Sermon #32 Series: Matthew
Title: THE POWER OF UNBELIEF
Text: Matthew 14:22-36
Readings: Office: Rex Bartley Aud. L. Campbell
Date: Tuesday Evening –
February 14, 1995
Tape: Q – 100
There is something that I have been looking for in the Bible that I have never been able to find. I have been reading and studying this Book every day of my life for the past 27 years. But there is something I cannot find anywhere between its covers. And I have looked for it. – I have never been able to find a place in this Book where God crossed the path of a sinner more than one time! If God only crosses a person’s path one time, that awesome fact makes this hour an hour of awesome urgency and responsibility. That means that…
If God speaks to you by my voice tonight, you cannot possibly remain indifferent, he will either begin to melt your heart and draw you to Christ, or he will begin to harden your heart and send you to hell by the message you are about to hear – (II Cor. 2:14-16).
The title of my message tonight is The Power of Unbelief. Just as faith as a grain of mustard seed, looking to Christ has the power to cast the mountains of our sins into the depths of the sea, so unbelief has the power to ruin your soul, unleash the wrath of God, and drag your soul down to hell.
The power of faith in Christ is manifest throughout the Scriptures – Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness – Noah believed God and built an ark to the saving of his family – Israel believed God and walk through the Red Sea – David believed God and slew Goliath – Naaman believed God and stopped the mouths of lions – The centurion soldier believed God and saw his servant healed. Two blind men believed God and received their sight – The woman with an issue of blood believed God and saw his daughter brought back to life – The Philippian Jailer believed God and received everlasting life. The list could go on and on. The Bible says much about the power of faith.
But the Word of God also shows us the power of unbelief – Adam – Noah’s Generation – Lot’s wife – Pharaoh – Israel – Nebuchadnezzar – The Scribes and Pharisees – The Rich Young Ruler – Felix – Festus – and Agrippa all stand out as beacons to warn us of the danger and power of unbelief!
All unbelief is a matter of the Will – Unbelief is a matter of choice. Unbelief is saying “no” to God in spite of the evidence. This is what we see in Matthew 13:53-58.
Verse 53 – Capernaum had been the home base of our Lord’s ministry for about a year (Mt. 4:13; 8:5).
The Lord never went back to Capernaum again, except to walk through it to go to another place!
Verses 54-58 – Luke gives us a bit more detail about this (Luke 4:16-32). When the Lord Jesus returned to Nazareth after his temptation in the wilderness, he had met with opposition and unbelief in his own hometown and among his own kinsman. Time and again our Lord came to Nazareth. Yet, “he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief!”
Let me show you seven things about unbelief. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher and give us understanding.
I. Unbelief Ignores The Obvious – (v. 54).
Those who heard his doctrine and saw his miracles did not reject him for lack of evidence, but in spite of overwhelming evidence. They did not reject him because they lacked the truth, but because they rejected the truth. They despised the light because they preferred darkness.
When men and woman willfully reject Christ, the most powerful arguments and the most convincing facts will not convince them of Divine truth.
II. Unbelief Exalts The Irrelevant (vv. 55-56).
NOTE: These things were totally irrelevant to the issue!
A. It is sad and tragic to see people exalting small, insignificant things, using them as great excuses for not believing the gospel.
B. Unbelief diverts attention Away from the gospel as a means of escape and self-justification.
III. Unbelief Stumbles Over The Truth – (v. 57).
Illus: The Appeal of Works Religion
IV. Unbelief Blocks The Supernatural (v. 58).
Some of our Lord’s miracles were performed in direct response to personal faith. But many, perhaps most of them were performed without any expression of faith in those who benefited from them. So man’s lack of faith does not bind the power of God. Man’s unbelief does not hold dominion over God’s omnipotence. God does what he will, whether man believes or not!
However, throughout his earthly ministry our Lord chose not to perform his miracles where men and women manifest a hardened, willful unbelief. Unbelief became a barrier to Divine blessing. Our text specifically tells us that it was because of the unbelief of the people that our Savior did no miracles of significance in Nazareth.
V. Unbelief Can Never See The Glory of God (John 11:40).
If you can’t see the glory of God, you can’t enjoy the blessing of God.
Illus: II Kings 6:17
“Our own unbelief is the only impediment which prevents God from satisfying us largely and bountifully with all good things.” – John Calvin.
“Unbelief is at the bottom of all our staggerings at God’s promises.” Matthew Henry.
Too often we walk upon God’s promises like children upon ice, always fearful of the breaking and us falling! How shameful!
It is unbelief alone that prevents us from soaring in our hearts into the celestial city and walking by faith even now across the streets of gold.
VII. Unbelief Alone Holds Lost Souls In Condemnation Under The Wrath of God (John 3:13-18).
If you parish, it will be for only one reason – because you will not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing else in heaven or earth that will prevent you from being saved – (John 5:40).
Ever beware of unbelief! Unbelief…