Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
The Vision (4/4/13): The Mighty Power of God
Note:I preached Sunday from Luke 9:37-45 on Jesus’
healing of a demon possessed boy on the day after experiencing the glory of the
transfiguration.Below are my notes on five
spiritual applications drawn from the passage:
“And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God” (Luke
1.Though it would be wrong to take
from this passage any kind of model for diagnosing demon possession or pursuing
exorcisms, we do see here a picture of the damage that evil (whether by an
extra-ordinary cause like demon possession or the more ordinary cause of our
own sinfulness or that of others) does to human beings.
bruises.It shatters.It crushes. Our only hope for liberation from
the ravages of sin is the Lord Jesus Christ.
2.There is something to be learned
from the contrast we see here between the glory that some of the disciples
experienced on the mount of transfiguration while others were waging a spiritual
battle over the demon possessed boy down below.
If you think about it, this is often the case right now.Some saints are even now in heaven, part of
the church triumphant, basking in the glory of Christ.Others of us are here on earth now, part of
the church militant, fighting spiritual battles and often appearing to come out
on the losing end.But there is coming a
time when Christ will once again descend from the place of glory and set all
things right.He will handle all the
things we could not handle.
is something to be learned from the father’s persistence in going to Jesus
directly even when his efforts to seek the assistance of the apostles failed.
In Mark’s account of this event, he point out a conversation
the father had with Jesus after asking Jesus to help his son:
KJV Mark 9:21 And he asked his
father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy
him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to
him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and
said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Do we have
those we love, perhaps those in our families, who are caught up tight in a trap
of sin and misery?Have we entrusted
them to Christ fully, saying something like, “Lord, I have reached the end of
my ability and I am fully relying on you.I believe.All things are
possible with you.Help my unbelief.”?
4.There is an exhortation here for the church,
even as there was for the disciples (who are so often forerunners of the church
in the Gospels).
in the same state as those disciples.We
do not have Christ physically with us and we no doubt often strain his patience
at our failures and inabilities.
Matthew and Mark record that after this miracle, the disciples came to Jesus
and asked:“Why could we not cast him
out” (Matt 17:19; Mark 9:28).Matthew
records our Lord’s response:
KJV Matthew 17:20 And Jesus
said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have
faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence
to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Jesus exhorted the disciples of old, so he does the church today for its lack
or deficiency in three areas:(1) in
faith; (2) in prayer; and (3) in fasting (self-denial).
5.We cannot understand Christ unless
we understand his cross and resurrection.
Jesus’ prediction of his passion was “hid” from his hearers
(v. 45).Those who were in the crowd
listening to Jesus after he healed this boy were still on the other side of the
cross and resurrection. It had not yet happened.They thus had some excuse, but we have
none.The mystery has been revealed.Jesus died on the cross for sinner, and he
was raised to life.If you confess the
Lord Jesus and believe that God has raised him from the dead you will be saved
(Romans 10:9).This is the mighty power