a fool’s errand, but something makes him stay put until Jesus arrives. I admire the father in this account because when he makes his request of Jesus he not only asks for his son’s healing but recognizes his own lack of faith. Verse 22 we read his request: “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
Jesus answers in a way that sounds a bit sharp and unfeeling at first: “If you can!” If you can? If you can??? There is almost a sense of “How dare you question my ability to handle this!” But that is a misinterpretation. “If you can?” must be understood in terms of what Jesus says immediately thereafter. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
The “3rd Truth we need to underscore. To approach anything in the spirit of hopelessness is to make it hopeless; to approach anything in the spirit of faith is to make it a possibility.
Most of us are cursed with a sense of the impossible, and that is precisely why miracles don’t happen.”
The father’s response has been repeated over and over ever since: “Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” What had kept this man there waiting for Jesus, listening to the teachers of the law and the disciples argue over theological differences, as the crowd stood to the side, hoping in vain for help? Why did he stay?
It is my belief that he stayed because of two words…I BELIEVE. Not as one who had all the answers, as he himself admitted – “help me overcome my unbelief.” But he came because of those two words…I BELIEVE. He went home happy that night because of two words…I BELIEVE.
It is my further belief that those two words are at the heart of everything you or I do. The “4th truth” we need to see is that; What we BELIEVE determines how we BEHAVE.
We get up in the morning, put our feet over the side of the bed and on to the floor in preparation to stand. Why? Because we BELIEVE that the law of gravity is as much in force on this new morning as it was last night before we went to sleep. If we didn’t believe that, we would stay right there under the covers. When we leave our home, if we cross the street, we look both ways because we BELIEVE that iron and steel moving at high speed can make a mess of any flesh and blood with which they come in contact. In the world of work, if we BELIEVE that regularly showing up late for our job (if at all) will get us fired, we come to work on time all the time if we hope to keep working.
In a marriage if we BELIEVE our spouse is faithful to us, we think no more about it; if we BELIEVE our spouse is unfaithful, that is all we think about. This list is endless. What we BELIEVE will determine how we BEHAVE!
A quick story. There was a woman who phoned her pastor one Saturday night. “Pastor, what do I believe?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” He responded. The pastor wasn’t sure he had heard her correctly.
“I mean,” she said, “what do I believe? You see, I’ve just come from a party where several people got into a discussion about their various beliefs. One woman was Jewish, and she told us what she believes as a Jew. Another was Roman Catholic, and she told us what Catholics believe. Somebody was a Christian Scientist, and he talked about what they believe. I was the only Protestant in the group, and frankly, I didn’t know what to say. What do I believe?
That woman, must have attended church as a confusion of faith, not as a confession of faith.
She is not alone, is she? We are living in a period of history when folks are hard-pressed to articulate their faith. Hard-pressed to speak deeply of what they believe. We have seen public figures make pious pronouncements about their personal faith only to be seen as disappointingly human in their sinful actions.
One of the biggest problems Christians have is that we haven’t put into action what we believe. It’s work, and we have not taken the time nor made the effort to wrestle with the deep truths of our faith. Scripture says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15). Most Christians couldn’t do it if you threatened them.
If I asked you right now, “What do you believe?” could you answer? YES, you COULD! In fact, you already did. Only a few short minutes ago, you stood up before heaven and earth and said, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty.” You said you believed in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. You went on to describe Christ’s miraculous birth, his sacrificial death, his resurrection and ascension, and your conviction that he is coming back again. You said you believed in the Holy Spirit and this incredible community of believers called the church. You said you believed in the power of the present and future over the past when you said you believed in the forgiveness of sin. And finally, you said you had a living hope, that existence does not end with death, but rather continues with resurrection and life everlasting. WOW! And all in barely more than a hundred words. You said some of what you believe. We call it the Apostles’ Creed.
The Apostles’ Creed states the essential facts of the Biblical message without elaboration or explanation. After all, in just more than a hundred words, it can only be some of what we believe as Christians.
It says nothing about justification, sanctification, grace, scripture, even love. But what it does say is powerful!
You say, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty.” Now what? After all, if what we believe determines how we behave, such a statement will have an impact. What difference should a belief in a personal God who just happens to be creator of the whole universe make in our lives?
You say, “I believe in Jesus Christ, his supernatural birth, his sacrifice, his death, his ascension to glory and coming again in power. Now what? What you believe determines how you behave. Is Jesus truly unique?
You say,”I believe in the Holy Ghost.” Really? Now what? Speaking in tongues? Dancing in the aisle? What you believe determines how you behave.
What does belief in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit mean to your Christian walk?
“I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints.” Is it Holy? God led? Is it catholic, all inclusive in those who believe? Saints, all those who have come to faith in Christ? Really? Now what? How do those beliefs impact your behavior?
“I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” All sins? Even Hitler’s? What does that mean? And if you believe it, do you behave it?
“I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” Do you? OK. So how does that belief make you behave?
The 5th and final truth we need to see today is; Prayer is Powerful! That’s what Jesus was teaching His disciples in verses, 28 and29. Prayer is Powerful! Everything is possible for those who pray and believe.
So, my prayer is that you will know the truths we’ve learned in today’s message and say with all your heart and soul, “Lord, I BELIEVE…help me over-come my unbelief.”

We can never stay on the mountain, we all have to leave that mountain.

 Everything is possible for one who believes!

To approach anything in the spirit of hopelessness is to make it hopeless; to approach anything in the spirit of faith is to make it a possibility.

What we BELIEVE determines how we BEHAVE.

 Prayer is Powerful! Everything is possible for those who pray and believe.
Let us pray: Lord, we are grateful for the truths you provided in our reading of your word today. We are grateful that we can be together and state what we believe in the Apostles Creed. Help us take them seriously, not simply as words to be dryly repeated, but words to be joyfully made part of our lives. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen!
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20210919
Listen To Audio: Service 09192021

Prayer of Confession:     Heavenly Father, thank You for the lessons we can learn from the man who cried out to the Lord Jesus for help, and was reminded that, “all things are possible to him who believes.” May we never forget that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that Your power to heal and help in every situation is as sure today as it was when You healed the sick and turned water into wine. Lord, we do believe – increase our love and trust for You. This we ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.



Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at  570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to Kenya, Rev. Malaho

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 9:00!  Please come and join us in singing praises to Jesus! 

Newsletter Deadline – Tuesday September 28, 2021.

October 1st and & 2nd Soup and Bake Sale from 9-2 both days. Soups and Bake Goods welcomed.  All proceeds go to Presbyterian Women Fund (no rummage sale).

Please check your mailbox in the vestibule for new mail.

Please sign up to host one of the social hours on the Sunday after Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month. 

EMAIL address for the church has been changed to:  fhpc400@att.net  

The PW is selling Franklin Hill Presbyterian Cookbooks called “Recipes From The Hill” at $10.00 each.  All proceeds go to missions.  See Debbie Stalker.

The South Montrose Community Church has started a fire fund.  You may send donations to SMCC, PO Box 86, South Montrose, Pa. 18843.  Add a note with the donations that the money goes into

their fire fund.



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