Summary: A sermon warning of the dangers of unbelief.
LEFT BEHIND Mark 6:1-6
Introduction Steven was a young man who felt the call of God on his life. He came from a very close family. He finished college and then went off to seminary. After finishing seminary he came back home before serving his first church. He visited with all of his relatives for about a week. He even stopped by the church and talked to his hometown pastor. The pastor asked him if he would like to preach that upcoming Sunday. Steven felt honored and took the pastor up on the invitation. Sunday morning came and after days of preparation, he stepped into the pulpit, looked out at the congregation of friends and relatives and started to expound the knowledge that he’d learned. Well, he’d hardly begun, when his young niece, Kathleen, about six years old, stepped out into the aisle and put her hands on her hips, her left foot out in front of the other, her head cocked to one side. Then she said in a very loud and clear voice, "Uncle Steven, you don’t know what you’re talking about!” Often those who think they know us the best, believe in us the least. That’s what happened to Jesus in our story today. His own neighbors and hometown friends refused to believe in him. Yet unbelief can have some serious consequences. How many of you have ever read Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkin’s Left Behind series? These novels have become some of the most popular Christian novels ever written. The premiss of the books is based on the idea of the Rapture, where Christ takes His faithful followers out of this world to heaven and leaves behind disobedient and unbelieving Christians to suffer through the Seven Year Tribulation. Now as intriguing and frightening as this scenario might seem, I’d like to look at a far more likely scenario, a scenario that happens all the time to unbelieving churches that refuse to respond in trusting obedience to Christ’s call to ministry. In this morning’s story, Mark warns us of the three effects that unbelief can have. Let’s take a look at each of these three effects of unbelief:
I. Unbelief Amazes Jesus And he was amazed at their unbelief. (Mark 6:6a)
Two things amazed Jesus. People’s faith and people’s unbelief. In the first instance Jesus was amazed by the faith of a Roman centurion. Both Matthew and Luke tells us the story of this centurion with the remarkable faith. (*Tell Story of Centurion)
Now, contrast Jesus amazement at the centurion’s faith with his amazement with at the unbelief of his home town and family.
What amazes Jesus about us?
II. Unbelief Limits Jesus’ Power “And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any mighty miracles among them, except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” (Mark 6:5)
*(Story of the Construction Worker Needing a Blood Transfusion)
How does our unbelief limit His power?
III. Unbelief Forces Jesus to Minister Elsewhere “Then Jesus went out from village to village, teaching.” (Mark 6:6b)
Conclusion: Jesus’ hometown was left behind because of their unbelief. Jesus was forced to go to other villages where he could work with people who believed in Him. Has our unbelief forced Christ to work in other churches that believe and respond to His call?