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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

FIRE & WATER - APRIL 13, 2008


Sermon of the Week 200815 – April 13, 2008

Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us of an event in the life of Jesus when the Lord, Peter, James, and John, came down from the mountain after the Transfiguration, and a man came to Him pleading for mercy for his son who was possessed by a demon. The father described the plight of his only son with such terms as: suffer grievously, a dumb spirit in him; then dashing him to the ground. On any moment without warning he was knocked to the ground, and lay there wallowing, foaming, and grinding his teeth. The spirit tore him much. He always had open wounds and bruises on his body. Crying out suddenly, any time in any company he might scream for no apparent reason, and then worst of all without warning, the demon would shove him into a fire, and while crying out for pain, throw him into the water.

And saddest of all this treatment had been going on since the son was a child. The father said he had brought his son to the nine Apostles for healing, and they could not do it. The multitude that stood around questioned the Apostles as to why they could not do it.

That is a favorite ploy of the unbelievers; it makes them feel good to blame the Lord for the failure of His disciples. They may come to the church looking for answers, and don’t get any answers, or they may get the answers they want, but not the answers God wants them to have. In either case the church has no answers, because they don’t want any answers.

And then the father pled with Jesus, “If thou canst do anything, have mercy on us, and help us.” Jesus repeated the words of the father: “If thou canst believe.” Straightway the father cried out: “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” That is a statement that many of us need to make, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” Some things in the Bible are hard to understand. How can God be one, and yet three in one? Just read it again, and say, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”

And now in this story, the boy who fell in fire and water provides many points of interest concerning the compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ during His sojourn on earth with the sons of men.

Jesus must have been especially compassionate in regards to this particular boy. For one thing the father obviously loved his son, and Jesus fully understood a father’s love for a son. At the baptism of Jesus, as He came up out of the water the voice of the Father from Heaven announced, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

Another reason for the special interest of Jesus for this son is the fact that he was the only son of his father, and Jesus was well aware of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

A talk-show host was asked, if he could interview God, what question would he ask? The talk-show host said, “I would ask Him if he had a son or a daughter.” That would be a useless question. God never had but one Son, and he had no daughters.

Another reason Jesus was very interested in this boy, was because the father said the demon had been working on his son from a child. Jesus could identify with that because the Devil tried to destroy Him when He was a small child when King Herod slew all the male children in Bethlehem from two years old and under. In fact, the Devil tried to destroy Jesus by abortion, when Caesar Augustus made the decree all the world should be enrolled, thereby making the long trip, about seventy miles for Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem necessary at such a critical time. And in addition, we know He would be especially concerned when we remember how He said in Matthew 18:10 “See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in Heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father who is in Heaven.”

Another evidence of the concern of Jesus for the boy was the advice He gave the father. He said, “Bring him to me.” That was the best advice He could give to any father, “Bring him to me.”  If you want a demonstration of the value of that statement of Jesus, just go to the Mall in any big city and watch the young people passing by, and in some cases it is enough to make your skin crawl.

Many parents may scrimp and save to give their child the best of everything, and send them to the best college; and yet, if they have not brought them to Christ, no one can be truly educated who has no knowledge of the Word of God.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, summed up the sum total of the wisdom of a lifetime when he said in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.”

Again the story of the boy who fell in fire and water enlightens us concerning the compassion of Jesus when the boy was brought to Him, and the Lord commanded the demon to come out of him, and enter no more into him. At that moment the demon came out, and as he did he cried out, and tore him much, and he became as one dead, insomuch that the more part said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up.

We might wonder why the demon when told to come out, took one more whack at the boy, and tore him much. No doubt it must have been because Jesus told him never to enter into the boy again, and the demon knew this was his last chance at him. This reminds us of the statement in Revelation 12:12, “Woe to the earth and to the sea: because the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.”

So throwing down the boy one more time was because he knew this was his last chance, he would ever have to harm him. He knew his time was short. Does that not also speak to us? Could it be that the Devil seems to be working harder today than ever before because his time is short, and he wants to do all the damage he can to the human race, especially God’s people, before the end comes.

Of course we also need to consider that our time is also short. James reminds us of the brevity of life in James 4:13-16 when he says, “Come now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Our time is short. And Peter adds his comment in 1st Peter 1:24, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth: but the Word of God abideth forever.” Our time is short. Then remember the word of Jesus in Luke 12:20, “Thou fool, this night is thy soul required of thee.” Our time is short.

Then the boy thrown in fire and water speaks again as the event informs us that the abuse of this boy throne into fire and water is the Devil’s overall plan for the human race. We have all heard at one time or another of the flood in the days of Noah, but perhaps never connected it with the Devil.

It was because of the influence of the Devil the flood was brought on the earth. In Genesis 6:12 God told Noah, “The end of all flesh is come before me,” and then He gave the reasons for this decision. The earth is filled with violence, the wickedness of man was great in the earth; every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, and all flesh had corrupted itself. These are the moral conditions of the world at that time and because of this, God declared, “The end of all flesh is come before me because, behold I, even I, do bring a flood upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, to destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of life, from under Heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die.” It was because of the Devil that all humanity, except the family of Noah, was cast into the flood, and died in the water.

The Devil was still trying the water treatment during the days of the Apostles. There were at least two times when he tried to destroy the Apostles by water during the ministry of Jesus when they were threatened by viscous storms that threatened the lives of experienced seamen. The only thing that saved them was the presence of Jesus in the boat the first time, and the second time the Lord just happened to be walking by that night on the water, and hitched a ride. Then there was also Paul who had a few bouts with the Devil who tried to drown him. Three times he said he was shipwrecked, and another time he was a day and a night in the deep. I do not know what this means; it sounds like he was having somewhat of a Jonah experience, but it is enough for us to know the Lord saved him from drowning.

The casting of the boy into the fire is nothing new to the Devil. Did he not cast Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, and only the presence of Jesus in the fire with them saved them.

And then there are several statements of Scripture that indicate the Christian will have a fiery time of it. In Ephesians 6:16 Paul tells us to take up the shield of faith, whereby we may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.

We are all aware then that many of the temptations of the Devil can be very fiery. And that reminds us of the statement of James regarding the tongue, “Behold how much wood is kindled by so small a fire! And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell.”

As Christians, we cannot escape the Devil’s fire in this life on earth. Did not the Scripture tell us in 1st Peter 4:12, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you?” But then remember the words of the same Apostle also in 1st Peter 1:7, “The proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth, though proved by fire, may be found unto praise, and glory, and honor, at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The Devil will always hold our feet to the fire, but it is enough to know, we can come through this life victorious as long as the Lord walks with us, even as He did with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

And now for the most prominent lesson from the story of the boy who fell in fire and water is found in 2nd Peter 3:5-7, “For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, compacted out of water and amidst water, by the Word of God; by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished: and the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

Peter said they willfully forgot the flood. Many today have willfully forgotten the flood, but this should not trouble the Christian, because there were millions who did not believe there would be a flood in the days of Noah. Not until they found themselves swimming around in about twenty feet of water did they come to the conclusion that maybe old Noah had something there after all.

It was because of the violence, corruption, evil thoughts continually, and rejection of the Word of God, the flood came and destroyed them all, and the same Word that predicted the flood has predicted the destruction of the world by fire.

However, Peter warns that this prediction will fall on unbelieving ears. Hear him as he declares in the third and fourth verses, “Knowing this first, that in the last days shall mockers come with mockery, walking after their own ungodly lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming? For, from the days that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

And then in the tenth verse after telling us that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, he informs us the Lord is not willing that any should perish, and that all should come to repentance. Then Peter tells us about that great day when he says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with terrible heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Peter had never seen a firecracker; he had never seen dynamite, yet his words seem strangely like some of the terms we read every day, and see on television. If Peter were living in the flesh today, the nuclear scientists might want to pick his brain; they might learn something.

Now then in the eleventh verse he encourages the Christian when he says, “Seeing that these things are thus to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy living and godliness, longing for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

It seems to us as we consider these events prophesied by the inspired Apostle that we are living on a powder keg that could blow at any time, and yet the Apostle rightly reminds us that the Christian needs to long for the day, and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God. For times like these the best advice is from these scriptures: Amos 4:12, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Hosea 4:12, “It is time to seek the Lord.” In Jeremiah 37:17 King Zedekiah asked the prophet, “Is there any word from the Lord? Jeremiah said, There is.” Peter gave that word the day the church began when he told those who believed the story of the cross, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, unto the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”