Sermons

Summary: OUR DOUBTS MUST ALWAYS BE FUNNELED THROUGH OUR BELIEF IN GOD.

WHAT DO I BELIEVE: UNBELIEVING BELIEF

MARK 9: 14-29

AUGUST 1, 2004

INTRODUCTION: How “Christianized” Do Americans Want Their Country To Be?

July 26, 2004 (Ventura, CA) - America’s ties to the Christian faith have been challenged in recent years through court cases, public policies, political campaigns, educational policies and media content. At the same time, numerous bestselling Christian books and hit movies, combined with the widespread attendance at Christian churches and billions of dollars donated to Christian ministry, suggests that the Christian faith is far from dead in the U.S. despite increases in secularism and postmodernism.

A new nationwide survey by The Barna Group explored the boundaries of how far adults are willing to inject the Christian faith into the nation’s culture. Examining six possible changes in public policy or social activity, the survey reveals that there are tens of millions of Americans who would go as far as supporting a constitutional amendment to declare Christianity the official faith of the United States. At the same time, the survey shows there are also millions who would support a policy permitting the use of the “f-word” on broadcast television. On balance, though, the research shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans want traditional Christian values and symbols to prevail, although most people would stop short of declaring the U.S. to be a Christian society.

Removing the Ten Commandments

Less than one out of every five adults (18%) supports “removing signs that list the Ten Commandments from government buildings.” In contrast, 79% of all adults rejected this policy – including 60% of adults who were “strongly opposed” to removing the Commandments.

Removing “In God We Trust”

A recent call to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from the nation’s currency also has very limited public support, even from people who are not Christian in orientation. Overall, only 13% favored eliminating the phrase from currency, while 84% oppose the idea. Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) are “strongly opposed” to making this change.

Removing “One Nation Under God”

When asked to describe their reaction to the possibility of “removing the phrase ‘one nation, under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance,” this proposal also was widely rejected. Only 15% of adults said they would support the change, compared to 84% who dismissed it.

Creationism in Public Schools

Thousands of public schools around the country do not allow the biblical perspective on the creation process to be taught in their classrooms. The survey shows that most Americans are dismayed by that point-of-view. About six out of every ten adults (59%) favor teaching creationism while less than four out of ten (38%) do not want it added to the public school curriculum content.

Using the “F-word” on Television

Asked how they felt about “allowing the use of the ‘F-word’ on broadcast television,” very few adults supported such permission. Only one out of seven adults (15%) felt allowing the word on broadcast TV was acceptable, while 83% dismissed this as inappropriate. (Base: 1024 adults)

TRANSITION THOUGHT: What does all this mean to us today? Americans still believe in a personal faith in Jesus Christ and it does have an effect on the way we live!! This is a powerful truth and an encouragement to NOT LOSE FAITH! Our text today is an example of our struggle to keep faith. What starts as a crisis ends in triumph! What began as an argument ends with understanding. As we continue on this journey of discerning what we believe, we struggle with this terrible word called doubt. I want us to hit this term head on as we seek out God’s word even as we seek to know what we believe. What we will learn today is the ability to overcome doubt!

THESIS SENTENCE: OUR DOUBTS MUST ALWAYS BE FUNNELED THROUGH OUR BELIEF IN GOD.

I. UNBELIEF IS INABILITY VV. 14, 16-20

A. INABILITY CAUSES ARGUMENTS V. 14

B. INABILITY CALLS FOR EXPLANATIONS V. 16-18

C. INABILITY CALLS FOR A REBUKE/ TO DISCIPLES/ FATHER/ TEACHERS OF THE LAW V. 19

D. INABILITY CREATES DOUBT/ THE FATHER HAD SOUGHT JESUS! V. 18E

ILLUSTRATION: Try doing this sometime. Take an empty 2-Liter bottle, and fill it up half way with just plain water, and the other half fill up with vegetable oil. Then try shaking that bottle up and mixing those two things together. What’s going to happen? Well, you can shake that bottle all day, but as soon as you stop shaking it, the oil and the water are going to separate from each other in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Why? Back in 11th Grade Chemistry Class you learned that oil and water are “polar opposites” of each other. These two substances have a totally different chemical make-up from each other, which makes it impossible for them to mix together. Polar opposites just don’t mix.

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