Sustainable Power Sunday 26th July 2015 Unbelief

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Definition of ‘ believe’ : ‘To have confidence in the truth, the existence or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.’


Meaning of ‘ doubt’: Feeling of uncertainty; lack of conviction


THREE CATEGORIES OF DOUBT – (R. Pritchard) Intellectual doubts – Is the Bible the Word of God? Is Jesus the Son of God? Did he really rise from the dead? 2. Spiritual doubts – Am I really a Christian? Have I truly believed? Why is it so hard to pray? Why do I still feel guilty? 3. Circumstantial doubts – the ‘why’s of life’ Why did my child die? Why did my marriage fail? Why can’t I find a husband/wife? Why did my friend betray me?......


Definition of ‘unbelief’ Lack of belief or faith ; incredulity or skepticism; rejection of belief; wilful refusal to believe ‘


THREE KEY AREAS THE ENEMY SEEKS TO USE UNBELIEF TO BLOCK GOD’S POWER Our source - the revelation of who God is – that he is my Father 2. Our identity - the revelation of who we are in Christ – adopted sons and daughters of God 3. Our purpose - the revelation of what we can do by the Holy Spirit (Simon Holley)


CONSEQUENCES OF UNBELIEF Spurgeon: *It is the parent of every other iniquity and fosters sin *Keeps the power of the Gospel from working in the Sinner *It disables a man for the performance of any good work Scripture: *It breaks us off from God’s plan for us Rom 11:20 *It defiles the conscience Titus 1:15 *Acts as a spiritual poison Acts 14:2 *It stops us fully entering the rest of God Heb3:18-19 *It limits the power of God working in us Eph1:16-19


HOW TO MOVE FROM DOUBT AND UNBELIEF TO FAITH: 1 . Identify and admit your doubts : Ask God for help and repent of any unbelief, He will not turn you away. Don’t struggle on your own – ask a Christian friend, or someone with godly insight to walk with you. 2. Act on your faith, not your doubts : Noah, Abraham, Moses… all acted on their faith, not their doubts. They decided to trust God regardless. When we do the same, our faith will grow stronger. 3. Doubt your doubts, not your faith : when you are walking in the valley of darkness – where all is uncertain and you’re tempted to give way to your doubts, fears and worries, don’t cast your faith away – keep walking. Doubt your doubts and the light will begin to shine again. 4. Keep going back to what you know to be true : as Paul wrote in the midst of all his tribulations – ‘I am persuaded – nothing can separate us from God’s love’. He proclaims ‘I know whom I have believed’. (R. Pritchard)


HEBREWS 3: 12-14 ‘See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one , another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.’


Mark 9:17-29New International Version 17  A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  18  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.’ 19  ‘ You unbelieving generation ,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’ 20  So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21  Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?’ ‘From childhood,’ he answered.  22  ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ 23  ‘“ If you can”?’  said Jesus.  ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ 24  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ 25  When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ 26  The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’  27  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28  After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ 29  He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.


‘WHEN YOU BELIEVE’ – FROM PRINCE OF EGYPT Many nights we’ve prayed With no proof anyone could hear; In our hearts a hopeful song We barely understood. Now we are not afraid Although there’s much to fear. We were moving mountains Long before we knew we could. There can be miracles When you believe. Though hope is frail It’s hard to kill. Who knows what miracles You can achieve When you believe? Somehow you will, You will when you believe.


‘Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him’ John 7:38

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