What Does It Take for You to Believe?

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Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” John 14:8,9.

Think and Grow

From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of The Ages, the chapter entitled “He Ordained Twelve.”

At the head of one of the groups into which the apostles are divided stands the name of Philip. He was the first disciple to whom Jesus addressed the distinct command, “Follow Me.” Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. He had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist, and had heard his announcement of Christ as the Lamb of God.

Philip was a sincere seeker for truth, but he was slow of heart to believe. Although he had joined himself to Christ, yet his announcement of Him to Nathanael shows that he was not fully convinced of the divinity of Jesus. Though Christ had been proclaimed by the voice from heaven as the Son of God, to Philip He was “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” John 1:45.

Again, when the five thousand were fed, Philip’s lack of faith was shown. It was to test him that Jesus questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Philip’s answer was on the side of unbelief: “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” John 6:5, 7.

Jesus was grieved. Although Philip had seen His works and felt His power, yet he had not faith. When the Greeks inquired of Philip concerning Jesus, he did not seize upon the opportunity of introducing them to the Savior, but he went to tell Andrew. Again, in those last hours before the crucifixion, the words of Philip were such as to discourage faith. When Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” the Savior answered, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.” From Philip came the response of unbelief: “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” John 14:5-8. So slow of heart, so weak in faith, was that disciple who for three years had been with Jesus.

As

His representatives among men, Christ does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. So with the servants and messengers of Christ. Man needs a power outside of and beyond himself, to restore him to the likeness of God, and enable him to do the work of God; but this does not make the human agency unessential. Humanity lays hold upon divine power, Christ dwells in the heart by faith; and through cooperation with the divine, the power of man becomes efficient for good.

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ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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This article is part of our 2019 May / June
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…......…………………………………………..

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.

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How good is good? How great is great? How much better is better? Many people strive to be the best version of their selves? For some, going to church or reading the Bible is a way they try to do so. In the Bible Jesus says a lot about what believing in Him and His Father can do for people. In 2019, what do people really believe God is capable of? Do you still believe in Jesus and the Father? Join us as we explore the challenge of belief in this study entitled “Better Than God.”

Read John 14:5-8

The disciples have some questions for Jesus. I believe one of the best ways to study is to ask questions. I believe your belief can be strengthened by strong questions. Write out some questions you want to ask Jesus. 

Read John 14:8; Read John 6:5-7

One of the disciples that is asking questions is Philip. Philip seems to be very concerned about the tangible. Philip was the one who—upon facing more than five thousand hungry people—basically said:  “we don’t have enough money.” It is hard to believe when you cannot see how something can be done. Have you ever been in a situation where you could not see how it would work out? Tell us about it here at Message using #MessageMag on social media.

Read John 14:9, and 1 Peter 5:7

Jesus seems to be a little taken aback by Philip’s question. You would think that walking side by side with Jesus would be enough for anyone to believe and know God. By the same token, people go to churches week after week, read their Bible’s, and say their prayers, and still want to see proof. Are there any people’s lives you want to see proof of God in? Write out the list and pray for them as you continue this study. 

Read John 14:10-11

When we look at other people throughout the day do we ever consider that God could be living inside of them? It’s so easy to get stuck on the physical that we become ignorant of the spiritual. Isn’t that part of what makes believing in Jesus so challenging? He’s out of sight and therefore out of mind. What would happen if we looked and dealt with everyone as if they had God  living in them? How do you think that would play out in real life? Tell us your opinion on social media using #MessageMag.

Read John 14:12; Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:28

These words of Jesus may drill to the root of why believing is so daunting. He says that if we believe in Him we will be doing the things He’s been doing. For the record, Jesus had already done numerous miracles, yet He says we are able to do what He did. To up that ante, He then proclaims that we “will do greater things.” Does it sometimes seem the promises and words of the Bible are too good to be true? Has there been times when your experience didn’t seem to match up with what you read?

Read John 14:12-14

There is a difference between being better, and doing better. Jesus does not suggest here that you will be better in behavior and character, but rather that you are enabled to do more miraculous things than He did. Sometimes we downplay our potential because of things in our past. God wants you to know He still desires to use you if you are willing to believe in Him. I challenge you to write out a prayer that thanks God for power that supersedes your personality and His benevolence that outshines your behavior. Honestly, write it out and pray it out loud. 

Read John 15:1-4

Believing can be challenging when you don’t see results. That is why I’m thankful that right after John tells about Jesus saying we can do better than He, he tells us about how the results of our actions are not our responsibility. Our focus as believers is to stay connected to the true vine, and I know that as we see the fruit our belief will show that there is none better than God.  

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Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2019 May / June
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