In Proverbs 20:6 the Bible asks an important question.
That question is: /"Who can find a faithful man?"/ It’s a rhetorical question, meaning it has a self-evident answer: It is hard to find a person who is truly faithful.
Faithfulness in relationships, according to the passage, seems to be a rare quality.
The Good News Bible translates Proverbs 20:6 this way, /"Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is."/
This morning, this is my second message in a series of sermons I’ve entitled: Pillars of Christian Character.
Over the next ten weeks, we will explore ten fundamental attributes that, I believe, are the core characteristics of a Christ-like life that lead to holiness.
They include faith, obedience, humility, love, unity, forgiveness, joy, thankfulness, compassion, and contentment.
The life of the church flows from these spiritual attitudes and attributes.
What people perceive this church to be, is a direct result of the character they see in the members of this congregation.
Is it a Christ-like character, or is it not?
Outwardly, we can sing the hymns, and we can pray our prayers, and we can applaud the special music, and we can go through the motions of worship, and we can sit and listen to the sermons, but if those things are not transforming you on the inside, then they are meaningless.
My passion for this congregation is that Christ would be fully formed inside of each of you.
It’s the thing that I pray for.
It’s the thing that I diligently study for so that I might present to you the uncompromised Word of God that it might dwell in you richly.
It’s why everything we do as a church ought to be motivated by the desire to see lives transformed.
This morning I want us to look at the first pillar of Christian character.
This is the pillar of faith and faithfulness.
God desires that we would grow in faithfulness.
It is an important characteristic of the Christian life, and one of the Scriptural proofs that we are genuinely filled a child of God.
I. THE INEVITABILITY OF FAITHLESSNESS
#. the gospel writer Mark records an incident where a father with a demon-possessed son—hearing of the healing power of Jesus—brought the son to Jesus to be cured
Jesus responded with this statement: All things are possible for him who believes
#. the father’s response is famous
* /“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”/
(Mark 9:24, NIV84)
#. what a strange statement, I do believe, but help my unbelief
#. but I think it’s a statement we all understand, because most of us have most likely experienced it
that father’s testimony is the testimony of most of us
I believe ...
I believe that God is Sovereign over His universe and providentially controls all things
I believe that Jesus was born of a Virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried and rose from the dead
I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God
I believe that he is coming again to establish His Kingdom and that I will reign with him and be with him forever and forever
I don’t sweat the “big stuff”
#. yet there are times when I am plagued by doubt and—dare I confess it—unbelief
#. it’s the “small stuff” I sweat
#. /“God, I’ve got to preach again Sunday, and I don’t have a thought in my head worth sharing.
What are you gonna do about it?”/
#. my faith is incomplete—my faith is assaulted by the world, the flesh and the devil and fraught with doubts
#. some of the most famous, God-fearing men of the Bible doubted
Moses doubted God, Gideon doubted God, Elijah doubted God, Jeremiah doubted God, the Apostles doubt
#. coming face-to-face with doubt is coming face-to-face with ourselves
!! A. ALL BELIEVERS WILL STRUGGLE WITH DOUBT
#. how many times do we hear Jesus address his apostle with, Oh you of little faith.
Why do you doubt?
#. six times—five times in the Gospel of Matthew and once in Luke’s Gospel—we find Jesus rebuking the disciples for their lack of faith in his ability to supernaturally handle a situation
#. we think of Thomas as The Doubter, but Thomas wasn’t the only doubter—they were all doubters
#. amazingly, even after the resurrection, they are not all absolutely convinced about Jesus
* /“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”/
(Matthew 28:17, NIV84)
#. with their own two eyes some of the disciples see Jesus alive after they saw him crucified, saw him die, and saw him buried—and they doubted!
#. doubt was not an uncommon experience among the disciples
#. in fact, it was characteristic of those who were the most devout—the Apostles
#. in Luke we find doubt in the life of John the Baptist
* /“John’s disciples told him about all these things.
Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ ” At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.
So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”/ (Luke 7:18–23, NIV84)
#. according to Jesus, John the Baptist was the greatest man who had ever lived up until that time (Matt.
#. and John is having some serious doubts about Jesus
#. he was the greatest prophet of all the prophets, the forerunner of the Messiah, a mighty man of faith and proclamation and he’s struggling with doubt
#. doubt is very real for people who believe
#. it is a reality, but it is not an acceptable reality
#. therefore it needs to be addressed
!! B. DOUBT IS A STRUGGLE TO BELIEVE
#. it can be momentary, it can be prolonged, and for some, it can be permanent
#. but I want you to understand how the Gospels deal with it
whenever the Gospels deal with a doubting person, it’s always a believer
#. every true expression of doubt in the Gospels comes from believers
#. you say, /“Wait a minute pastor.
Many of the Pharisees and Scribes and religious leaders doubted Jesus.”/
#. yes, but there is a difference between /doubt/ and /disbelief/
#. /doubt/ is—in most situations—is a momentary lapse of faith that is corrected by repentance and a renewing of one’s faith in Jesus
#. /disbelief/ is the conscience choice to reject Jesus altogether and is something the true believer cannot do
#. the Pharisees and Scribes and religious leaders didn’t doubt Jesus, because they never had faith in him in the first place—they were /disbelievers/