Lessons Of A Lifetime

The Hindering Effect Of Unbelief
Or
Except By Prayer And Fasting
Sunday Nov. 22, 2020

Scripture To Consider:
“And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Jesus, kneeling down to Him and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.’”

“Then Jesus answered and said, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’”

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.’                                                                                                                           Matthew 17.14-21

Something To Consider:
Mountaintop experiences must never overshadow the much needed work of the ministry among the multitude down in the valley of decision! Jesus and His disciples experienced the joy of both. Leaders in training must learn to transition from one extreme to the other, not in the power or might of one’s flesh, but in the strength of God’s Holy Spirit.

In this short episode there are several lessons of a lifetime to be learned. The first of which is that unbelief has a hindering effect on us and on others. The disciples’ lack of faith could not provide healing to this suffering epileptic son. But what the disciples could not do, Jesus of Nazareth was willing and able to do. Jesus is able and willing to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think, if it is according to His will!

If you are like me on more occasions than I like to admit, you may find yourself praying, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief!” After a lesson on forgiveness by Jesus in Luke 17.1-4, the disciples replied by stating; “Increase our faith.” The best method for the increasing of our faith if found in Romans 10.17. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Without the increase of our faith by the hearing of the Word of God, we are all susceptible to the hindering effect of unbelief!

Something Else To Consider:
Notice that Jesus declared, “O faithless and perverse generation…” A generation that is faithless and unbelieving according to Jesus is also a perverse generation. Paul writing in Philippians 2.14-16, addressed this subject when he wrote; “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.”

We cannot help living in the midst of a faithless and perverse generation, but we can help the cause of Christ by faithfully exercising our faith and so letting our lights shine in this darkened Christ rejecting world. Therefore, what is it that we are listening to? Are we listening to the Word of God or are we listening to the words of a faithless and perverse generation?

We must be found looking unto Jesus as we approach these end times! We must be found looking unto the Word of God or we will be deceived and hindered by the undermining effect of unbelief. Jesus proclaimed in John 5.43; “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me [or believe Me]; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”

The Antichrist is no doubt alive and living among us as we read this lesson of a lifetime. Eventually, he will be revealed according to 2 Thessalonians 2.8. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming [His second coming].”

How close are we to the coming of the Antichrist? He must first come before the one and only true Christ returns according to the Word of God which differs from the word of man!

Something More To Consider:
According to our Scripture to consider, Jesus announced that even the smallest mustard seed like faith in the midst of a darkened and perverse generation causes the youngest or oldest saint of God to shine as brightly burning lights in this world, as will take place in the second coming of Christ. And yet, there are occasions that our seed like faith must join forces with both prayer and fasting in order to gain the higher ground over the enemy.

So, will we answer the call of Christ to hold fast to God’s Word of life at all cost? Or will we wrongfully accept the hindering effect of unbelief to rule and reign in and over our lives? Will we endure to the end and thereby overcome the coming of the lawless Antichrist by way of prayer and fasting and the living Word of God? There is no third option!

Paul wrote concerning the revealing of the lawless one a few verses earlier in 2 Thessalonians 2.3; “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come [the Day of Christ’s coming and His gathering of the saints to Himself] that day will not come unless the falling away [a departing from the faith by many] comes first, and the man of sin [lawless one, Antichrist] is revealed, the son of perdition.” Do not allow the hindering effect of unbelief to deceive us!

A Few Final Words:
Paul further wrote in the very next letter in 1 Timothy 4.1; “Now the Spirit [the Spirit of God] expressly [explicitly] says that in latter time [end times] some will depart from the faith, giving heed [listening to and becoming obedient to] deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy.” That time has come and continues to come in this 21st century perverse generation!

Paul finished his discourse on the end time coming of the great apostasy by proclaiming; “For to this end we [true believers] both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men [women and young people] especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.” And that is the reason for this According To Jesus website!

Mustard seed like faith together with prayer and fasting, according to Jesus, creates the possibility of nothing being impossible for those believing in Him and in His Word. And to those caught up in the deception of the doctrines of demons, Jesus would say; “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, may the hindering effect of unbelief be cast out of us and others through much prayer and fasting in Jesus’ name. In Him Always, Amen!

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