Sermon #4†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† Luke Sermons
††††††††† Title:† ††††††††† UNBELIEF
††††††††† Text:††††††††††† Luke 1:18-25
††††††††† Subject:†††††† Zechariasí Unbelief
††††††††† Date:††††††††††† Sunday Evening - 25,1999
††††††††† Tape #†††††††† V-25a
††††††††† Readings:†††† Office: Mark Henson Auditorium: Gary Baker
††††††††† One of the first corruptions of the human race was the horrible sin of unbelief. It is recorded in Genesis chapter three that our mother, Eve, being beguiled by the serpent, was persuaded to unbelief. She believed the devilís lie without reason and did not believe God, whom she had every reason to believe. Such is the natural wickedness of the human heart to this day that we are all naturally inclined to believe the devilís lie regarding all things, without the slightest justification for doing so, and naturally inclined not to believe God, when we have every reason for doing so.
††††††††† Unbelief is an original and universal corruption of all men. It is the deepest seated of all corruption. And it is at once the worst of all corruptions and the father of all other corruptions. If pride is the mother of all sin, unbelief is the father.
††††††††† Yes, I did say, unbelief is the worst of all the corruptions of fallen humanity. Nothing so highly honors God as believing him; and nothing so vilely dishonors God as unbelief. Yet, horrible as this offense is, it is the sin we most readily excuse in rebels and most easily justify in ourselves. Tonight, I want by the Word, power, and grace of God the Holy Spirit, to unmask this devil who yet resides in us all, expose his ugly face, and inspire our hearts to oppose him with vengeance.
††††††††† With that in mind, I want us to read Luke 1:18-25 together. My subject tonight is unbelief.
Proposition: Here is Zecharias, a man of great faith and faithfulness, stricken dumb by the angel of God because of his unbelief.
††††††††† May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher, as I endeavor to show you the things taught in this passage of Holy Scripture.
I. unbelief is found in the hearts of the very strongest believers upon the earth.
††††††††† Zecharias was a truly remarkable man. He believed God when very few did. He worshipped God in Spirit when almost all around him were entirely given over to ceremonialism. Yet, when Gabriel told him that his wife would soon bear him a son, this faithful old man said, ďOh, no. You must be mistaken. Not my wife. Iím too old and she is tooĒ (V. 18).
††††††††† Why did Zecharias not believe the angelís message? Because it was totally contrary to human reason, experience, and science. You see, the basis of faith is divine revelation; but the basis of unbelief is human reason. As J.C. Ryle, put it, ďWhere reason begins, faith ends.Ē
††††††††† Had not this well instructed priest in Israel read in the Book of God about Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac? --or Manoah, his wife, and Samson? -- Was he not aware of what God did for Hannah? Of course! He knew all those historic facts better that we do. He knew very well that the Lord our God is the sovereign, omnipotent Monarch of the universe. He knew that with God nothing is impossible. He knew that the God who could cause the sun to go backwards ten degrees could easily reverse the aging process of an old womanís womb.
††††††††† There was nothing wrong with Zechariasí doctrine. The problem was with his heart. When it came to the personal, practical application of divine truth to his own life and his own experience, Zecharias, this man of great faith, was filled with unbelief!
††††††††† But we must not be too hard on old Zecharias. His fault is the common fault of us all. All Godís people on this earth are plagued with unbelief. It is a fault, a sin, a horrible evil in us all. The histories of Abraham, Lot, Moses, and Peter stand as glaring beacons to warn us, to make us aware of this monstrous devil which resides in us all. Let us pray, honestly and earnestly, like the poor, distraught father in Mark 9Ö
A. †How our unbelief must shock the angels of God.
††††††††† It was this same angel, Gabriel, who 490 years earlier brought a message from the throne of God to Daniel, assuring him of the coming and redemptive accomplishments of the Lord Jesus Christ, who would be cut off as the sinnersí Substitute, not for his own sins, but for ours (Dan. 9:26). Daniel believed Godís word. Daniel, a prisoner at Babylon, without one shred of external evidence, believed God!
††††††††† But Zecharias, who virtually lived in the temple, who had the entire Old Testament, with all the recorded miracles wrought by God, when that same angel spoke to him, turned his heart not toward God and his Word, but toward his own life experiences and learned reason. Therefore, he was filled with unbelief.
1. Though God no longer speaks to men by angels (Heb. 1:1-3), they were frequently messengers of mercy in days gone by.
2. God still has angels today (pastors - Revelation 1-3), by whom he speaks to men upon the earth, by whom he shows fallen men his wondersÖ
∑ His Word
∑ His Works
∑ His Will
∑ His Way
B. †But our unbelief puts a heavy, dark, thick veil over the Word of God.
∑ Unbelief hides the glory of God from us (John 11:40).
∑ Unbelief holds back he blessings of God from us.
∑ Unbelief hinders the Lord from performing his mighty works among us.
II. no sin is more vile, reprehensible and dishonoring to god than unbelief.
††††††††† As nothing dishonors God like unbelief, so nothing provokes him to wrath and judgment like unbelief.
††††††††† What is it that makes unbelief such a base, vile thing? Three answers are obviousÖ
A. †Unbelief is a denial of Godís power.
B. †Unbelief is a denial of Godís Word.
C. †Unbelief is a denial of Godís veracity.
III. unbelief, perhaps more than anything else, compels our heavenly father to use his rod of correction.
††††††††† God never punishes his people for sin. He punished our sins in his dear Son at Calvary. But he is a truly loving Father. As such, he chastens his children with the rod of correction.
††††††††† Zechariasí unbelief brought the Fatherís rod down heavily upon him. He was stricken deaf and dumb by the hand of God for at least nine long months.
1. Divine chastisement is often lengthy.
2. Our Fatherís chastisements are always suitable.
††††††††† The ears that refused to hear Godís Word were stricken deaf, until Zecharias learned to hearken to the Word of God. The tongue that refused to speak Godís praise was tied, until it learned to speak forth Jehovahís praise.
IV. unbelief will bring your soul to eternal ruin.
††††††††† I know that faith is the gift of God and that no man can believe, except God give him faith. Yet, unbelief is the deliberate, willful choice of rebels. And God will not hold you guiltless for your rebellion against him and his Son.
V. †all unbelief will soon come to an end.
††††††††† The Lord God will soon cause all men to see all truth with absolute clarity. In that day, those who perished in unbelief will be convinced of all truth, but brought into everlasting contempt.
††††††††† But in that day, when the Lord visits us again, as he did Elizabeth of old (vv. 24-25), he will take away our reproach forever. Blessed be God, we will not forever struggle with these evil hearts of unbelief!
††††††††† Until that day, let us watch and pray against this terrible sin by which our God is so greatly dishonored.
∑ Unbelief robs us of peace.
∑ Unbelief makes our knees weak and our hands heavy.
∑ Unbelief takes the joy out of our salvation.
∑ Unbelief destroys patience.
∑ Unbelief makes contentment impossible.
∑ Unbelief dishonors our God!
††††††††† Let us seek grace from our God to trust him implicitly, for the glory of his name.
∑ Unbelief trembles before a maid. Faith slays Goliath.
∑ Unbelief trembles in a thunderstorm. Faith sleeps in a lionsí den.
∑ Unbelief paces the floor. Faith believes God. ďLORD, I BELIEVE. HELP THOU MINE UNBELIEF!Ē Help me, my God, to trust you, to trustÖ
1. Your Word.
2. Your Wisdom.
3. Your Will.
4. Your Work.
 The fact that others communicated to him with signs (v. 62) implies that he was deaf as well as dumb.