Summary: Broken fellowship with God will hinder our prayers. #4 in a 4 part series.
b. This kind of belief, however, is not really belief at all.
c. This is a pretentious faith that tempts God to work outside of His plan for our lives.
d. Sadly, many unbelievers and many who are weak in the faith are hurt by this display of misplaced faith.
B. Doubt Is The Inability To Believe. Mark 9:17-24
17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not."
19 He answered him and said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me." 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
21 So He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?"
And he said, "From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."
23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
Note: Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is can’t believe; unbelief is won’t believe. Doubt is honesty; unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is content with darkness. (John Drummond (1851-1897), Edythe Draper, Draper’s Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 2930.)
1. Where unbelief refuses to believe, doubt wants to believe.
2. When we have doubts, we must rely on prayer and the Word of God to strengthen our faith.
Note: The anguish that filled the father’s heart is portrayed by his immediate response as he cried out in almost contradictory ejaculations. He did believe, and yet he was acutely conscious of the unbelief that struggled with his desire to trust implicitly. His unbelief was not an obstinate refusal to believe; it was a weakness with which the man himself could not deal. Hence his cry to Christ for help. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press.)
3. Unresolved doubt, however, will turn to unbelief, and will cause our prayers to be hindered.
II. AM I GUILTY OF HYPOCRISY? Matthew 6:5-6
Illustration: Double Message Noted
A man sat down to supper with his family and said grace, thanking God for the food, for the hands which prepared it, and for the source of all life. But during the meal he complained about the freshness of the bread, the bitterness of the coffee, and the sharpness of the cheese. His young daughter questioned him, "Dad, do you think God heard the grace today?"
He answered confidently, "Of course."
Then she asked, "And do you think God heard what you said about the coffee, the cheese, and the bread?" Not so confidently, he answered, "Why, yes, I believe so."