Hebrews 4:11 “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
To believe on Christ, is to place the full weight of our existence on Christ Jesus the Lord.
We must find our resting place…..and that resting place is in the Will of God to me.
Unbelief says…..yes, I believe in Christ, but I like to have one foot planted firmly on the ground…..on something I know….am sure of.
In other words…..unbelief knows about Christ….and thinks the things he knows, are great…..but does not trust them….for himself, which is the most important thing.
Unbelief is sneaky…..it slides in, when you least expect it.
Things can be going great, you’ve had some victories,….then suddenly something reminds you of the past…..maybe something you thought the Lord would do, and He did not see to it the way you thought….and bam….
….unbelief….comes charging in.
And you go along with it!
This is the action of defending yourself against disappointment, or hurt, or against the effort it will cost to see something through…..
….so you simply do not believe that God would do this….or this…..or that.
You see, the trouble with unbelief Is that it grows…..you can not distrust God here….
….without it affecting every area of your life.
It is the worst sin….
…for it turns it’s back on God.
The two examples I believe show the awfulness of unbelief are:
Judas, and Peter.
Now I want to start out by saying…..I do not believe Judas ever believed or put the full weight of his life on Christ.
He believed that Jesus might be the Messiah.
For Judas, the Messiah was a means of gaining something. If Jesus was the Messiah, and he followed Him,….he would gain, when Jesus set up His kingdom.
So Judas followed Christ Jesus…..hearing His Words…..sitting with the others while they were taught and shown the True Light of God.
Seeing, and even going two by two into villages to preach….”the Kingdom of God is at hand.” He was being very dutiful….he thought he would be grandly rewarded.
But then Jesus started talking of a kingdom within you…..started talking of being honest with God.
The disciples asked Him about prayer, and forgiveness….and Jesus preached on removing the mote in your own eye.
Judas cared for none of these things…..he looked for reward.
So when certain women ministered by giving of their money….and he was put in charge of “the bag”.
(It was to pay for what they needed as they went, and to provide for others)
But he saw his opportunity to get some of his reward….now.
He stole from the bag, some of the money that was meant for Christ…….and finally sold Jesus for a bag of coins.
Unbelief is a terrible sin….and is found in the circle of religion as well as in the worldling.
It leads it’s victim into the stupidest of places…..(like painting yourself in a corner)…..with often no way out.
Judas never believed on Christ Jesus…..only on the miracles for future gain….and sadly he followed his unbelief all the way to death and hell.
Peter, also was unbelieving…..but not for gain…..but out of fear.
Peter was called first of Andrew to hear Jesus. He did, but did not follow Him.
But then he was called of the Lord to follow Him, and He would make him “fishers of men”….
…Peter knowing the power of that call….followed Christ. (Matthew 4:18-20)
For three years, Peter heard Christ.
Peter grew to love Him, and though he was often the first to question (Matthew 16:21-23)….or charge into things(Matthew 14:28-31)…..Peter had made a choice of love….left all to continue to follow Christ.
Until, the night Christ was betrayed….and arrested….and lead away.
Sadness at hearing He might leave them, had lead them to sleep when they should have been praying….
….and fear lead Peter into unbelief.
Some might be surprised at that statement….but what was it that led Peter to deny the Lord?
Simple unbelief that the Lord would survive.
Therefore unbelief said that Peter better seek something else to hold on to…..unbelief lead to self-survival.
Peter had followed the Lord “afar off” when they had taken Him….but had not joined Him, but stayed by the fire outside.
As soon as he was asked if he was with Christ…..he denied.
Had he gotten up then and went out and wept,…..we could have called it a terrible lapse in courage toward the Lord.
But Peter stayed,…..and stayed. Three times he turned to see someone questioning him….or accusing him of being with Jesus!
Why didn’t he leave? In fact, he was too afraid to leave….unbelief had gotten ahold of him….and he felt all was to collapse….all was for nothing.
He just kept on standing, and denying…..three times, until…
…..(and I want to shout for joy here!)
How good Jesus is to him,….and often us….for a look saved Peter from falling further into unbelief….
…..and brought him back to believing and loving Jesus.
Luke 22:60-62 “And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter…..
And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”
He was still afraid, but no longer standing with the enemy in unbelief….but seeking repentance for his sin.
There are many differences between Judas and Peter…..but the main difference is:
Judas continued in unbelief until he hanged himself….(which is truly an act of unbelief)…..never seeking forgiveness from Christ….which he could have done at the foot of the cross….
….only returning the money…..thinking this act would save him….for money was all he cared about.
Peter, on the other hand, loved Jesus. He yielded to unbelief and denied the Lord….but repented……running to the empty tomb at the word of the women (Luke 24:12)….and a few days latter…..jumping off the fishing boat to go to Jesus on the shore to declare….three times, “Thou knowest that I love Thee”. (John 21:15-19)
Unbelief is a sneaky sin…..sliding in under the pretense of “let’s be practical”…..or “let’s not be hasty”.
But Jesus calls us to believe and love Him….to put the full weight of our lives….and what weights they are!…..onto Him, and follow Him.
“Lovest Thou Me…..more than these?”