“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark:1:14-15
In the beginning of our Lord’s ministry, He preached that there were two things we must do to be saved--repent and believe. By the way, our Lord never changed His message and these ingredients are still necessary. In a previous paper I wrote of the need to repent. In this issue I would like to deal with the need to believe. If you are not saved I want to ask you, “Why do you not believe?”
Andrew Murray wrote a book that asks the same question, “Why do you not believe?” In the introduction he gave a strong rebuke to some in his church for not yet arriving at faith--not believing. Some who had picked up the book, after reading the introduction, put it back down and did not continue to read due to this rebuke. But, if they had continued, they would have read what the author told them to do in order for them to believe.
For one to be saved, he must believe and that involves exercising faith. The question then comes, “What kind of faith?” There is an intellectual faith, which will lead to a seeking faith, which will lead to a saving faith, if you will continue. In John 8:30 the Bible states that many of the Jews believed on Jesus and He told them to continue in His Word if they expected to be His disciples truly. (“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”John 8:31-32) They didn’t continue in His Word and they were not saved. (“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44) They possessed an intellectual faith and maybe a seeking faith, but they never possessed a saving faith.
The tense of the verb believe in Mark 1:15 is present tense in the Greek and it means a continuous action, habitual lifestyle. Thus, if a person ever believes by exercising saving faith, he does not just believe today, but tomorrow and forever. That speaks of eternal security and the Greek tense brings this out. For example in John 3:16, the word “believeth” is used and that is a present tense life style--continuous action. In the KJV, when a verb ends with “eth,” it denotes a present tense verb. Yet, not all present tense verbs end with “eth.” Therefore, in our text the Lord commands us to repent and believe with saving faith being exercised.
He even sent the Holy Spirit to reprove, convince, and convict of the sin of unbelief. (“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me.” John:16:8-9) “On” means to come to a point, place, and time with a purpose--to repent and exercise saving faith. And still many are not saved--have not exercised saving faith.
Why do you not believe? I want to try to help us see what the answer to this question is. I don’t have all the answers but I will try to give you some examples from the Bible that may help you.
1. Because the Lord Jesus is not yet revealed to you.
In John 9 there is a story of a man born blind so that the works of God would be manifest in Him. Jesus came by and healed his blindness and the Jews cast him out of the synagogue because of the testimony he gave. Then Jesus past by and asked him did he believe on the Son of God? (“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” John 9:35) This “believe” is a present tense verb. The man answered, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” John 9:36 The man did not understand for he used the aorist tense (point action) of the verb “believe”--not saving faith. Then Jesus revealed Himself to him. (“And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.” John 9:37) And now the man said “Lord, I believe”--present tense, thus, he exercised saving faith and was saved. (John 9:38)
The Lord Jesus is hidden in the bosom of the Father and it takes a completed work of Holy Ghost reproval for you to really see Him. And when that work is completed, repentance will be granted to you, saving faith will be given to you, and the Lord Jesus will be revealed to you and then you can repent and believe the gospel and the Lord will get all the glory. The Lord has to give all these things to you for salvation is of the Lord. (“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” John 3:27)
2. What is hindering the Lord from being revealed to you?
I want to list some of those things. I’ll just give a basic condensed outline and the scripture to back it up.
1) Your failure to continue in His word. John 8:31-32
This is equivalent to “Do what you know to do at the time” and “Step in what light you have and the Lord will give you more light.” To continue implies obedience and if you are not making an attempt to obey, then you will never come to the place the Lord will reveal Himself to you and you will die and go to hell. There are some things in the Scripture that are very plain that the Lord expects us to obey.
A. Love not the world--system. I John 2:15; Rom. 12:2; Luke 14:26
B. Strive to enter in. Luke 13:24
C. Attending church. Heb. 10:25
D. Tithing and then giving an offering. Mal. 3:8-10; I Cor. 16:2; Mat. 23:23--even lost ought to.
E. Dress in modest apparel. II Tim. 2:9; Phil. 1:27
2) Don’t have an ear to hear. Mat. 13:9
A. Deceived. Jer. 17:4
B. Blinded. II Cor. 4:3-4
3) Allowed the Devil to give you a false profession. Mat. 13:20-21
4) Will not let the gospel plow up the soil of your heart and make it good ground. Mat. 23:23
5) Will not get honest with yourself and the Lord. Luke 8:15
6) Will not keep the seed. Luke 8:15
A. Allow the devil to steal the seed. Mat. 13:19
B. All thorns to choke seed out.
a. Cares of this world. Mat. 13:22
b. Deceitfulness of riches. Pro. 11:28; I Tim. 6:10
c. Pleasures of this life. Luke 8:14
d. Lust of other things. Mark 4:19
C. Failure to understand. Mat. 13:23; John 6:45 (learned means to understand)
7) Apathy--unconcerned (indifference) about the light God gives you. (Rom. 1:19-20) Indifference leads to ingratitude. (Rom. 1:21a; I Thess. 5:18) Ingratitude leads to ignorance. (Rom. 1:21b-22) Ignorance leads to idolatry. (Rom. 1:23) Idolatry leads to immorality. (Rom. 1:24-28) Immorality leads to total ruin.
8) Not willing to pay the price to be His disciple. Luke 14:26,27,33
9) Do not want a Lord. John 6:53
10) Do not see enough in others who say they are saved to believe the Lord loves and cares for you. Psa. 142:4
11) May be stuck in the slough of despond and the way back seems better.
12) May not have even been awakened. Rom. 3:18
You may be like the harlot in Pro. 30:20 who wiped her mouth and said “I have done no wickedness.” You have heard the truth preached and you failed to even try to obey and say “I have done no wickedness.” Take inventory. Your future depends on it. Repent and believe the gospel. If you do not make an attempt to do so, you will die in your sins and spend an eternity in hell. You do not want that. I do not want that for you and Christ does not want that, because He died for you on Calvary to pay your sin debt. I beg you to continue and obey the light He has so graciously given you so that you can come to a point in your life He will manifest Himself to you and enable you to believe on Him and be saved. You need to be like the man who told Jesus in Mark 9:24. “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”
This is just a skeletal outline of a series of seven messages just preached at New Hope Baptist. If you would like this series on cd’s and some more material on this subject please feel free to contact us. All our material is free of charge. (Pro. 23:23) This series is in the process of being put on our web site www.thepersuader.org. Go to our site and click on “Video messages” to view and hear this message as well as others. If I can be of help in any way, please feel free to contact me. I care for your soul.
THE PERSUADER - Jan.-April 2009