“I Can’t Help You”
November 1, 2015
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
Jesus had been out traveling around the country side. He had been out telling parables and teaching people about spiritual things. He had performed incredible miracles. He restored sight to the blind and made the crippled to walk again. He healed a woman who had been to many doctors without being helped; Jesus helped. He healed. He even brought a little girl who had died back to life again.
And now he had returned home. He taught in his hometown place of worship - and they were amazed. But instead of listening, learning and doing, they wondered how He got so smart. Instead of being blessed they were offended. Why?
If we can figure this out maybe we can figure out why God doesn’t do many miracles in our lives. If we can figure out why Jesus wasn’t able to do many miracles for the people who knew Him; people who loved Him; people who were a big part of his life – maybe, just maybe we can figure out why we don’t get that answer to prayer we need; or that miracle we need; or the help we need.
The short answer is that a prophet is without honor in his hometown. I suppose if you grow up with someone or they grow up with you – you see them “warts and all”, as they say. I don’t think Jesus had any faults or sin that people could condemn, but you don’t have to be wrong to be criticized. Jesus found that out later when, although He was perfect, he was criticized with running with the wrong people. They claimed he was a wino and a glutton. He wasn’t – but the truth doesn’t stop a criticizer. We see that in this political season. Someone said, “Agree with Ben Carson or not – he makes you ask questions. Like - have we been overestimating the intelligence of brain surgeons.” People can’t just disagree with the man they have to put him down.
The people in Jesus’ hometown did that to Him. But the little bit of knowledge they had of him prevented them from putting their faith in Him. And that prevented Him, the all-powerful, all-mighty God, to do much for them.
I woke up early one morning thinking about this subject. I believe God placed it on my mind to share with you – because it is important. I believe we have a reservoir of blessings and miracles and answers to our prayers all stored up – just waiting on us. Because without our cooperation God can’t help us. Let’s look at a couple of things that may prevent God working in our life the way we would like Him to.
First of all, Unbelief. The Bible says,
“He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 6:5-6
Did you ever stop to think that our lack of faith AMAZES Jesus. I think it amazes him we don’t trust him or believe his way is the right way after all he does for us and after how he had revealed himself so many times in so many ways to us.
Our Scripture says that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. The King James Version translates it “he marveled because of their unbelief.” Both translations are understandable, although I think the newer translation is the more accurate one. But either one is a choice on our part. What you believe is a choice. It is amazing to me what some people choose to believe. They will deny the existence of God but believe in aliens from outterspace. Some refuse to believe the Bible but choose to believe some writings that are not nearly as authenticated as being true. Some intelligent people believe some of the goofiest things. That’s because belief is a choice. A wise man said,
“…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
It’s a choice. Often when Jesus performed a miracle he asked a question or did something to give the person a chance to choose faith. “Do you believe? Do you believe this is possible?” You can’t do much when people don’t believe in you – and neither can Jesus.
In the Old Testament God often asked people to do something as an expression of their faith before the miracle. The woman had to give the prophet something to eat first. That revealed trust or belief. Then she had an unending supply of food until the famine was over. The proud foreign officer had to dunk himself seven times before his leprosy was cured. We have to believe before we receive. The disciples, when many were turning away from following Jesus, said,
“We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Do you see that they choose to believe while others choose to not believe?
Another time a father came to Jesus and asked if he could heal his son.
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24
What is it that you don’t believe that is hindering blessings in your life? The power of daily prayer? Tithing? Witnessing? Unbelief weakens us and prevents God from blessing us as He would like to. Pray that God would help you to overcome your unbelief.
The second thing that prevents God from helping us is disobedience. The Bible says,
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2
“If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” Proverbs 28:9
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened”
It seems silly to me to think someone would believe God would hear and answer his prayer when he knows he is living in rebellion with God. Yet the majority of people who call themselves Christian today believe exactly that. They know this attitude, this habit, this action or lack of action is contrary to what they know God wants them to do – but they do it and then expect God’s blessing in their life. That’s INSANE! Doing something over and over and expecting a different result is insane. Thinking, “Well, I do pretty good in this area; maybe God will bless me even if I am not doing what he wants me to do in this other area.”
That’s insane. That’s spiritual insanity. Any parent knows you don’t reward bad behavior. If that kid is rebelling against you it is not in HIS best interests to be rewarded. The same is true of us spiritually. If we are living in sin we should not expect God to hear our prayers.
A lot of churches teach and preach a shallow once saved always saved doctrine. They teach you can sin and still be saved. In other words, you can willfully sin and still be blessed of God. That is not what the Bible or experience teaches. God cannot help you; He will not help you if you are living in disobedience.
A third reason God cannot help us is a lack of spirituality. The disciples had been out doing miracles. They were amazed that even the demons obeyed them. But they came to one situation they couldn’t handle – so they called Jesus. That’s always a good idea, isn’t it? When you get in trouble – call Jesus.
The Bible says, “After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Mark 9:28-29
The King James Version says by prayer and fasting.
I think there are some things we can’t do without spending time with Jesus. I know personally that if I neglect my daily devotion; my daily prayer and Bible reading, that I spiritually weaken. I may not be that strong anyway – it scares me to think how weak I would be if I didn’t daily go to the spiritual well and drink. If you want God’s help it is a good idea to be in a loving relationship with Him.
A fourth reason God cannot help us is because of selfishness. Our self-centeredness hinders God from blessing us and answering our prayers. The Bible says,
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3
Sometimes we pray only to get something from God. Gimme this! Gimme that! I need this! I need that! I suggest that your prayers always start with praise and adoration. Just take time to think about your blessings and what you are grateful for. I don’t think it blesses God as much as it blesses us. It gets our mind off of our problems and burdens. It refocus’ us. It makes us think, “Maybe my life isn’t so bad after all.” When we come to the part where we share our burdens and present out requests we come with a good attitude; a grateful attitude. God can’t help you when you are being selfish.
One last thing. Fifthly, God can’t help you when you are unforgiving.
Jesus said, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
This is so important that Jesus taught us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Do you see that being forgiven by God depends on how we forgive others?
Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Mathew 5:23-24
Do you understand that your attitude can keep God from helping you? If you have hate and anger in your heart toward someone (especially a mate) God can’t help you.
This past week you, my Church family, showered me with gifts, cards and appreciation. Many of the cards mentioned something I did for someone or in some way helped them. I feel so blessed by you and your words.
Then I think of some who I haven’t been able to help. Through the years I have counselled many people. Some couldn’t or wouldn’t heed my advice, warnings or instruction. Some of those people are dead, in jail, divorced, or suffering needlessly. I feel badly for those friends. But I cannot help them. Even God cannot help them. Often it is not a matter of knowledge. Sometimes someone just needs some knowledge to help. But for others they have the knowledge – they just don’t want to use it. Maybe they don’t believe it. Often it is a matter of emotion of the flesh. They do what they feel like instead of what they know God wants them to do. They put flesh over faith. And the result is pain over pleasure.
Obey God. PLEASE obey God. Trust Him. He can’t help you if,
1. You don’t believe; 2. Disobedience; 3. A lack of spiritually; 4. Selfishness; 5. Unforgiveness.
Chose the opposite of that,
1. believe, 2. obey, 3. seek God, 4. put God and others first and 5.forgive. Do this - and you will move the hand of God.