Kathy McLin - Belief and Unbelief - Brisbane Convention - 2013

Today, my thoughts have been in Mark 9. There was a man that was disappointed in the disciples and he came to Jesus and said, “If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” If Thou canst do anything? That man said that to Jesus and Jesus answered him, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” There was no if with Jesus, He knew He could help this man without a doubt. The if was with the man. I like the man’s response. He prayed with tears. He was honest and he was urgent and he said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” He looked in his own heart and he saw both belief and unbelief and I’m sure if you look in your heart and was honest, you would have both also. This man saw that unbelief stands between me and a miracle. He knew that unbelief was his hindrance and he prayed help my unbelief. Jesus honoured that prayer.

It is wonderful to believe but first we must recognise what our enemy is. Do we see unbelief as sin, do we see it as the work of Satan? It is very serious. How sad if we left unbelief and doubts rob us of the great things that God has for us, if we just believe in Him and His Son and in the Holy Spirit. We have many reasons to believe.

Those that came to Jesus with great faith, they received help immediately. The Leper said, “If Thou whilst, Thou canst make me clean,” and it happened. There was a woman who said, "If I can just get close enough to touch His garment, I will have hope," and she did. We are going to have as much help as we have faith to believe. We are going to be led as far as we let Him lead us and we will enjoy as much as we let Him give us. We set the limit and do we realise the seriousness of unbelief and doubt.

I was reading in Revelations the other day where it speaks about the depths of Satan. I love reading about the depths of God and of Jesus and their work. It mentioned the depth of Satan and I thought about depths of confusion, depths of deceit, depths of darkness and where it can lead us to. Have you ever felt any comfort or any joy when you are doubting and unbelieving, has it done any good for you? I thought about Eve and what did it do for her? What did it do the children of Israel? Many died because of unbelief. Where does it end?

Sometimes I wonder how Satan makes people cherish things of the world and he is a deceiver and that is why and that is how he deceives. How can you make so many people believe what is not true, and make people refuse to believe what is true, because he is a deceiver. He will take us into such depths. The end of unbelief is darkness forever. It speaks about hell as a bottomless pit and there is no end and you just fall and fall and fall. We do not want to be led into the depths of Satan. Everyone here that has a revelation that Jesus is the Son of God is very fortunate. And if you believe to the extent that you live by His teachings you are very fortunate.

Jesus said to Peter when Peter said, "I believe that Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said, "Blessed art thou, the rock of revelation that I will build My church upon and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it." We want something in our lives that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. The gates of hell can prevail against all the doctrines and ideas of man, but they cannot prevail against those who believe in the Son of God. We want to build upon that solid rock, something that is in our lives that is sure and eternal. In Revelations, you read about Satan’s deception. He can deceive all except those that have the mark of the Son of God in their forehead.

I was thinking about some Scripture - were doubts hindering them? One time the Pharisees came to Jesus and John 10 and they said these foolish words to Jesus, “How long dost Thou make us to doubt? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you and ye believed not. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” Jesus did not do one thing that would ever make anyone doubt. He always did what pleased the Father, He always spoke the words of the Father, and He always did the works of the Father.

Why were they doubting? They would not let the spirit reveal or open their heart to His word because it was right. And they did not like that. They loved darkness rather than light and they justified themselves by saying Jesus was making them doubt. When they listened to Him, they could see they were wrong and all they were doing was just vanity and just a show. They were talking with their lips but their hearts were very empty and very displeasing to God. Then they said, "Why do you make us doubt?" Sometimes we are unwilling and we do not want to do what the Scripture teaches us, we really do not want to follow Jesus so we justify that by doubting. We are saying we do not believe what Jesus is saying and we have to be very careful about that. These religious Pharisees were left in their darkness, they never moved from the dark miserable world. We need to be careful about the sin of unbelief.

I was thinking about Peter in Matthew 14 and there was a storm and Jesus took those steps to Jesus and that was a wonderful thing. Then the waves and the wind were so strong and he focused on that and he began to sink. Jesus asked him, “Wherefore didst thou doubt?” That is such a wonderful question and when we have doubts and we need to search what is it that makes us doubt and where this unbelief comes from. We do not know how Peter answered, but I believe that he got his focus off Jesus and that was the problem.

It is a frightening thing to be on a sea with the waves and you feel very voluble and you feel very alone and we will be that way also on the sea of life, if we have our eyes off Jesus. There are many fierce waves and winds blowing against our fellowship. If we get our eyes off Jesus and then let the winds and waves affect us, we are on very dangerous waters. We must keep our focus on the Son of God. After that experience, Peter moved on from the steps of doubt into a deeper love and appreciation for Jesus and Jesus wants that for us.

In John 20, we read about Thomas after Jesus was crucified and after the resurrection and the wonderful news came that He was alive. And we know the sad story that Thomas never went to the first meeting the disciples had after the resurrection. Then the disciples came and said to Thomas, "We have seen the Lord." Then Thomas said some very sad words, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” That is a very bold statement, "I will not believe."

Jesus could have left Thomas there. Jesus had already done so much and there were so many reasons why Thomas should believe. Jesus could have said, “Thomas, you were there when I fed the 5,000. You were there when I calmed the wind and the waves. You have seen so many miracles. We had so many good visits," and Jesus could have given him a long list of reasons why he should not have unbelief. Jesus didn’t. Jesus wanted him to believe, and Jesus came to him after eight days and Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing.” Jesus did not want Thomas to enter in to the hopeless future of unbelief. Be not faithless but believing. That is God’s message for all of us, search what causes the doubts and be not faithless, but believing. We all have so many reasons to believe. Thomas touched Jesus wounds and was reminded of His spirit and then Thomas believed. We all need to be concerned about doubts and fears because it can stop the work of God in our souls. Jesus invited Thomas, "Touch Me and make sure of this."

I like what it says in Luke 24, “Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet that it is I myself, handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have.” Handle Me, make it real, take it to yourself and there is every assurance that we should believe and come and see. I love this invitation and John wrote later we have handled this, we have the words of life and we must be sure that we handle this.

I had a friend who was killed in a plane accident. And the daughter told me that they were at the funeral parlour and they were all around the casket and they begged the undertaker to open the casket so they had some assurance it was really their father. The undertaker said, "I cannot do that because the body was not whole." And after a little while, he said, "I could show you his hand," and so he showed them their father’s hand and it was wonderful to them to know this really is my father. That is the hand that has touched us and the hand that guided us and the hand that corrected us and the hand that embraced us, that is our father’s hand. We know his hand.

We want to take hold of these things as they are true and they are real and we can make them very real in our lives. So sad to let the sin of unbelief and doubt take us into our hopeless future and to destroy the great work God wants to do in our soul. I hope we will pray, "Help my unbelief, increase my faith," and we will make a greater effort to make this very true and very real.