Some Things Come Hard

Luke 5:17-20

See also Matt 9:1-8  ..\MATTHEW\09v01-08.doc

Mark 2:1-12

 

These four men brought a man to Christ for healing who couldn’t bring himself.  It is very necessary for the believers to have faith for the unbelievers.  When the four men encountered obstacles in the way, they didn’t let it stop them, but found another way to bring the man to Christ.  The physical arrangement of the house is important to know:

 

Area or Open Court

 

Christ Here (ground level)

 

 

The house was arranged like this for the sake of privacy.  It is also important to note that it wasn’t unusual for people to walk on the roof, which was flat.  It was possible to go from house to house on the roof, and was often done.  Remember Peter in Acts 10 who went up on the roof while waiting for a meal to be prepared?

 

Mark 9:14-29 - Another time when things didn’t come easy.

Note that Jesus came to the rescue of his disciples when the scribes had them on the “hot seat.”  Jesus comes to our rescue when people have us on the “hot seat.”

Verse 19 - Jesus called either his disciples, or the Jews, a “faithless generation.”  Whoeve they are, remember these peope are following Christ.  I believe many times we are that “faithless generation,” although we don’t want to admit it.  We are faithless because we don’t believe Jesus will do for us what He said He would do.  We often spend more time worrying about a situation than we do praying about it.  Often times, we had rather think about a situation instead of praying to God about it.  The Bible says if we had the faith as the grain of mustard seed, we could say to this mountain (very great problem in our life) “be thou removed and be cast into the sea,” and it would be done.  Do you not see how we are faithless?

How much time do you spend in prayer?  Do you go to work without praying?  Do you go to sleep without praying?  Is your interest so small in praying that you go to sleep while praying?  How much do you depend on prayer?  How much do you depend on God to answer your prayers?  If you don’t pray, you aren’t trusting in God to answer your prayers!

Praying must be very important for the Bible records that all “successful” (those that God blessed) people spent much time in prayer.  Daniel, David, Nehemiah, and many of the prophets had certain times of each day they gave to praying to God.  Jesus is the Son of the living God, yet He spent many sleepless nights in praying to His Father.  If Jesus needed to pray, don’t you think we need to pray?

These disciples, like us, try to get some results without praying and fasting (verse 29).  Some things come easy, but some things are accomplished only by prayer and fasting.  Some lost souls are easily brought to Christ, but others are hard to bring, coming only after much prayer and fasting on our part.  There are some lost souls in our church that are hard to bring.  We need to spend much time in prayer and fasting for them. 

 

What is fasting?  Matt. 6:16 - Fasting is in the inward heart, so don’t act sad and mark yourself so men will know you are fasting.

This is something that isn’t done very much today.  It isn’t a diet.  It is a time when you are so concerned with a situation, that you don’t think about eating.  It is also a time when you determine before God that you won’t eat, but will use that time to pray, asking God for help.

Daniel 9:3,4 - When Daniel understood by reading the prophet Jeremiah that Israel had already accomplished the 70 years in Babylon captivity, he spent much time in prayer and fasting, desiring God to do what He said He would do.  Some would think that it was foolish for Daniel to be so concerned about praying and fasting when the scripture plainly declared that the time of Israel’s captivity was already finished.  Those same people would also think we are fools for praying and fasting that God would save souls, when He has plainly declared that He came to seek and save the lost.  It is not wrong to pray and fast that God would fulfill His promises.  It is good that we do this.

Esther 4:3 - When the decree went out from the king that all the Jews would be killed at a certain day, there was much prayer and fasting.  In verse 16, Esther asked all the Jews to pray and fast for her as she prepared to go before the king and ask for assistance.  This worked!  What Esther did was what the four men in Mark 9 did.  They were together in trying to accomplish God’s will.  It is not wrong for us to band together, asking God’s blessings upon the lost in our families.  Matt. 18:20 - Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  Matt. 7:7 - Ask, seek, and knock.  We ought to believe these promises and act on them, or quit saying we are Christian!

Psalms 35:13 - David said he humbled his soul with fasting.  Are we so proud that we don’t want to humble our soul with fasting?  When our troubles get heavy enough and our souls get heavy enough, we will go to Christ with prayer and fasting.  Do we want to wait that long?

Jonah 3:5 – (These are HEATHENS!)  When Jonah preached that Ninevah would be destroyed within 40 days if they didn’t repent, that heathen nation proclaimed a national day of fasting and prayer, asking God to repent of his evil intentions toward them.  Ninevah prayed and fasted, and God heard their cry, had compassion upon them, and turned from destroying them.  God will do the same thing for us.  He will turn from destroying our nation if we that are saved will earnestly fast and pray, asking him for forgiveness, II Chronicles 7:14.  NOTE:  This promise is that God will turn from destruction if His people humble themselves and pray.  It is not that God will turn from destruction if heathen people humble themselves and pray.  The problem with America is that God’s people have spent so much time trying to straighten out the government, and haven’t spent very much time in praying and fasting, asking God to move the heart of the king, which He holds in his hand.

Acts 10:30 - Cornelius, who was a lost man, fasted and prayed and God heard his prayer, sent him a vision, and Peter came and preached the gospel to him and his household.  They were saved, baptized and became a member of God’s church.  It is good when lost people pray and fast, asking God to do whatever He needs to do so they can be saved.  Lost person, don’t just sit there expecting God to “strike you with salvation”!  Pray and ask God to save you.  Be so much in earnestness about being saved that you forget to eat (fast).

Acts 13:2-3 - The church at Antioch was praying and fasting when the Holy Ghost told them to separate Paul and Barnabas to be missionaries.  This church prayed and fasted before they knew they had anything to do.  Verse 3 tells us they prayed and fasted after they knew what they ought to do.  Does this tell us anything about the importance of praying and fasting?  There can be no doubt we ought to be more earnest about seeking God’s will by prayer and fasting.