Sermon #45                                         Series: Matthew       

            Title:                 ONLY BY PRAYER AND FASTING
Text:                  Matthew 17:14-21
            Reading:           Office: Bob Poncer Auditorium:Bob Estes
Subject:             The Healing of The Lunatick
            Date:                 Tuesday Evening -May 23, 1995

Tape #               R-39




            The title of my message tonight is Only By Prayer And Fasting. In this passage of Scripture we have the healing of the lunatick by the Word of our Lord. It was a miracle that the disciples were not able to perform because of their unbelief.


            This is one of those miracles that is recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  It is reported to us three times because the Holy Spirit intends for us to recognize the importance of and learn the spiritual lessons taught by it. So, without introduction, let me show you what these lessons are.


I.  The Best Parents In The World Are Those Who Seek The Mercy Of God For Their Children.


            The father of this young man recognized the great need of his son. He recognized that his son’s needs were primarily spiritual, not physical. He realized that his boy was possessed of a devil (Mark 9; Luke 9). Blessed is that son, blessed is that daughter whose parents earnestly seek the salvation of their souls. Notice what this father did for his son…


  1. He recognized his son’s great need – Mercy! (v. 15).
  2. He made bought his needy son to Christ’s disciples, hoping for his cure – Used The Appointed Means; (v. 16).
  3. He made intercession, earnest intercession, on his son’s behalf – (vv. 14-15).
  4. He obtained the mercy he craved for his son (v. 18).


II.  Satan’s Influence is Always Destructive.


            We have before us a pitiful example of the destructive influence of satan upon those who are under his influence. This young man was possessed of a devil. During the days of our Lord’s earthly ministry, demon possession was a very common thing. One reason it was allowed was to give clear evidence of Christ’s power over hell. Another reason why God allowed that horrible evil was to teach us the nature of satanic influence – Destruction (v. 15).


A.  The old serpent appears to seek the destruction of young souls especially.


            Thousands upon thousands of young men and women seem to be wholly given over to satan’s influence and are “taken captive at his will” to the destruction of their souls.



NOTE: This young man was raised by a man who believed and worshipped, and loved the Lord Jesus Christ.


Illus:  David’s sons.


B.  We must never despair of those who seem most in need of mercy.


            When the Son of God spoke to this young man, he was immediately cured, immediately healed, immediately saved from the grasp of satan. When we read of our Lord’s miracles like this one, we should be encouraged to believe that he may yet repeat his wonderful work in the lives of others today.


            Illus: John Bunyan

                        John Newton

                        William Huntington



III.  Nothing So Greatly Hinders our Usefulness As Our Unbelief. (vv. 17-20 – “Because of your unbelief!”)


            I am fully aware of God’s sovereignty, divine predestination, and eternal election. I know that the purpose of God stands forever, and that it is altogether immutable. No one preaches those blessed, glorious gospel truths make fully and clearly than your pastor. But I do not blame God for our failures. The word of God lays the blame upon our unbelief – No where else!



We must not pass over this point lightly. Faith is the key to success in our warfare.  Unbelief is the path to heartache, trouble, and defeat. As faith languishes usefulness languishes. The same Israelites who went through the Red Sea in triumph, became cowards on the borders of Canaan, and could not enter the land because of unbelief – (Heb. 3:19).


IV.  Faith In Christ is the Most Powerful Influence in the World (v. 20). I John 5:4


A.  The Word of God gives constant testimony to the power of faith in the lives of God’s elect – It was faith.



B.  Hebrews 11 gives us example after example of the power of faith.


            NOTE: Faith honors God and God honors faith.


v. 4 – Abel

v. 5 – Enoch.

v. 7 – Noah.

vv. 8-10 – Abraham.



C.  In this 20th verse, our Lord once more compares faith to a grain of mustard seed – Mustard Seed Faith is…


  1. Little in Its Beginning.
  2. Saving in Its Object – Christ!
  3. Growing in Its Character.
  4. Persistent in His Desires – (Bread – Mercy – Lk. 11:8).
  5. Powerful in Its Exercise – (This Mountain – Obstacle).
  6. Useful in Its Influence – (The Birds find Lodging).
  7. Effectual in Its Work – “Nothing shall be in possible to you!”


V.  God’s Work Must Never Be Attempted By The Arm of The Flesh or with Careless Indifference.


            That, I believe, is the lesson of verse 21 – These words were addressed as a gentle rebuke to the disciples, who had perhaps become overly confident of their powers as the servants of Christ. (Lk. 10:17).


            Like Israel, puffed up with the fall of Jericho, we are all quick to say, “The man of Ai are but few there is no need for us to put forth all our strength” (Jos. 7:3). But it is a mistake, a fatal mistake to underrate our foes – (Eph. 6:12). Satan will not be unsealed without a fight. “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”


            Here are three things required of us as long as we walk in this world and seek by faith to serve our God.


A.  Prayer – “Brethren, pray for us.” – “Pray without ceasing.”

B.  Fasting – Self-Denial (I Cor. 9:27).

C.  Diligence – (Eccles 9:10).


Application:  Galatians 6:9