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I Believe

by Bernie Parsons

I Believe

By Bernie Parsons

Presented Before the Dan Ridge church of Christ September 1, 2005

Mark 6:2: “And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
3: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
4: But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
5: And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
6: And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.”

Friends, brothers and sisters in Christ,

Thank you for having me in this series of meetings, which I have titled, The Life of Christ series. We just read from the book of Mark how that many in Jesus’ own country did not believe that He was anything special. “After all”, they said, “isn’t this just Jesus, the carpenter’s young son, who grew up among us?”

Because of their unwillingness to believe that He was anything special, He was not able to perform many wonderful works and glorious miracles among them. Even so, there were a few who believed, and received miraculous healing.

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of Almighty God? If you do, how do you answer skeptics who wonder at your belief in Him? Tonight, let us examine our own belief—or lack of it. Jesus taught with great authority—He had deep understanding of, and wisdom about, the scriptures, even at an early age, causing astonishment among the people. Tonight I want to look at the miracles that Jesus performed.

Some have claimed that the miracles of Jesus are nothing more than myth. They say that the stories grew over time, as His followers magnified Him into a great figure. They point to other stories from other religions, that speak of miracles performed by their gods.

1 John 4:1: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2: Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4: Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Try the spirits. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. The apostles tried to cast out an evil spirit on one occasion, but could not. Why not?

Mark 9:14: “And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.
15: And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.
16: And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
17: And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18: And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
19: He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
20: And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
21: And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22: And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23: Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24: And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25: When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26: And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
27: But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
28: And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29: And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

In Matthew’s account, here is what Jesus had to say to the disciples, in chapter 17, when they asked Him why they had been unable to cast out the evil spirit:

20: “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Jesus rebuked His own close friends, His students, for their lack of belief. Yet, we saw this poor father begging Jesus to help his unbelief. I find myself praying that God will help my own unbelief. I have asked myself at times why I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and not just an ordinary man, or a timeworn myth. The answer is in the scriptures.

What does it take to convince a person that Jesus is the Son of God? The men who preached the gospel, and wrote the four accounts known as the four gospels of Jesus Christ, were witnesses either to the miracles performed by Jesus, or those performed by the apostles of Jesus—and these men believed. We are told that when Jesus turned the water to wine at Cana—His first recorded miracle—that His followers believed.

John 2:11: “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”

Jesus didn’t just say that He was someone special—He proved it by His miracles.

John 2:23: “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.”

John 3:2: “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

John 6:1: “After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
2: And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
3: And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4: And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
5: When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6: And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7: Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8: One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
9: There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
10: And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11: And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12: When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13: Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14: Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.”

He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, opened the mouth of the dumb, caused the lame to walk again, and fed a great crowd with a few loaves and fishes, after which many baskets of leftovers were gathered. The people who saw these things believed—except those who had hardened their hearts to the point that even these miracles could not persuade them.

John 9:16: “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.”

After Jesus had healed a man blind from birth, the Pharisees threw this man out of the synagogue because he gave God the glory.

John 9:35: “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?
36: He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37: And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38: And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
39: And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40: And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41: Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”

Those who saw the miracles and rejected them were those who had already decided not to accept what they were seeing. But those who accepted the miracles for what they were, believed. If this not enough evidence, then recall that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

John 11:39: “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40: Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41: Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42: And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43: And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44: And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
45: Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
46: But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47: Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48: If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.”

Jesus only lived to be about 33 years old, as it is calculated. Yet, John had this to say about the accomplishments of Jesus:

John 21:25: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

Peter also witnessed the many miracles of Jesus.

Acts:2:22: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”

The apostles also performed many miracles in the name of Jesus.

Acts 6:8: “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.”

Acts 8:6: “And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.”

Acts 8:13: “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”

Acts 15:12: “Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.”

Then, there was the miracle of the rising of Jesus from the dead.

Acts 2:32: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

Acts 3:15: “And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

Acts 5:29: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30: The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31: Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32: And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
33: When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.”

1 Corinthians 15:3: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7: After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8: And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

These apostles were so persuaded by the miracles that they had seen, and the fulfillment of the scriptures that they had received regarding the Christ, that they were willing to die for their belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God.

Acts 10:34: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
36: The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
37: That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38: How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
39: And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
40: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
41: Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
42: And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
43: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”

I am persuaded by these wonderful, courageous witnesses, who gave their lives to spread the word about Jesus, the Son of God. Do you believe? If you are a Christian who is weak in the faith, why don’t you ask Jesus to help your unbelief? If you are not a Christian, why don’t you repent of your sins, and come tonight and make that good confession, and be buried in baptism, and receive the remission of your sins?


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