Sunday, April 30, 2006

Confronting our Unbelief & Hard Hearts

Relying on the Reports of The Resurrected One
sermon notes from Mark 16:4-14

Firsthand reports of eyewitnesses who were contemporaries of the event! We like to think that if we had that benefit we would believe with no trouble at all & never doubt again. Yet, the first ones to hear reports of the Jesus’ resurrection – His closest followers - responded unbelief & hard hearts. Jesus rebukes such refusal to believe – it is sinful.

Do you see a pattern, any repeated words or themes in Mark 16:9-14?

“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.” (NKJV)

The Resurrection reports are reliable & the facts more than sufficient, leaving all people responsible, without excuse (vs. 14; Rom. 1:18-23).

Personal turmoil and life disturbance (mourning and weeping – vs. 10) does not earn a pass before God for unbelief (Mark 6:1-6).

The problem is not our I.Q., but “I will / won’t” (Matt. 16:1-4;)
- Unbelief is a decision, NOT a result of being not persuaded (Rom. 1:18)
- A hard or resistant heart stirs a rebuke, a reproach from the Risen Lord

Unbelief is sin & faith is blessed (John 1:10-13; 3:16-18, 36; 20:24-31)

An Irony: We should hope & pray people believe our witness, but not be surprised when they do not. We are asking them to make a dead / alive-again Jewish Rabbi from 2000 years ago their life boss and God. This is no small step and the consequences are huge – submission & repentance.

Jesus has spoken to us things He wants us to believe, live and obey, yet we doubt His word & dismiss His messengers. Which of His promises would Jesus rebuke your unbelief & hard heartedness?

Feed your faith with these texts: 2 Corin. 1:20; Eph. 6:16, 17; Rom. 10; James 1:5-8 Heb. 4:1, 2; 6 :7-20; 11:1-6, 39-40; Mark 4:1-20; 9:24; Psalm 119.

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