Summary: The statement made by this desperate man reveals to us a great truth. The best way to get faith, is to admit that we don’t have it! This is the account of a man who was willing to admit that though he believed, he needed to believe even more!


Mark 9: 14-29

They say that “time is an excellent teacher”. What is one good lesson you have learned in 2001? {Elicit

some response}

The biggest lesson I have learned last year is this. I STILL HAVE A LOT OF GROWING TO DO IN MY


At this point in my life, I am closer to God than I have ever been. YET, at the same time, I have never been

so aware of my spiritual shortcomings. Does that sound like a contradiction to you? Well, consider the

statement made by the man in today’s text. He said to Jesus, “I believe, (but) help my unbelief!”

Does that make sense to you? If you know the Lord, and if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

Folks, I am absolutely fascinated by the statement that this man made to Jesus. Whether he knew the Lord

or not, it is hard to say. Yet he did manage to summarize in one sentence, what is probably the greatest obstacle

to spiritual growth in the Christian life; that is, faltering faith.

You see, this man was saying, in essence, that although he believed in what Jesus was able to do, he was still

contending with doubts. He was facing up to his faltering faith. And because he faced up to his lack of faith,,

he experienced a great blessing.

Let’s examine his statement a little more in depth and notice 3 things about it.


A One commentator says of this statement that it “expresses the dilemma that even those who believe can be

nagged by doubt and hopelessness.” (Nelson Study)

B This man was being as honest with the Lord as he possibly could.

1. He was saying, “Yes, Lord I believe in what you can do ... I think.”

2. He was saying, “Lord, I believe in your power, ... or at least I want to believe in your power.”

C We can criticize him if we want to, but at least the man was being honest.

1. What good would it have done him to claim a complete and perfect faith that he did not have?

2. You see, Jesus already knows the strength and weakness of our faith.

3. Ie. The disciples had to learn over and over again that they weren’t as strong in their faith as they

pretended to be! In fact, this man’s son was a case in point! The disciples were unable to help him.

D You can talk all day long about your faith in God, but if the doubts are there, you’re not fooling anybody

but yourself! So FESS UP! BE HONEST ABOUT IT!

E Here is a lesson for us that WE NEED TO BE ACUTELY AWARE OF OUR DOUBTS.

F Which is the greater sin? Faltering in our faith, or faking our faith? FAKING!

G Listen, even the best Christians have times of doubt.

1. Ie. John the Baptist in Matthew 11:1-6 had a bout with doubt. Jesus didn’t condemn Him for it. He

reassurred him!

2. We likewise have lapses in our faith.

a. “Is it true God? Are you real? Do you really care about me? Will you really take care of me?’

b. “If you care about me, why did you let this happen to me!”

3. We don’t always WANT to exercise faith. I.e. Joke about man hanging on a cliff “Anyone up there?”


A As I studied this passage, I had to ask myself, why did the man make such a forthright statement?

B He made it because he was concerned. He was concerned that although he believed in Jesus, perhaps he

did not believe enough!

1. In other words, he identified a problem.

2. He knew he had a measure of trust for Christ, but that it could be stronger!

3. This is even more evident in the original language. Jesus had actually mildly rebuked this man.

a. v. 22 “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

b. Jesus’ response was a strong one. “IF YOU CAN BELIEVE” = “You need to believe!”

“What is wrong with you. Can’t you believe? Where is your faith”

C I can’t help but think that perhaps Jesus is saying the same thing to some of us here today.

“Where is your faith?” “Why isn’t your faith where it needs to be?”

D God has shown me over and over again that I need more faith. I have faith in Him, but I need more. I do

believe, but I need help with my unbelief!

1. I can say that without being ashamed because I know that you are in the same boat I am!

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