Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
July 22, 2018 at 10:45 AM
Strengthening Our Faith

Strengthening Our Faith
“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with     tears Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” ( Mark 9:24 )
We are living in a society where science is competing with Christianity
for our attention and acceptance.  Our educational system and the television
emphasize science as the basis for answers, the solution to problems, the
cure for illnesses, and the hope for longer life.  Increasingly, we are drawn into
the circle of scientific worshipers.  As this shift occurs, we are drifting further
away from faith as the nexus of our spiritual anchor.  Thus, we are becoming
scientifically wiser, educationally broader, and spiritually weaker.
As our system of explanation becomes more scientific, we are – at the
same time – causing a strain on our faith.  In this paradoxical situation, we can
profess to have faith but deep within we are bothered by a nagging question as
to whether we really have a grip on faith.  Such a lingering uncertainty stems
from and grows in a psychological condition known as doubt.
Owing to the widespread prevalence of doubt, our sermon today was
planned to examine this condition with the intent of helping us to achieve
the following objectives: 1. to recognize the presence of doubt, 2. to boldly
face doubt, and 3. to identify the source of help to remove doubt.
Prior to analyzing each of the objectives, brief consideration will be
given to the word doubt. This  word doubt refers to a condition of

uncertainty about a possible outcome, a tendency to disbelieve, a wavering of
view and an uncertain opinion on an issue.
Doubt can block human action, cause one to underachieve, create a
feeling of insecurity, and even lead to self depreciation. Doubt is like a weight
that overburdens the swimmer, a tree that blocks the pathway, a storm that
refuses to pass, and a problems that eludes all answers.
Doubt can easily crept into the entire area of human experiences. Within
the home it can cause suspicion among family members; in the school it can
breed distrust of classmates; in the world of work it can engender misgivings
about fellow workers; and in the church it can cause distrust in the member
ship. In sum, doubt is an emotionally charged condition that makes its
possessor less than a happy person.
Against this background on doubt, let us now return to the objectives,
the first of which is that of recognizing the presence of doubt. Generally,
it is difficult for us to recognize and acknowledge that we have doubt.  The
lone exception is in the case where we may have a dislike for a person and
find it consoling to indicate doubt about that individual. But in critical
situations when our welfare is on the line, we are often faced with doubt.
Such a response is understandable, but the need exist for us to recognize
that we do have doubt.


p. 3
This problem of recognizing doubt is historic.  It existed during the time of
Jesus as noted in our text today. The setting, as described by Saint Mark,
was that of a father bring his mentally ill child to the disciples for healing.
The boy’s illness caused him to foam at the mouth, scratch himself until
the cuts would bleed, and would gnash his teeth with a grounding sound.
The father was troubled about his son’s illness and sought help for
him. He, therefore, took the youngster to the disciples only to find that they
were unable to provide a cure for the child.
Being unable to find help from the disciples, the man took his child
to Jesus. He told Jesus that the disciples could not cast off the evil spirit
and he was, therefore, bring the case to him.
Jesus, after having referred to the faithless generation, asked the
man how long that child had been afflicted and his father said, “since
childhood”. Then Jesus said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible
to him that believeth” ( Mark 9:23 ). Then the father of the child cried out,
“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”.
That request from the boy’s father leads to our second consideration –
he boldly confessed his doubt. It is of interest to know that the father did
not say, Lord you know I believe, or I’ll believe anything to get a blessing
for my child.  He must have known that Jesus could read his mind; hence,
the man cried, help thou my unbelief. Although Mark provides no record of
Jesus’ response to the request; he does give an account of what Jesus did for
the child.  He called out the spirits and the boy fell as a dead person. Jesus,
then, lifted the boy and he had become a healed and new person. In the
meantime, the boy’s father had boldly face the fact that he wanted to believe
but needed help with his unbelief. Is not that the experience that we face
with having to cope with major problems in life? But that Father was wise,
a fact that leads to the final consideration in this sermon, namely, knowing
where to seek help when facing doubt.  No record is giving of the conversation
between the father and the disciples; hence, we do not know whether the
topic of belief ever surfaced.  But with Jesus, belief – or faith – was the key
to obtaining the needed healing. Notice, the man did not say to Jesus, let
me go to my psychologist, or let me read the holy book; instead, he went to
the source – Jesus and acknowledged him as Lord.  His remarks, again, were
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. That utterance of the boy’s father
to Jesus leaps across the eons of time and signals a warning to contemporary
humanity the every present residual of doubt regarding the power of faith.
This fact leads to the third, and final, component of this sermon which is –
to identify the source of help in strengthening one’s faith and to specify
some strategies to accomplish this objective. First, and foremost, one
who seeks to strengthen his/her faith must believe in God for the
p. 5
asserts that “…he that comes to God must believe that he is and that
he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” ( Heb. 11: 6 ), next, the
seeker must embrace the hymnal words, “Oh! for a faith that will not
shrink tho pressed by many earthly foe”, thirdly, is the requirement to
lean not thy understanding, but to trust in the Lord, fourthly, the
believer must wait patiently on the Lord, and finally, it is necessary
to maintain the conviction and determination of Joshua who said,
as for me and my house we will serve the Lord…. Amen.



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