Lord I Believe, Help My Unbelief

September 16, 2018  / Pastor Don Mossman  / Text:  Mark 9:14-29                    

Introduction

His name was Traugott Dalke, member at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Aldergrove.  He was a simple man, semi-retired, living on a small farm with his wife and disabled daughter on out edge of town.  Traugott was a man of faith who didn’t put on airs.  So when I visited him in the hospital after a heart attack, he greeted me with a smile.  I remember his words in the ICU.  He said, “I know who has called me by name and made me his own.  I know who had come into my life at baptism, and I know who I belong to now, in this hospital.  “So, Pastor Mossman,” he said, “While in my life I have had my questions and doubts, I know that “whether I live or I die, I am the Lords.”  His faith was much more than a spark or bent reed; his faith was comparable to a blazing furnace.  Today, Traugott is with Jesus, not because he reached a particular level of righteousness he had earned, but solely because of Jesus.

Her name was Elizabeth Morrison.  We called her Aunt B or Beth.  One visit that Valerie and I made, she asked me, “Donnie,” what about death?  I do believe in Jesus, and you know, I think I’ve been a pretty good person, lived a pretty moral life and did my share of charity work.  What do you think?  Is it enough.”  I was given an opportunity to remind her of a faith that she had been baptized and confirmed in at Grace Lutheran Church, Calder, SK.  Now 80 years later, she’s questioning Jesus.  Her doubting faith was similar to the confused father who had brought his son to Jesus to be healed.  Can you help us or not?  And his prayer is similar to many of us who have had occasion to pray, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

  1. The reality in which we live.

          A.  The questioning of the followers of Jesus

  1. Jesus, Peter, James and John had just returned from Mt. Transfiguration. They come upon a number of people arguing with the disciples.  When the crowds saw Jesus, they ran to meet him.  Jesus asks, “What’s going on?”  What are you arguing about?”
  2. Then a distraught father, even with his doubts about Jesus, steps forward and says, “Teacher, I have brought my son to you. So I asked your disciples to cast out the demons, but they were not able to do so.”  “Can you do anything for me?”  Jesus: “If I can?  Are you kidding?  I can and I will.”  All things are possible for the one who believes.  Immediately the father cries out, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.

B.  The questions surrounding us and within us

  1. If you were to believe that human efforts help save us, you would among 50% of Americans who claim Christ as Savior who do.  I haven’t always been the example that some people look to for guidance and direction.  I question at times whether God is concerned about our society, our country.  And my prayer life is erratic at best.  Marriages fail, loved ones die, and the results of the medical tests are not what I wanted to hear.  Lord, if you can do anything to help me, can you do it?
  2. We are a long way from the NT times. Things are different today.  Jesus doesn’t walk among us now.  So the question presses us, Can Jesus help us or not?  Does he have any authority over what afflicts me the most?

2.  The faith in which we live

A.  Jesus’ total willingness to be involved in our lives. 

  1. In my life I have been blessed to work with and to walk beside some giants of faith. They have served as district presidents, teachers, professors, mothers, fathers, and certainly pastors.  There are giants of faith among us here at RLC.  Nevertheless, not all of God’s people are giants.  The men and women described in Isaiah 42:3 are those whose faith is as a bruised reed or a smoldering wick.  They are people whom Jesus loves and whose faith at times wobbles and wonders.
  2. Lord I believe. Can you help me?  I have had the privilege of answering that question with the authority of the resurrected Lord.  The Jesus who now lives and reigns in our hearts and in heaven, in whose name we began this service and with whose blessings we will leave this service, can do and does what he says.  He has the authority to forgive you of all sins and he has.  You were given that promise in Baptism, you receive it as from our Lord Himself in Holy Communion.  So your sins cannot separate you from God.  That means that your weakness, your troubles, your sorrows, only have a short season to live.  They do not, they will not reign endlessly.  Jesus reigns.  No authority in heaven or on earth will stop him. “Nothing will separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
  3. We recognize our unworthiness, but at the same time we recognize it is not dependent upon the greatness or smallness, the weakness or strength of one’s faith. “Though devils all the world should fill…”  LSB #656, vs 3.  One little word, namely Jesus.  It is dependent upon the power and love of Jesus, the constant in our inconsistent lives.

Conclusion

E.G: Trimming shrubs here at RLC; forgot battery for trimmer.  Used Ross Abbe’s electric trimmer.  Proceeded to cut the extension cord.  No power whatever the source.  We need to stay connected through the power of the Word etc.

 

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