Help My Unbelief!
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 85 · 8 months ago

Help My Unbelief!

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Where do you bring your questions and doubts? If you bring them to Jesus you might find some faith, answers, and results. He promised, "anything is possible if a person believes." Do you think that is true?

I want to jump fairly quickly into our sermon today because I've got a lot to cover. It's the last sermon in our I doubt series and I just resigned to the fact that I won't be able to tell you everything I want to tell you. So you're going to have to listen for hints of this in the weeks and months to come, because when you're talking about doubt and talking about faith, it's just so, so important and and I don't really want to give you that much new information today. I want to give you the opportunity to respond, to take what we've been talking about it kind of put it into action, and you'll see a little bit of what I mean by that in a second. But if you're like me, whenever a pastor or whenever somebody talking tells you to do something, I really dislike doing it. Like, you know, if you say like hold your hands like this, I'm like everything inside of me is like, I don't want to do that. That's silly, you know, I don't need to do that. And so if you are thinking that, are feeling that this morning when I tell you to do stuff, just know that that is what I think. That is how I feel and so I get it. But if there was ever a Sunday to try it, to just, you know, give it a shot, this might be your Sunday. I think there is something special when our body moves in conjunction with our heart, with our faith, with our mind, and it just opens up maybe our mind a little differently or our heart a little more or whatever, and you'll see a little bit more of what I mean by that in just you know, as we go along here. So through this, I doubt, series, you've probably been responding in to one of two major ways. You maybe have been thinking, well, why are we talking about doubt at Church? Because we believe. At Church we were believers in Jesus and I have great faith, strong faith. I've seen God show up in my life and my faith is strong. I have amazing faith. I love Jesus, I know the Bible. Why all my faith is perfect and I get it. And maybe a lot of that is true for you. But I hope through this series you've come to maybe see that your faith isn't perfect. Like you don't have perfect faith, and I don't even think that's a goal that Christians should have, because doubt is really something that happens when we are stepping out in faith. It's not something to be avoided, it's something to be almost welcomed and expected and say, okay, when I'm taking these steps of faith, then I'm going to start to wonder, start to question, start to ask, like is God really going to do this now, today, for me? And as we get closer in our relationship with Jesus, the more questions we oftentimes have, and...

...it's God giving us this gift of mystery, like the more you study the Bible, the more used take steps of faith to get to know Jesus. It's not like you figure him out. He is way bigger than you could ever wrap your mind around. That I could ever totally understand, and that is a gift, a gift of mystery. Or maybe maybe you've been responding through this. I doubt series saying wow, it's great churches. Like being honest about doubts, because this is my life. I just doubt all the time. I totally doubt, like I'm not even sure, like I'm here today because this might be the last sermon I ever want to hear and then after this I'm done. And that might be you, because oftentimes our response to doubt is to quit, but I hope through this series you've been encouraged to do not quit. Don't do it, because nobody should have ever told you that doubt is taking a step backwards in your faith. The fact that you have questions, the fact that you're wrestling, the fact that you are trying to figure this out, is great evidence that you are right where God wants you to be, that you are taking steps to follow him and he's calling you to a closer, deeper relationship with him. And so when we experience it's doubt, you have a choice. Do you quit or do you use it as an opportunity to strengthen your faith? And that's what I've been telling you. Has Been My goal in the last couple weeks through this series, is that this series I want to help you transform your doubts into opportunities to walk in faith. And so we started with this idea of seeing is believing, and so we were thinking that it well, if God we're just to show up right in front of me, then I would certainly believe them and I would do exactly what he told me to do. And that we saw. Jesus did do that to his disciples and some worshiped and some doubted. And so here's your first interactive element. I want you all to close your eyes. All right, close your eyes. If you're listening to this on the podcast later and you're driving, do not close your eyes. But if you're in a nice heated recliner leather seat here at the theater or in a comfy place in your home, close your eyes. And I want you just to think with me for a second. How many of you believe that I'm standing in front of you right now? Now, I know right like. This is this is this is challenging, right. You have to have your eyes closed and you don't see me. Am I standing in front of you right now? Maybe you can't see me, but you hear me right,...

...and so therefore you have a reason to believe that I'm standing in front of you. But you also have a reason to doubt as well, because the speakers are in front and I could have walked off the stage, I could have sat in the seat in front of me, I could have went down towards the ramp. You don't know that for sure. You can't see me, you have reason to doubt if I am really standing in front of you. So Open Your eyes here, I am right. Wow, I didn't go anywhere. Amazing, then, trick you that time, right. But we think that if God were to just do that, we were to open our eyes and see God, then we would believe, like I'm a standing right here right now. But when Jesus did that, or if Jesus were to do that for you, Jesus was a resurrected person. Have you ever seen a resurrected person before? I don't think so. So it's a little different. And so some, as we talked about, some of the disciples worshiped him in that moment and some of them doubted. And so I really want you to believe that the very fact that you doubt is evidence that you have come in contact with the Lord. Don't run from the doubt, don't quit, don't think you're taking a step backward. Your right where God wants you to believe to be. And so believe. And the next thing that we talked about in part two of this series was this idea that we've never really given God an opportunity to prove himself to us. And we do this a lot of times in other areas of our life, like that restaurant down the street that you've never been to before. Yeah, that one, that one's terrible, isn't it? Like you heard about it, you've read the reviews, you've looked at it, you have enough information to doubt that it's good, but you've never actually tried it. Or like with smartphones. You know y'all got us phone. Some of you are apple people and you're like, I could never use an android. If I it's like, I don't even know how those things work. And android people are like, there's no way I'm ever using an iphone. Right. Have you ever tried it? Most likely not. And the same as similar with our faith, with our trust in Jesus, like we've never given Jesus an opportunity to prove himself to us, or we've missed it. And we talked about the story of Thomas, of how he missed Jesus showing up in this amazing moment and Jesus showing him the wounds in his hands and in his side, and just Thomas just missed out and he wanted to desperately have this experience. And so I invite you. I told you this is going to be response to day I invite you now to close your eyes one more time, and I want you to visual lies with me this time. Okay, you're in the room where...

Thomas and the other disciples are, and remember you're scared to death and you've locked the doors. You don't want anybody to come in. And now all of a sudden, Jesus is standing in front of you. You see him, Jesus is standing in front of you and you're scared, and Jesus saying, Hey, it's me, it's me, trust me. And so then he, Jesus, puts out his hands and he says, reach out and touch that wound in my hand. Would you do that, just with your finger. I know, I told you this is weird, but just reach out. Visualize it like you're reaching out, that you're reaching out to touch Jesus. You're like wow, you got man, this is you. And then move your hand a little bit and touches other hand, like yeah, there is and then and Jesus is like yeah, I remember. Then they pierced me in my side. Reach out and touch that wound as well. It's just like Thomas did. There you go. You can open your eyes and so reach out for yourself. Figure it out for yourself, touch him yourself, don't just rely on the testimony of other people. Believe that Jesus is who he said he is and what he says to be true. And I just believe that many of us doubt because we've never shown up or we've never given God an opportunity to show himself to us. We may have looked like you are here. You have come in contact with God. There is reason to doubt, but we've never reached out, we've never just taken Jesus up on his offer to touch those wounds. And last week denny shared the from the famous story of Jesus Calming the storm in the boat. And I think the disciples were probably more afraid of the fact that they were standing in the boat with maybe the creator God than they were with the storm that might kill them. And I invite you to close your eyes one more time and visualize yourself. You're on this boat. Okay, the storm is going crazy. You run down to the bottom of the boat and wake Jesus up and you go up to the top and the boat's rocking, you know, and and then the waves and the wind they stop and you're looking at Jesus. Okay, your eyes are closed or visualizing this. You're looking at Jesus. I want you to point at them, point at them and just say in your heart, I trust you, I believe in you. You are God, you are in control of the storm, you care about me, I know you, I love you, I believe in you. You can open your eyes. That's the power of faith. You believe in Jesus. Like...

...in Jesus, you don't believe in belief. You don't have faith in faith, you have a trust in the very real person of Jesus, the very real God, who is who he said he is and has done what he said he could do. And we have faith in so many things and if we believe the wrong things or we believe lies, we call that doubt, like I believe this isn't going to work, I believe that I'm not good enough, I believe that God doesn't care. And yet we must believe and have faith in Jesus, in who he is and who what he says to be true. That's what makes all the difference. Don't believe in all this other stuff and call that doubt. Believe in the person of Jesus. We've all had moments in our life, I think, when Jesus has been there, when God has been there, when we've felt his presence, when we've experienced his blessing, when life is good and we're feel loved and we feel cared for in it, our prayers work and and life is just incredible. And the disciples in the first century that we're walking around with Jesus like that was their literal story. They were literally walking with God everywhere. Seven talking with him, touching him, eating with him, all of these things, is spending time with that, with Jesus. But it wasn't going to be that way forever for those disciples. And so my question is, how is your faith when life doesn't feel that way? How's your faith when you don't experience God's presence, when you aren't experiencing perfect peace, when you're facing trials and tribulations, when they get the blessing and you don't, when they see a miracle and your questioning. Is that really gone or is that good luck? Because those disciples, they were spending every moment of their life with Jesus and just in a couple years, one or two, three years, their relationship with Jesus was going to have to change because Jesus was going away. It was going to be different. Now they can no longer touch him, they can no longer talk to him, they could no longer see him. They had to learn to live by the power of faith, like you and I do. They had to learn to interact with this person who was no longer standing next to them anymore, who they no longer could touch anymore. And so today we're going to wrap up this series by looking at a God.

I A dad who exclaimed the very helpful phrase for people that are in this position, and this story is recorded for us in the scriptures to teach the power of faith. For when God isn't standing right next to you, how do you interact with him? And so maybe for you like you've been trying, you've been trying to believe, and even in the last several moments we did those silly little exercises in your you want to open your eyes and just see God. You want to reach out your hand and you want to touch the wounds. Maybe you've been trying to point at God and you just feel like you're pointing in the wrong direction and every time you reach out and touch him, he's not there and every time you open your eyes he isn't there. You want to believe, but you just you just haven't been able to. And so I invite you to exclaim with this father we're going to look out today, to say I do believe. Help my unbelief. Would you say that with me? I do believe, help my unbelief one more time. I do believe. Help my unbelief. I do believe, and help me when I can't see what you're doing and I wonder if you care. I do believe, but help me when I haven't experienced this before and I don't know if you're going to come through. I do believe, but help me when I forget who you are and that you're good. I do believe. Help my ownbelief. One an amazing prayer. If there is one prayer that you pray this week, maybe it's that one. I do believe, help my ownbelief. So, if you have your Bible, turn with me to mark chapter nine. We're going to be looking at verses fourteen through twenty four today and if you don't have your Bible, the words are going to be on the screen behind me here, and so mark chapter nine. Verse Fourteen. We're going to look at the context of that little phrase. I do believe help my ownbelief, and it starts like this when they returned to the other disciples. So the context is very important. So who's returning? Jesus and Peter, James and John are returning to the other eight disciples. And what they just experience we read in the verses prior to this is incredible. It's called the transfiguration. Jesus takes these guys up to the top of the mountain and he basically reveals his glory to them and two incredible people show up, Moses and Elijah, and these guys died hundreds of years prior. It's Moses, Elijah Jesus standing on this mountain. Peter, James and John are with them and they're like this is incredible, we need to stay...

...here forever, build a house like this is incredible. What an amazing experience with God, seeing him and all of his glory just wow. And then when they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them and some teachers of the religious law were arguing with them. So these religious people were arguing with the disciples are like, whenever I argue with Jesus, it doesn't go well. So he's not here right now, and so I'm just going to argue with the disciples. And when the crowd saw Jesus, they came back. They were overwhelmed with awe and they ran to greet him. They're like, okay, forget you, Jesus here right we're going to spend time with him. and Jesus asked what is all this arguing about? One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He's possessed by an evil spirit that won't let him talk, and whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground and then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn't do it. This is sort of like Thomas's situation, isn't it like this father wanted to see something, he brought something of great concerned to Jesus and he wasn't there. He missed out. How often have you prayed and seemed like you got no answer. How often have you been to church and you're like, where's God right? And can we just agree that this dad, this father, had a very real problem or situation concern with his son? I mean we don't maybe quite give evil spirits the not, I don't know of credits the right word, but they are more work in our world and we might often realize. But if you've got questions about that, if you wonder about all that, all that relates, just think about the effects of what this spirit is said to have caused in this boy. I mean this boy is suffering, like very badly. Its life is very just ever, there's lots of issues, lots of things going on. He's in very real trouble. And so the dad brings this boy and the disciples are there and the disciples couldn't do anything, which has to be a kind of a faith killer, doesn't it like? There they can't do anything. And what makes it worse is that Jesus specifically gave them the authority and the ability to do this in Luke, chapter nine, verse one. So why can't they do it? Jesus said to them, to this disciples, you faithless people. How long must I be with you. How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me and see the...

...context of this little story is so important because, just think, moments earlier they just had this most amazing experience with God. It was real, it was in front of them. It was like we gotta stay here forever. The presence is amazing, but of course they couldn't. And they come down the mountain and Jesus walks into this situation with zero faith and just the Oh right, you're my disciples, like you, faithless people, like Oh, it's like, bring the boy to me, get them. Where do you bring your concerns? You've got something in your life that's a real thing. Where do you bring it? You thought before, like I don't deserve a second chance. You thought that I'll always feel this way, my life will always be this way, that my life is defined by my worst moments instead of by mess my best moments. Like where do you bring those thoughts? Because where you bring them shows you sort of where you believe will help you. So do you keep those thoughts in your head and just think about them? Do you bring them to a friend and hope that they'll tell you something that you want to hear. Maybe you take them to a substance, to a drink, to a something that will doll those thoughts and those feelings. Maybe you bring him to your spouse and explode on them, because you know that they will love you and will forgive you, as they always do. Or maybe you bring them to church and you feel like the pastor can fix it. Or do you bring them to Jesus? Bring it to Jesus Right, bring it to Jesus. The disciples, they weren't cutting it so that Jesus said, bring the boy to me, and so they brought him the boy, and when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into violent convulsion and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. Like the evil spirits knew exactly who Jesus is. Right, they're afraid. and Jesus asked, how long has this been happening? Jesus asked the boy's father. Don't you think that Jesus knew the answer to that question? Jesus knows everything right. Why did he ask? Does it matter? I think he asked because he wanted to know the story. He wanted the father...

...to just share a little bit of what has been happening, a little bit of the context, a little bit of the background, because Jesus knows, and as if we look at Jesus life, he knows that that type of sharing, that type of opening up, that type of explaining a little bit more, creates connection. It builds relationship, and we believe that to be true here. It connect US church. We believe that connection starts with the first step, that that first step, group that we want to ask you is tell me a little bit more, tell me a little bit about this. Tell me how long, how much? How did this happen? Why did this happen? You know, like those little questions help create a connection, a relationship, and that's what Jesus wants with you, that's what he wants with everybody. and Jesus really wants to know the answer, like he really is concerned about this, he really wants to know. And so the boy, the father, takes him up on this offer and he replied, since he was a little boy, the spirit often threw him into the fire or into the water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us think about the number of times this dad would have saved his son's life like once is enough. Right, parents, you're saving him out of the fire, but I mean rescuing him out of the water, rescuing out of the fire. Like so often it's just like that's got a weigh on you, that's got to like just control your life. And so the father asks have mercy on us. The Greek word there is blagget so my, which means movement in the bowels, like like in the gut. You feel it, you have it's often in English translated as compassion. Right, the boy, the father, is asking Jesus to have compassion on him and help us. But then he has these three words. If you can doubt. Maybe this father has never had the opportunity to have his son healed before and now, for the first time in his life, he's standing in a place where it's possible doubt. Maybe he's never given Jesus an opportunity to do this. Maybe he's seen Jesus heal other people, but my own son. Doubt. Maybe he's still trying to figure out who Jesus is, just like everybody else. Doubt and Jesus responds, what do you mean? If I can, Jesus asked, anything is possible. If a person believes. The problem...

...was that this father had misplaced his if. I was going to tell the sermon that the misplaced if, but I didn't. The misplaced if because he said if Jesus can do it. That's not the question, because Jesus can write. The question is if the DAD believed. Jesus can certainly do it, but the dad questioned, he doubted his belief, and there is great power in your belief, in your faith, and so Jesus promises that great power, that anything is possible. If a person believes, which sounds incredible, doesn't that if I just believe that at when I left this place there was this beautiful red, shiny car in the parking lot and it had my name on it. It was perfect, I just believe it that when I leave here it's going to be amazing, like I just I've no God has that for me. He's promised it. It's mine. I'M gonna go out and I'm going to get it. He's promised it. Yes, it's true. I believe it. I believe it. I believe it. You know. Is that what he's saying? No, look, if I just reached into my pockets and believed hard enough, like hundred dollar bills would just start coming out right. I think it's much better than that. I think Jesus is promised that anything is possible if a person believes. Is better than that, like anything, including healing this son, this man, this father's son, that is in God's will, is possible if a person believes, believes what, believes strongly enough, or believes in the person doing the anything as possible thing right believes in Jesus. Anything is possible if a person believes so. For example, can you be forgiven anything? Certainly that is possible if you believe so. Believe it. Jesus died on the Cross, paid the penalty for your sin, was buried, rose again the third day to give you life. Your sin is nailed to the Cross. It's gone, it's over, it's forgiven, it's paid for. Believe it. Can you go to heaven? Anything is possible if you believe. Certainly going to heaven is that. If you believe it, if you believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes inside of you and seals you until the day of redemption. Believe it and you will go to heaven. Can you walk in freedom? Certainly,...

...anything is possible, including this, if you believe. But if you believe that nothing will ever change in your life, that your life is always going to be the way that it is, you're going to be stuck doing the same things now that you've always been doing, then you probably will. But if you believe, then certainly anything is possible. Watch out. Or will you make a difference in this world? Anything? Certainly that is possible if you believe. But if you don't ever try, if you don't ever do anything, then you probably won't. But if you do try, God will be with you. Just believe. So, I think trust in God in quotation marks, without moving towards it, whatever that impossible thing in God's will is, isn't faith like you have to put your into action, you have to move towards it, you have to act upon it. That's faith. And so the father did that and he cried out, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief. What a prayer. I believe. I believe you can, and with all the other questions, I have helped me with that too. See, even our faith is a gift from God and you can ask him for more faith, you can ask him for stronger faith. You can ask him to help you accept it when you don't have all the answers. You going to ask him to help you when you have doubts because, and this is so important, ultimately it's not the answers that changes you, it's Jesus. So you don't need all of them. So the story ends Mark Nine Twenty Five. And when Jesus saw the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak, you said, I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again. And then the spirit screamed and through the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd, as people said. He's Tad, but Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up...

...to his feet and he stood up. And afterwards, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him why couldn't we cast out that evil spirit, and Jesus replied this kind can only be cast out by prayer. Prayer, talking to a god you can't see, depending on a God that you can't touch, an expression of faith, and the disciples needed to learn this lesson, as we can learn from them that Jesus wasn't going to be with them much longer and they need still needed to know that they needed to depend on Jesus for everything, like they weren't the ones going to be healing people. Jesus was, and they didn't have the power to do it. Jesus did. And the irony of the story is incredible, because this is about the disciples, right, the ones who are closest to Jesus. They spend every moment with Jesus. They couldn't do it because they didn't have enough faith. But this father who didn't even know that Jesus could do it, who didn't have any faith, he was the one that eventually had enough faith to see the miracle happen. So the question is, how much faith do you need? And I think the answer is as much faith as God has given you right now. That's all. And so in just a second we're going to wrap up the service a little differently. Today. Try to apply, remember applying these things in our life, and what I mean by that is I'm going to say goodbye, I'm going to say thanks for being here, you know, do the normal kind of routine, and then I'm going to play a video and I encourage you, of course, to stay for the video. The video is a song and you've if you were here at their grand opening service, you would have heard the song. I love this song and I think it's a perfect way to end our service today because it invites you to come to Jesus, to pray, and I just love the fact that Jesus explains to the disciples why they couldn't do this, because they didn't pray, which relates to their doubt, which relates to them...

...not being able to see this thing happen. And so there's a connection between our doubts and prayer and seeing God move. And so I invite you in this moment, as we wrap up our service today, to pray, to talk to this God you can't see, to depend on this God you cannot touch, and really believe, like maybe for the first time or the first time in a long time, that anything is possible in your life. If you believe like do you believe that? That's the invitation? Jesus said it. Do you believe it? And I think prayer is a way that helps us to express it helps us to create this belief, and so during the song I invite you to pray. Myself, Danny, John and Shannon are going to be available in the Front Ish section here. If you would like to pray with us, encourage you to do that. If you would like to walk down or you could stay in your seats, you could do whatever you want to do to pray. This between you and God. And then the final kind of invitation is maybe you are doing this for the first time or the first time in a long time. You're praying, you're trusting, you're trusting in Jesus, and I just would love to know that. I would love to hear about that. If you would just raise your hand or if you would just come and say something right on your connection card, we'd love to pray with you, we'd love to walk with you as you are beginning to trust in Jesus for the first time or the first time in a long time. We'd love to help you in any way that is possible. And so where that's what we're going to do. We're going to wrap up our time together today by praying and.

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