UNBELIEF

(1st half – one message)

Unbelief for a Christian is a great sin because it is calling God a liar!

How can we explain unbelief? If there was a bus careening down a highway at 110 kilometres an hour and you were about to cross the road and I called out to you, “There is a bus careening down the highway, don’t step out onto the road.” Unbelief on your part is ignoring my statement of truth and refusing to check out the facts of my assertion. And upon stepping out you will, without a doubt, be permanently marked as a dead fool. The Bibles’ application of ‘unbelief’ is just that, not ignorance but wilful disbelief of the statements of fact. Biblical doctrine, like the bus scenario, is the absolute and real facts.

Doctrine: the statements governing belief; biblically, the founding statements of God’s truth. Doctrines are the statements of true and real facts.

Theology: the system of thought formed from the statements governing belief; biblically, is the application of those statements. (From ‘1DoctrinePsychology’)

UNBELIEF

Charnock [says], “[unbelief] is the greatest sin, as it is the foundation of all sin; it was Adam’s first sin; it is a sin against the Gospel, against the highest testimony; a refusal to accept of Christ upon the terms of the Gospel. It strikes peculiarly at God; is the greatest reproach of him, robs him of his glory, is a contradiction to his will, and a contempt of his authority.”

(as quoted from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

John 3:9 (10-13) 21 – 10 Jesus answered and said to [Nicodemus], “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.

So Jesus Christ, ‘God with us’, tells us what is true, so what do we do if His words are contrary to our reason or feelings? Mostly unbelief is our response. Now we can accept the world’s unbelief in God through Christ, or even the existence of God Himself as He revealed Himself in the Bible, because people of the world are rebelliously defiant of any authority other than their own – refusing to believe what is true.

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess 2:11-12

However, the Bible is very condemning of the unbelief of Believers who have accepted Christ! For, as a child of God, saved by faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross for our sins, and one who is sealed by the Holy Spirit unto redemption, we should solidly stand on God’s stated truths without apology for we salt and the light of the Word of God. (By the way God never expects us to convince people of truth, just be clear in stating it).

John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth , and the truth shall make you free.”

John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

John 7:17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.

I don’t wish to discuss that God is able to reveal His mind to our receptive hearts, that He does exercise his power through prayer and our obedience. The issue we must wrestle with now is not God’s ability but our capacity to know, receive and accept God’s perspectives on things.

Mark 9:23

23 And Jesus said to him”,’ If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.” (NAS) To the father of the demonized son.

Matt 13:58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Matt 17:15-21

15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.

16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”

18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Mark 16:14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Rom 11:20 Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

Heb 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

Heb 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief .

While unbelief does not hinder God’s faithfulness , it does affect the individual’s capacity to receive the benefits of that faithfulness. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

We do have to be cautious though; ‘unbelief’ is not gullibility. Christians often in their enthusiasm to express our God’s might and grace can sometimes be most gullible; TV Christianity, exaggerated testimonials, and outright lies for gain from us very gullible Christians.

HOW DO WE BELIEVE ENOUGH!

BELIEVING IN THE POWER OF FAITH IS A FARCE; THE FOCUS MUST BE ON WHOM WE HAVE FAITH AND OUR CONFIDENCE IN HIS CHARACTER ALONE. THIS IS REVEALED THROUGH HIS SPIRIT AND AFFIRMATION THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD WHICH IS OUR MEANS OF TESTING IMPRESSIONS – For false Christ’s and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect — if that were possible. Matt 24:24; Matt 24:24 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Rom 12:3

3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. (NAS)

One of these two reasons why you don’t, or can’t, or won’t.

– One aspect of ‘unbelief’ is where a person doesn’t believe he is totally loved and accepted by his faith in Christ. What happens as you hold to this is that you will not feel you are good enough to warrant God’s blessing. Instead of working from a position of having been forgiven, you may be striving toward forgiveness; thus you are striving to merit God’s love and acceptance through service; this places one under law and not grace. Doing devotions, church attendance, service… The ‘who am I that God should favour me’ syndrome.

– Another aspect is some Christians assume God’s favour is measured by the changes he makes to their world so that they may be happy.

“We are back to a major error [that we have already dealt with in slightly different form:] seeing God, in effect, as little more than a means to self-fulfilment and viewing all that He has done, including the cross of Christ, primarily from the selfish perspective of what we get out of it. It is the same old rebellion, but now justified by theories of psychology.” DAVE HUNT

“Self is our greatest curse. But, praise God, Christ came to redeem us from self… And there you have the reason why many people pray for the power of the Holy Ghost, and they get something, but oh, so little! Because they prayed for power, for work, and power for blessing, but they have not prayed for power for full deliverance from self.” ANDREW MURRAY

The key to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph 3:19) is the deliverance from self-interest and self-judgement.

WE EXPERIENCE UNBELIEF:

IN WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST. We disbelieve because we don’t see ourselves from God’s perspective, God’s heart. We don’t seek to understand His character in light of our own.

1PositionCondition:

 

UNBELIEF

(2st half – one message)

Unbelief for a Christian is a great sin because it doesn’t believe God for great things!

Because our faith is affected on the conditions of relationships and circumstances.

How many times do we lack joy due to poor relationships and/or circumstances. We evaluate God’s favour based upon them. We then often manipulate God to manipulate our world to be what we feel it needs to be so as to be happy. Our joy and comfort is not based on outward relationships or circumstances but on a relationship with God. Our faith is not contingent upon circumstances.

Mark 6:37

37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? (KJV)

They heard Jesus’ instructions but not His heart. What did Jesus want? He wanted the people to be fed. The disciples looked to the circumstance, they didn’t ask him how he would fulfill His desire.

They didn’t ask for instructions but recited the obvious. They didn’t divorce themselves from circumstances and believe Jesus had the way, all they needed was to ask his solution, but instead they thought they would educate Christ thinking Jesus didn’t understand the obvious.

Mark 8:17-21

17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?

18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?

19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.”

20 “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.”

21 So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

Jesus stresses that the error is with them for not understanding; the implication being they had every resource and ability to understand but they choose to have human experience and not God’s ability dictate their thoughts.

Jesus is saying in Mark 8 that they are not exercising the faith and insight they have been provided. Do you exercise the degree of faith God has provided you with?

Matt 14:15-17

15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

We disbelieve because we don’t see from God’s perspective, God’s heart. We don’t seek to understand His person. We reflect only on what he might do for us instead of what he wants to accomplish or teach us….

1 Cor 2:12-16

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

(KJV)

To step out from our text let us view another point. We often seek a way to move His will for our needs. THIS IS ALL WRONG.

Faith/belief is the conviction of God’s will in a matter!

Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. Jn 16:24.

What right do we have to blessing of God? None, our entire blessing resides in Christ, outside of the Son we are entitled to nothing.

THE GREATEST STRUGGLE I HAVE IN MY FAITH WITH GOD IS NOT WHAT CAN BE DONE IN LIGHT OF MY NEEDS BUT WHAT IS HIS EXPECTATIONS OF ME IN LIGHT OF CIRCUMSTANCES!

We must have a Scriptural foundation for the request, not merely an emotional desire, and an insatiable want. Not only do we need to know the Scriptural principles governing God’s will, we must also acquire conviction of His specific will in this matter; this demands a walk with the Spirit! The disciples were not walking in the light of Jesus’ will, they focussed on the circumstances as strongly illustrated by Peter walking on the water.

Without conviction this is God’s will in this particular request you cannot expect to receive. James 1:6,7

Search out the Scriptural principles (through meditation or Bible searching) until the Holy Spirit gives the clear perception and conviction. Seek the conviction first. DO YOU INVEST THE TIME! This takes meditative prayer sometimes, a desire to search out His will so you may obey/pray His will to pass.

I would define faith as follows. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things unseen, imparted by the Holy Spirit, and this assurance and conviction so influences the intellect, emotions, and will, that they tend to govern one’s subsequent decisions and actions.

“…. I have yet to see a request rejected when I have prayed with faith (i.e. with Spirit imparted assurance), that God can and that God is going to grant my request.” GEORGE W. D’SENA; WILL NOT GOD HEAL TODAY?

So for us we are too:

* Be willing to abide in all those things the Father provides – contentment

* In humility be totally subservient in attitude to the will of God – obedience.

* Be prepared to submit ourselves to the injustices incurred against us and entrust ourselves into the hands of the living God who will do right – (this refers, not as much to judicial matters as it does to response to personal offences) – meekness (1 Pet 4:12-19).

“But how many will submit to lie in the hand of their creator, leaving to Him full power to treat them as He will, making no resistance and caring not what the world will say.” [1]

Mark 9:23

23 And Jesus said to him”,’ If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.” (NAS)

1 JOHN 3:18-23.
I Jn 5:14-15

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

(KJV)

 


[1] Jessie Penn-Lewis
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