Faithlife Sermons

Do We Believe

Follow the King   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Staci and the boys leaving: freedom! Peace and quiet, productivity, knock things off of the to-do-list, but ready for them to be home. Anxiously awaiting their return. Homecoming will be great!
- Jesus returns to His hometown, Nazareth. He’s been away for over a year, and much has happened. Crowds have followed Him as He has healed the sick and taught with authority. He has even raised people from the dead. Word has gotten back to Nazareth about His ministry. You’d expect a celebratory homecoming, but instead unbelief.
People in Nazareth thought they knew Jesus, but the reality was they really didn’t know Him at all.
Unbelief - Perhaps all of us in this room would say we believe, but do we? Could it be of us that we think we know Jesus, but the reality is that we don’t know Him at all? Do we struggle with unbelief more than we care to admit?
This morning, two questions to help us with our struggle of unbelief.

Do we believe the message of Jesus?

Second time Jesus has gone to Nazareth since He began His ministry.
- Jesus was 30 when He began His public ministry, and He went to Nazareth shortly after His baptism and temptation.
Nazareth - a place where everyone knows your name - about 500 people. (Today about 76,000)
For 30 years, people of Nazareth got to know Jesus. He was Joseph’s son, the carpenter, trained by his father. For years, he worked alongside his father. Perhaps people lived in homes that Jesus helped to build. They saw Him laboring.
Now, , returns to synagogue not as a carpenter but as a teacher; a rabbi.
Synagogue worship service:
Singing of a Psalm
Reading of
Shemoneh Esreh - 18 blessings - petitions or prayer.
Reading from Law
Reading from Prophets
Short sermon - (2 - 3 minutes)
First time in Nazareth synagogue Jesus reads Scripture:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn… (Is 61:1-2)

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
Jesus sits - (position of teacher) - All eyes on Him, and He says - “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk. 4:21)
People go nuts. Jesus, the carpenter’s son, claims to be the Messiah. There’s no way! They try to kill Him! They try to throw Him off a cliff.
A year later, Jesus comes back; this time with disciples. Comes back to the same synagogue with the same message. But, a lot has happened in a year. Lots of evidence that Jesus is more than a carpenter. Jesus has performed miracles! He’s taught with authority!
Undoubtedly Jesus knows that the people of Nazareth would reject Him, but His disciples need to see this rejection. To this point, with the exception of the religious leaders, most have received Jesus favorably.
Don’t know content of His teaching, but assume He’s teaching the same thing.
Immediate unbelief. “Where did this man get these things? How are such mighty works done by his hands?”
Son of Mary - illegitimate. James, Joses, and Judas his brothers - they think He’s insane.
They took offense at Jesus (vs. 3) - “Who are you to tell us how we should live? You’re a simple carpenter and an illegitimate child!”
vs. 4 - A pattern of unbelief. They rejected the prophets, and now they rejected Jesus.
vs. 5 - Result of unbelief - Jesus would not do any mighty works among them.
vs. 6 Jesus marveled at unbelief. People had sufficient evidence to believe but refuse. Only time marvel used in Mark’s Gospel to describe an action of Jesus - marveled not at sin - Jesus understands our brokenness - marvels at unbelief - that we don’t get it. (Staci and 5 Guys - I marvel that she doesn’t like…)
Do we believe the message of Jesus? He is the only way to the Father, and the only way to experience His salvation by giving your life to Him in full surrender. Does your life show that you believe that regardless of what you say you believe about Him?
Two barriers to unbelief:
Unbelief = an unwillingness to respond in faith to the message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Offensiveness: (The sin of unbelievers) No one is going to tell me how to live my life. I am my own man/woman. I call the shots. You don’t obey what Jesus says. And, you’re offended when people try to help you live for Jesus. If Jesus is God, and He is, then He has every right to tell you how to live! Jesus is telling you to do it His way, but you refuse. Gospel truth: You don’t realize that if God loved you enough to give His Son for you, He loves you enough to give you instructions and commands that are for your good.
Familiarity: (The sin of believers) So familiar with the things of God that you have stopped believing. God is just another part of your life and not the One you daily stand in awe of. You’ve stopped living as if Jesus really matters. He doesn’t impress us. The Gospel lost its wonder. You’re not convicted by the truth of Scripture anymore. You’ve heard it all… You’re not moved to obey what you’ve heard… Christianity is just religion and ritual to you, it’s not the consuming passion of your life. (Sunrise over Isle of Palms and Sullivans - familiar but never gets old… Familiarity can either breed contempt or greater admiration and awe. Which for you?
Offensiveness and familiarity are evidences of an unbelieving heart. This morning: Repent of the sin of familiarity. Repent of prideful heart that is offended by Jesus. Believe: Believe in the power of Christ to give you a new life.

Do we believe in the mission of Jesus?

Jesus brought the disciples to Nazareth on purpose. He wanted them to see the unbelief because He was about to send them into a world where they would encounter much unbelief.
Disciples stand in contrast to the people of Nazareth. They believe there’s something significant about Jesus. Evidence of belief = belief in the mission. Or, if we believe in the message of Jesus we will live on mission for Jesus.
Shift in the ministry of Jesus. They had been observing, now they were about to start doing. Their ministry would be an extension of Jesus’ ministry. This is what Jesus has been preparing the disciples for. Not to live their best lives now or to live a comfortable, peaceful life. He’s been preparing them for a mission. And, He’s been preparing you for a mission as well. They would go out and return to Jesus. He would coach them. However, there would come a day that Jesus would no longer be with them in the flesh - that He would leave them and all believers in the world to complete the mission.
Notice some some characteristics of the first sending out of Jesus’ followers that haven’t changed in 2000 years:
Intentional (2 by 2) - In Jewish culture, a way to authenticate the message . () Are you intentional in sharing the Gospel?
Empowered - Jesus gave them authority (vs. 7)
Urgent - Don’t go back home and pack. Go now. Take little. Just go.
Dependent - take nothing, stay… Trust Jesus to lead you.
Expect Rejection (Shake dust off your feet.) It won’t always go well.
Do you believe that the greatest way you can live your life is to give your life away for the sake of the Gospel? Do you believe that the message of Jesus demands obedience to the mission of Jesus? Several weeks ago Barna researched surveyed thousands of Christians. 51% did not know the Great Commission! - the mission Jesus left us with.
Three questions to reveal if you have given your life to what matters most:
How intentional are you? Do you have a plan for making Jesus known? Jarod -
What is most urgent your life? What is most pressing on your agenda? Job, school, family? Or, are you constantly thinking about how you can impact people with the Gospel? Do you live as if eternity hangs in the balance for the people you love?
What gets your best efforts? We tend to give our best to everything other than the mission that God has given us. Have you given your best efforts to learning how to share the Gospel? Have you given your best efforts to helping people know Jesus? If we believe this mission is given to us by God, shouldn’t we give it our best?
How intentional are you? What’s your plan to make Jesus known? What are you going to do to put yourself in a position to regularly share the Gospel?
Jarod - 5 people a day! Wow! What if everyone in our church shared with one person a month?
5 people - 3 opens - 1. Open door. 2. Open mouth. 3. Open hearts.
What if Northwood shared the Gospel 500 times between now and the end of the year? Honestly, that wouldn’t take much.
In lobby - a display. Every time you share, write the first name of the person you shared with. Each Sunday, as you walk by, pray for one of those names. Don’t stop with one share. Put a check each time you share.
Believers: this morning, let’s pray for God to restore in us a passion for the mission. Let us let our belief that Jesus is the only way to the Father fuel our belief that the greatest way we will spend our lives is to live for His mission.
Unbelievers: Jesus is calling you to believe - to believe that He is the only way to salvation. Remember how the people in Nazareth mocked Jesus? “Isn’t he the son of Mary? He’s illegitimate. He’s without a father.” Reality - without Jesus - that’s who you are. You are a person without a father. Because of your sin, you have made yourself an enemy to the God who created you and loves you. However, today, you can have a Father if you turn from your unbelief and start believing that Jesus died in your place, taking the punishment for your sin, and rose again three days later to secure for you eternal life. Belief = putting your life in His hands. Saying, “I’m no longer living for me because that leads to my destruction. I’m living for you, because there’s life in living for you.”
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