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Unbelief. . .The Enemy of Faith


Unbelief - the Enemy of Faith


The purpose of this message is twofold:

1) To discuss how unbelief is the polar opposite of faith to believe. THAT,

unbelief and faith are choices we make.


We choose unbelief and we choose to believe through faith.


2) I want to touch on the subject of faith itself. But, not just everyday faith. We each have a modicum of faith. I mean a new dimension of faith; mountain-moving, extraordinary faith ... the faith we read about in Hebrews Chapter 11.

The kind of faith that get's God's attention.


Q: Has anyone here ever witnessed a miracle by God's power? Bringing the dead back to life? Making a blind man see or the lame walk? Most of us have not.


But, if God asked any one of us to lay hands on someone so He could perform a miracle, would doubt and unbelief be our initial emotion, creeping into our heart, whispering:

'I can't do that!' I'm not Moses or Elijah. I'm not Peter whose very shadow caused a man to be healed. I'm not John G. Lake! And I've never seen such miracles!


But, this is exactly the kind of extraordinary faith I'd like to address in this message, which is titled:



"Unbelief - the Enemy of Faith"


What's the bible definition of faith: Heb 11:1 says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for yet not seen." It's believing for something we can't see or touch, but through prayer we hope for: Healing, a promotion, a spiritual gift from God.

The amount of faith we have basically amounts to this:

How much do we 'Trust' what's written in God's word?

Do we truly believe it's a book containing God's inerrant, unfailing word? Or,

Do we believe, deep down, the bible is a good read, but a book of past fairy tales?

Hebrews Chapter 11 is commonly known as the "Faith chapter." It speaks of the testimonies of those who have gone before us. It tells of their unwavering faith in God. The kind of faith that caused them to do amazing exploits, even miracles through God's power.

These men and women of extraordinary faith: Moses, Elijah, Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, Daniel, Esther, David and many others ... people created from the same flesh us ---

1. Chose to believe God and His promises.

2. Chose faith over unbelief.

3. Chose to fully surrender their will for God's will; willing to lay down their lives, like good soldiers, in God's service. "Do we love God enough to surrender all?"

The great faith seen in Heb. chapter 11, moved God to use these 'willing' people

-To part the Red Sea.

-Call fire down from heaven to incinerate the altars of Ba'al.

-Be thrown into a fiery furnace without being burned or clothes singed.

-Close the mouths of hungry lions and live to tell about it.

-To stand up to the giant, Goliath with only a slingshot and stone.

Q: "These people were made no different than us. Why did God give them His power, but not us?"

Many of us have been praying for God's power. But, are we willing to 'surrender all' and sacrifice our will for God's perfect will? To place God FIRST in all that we do, and to consult Him - like the Hebrews 11 saints did?

The apostle Paul speaks about the boldness of these saints in Hebrews 11:32-38,

"And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jeph'tha, also of David and Samuel and the prophets":

"Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." "Women received their dead to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." "Still others had trial of mockings and scourges, yes, and of chains and imprisonment." "They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword." "They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented -- of whom the world was not worthy ..."

Then, we read of Jesus' disciples also being used to demonstrate God's power:

To heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.

Were these men and women made from some supernatural, space age flesh?

Q: How much faith does it take for God to use us as willing vessels to perform miracles through us? To bring Him glory? As He used the heroes we read about? Is lukewarm faith enough? Or, Hebrews 11 faith?


A: What did Jesus say about being lukewarm? "I will spew you out of My mouth."

Paul tells in Heb 11:6, "But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Those who diligently seek Him; not those who occasionally seek Him, or seek Him half-heartedly, or when it's convenient.

Comment: I wonder if the Heb 11 saints said: "Yeah, I'll pray after my golf game, after I mow the lawn, after I do the shopping and cleaning - If I'm not too tired."

And in Jas 1:6-7, "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting ... For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." Isn't this saying, if we doubt, don't expect to receive?

Jas 1:6-7 brings up a point:

Q: Is'Doubt' the same as 'Unbelief?' To put it another way, can a person occasionally doubt, yet still believe?

A: Doubt is not the same as unbelief. We can still believe, yet doubt from time to time. A classic example is the disciple, Thomas:


After spending three years with Jesus and witnessing all the miracles, Thomas believed and had faith by what he witnessed.


Yet, when the other disciples told Thomas that Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas doubted. Why? Because Thomas didn't witness the event with his own eyes.

He probably thought, "It's just too impossible!"


And what did Jesus tell Thomas ... and us ... in Jn 20:29?

"...Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

So, how can a believer obtain such extraordinary, mountain-moving faith?

First. A person must have an extraordinary desire to seek God.

The disciples spent most, if not all their time, in the presence of Jesus. They were taught truth; they witnessed His works; and their faith grew. They desired to spend time with Jesus.

So, we, too, must have a strong desire to spend time with Jesus and diligently seek Him: Through daily prayer, daily reading of the Word, daily study, through praise and worship. If we neglect this, how can we expect our faith to grow and defeat unbelief?


Second. A person must keep his heart pure.

Our heart must be clean before the Lord. We must ask God to purge us of all sin, including unforgiveness, pride and self-will, and be 100% surrendered to Him as a dead man. We must be willing to do what He wants us to do, and to go wherever He wants us to go, without question. Like good soldiers. If we aren't fully surrendered to God, sold out like the saints in Hebrews 11, we shouldn't expect to receive the kind of power they received.

Third. The soil of our heart must be good soil.

In the parable of the sower, Mark 4:20 says: "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept (believe) it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."

Question: Why is it some believers produce a massive amount of fruit ... yet others just a basketful?

Answer: How much time do we spend tilling and fertilizing the soil of our heart?

How much time do we spend at the feet of Jesus, in prayer?

I recall reading about a saint who spent so much time on his knees in prayer, the carpet bore the imprints of his knees. So, I asked this of mysel, and now of you: "Which one better testifies to our prayer life? The imprint of our knees on the carpet? Or the imprint of where we sit in front of the television?"


Jesus told His disciples and tells us in John 14:12, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."

And in Acts 1:5, "...for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

Acts 1:8, "... you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you ..."

Luke 24:49, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."


-The 120 who believed Jesus and desired God's power, received by waiting in the upper room. They spent 50 days praying together in unity before being baptized with the Holy Spirit and receiving the power, just as Jesus promised.

-The 120 sacrificed watching football and Hallmark for 50 days. They spent 50 days in the upper room ... nearly two months ... in unity and prayer.

And how long did Jesus spend in the desert praying and fasting before the Father endued Him with power? 40 days and 40 nights.

Brethren, it takes sacrifice to show God we're serious about receiving from Him.

Can we also receive such power if we have that kind of desire to spend quality time with Jesus? Yes! Was that power only intended for the first century church?' NO! God says in Mal 3:6, "For I am the Lord, I do not change ..."

So, the 120 faithful saints were eventually baptized with the Holy Spirit - and with power.

And we understand there is a difference between being given the Holy Spirit as a down payment toward our salvation after receiving Jesus (Eph 1:14-15), and being baptized with the Holy Spirit. The power comes only after being baptized with the Holy Spirit.


So, being baptized with the Holy Spirit gives us power AND adds to our faith.

(Ex) Peter denied Jesus three times on the night of Jesus' arrest out of fear. But, after Peter was baptized with the Holy Spirit and with power, he preached with such boldness, authority and unction that 3,000 came to faith in one day.

And in Acts 2:43, it says: "... and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles," after being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, too many Christians today don't take literally what Jesus said in John 14:12: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also ..."

Again I ask: 'Is the bible a book containing God's unfailing and inerrant word?' Or, a compilation of fairy tales? Why don't we believe what Jesus said, that the works He did, we also will do?

Why do so many Christians choose not to believe what Jesus said in God's word? Perhaps some don't believe because there isn't much miracle-working power in the church today. But why?


Could it be because of the disobedience, complacency, compromise, disunity, lack of love, lack of faith, lack of belief, and lack of desire to spend time with Jesus, so prevalent in today's church ... and behind the pulpit?

Why would God entrust His gifts, the true riches, to those filled with unbelief, compromise and complacency? To those who don't believe the gifts are also for today's church?

1Cor chapter 12 beginning in verse 7, speaks of the nine gifts of the Spirit.


If the gifts were only intended for the early church, how is it Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, Curry Blake and others received the gift of healing?


Paul tell us in 1 Cor 14:1, "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts ..." And in verse 12: "Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel."


Doesn't this infer the gifts are also available to us .. if we demonstrate a strong desire to possess them? By preparing our vessel for the Father's use?


1Cor 14:1,3 says: "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophecy ... he who prophecies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men."


So, if 1Cor 12 is not intended for us, what other portions of scripture are not intended for us?

--Did God change His mind without notifying us?

--Is He playing favorites with the early church, even though the bible tells us in Rom 2:11, 'For there is no partiality with God.' And He shows personal favoritism to no one. Gal 2:6


Perhaps there are only 'certain gifts' available to today's church such as 'speaking in tongues' or 'prophecy,' which many of us have witnessed.

In Pastor's corner taken from the website mymcr.com, it says this:

"The God we serve today is the exact same God we served prior to COVID-19 entering the scene. He is the same God today as He was the day He raised Jesus from the Grave. He is the same God today as He was when He spoke the world into existence. He is the God who saves and He is the God in whom you can place your hope! If God never changes, then that means His love is forever. His forgiveness is forever. His salvation is forever. His promises are forever."


So, if God's promises are forever, how can His spiritual gifts be intended only for the early church and not for us? Blood of Jesus God's 'gifts' aren't for today!

I believe the questions that should be asked are these:

1. Can God trust every believer with His gifts?

2. Do we desire the gift enough to 'sacrifice' by spending 50 days in our upper room? To show God we're serious about receiving from Him?

3. And, would the gift be used for what it's intended: for the edification of the church, ... not for pride or even financial gain ... like Simon in Acts Ch 8?


In Acts Ch 8 beginning in verse 14, word got to the apostles that people in Samaria received God's word. So, Peter and John went there to pray for them:

"... that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet, He (Holy Spirit) had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." "And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money. You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God."


Q: How does God see our heart?

Does He see in us an eagerness to pursue the things of the Kingdom? And does God see us preparing ourselves to be used by Him? Or, are we out for self-gain like Simon and some behind the pulpit?

"Donate more money to our ministry so I can go out and preach to others ... in the private jet I want the church to purchase for my travel."

Luke 16:10-11 tells us: "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money and other things of this world), who will commit to your trust the true riches (gifts of the Spirit and things of the Kingdom)?"

But, getting back to the topic of faith.

Didn't Jesus say to His disciples in Matt 17:20, "...for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

And in Mark 9:23, we read: "Jesus said to him (to the father of the child with the seizure disorder), 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.' "

Q: Can all things really be possible if we believe? Does Jesus lie? Does He exaggerate or 'tweak the truth?' Must we first see it to believe, like Thomas?

If we have to first see it to believe, what does that say about our faith?

Remember what Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

As I was quoting these verses stated by Jesus Himself, did anyone here sense doubt or unbelief rising in his or her spirit because most of us have never witnessed:

A crippled man just get up and walk? Or, a blind man miraculously receive his sight? Or, since our prayers might not have yet been answered, God's promises just can't be believed or trusted?

Just because we weren't there to witness:

Daniel in the lion's den.

David slay the giant.

Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego fall into a fiery furnace.


- Does it mean these events didn't occur? That they're too impossible to believe?

- We can't see gravity or the wind. Does that mean they aren't real?

- Or, that God's promises aren't real unless we see them come to pass?

- And even if we did possess that Hebrews 11 faith, working miracles through

God's power:

If we allow even a morsel of unbelief into our heart ...(similar to allowing a little leaven in), ... we can quench the move of the Holy Spirit.

Def. of Quench: 'to put out, extinguish. Put out the light or fire.' (Holy Spirit fire)

And 1Thess. 5:19 tells us, "Do not quench the Spirit." Do not stifle the work He wants to do in our lives. How? Through unbelief.

1. What was the reason out of the 1-2 million first generation Israelites God delivered from Egypt, only two people (Joshua and Caleb) were allowed into the Promised Land? (Num 32:7-12)

2. What was the reason Jesus couldn't perform many miracles in His home town of Nazareth? (Matt 13:58)

3. What was the reason before Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead, He commanded everyone to leave the room except for Peter, James, John and Jairus' parents? (Lk 8:49-55)

4. What was the reason Peter told everyone to leave the room before he raised Dorcas from the dead? (Acts 9:36-41)


- Was it because Jesus and Peter were playing favorites, allowing only their closest friends to remain in the room?

- Was it because Jesus and Peter didn't want to show anyone else how to perform miracles?

- Was it because Jesus and Peter wanted the 'power to heal' kept within their own inner circle?

- Or, was it because Jesus and Peter knew 'unbelief' in a person's heart 'quenches' the working of the Holy Spirit?

In Matt 17:14-20, it says: "And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him (Jesus), kneeling down to Him and saying, 'Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him ... Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast it out?' So Jesus said to them, 'Because of your unbelief' ... if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.' "


Did Jesus tell them: Well, there are some things that might be impossible for you, or did He declare, 'Nothing will be impossible for you ... if you have the faith to believe.

But then Jesus went on to tell His disciples: "However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

But, the reason the disciples could not cast out this particular demon - was because of their unbelief.

Even the disciples experienced unbelief. But, they had not yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.


It's unbelief that 'quenches' the working of the Holy Spirit.

And God takes 'unbelief' very seriously. It comes with consequences. And it grieves His heart.

Heb 3:12, 18-19 tell us: "Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see they could not enter in (the Promised Land) because of unbelief."

And not only this, but Jude 1:5 reminds us God destroyed those Israelites who did not believe.

Q: Will our unbelief prevent us from entering our Promised Land, heaven?

And what happened to Zacharias because of his unbelief? In Lk Ch 1 beginning inverse 5, we read of Zacharias the priest and his wife Elizabeth, both righteous people before God. Zacharias had earnestly prayed for a child, but Elizabeth was barren.

But, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and told him that Elizabeth would bear a son, John the Baptist, Zacharias fell into unbelief because of their old age.


Even though this was what Zacharias had prayed for, when the answer finally came, he didn't believe it. His unbelief came with a consequence: He becamemute until the day his son, John, was born.

Our unbelief grieves God's heart. Just as it would grieve us if our kids refused to believe what we promised them.

How many miracles and answered prayers has God blessed us with over the years? In how many ways has He proven Himself worthy of our trust?

--Yet, when a trial comes our way, our first emotion is often panic and

desperation through unbelief?

--How can we move that 'mountain' in our life if we harbor unbelief?

--Unbelief hinders the working of the Holy Spirit.

--So, let's ask God to purge us of any residual "unbelief" in our heart, which quenches the Holy Spirit's work.

Brothers and sisters:

Dark days may soon be upon us. Many prophets are shouting this warning from the housetops. And we will need Hebrews 11 faith:

To move the mountains in our lives, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cast out demons, and to survive and thrive until Jesus returns (unless he calls us home).


-- Do we have the courage and faith to step from the fleshly realm into the spiritual realm ... and take hold of the gifts reserved for the children of God?

Or,

-- Will we allow the enemy to whisper in our ear: "If you do this and it doesn't work, you'll look so foolish!"


What do I mean by having the faith to step from the fleshly realm into the spiritual?

(Ex) A brother took a step of faith into the spiritual realm by placing a cross in front of his home, even though he feared being ridiculed or threatened by his neighbors. He overcame fear by taking a step of faith to overcome his fear.

(Ex) I took a step of faith into the spiritual realm by giving a brother a word I believed was from the Holy Spirit. But, I had never done this before and I was concerned it might be of my flesh. And if so, I would look so foolish if I heard incorrectly. But, after I told the brother, he said: 'Thanks Dave. It's what I've been hoping and praying for.'

Who cares what we might look like, or what people think. Our mission is to honor the King in all we do! How many in scripture were made to look foolish in God's service? How about Hosea and Isaiah, as just two examples.

Hosea was commanded to marry a harlot and Isaiah was commanded to preach in the nude for three years (Isa chapter 20).

So, if we feel the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about something, and we know His voice, take a step of faith into the spiritual realm ... and do it.

Remember, 'unbelief' quenches the working of the Holy Spirit. But, 'belief' causes His work to be accomplished.

Unbelief quenches. Belief accomplishes.


As soldiers in God's end time army, if we run from what we believe God wants us to do, or if we run from the enemy out of fear, won't God consider this to be acts of cowardice, disobeying orders and running from the enemy? And if a US soldier runs from a battle, he is placed in front of a firing squad and executed.

And what does God's word tell us about the cowardly? Rev 21:8 tells us,

"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." It's their firing squad!

God considers cowards to be as bad as 'murderers, sorcerers, idolators, sexually immoral and liars!


It's incumbent upon us 'in these last days' to build up our faith by:

Spending more time with the Lord in prayer.

Giving up everything to follow Him, fully surrendering 'our will' for 'His will.'

Being 'uncompromising with the world,' refusing to obey its demands if they go against God's word ... regardless of the consequences.


And a final admonition:

No believer has the right to tell another believer, he or she has not received from the Lord, because of a lack of faith. Only God knows the amount of faith a person has in his heart. And not receiving could also be for another reason. God may be testing or challenging us. It may not even be due to a lack of faith.

So,

-- Let's all strive to attain that extraordinary faith we readabout in Heb 11.

Let's begin to step from the fleshly realm into the spiritual ... through faith.

Let's believe and grab hold of ALL the promises of God ... by faith.

-- Let's spend more time tilling and fertilizing the good soil in our heart, so we

can produce fruit, not 30 or 60 fold, but 100 fold!


-- Let's ask God to purge from us every morsel of unbelief, so we can move

mountains by His power!


-- And let's never forget what Jesus tells us in Mark 9:23, That,

"All things are possible to him who believes."



AMEN.







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