Scriptural References: Matthew 13 Mark 9 Hebrews 11
Understanding the problem Life stinks sometimes. Remaining joyful in the midst of circumstance requires trust in God. Trust in God requires real belief in God. Real belief is NOT easy. Real belief requires evidence. Evidence is hard to find. The evidence gets debunked. Without confident belief, we lack the joy and courage needed to be effective beacons of hope.
So What? Though we accept the gospel we can remain vulnerable to doubt through: –A lack of understanding (the seed sown along the path) –If we are not rooted (seed sown on rocky places) –Focusing on the worries of life or the deceitfulness (false promises) of wealth. ref: Matthew 13.
The Effect If we lack understanding we can be easily deceived and rendered fruitless. If we are not rooted we can be persecuted into fruitlessness. If we fail to keep perspective we can be redirected into fruitlessness.
Barriers to Trust Lack of belief in God –Common Human Problem: Mark 9:24 - NIV Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" –Constant barrage of alternatives
Barriers to Trust Historical Disappointments –False Teachings –(lead to) False Expectations –“Unanswered” Prayer (Story of the gift)
Barriers to Trust Inability to see Him or to reconcile His influence over our plane of existence –Intangible, Untouchable, Far Away –Macro: War, Famine, Injustice, –Micro: Weakness, Hurt, Pain and Sickness Concrete evidence of things we know to be true being spun together and interwoven with false theories to create seemingly credible “alternatives” to God. (Seed of doubt)
Barriers to Understanding Lack of experience (trial and error) Lack of self-education (complex topics and mysteries require intense study) Deception / Confusion from the enemy –Who benefits and who gains if you understand? –Who benefits or gains if you don’t?
Barriers to Confident Belief We are not sure where to find the evidence. Debunkers: Alternative explanations for evidence abound. (The flood, the origins of the universe, etc.)
What is the impact of Unbelief? Sin and Consequences of Sin Isolation Indecision Sorrow Lack of resilience
What can God do to Help? The Setting: (An act of Faith) Mark 9 - NIV: The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit 14When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16"What are you arguing with them about?" he asked. 17A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." 19"O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me." 20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. 22"It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." 23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." The Request: (A Request for Evidence) 24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Jesus Response: (Supernatural Revelation) 25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." 26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
A shorter answer… He reveals himself to us, often through interaction with those who have faith in Him. A critical item is learning to see how God reveals himself to us and then looking for reinforcements.
The pattern of revelation God reveals himself through the faith of his servants (the boy and his father). God delights in revealing himself to those who seek him. God reveals himself through parables. Matthew 13:34 – NIV Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world."
Hidden things revealed… Cygnus X-1 (also known as Cygnus XR-1) X-Ray source discovered in The Constellation Cygnus (The Swan / Northern Cross) 11,000 light years away from earth. Believed to be a Binary Star or X-Ray Binary A Blue Star locked in a gravitational spiral with a Black Hole or Neutron Star, orbiting each other every 5.6 days.
Cygnus X1 Too far away to see detail (actual photo from satellite) Only noticed because of pattern of change and oscillating emission of X- Rays. Discovered by “many fathers”, but most often credited to Thomas Bolton, U of Toronto, 1972.
X-Rays.. So What? X-Rays are a high energy, short wavelength form of light and a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. X-Rays are (typically) generated at high temperatures Blue stars have surface temperatures around 30K
Change Gets Noticed …even from 11,000 light years away. Research of this X-Ray source revealed a wobble. There was a clear pattern. Every 5.6 days, the visible star was orbiting around something nearby that could not be seen.
Accretion A process of growth by accumulation and adhesion. As the Black Hole Accretes Mass in the form of hot gases, they superheat as they accelerate. At higher temperatures X-Rays are emitted. Artist’s Conception (not to scale)
Evidence And Doubt Acceptance of this discovery represents a threat to traditional astronomical thinking. Alternative explanations continue to be presented. Thomas Bolton is still a confident believer. He knows there IS something there. He/We can PROVE the existence of the unseen by measuring it’s effects on what we can see.
Evidence And Doubt More recent telescopic photography (NASA, Hubble, and others) has led most astronomers to accept Thomas Bolton’s Cygnus X1 as the first proven black hole. If you read the end of the book you are not likely to be surprised at the ending are you? The cure for doubt is study of the evidence!
A Visible God We can see God… EVEN IF HE IS NOT VISIBLE. (understanding) He is visible in the faith of others (our roots). Our circumstances are just temporary thorns when we can see him.
Hebrews 11:1-3 NIV - 1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for. 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. KJ - 1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
The Point Regardless of what we believe is wobbling the Blue Giant every 5.6 days, it is 100% accepted fact that something yet unseen is exerting enough force over a massive object that we can see to change its course and appearance or shape. God is revealing himself to us in the same way every day Once reassured and ready to trust, he can use our lives the same way. Perfection is not required. Our willingness to be visibly stretched or influenced by him allows us, like the blue giant, to serve as evidence for the unseen.
The Point We CAN prove the existence of the unseen by measuring the influence of the unseen over what we can see
Finale: The Effect of Trust Matthew Chapter 13,Verse 23 - NIV. “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Our Faith is the evidence of things unseen to those who are watching us.