1. Later, in ch.11, the writer of Hebrews presented a great lesson on faith. a. He showed how faith is essential for pleasing God (vs.6). 1) It is not possible to please God without faith. 2) Those who come to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. b. Throughout this chapter he showed how men and women from the Old Testament demonstrated their faith as they served God. c. All of this information is designed to help us run our race (12:1). 2. Before presenting this great lesson on faith, in ch.3 the writer issued a strong warning for Christians to "beware of unbelief" -- notice how this warning is stated in vs.12 [unbelief will lead to a departure from God]. 3. In our lesson we are studying a number of passages that will help us appreciate the seriousness of this warning.
I. LET US CONSIDER THE EFFECTS OF UNBELIEF
A. (Hebrews 3:17-19) Unbelief kept many of the Israelites out of Canaan. 1. A generation of God's people died in the wilderness. 2. We must avoid their mistake (Hebrews 4:1,11). B. Unbelief kept Moses out of the Promised Land. 1. Those who are familiar with Moses know that he believed in God. 2. In Numbers 20 we read about an occasion when God said that Moses did not believe Him. a. God gave Moses instructions to follow in vs.7-8. b. Moses struck the rock with his rod (vs.9-11). c. (vs.12a) God said that Moses did not believe Him. d. (vs.12b) God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. C. Unbelief hindered the Lord's work (Mark 6:1-6). 1. Jesus was in "His own country," and many people "were offended at Him." 2. Jesus healed a few sick people, and "He marveled because of their unbelief." D. Unbelief limited the power of the disciples. 1. Jesus gave miraculous power to the apostles (Matthew 10:1). 2. In Matthew 17 we read about an occasion when the apostles could not heal someone. a. (vs.14-16) A man asked Jesus to heal his son -- the disciples could not. b. (vs.17-18) Jesus healed the child. c. (vs.19-20) Jesus explained that the disciples could not heal the child because of their unbelief. E. Unbelief will cause a person to lose his soul (Revelation 21:8). F. The effects of unbelief help us appreciate the seriousness of the warning given in Hebrews 3:12.
II. LET US CONSIDER HOW UNBELIEF CAN BE AVOIDED
A. We learn from Mark 9:24 that the man who asked Jesus to heal his son also asked the Lord to help him with his unbelief. 1. He had the desire to overcome his unbelief. 2. He went to the right source for help (see Jude 24). B. Help is also available from other Christians (Hebrews 3:13). C. Let us remember that God "is faithful" and that His promises are dependable (Hebrews 10:23).
1. When Jesus gave the Great Commission He dealt with belief and unbelief. 2. In Mark 16:16 Jesus: a. connected belief and baptism with salvation b. stated that unbelief results in condemnation.