Mark 16:1-14 1NSM 090809
How to Overcome:
How to Fight Fear and Unbelief
Intro: Real faith is one of the most precious things we have in the Kingdom of God: Hebrews 11:6 B AAnd without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.@ As an old preacher wisely said, AThere must be a million ways to please God, but not one of them without faith.@
Faith is so important because it is the key to our relationship with God. It should be no surprise then that the enemy tries so hard to undermine our faith. Two key weapons that Satan uses to attack faith with are fear and unbelief or doubt. Both are unnecessary attitudes for us to have, and both will kill or neutralize out faith quite effectively if we let them. The disciples got a lesson in this from Jesus right after the resurrection. How did Jesus deal with unbelief and doubt?
FAITH AND FEAR
1. Jesus appeared to them as they were eating, and rebuked them for their lack of faith and hardness of heart because they did not believe the reports of those who had seen him alive.
2. We might expect Jesus to take it easy on these disciples who had just had such tough shocks to their systems, but He did not, because the attitude of unbelief is so dangerous!
3. What they should have seen:
He spent 3 years day and night with them teaching them Kingdom principles, demonstrating supernatural power time and time again. He taught the truth of the Word of God. All this should be a clear basis for a deep and committed faith. They had enough to go on, they just had not gone on it! Under stress, we tend to back away from new things, but they could not afford to do that here.
He told them of the coming crucifixion and resurrection at least 7 times, becoming more specific each time.
The witness of the 2 Marys at the tomb, the witness of the 2 disciples who ran to see for themselves (Peter and John), the witness of the 2 on the road to Emmaus should have been enough. AT THE MOUTHS OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES SHALL EVERY WORD BE CONFIRMED! They were well familiar with this principle!
4. THEIR UNBELIEF WAS NOT A LACK OF AVAILABILITY OF FAITH OR A BASIS FOR FAITH, BUT A REFUSAL TO ALLOW THAT FAITH TO FUNCTION. FEAR HAD PARALYZED THEIR WILLS. Faith is a gift of the Spirit, but it is also a decision of the will! They were so agitated with their own fears and doubts that they would not allow their faith to function! They had SENSE FAITH rather than WORD FAITH. They got their eyes on the fearful actions of the religious leaders and the Romans, and that fear seemed bigger than the truth they had been taught and the power they had seen! Jesus applied a swift and powerful correction! He expressed strong displeasure at their unbelief, which jerked them around because of their love and respect for Him! He spoke loudly and forcefully enough to pull their attention away from their natural fear, and make them look at Him and realize HE REALLY WAS ALIVE! LET US PRAY THAT JESUS DOES THE SAME FOR US WHEN WE NEED IT!
PETER WALKING ON WATER. HE LOOKED AT THE WAVES, AND THE SIZE OF THE WAVES AND THE REALIZATION OF WHAT HE WAS DOING GOT THE BEST OF HIS UNDERSTANDING. THE FEAR OF SINKING OVERPOWERED HIS WILL AND HE BEGAN TO EXPERIENCE WHAT HE FEARED! Fortunately, he reached out to Jesus, and Jesus was able to jerk him back up to supernatural reality!
FAITH AND UNBELIEF
Everyone has some faith: Romans 12:3 B AFor by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.@
We are selective about what we express that faith toward. We express great faith in our automobiles, but sometimes refuse to express that faith in Spiritual things. UNBELIEF IS OFTEN A CHOICE OF THE WILL, RATHER THAN A LOGICAL DECISION. IT IS FREQUENTLY DETERMINED BY A MINDSET ON THE PHYSICAL INSTEAD OF A MINDSET OPEN TO THE SPIRIT.
Even unbelievers who have never heard the Gospel are without excuse according to Romans 1:19-20 B AFor what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.@
People wilfully function in unbelief in spite of all sorts of proofs of God=s power! This is usually because we do not process the new, miraculous evidence that we have seen! The hardness of heart of the disciples B feeding of 5000, etc. John 8:24 B AI told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.@
JESUS MARVELED AT THE UNBELIEF OF THE HOMETOWN FOLKS IN MARK 6 and was unable to do many miracles there because of their unbelief!