Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”– Mark 16:14-18 ESV
To BELIEVE in the Bible is different than the flesh, than the world. In v17 the word BELIEVE is from The Greek word “pisteusasin” is in the first aorist (meaning “upon completion of the act”) active participle in the dative case (meaning “after believing”). Eph. 1:13, 14 teaches the same thing; And in Him, having heard and believed the word of truth—the gospel of your salvation—you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory. The word infers, ‘that it was upon/after believing the gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ’. Therefore, to obey God means to obey His command, but that only happens if we genuinely BELIEVE. In 1 Jn. 3:23 we see the same Greek word:And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The transliteration is Pisteao, it is a verb and it has a similar definition: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in. of the thing believed. To have confidence, in a moral or religious reference. It is used in the NT, talking of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul. Faith (pistis) is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. In short, pistis (“faith”) for the believer is “God’s divine persuasion ” – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence), yet involving it.
Leader, we have a BELIEF problem in the church, in America and in the world. I believe it is the WORLD’S way of keeping us from believing in anything. Here in America, many things we USED TO believe in are now a farce. Whether we are talking about the role of America in the world, the goodness of our founding fathers, the moral high ground that America used to stand for, the belief in honor, duty and country- all these long-held beliefs are now ‘in question’, which is making it hard for anybody to believe in anything-nevertheless, the God of the universe! This belief -if you look at the original GREEK must come from GOD! It is not of a human choice, it is of a GODLY DESIGN! This is why the interaction in Mark 9 seems a bit confusing to us. Jesus had just returned from the mount of transfiguration when He came upon a large crowd surrounding His disciples. An argument was taking place, and people were stirred up. Jesus asked what was going on, and a man from the crowd explained that the disciples had been working to cast a demon out of his son but had failed in their attempt. Notice Jesus’ response, “You unbelieving generation, . . how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me” (Mark 9:19). In seeking the Lord’s help, the father came to Jesus, fell to his knees weeping, and said, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). The man’s request, startling in its paradoxical phrasing, is quite thought-provoking. How can the man say he believes and at the same time ask for help in overcoming unbelief? He wanted God to MAKE HIM BELIEVE! To have no other option, like a life-raft in the middle of a vast ocean; cling to, no other hope! Leader, do you believe in God and in His Word? Do you believe enough to VOTE the way God tells you and not the world? Do you believe enough to alter your lifestyle and your friendships? Do you believe enough to let go of your POUND OF FLESH, your RECORD of WRONG and your victimization, or your deserving of PRIVILEGE? They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. (2 Peter 2:14b-16)
Conduit, this type of belief comes only from God, not from man! This is Romans 7, where Paul told us; But not all of them welcomed the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message? “Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (v16-17) Paul then continues his explanation as to why some HEAR THE WORD and do not BELIEVE; For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (Romans 7:18-19) God chose some, and He didn’t choose others. If you love God, it is because he first loved you. If you believe in Jesus Christ, it is because GOD PUT THE BELIEF IN YOU! It is a MYSTERY as to why God chose who He chose- we do not know why- but if you believe it is because of HIM! The Bible tells us that the mystery of God is Jesus Christ: “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2–3). In Mark 4 Jesus tells us the purpose of His talking in Parables: And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’” (Mark 4:10-12) Going back to our verses of the day, this is true BELIEF: casting out invisible demons, speaking in new tongues, picking up serpents with our hands and drinking deadly poison. These are examples of crazy things, that only those who have a level of belief beyond human understanding could possibly do with confidence. Today, we DO NOT need to pick up poisonous snakes, or drink poison- I would not recommend that…however, we need to have confidence that our LORD, JESUS, the GREAT PHYSICIAN, will guide us and protect us. There has never been an emergency meeting of the Trinity. God knows about Covid 19, He knows about the end times we are in, He knows that America is fading and crumbling because of our lack of belief in God and He knows how He has equipped you! It is time to quit letting the WORLD give you a SPIRIT of FEAR, for God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love- of a sound mind! Walk in that BELIEF and continue to pray to God; Lord help me with my unbelief! Today, ACT AS IF you BELIEVE!