Each week, these sermon discussion guides are made available to help you engage the sermon text more fully. For those in a small group, this is what your group will use as its jumping-off point. You are also encouraged to use this in the context of your own home, whether personally or as a family, as you seek to apply the message to your life.
Sermon Summary: Luke 9:37-45
I. When God feels distant, we err towards sin, idol building, and unbelief
A. Much like Jesus coming down from the mountain here, it echoes Moses coming down to find the golden calf built by the Israelites
B. Our sin nature is so powerful, we still err towards idols even when God has a steady presence in our life
II. Jesus continues to care, love, and instruct His people despite our inability to embrace Him fully
A. Jesus gives warning about his death to His disciples despite their failures with the demon
B. Jesus responds to the man’s request despite his fragile faith (see Mark 9:23-24)
III. Prayer offers a lifeline for Jesus’ followers in their ongoing battle against evil
A. Jesus explains to the disciples how prayer casts out demons (Mark 9:29)
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” — James 5:13-18 Question 178: What is prayer? Answer: Prayer is an offering up our desires unto God, to the name of Christ, by the help of His Spirit, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies. — Westminster Larger Catechism
Questions for Personal Response
When we are stressed, what are our idols we tend to run to? In regard to our idol building, how can we pray for each other so that we may be healed?
In Mark, when Jesus asks the father if he believes, the father responds “I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). How are we challenged by this to trust Jesus more? Alternatively, is there relief to be found in Jesus’ response to his exclamation?
What prevents us from clearly listening to God’s instruction for us or obeying God’s will?
Ultimately, the disciples’ inability to cast out the demon and their argumentative response to the scribes (Mark 9:14) negatively affect their witness to the people present. Who in your life needs to be positively affected by your obedience to God? What in your life needs to change for your witness to be positive?