The Amazing and Amazed Jesus Hebrews 3 • Mark 6:1-6
Guard your heart… that’s pretty much the whole sermon tonight. # words. write them down. repeat them back to yourself. guard your heart… You shouldn’t go home tonight wondering what the whole point of the message was. Here it is. Guard your hearts! a couple weeks ago Pastor Matt was up here pleading with us, commending us in the name of Jesus to guard our hearts. He passionately went scripture by scripture showing us how it’s, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.”
When you do something bad, when you sin, when you lash out in anger on your fellow man, when you covet your neighbors wife, when you provoke you children to anger, when you fudge your timecard at work or call in pretending to be sick – whenever you show contempt for your parents or defile the Lord’s day by treating it like any other day, that’s evil. When you murmer and complain. When you bring forth into the world evil, it’s not just something that happens spontaneously, out of nowhere, without cause, out of your control.
No, you give birth to your evil deeds, they come from your heart when you’re not diligent to guard it and nurture it in the faith.
For the love of God! for the sake of all that is good and lovely, for the sake of your own soul and the very lives of your spouse and children, will you not Guard your heart?!
Now, that begs the question, From what, do you need to guard your heart? well, if i remember correctly, Pastor Matt admonished the church to guard our hearts by throwing ourselves on the promises of God. .. Oh the great and wonderful promises of God. How true they are! how mighty they are to guide and lead and sustain you, to lift you up, to empower you, to give you hope and joy in suffering, to keep you on the path of life and blessing. to make you wise.
So if you guard your heart by trusting Him. What you’re guarding your heart from, and what gives birth to all your sin, what defiles you, is unbelief. When you sin, it’s because you don’t believe, – because you don’t trust. Now, that’s a harsh truth. it stings. But if you can humble yourself enough o accept it and not fight against it, it will free you to actually deal with your sin and understand it and get at it’s root cause and have victory over it by the grace of God. When you sin, it’s because you don’t believe, it’s because you’ve allowed sin to deceive you. Remember, a deception, a lie, only has power when it’s believed in. You can strip the devil of his power if only you would stop believing his wicked, murderous lies. You defend yourself from him by picking up the shield of Faith and trusting in your brave young savior and all the promises of God.
Open your bibles to Hebrews 3:7 And test for yourself whether what you’re hearing is true or not. Listen for the connection between unbelief and hard hearts that give birth to sin. (Hebrews 3:7-19) … the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” of 1 9
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of … What? … because of unbelief.
Let it not be so with you! Let it not be so with me! So, to help guard your hearts… In hopes of spurring you on to towards a truer and stronger faith, in hopes of a bright and glorious future, in hopes of having you gain the victory over sin and unbelief, look now at the story of your amazing Jesus and how he himself was amazed by the hideous unbelief of his neighbors.
(Mark 6 1-6) He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
In this account, Jesus is returning to his native Nazareth after performing truly wondrous miracles. This is the start of chapter 6 of Mark and Jesus has already freed a man from an evil unclean spirit, freed another from the torment of leprosy, healed the paralyzed, calmed the storm, – he actually stilled the wind and waves, and most recently, brought a girl back from the dead. Now you might expect the people of His native village would welcome Him as a hero. … but you’d be wrong, nothing of the sort happened. On nearly every page of the gospels, you can see that people everywhere were amazed by Jesus, but on this day, something so horrible manifests itself that Jesus is the one amazed. Other translations say that he marveled or was astonished at their unparalleled – just absolutely stunning – disgusting unbelief.
But that’s the end of the story. let’s rewind a bit. Jesus grew up and lived for 25 – 30 years in the small, insignificant village of Nazareth. Have you ever imagined what it must have been like to live in Nazareth with Jesus? What a blessing! what a privilege! but then, It came time for Jesus to leave that little village and go to the surrounding areas and cities to preach the Kingdom of God, teaching people and healing their infirmities.
(If there came a time for your brave young savior to put behind him everything that was familiar and comfortable and to go boldly forward and proclaim the good news and to offer himself as a living picture of that good news, well, there might just be an example there for you to follow. … just maybe.. but that’s another sermon)
So, he leaves home and immediately news of a new powerful prophet named Jesus of Nazareth spread everywhere. He just explodes on the scene. It’s an overnight success – a viral sensation. Everyone wants to hear Him. Thousands
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of people walk miles and miles just to catch a glimpse of him and maybe he might look at them or even speak to them and maybe, just maybe if they were fortunate enough, they might actually touch Him!
But when he returned to his hometown, to his neighbors, to his relatives, they didn’t give him the hero’s welcome. No, they didn’t. They rejected him. Even his own family didn’t accept him with faith. They were ashamed of him. they were embarrassed. It’s written (John 7:5) not even his brothers believed in him. … his family … they went out to seize him, … saying, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21)
Once when Jesus was teaching, his disciples said to him, (Mark 3:32) “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” … whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
What an incredible thing to say! Church, no one ever spoke like your Jesus. And he’s speaking to you today. Will you listen?
Your mother, your brothers, these are special people, people worthy of your attention. Mother and brothers, these are people you give yourselves to, people you’re always ready to help. when the mormons come to your house, you might pretend to be away, but no matter what time of day or night you’re always going to open the door, if your mom comes knocking.
For Jesus, the people who listen to the Word of God – and do it, these are those special people, those intimate, those near and dear ones, who he’s always happy to hear from, glad to lend a hand.
When Jesus’ Mother and his brothers came to him, he didn’t pay attention to them because they came to take him away and that wasn’t the will of God. And the same is true with you. When you pray and ask not in accordance with God’s word – when you rebel against his law, then Jesus treats your request like the request of some stranger.
Jesus (John 1:11) came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God… A child of God? what a thought! to become God’s beloved child. it’s just mind boggling. what an offer?! to trade in your old self for the new. your worthless self for the priceless, the filthy for the clean, the broken for the glorious, the weak for the strong, the cursed for the beloved. death for life. … only a fool would reject such an offer. and They rejected him. The Evangelist Luke writes about the first time Jesus went back to nazareth, like this…
(Luke 4:28) When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.
What did he ever do to them? never a bad word, never a cross look, only love and they tried to kill him. But even after that, even after they treated him so shamefully, so violently, and rejected him so absolutely, here he is yet again. Oh, what a Great God! Do you see?! Do you see him as beautiful? Do you see him as Majestic? As Worthy? Someone to bow down to? Truly he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and how he relents over disaster! he finds no pleasure in destroying in condemning and punishing.
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but they still… took offense at him. How stupid!Friends, guard your hearts lest you be like these stupid stubborn donkeys, unwavering in their unfounded, incomprehensible, disbelief.
on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue
What exactly he started to teach them this time, isn’t known but typically wherever he went Jesus preached and called people to repentance, that is to turn away from their sins, to turn away from their sinful way of life and to love God and their neighbors. And he taught them also what it is to love God and people. Jesus also witnessed about himself saying that the kingdom of heaven had drawn near, that he himself was from God, that he and the father are one and that he has authority, he has power to forgive sins and give people the gift of life, peace and rest for their weary souls, to free them from slavery and empower them to live righteous blessed lives.
But that’s not at all what the people were interested in. That’s not what they wanted to hear. Instead they asked how are such Mighty Works done by his hands? They weren’t looking for evidence to support his claims. They weren’t saying “we want to believe. Please show us that it’s true.” No. They didn’t want to believe.
As Jesus once said (Luke 13:34) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
They had pride in their hearts. We’re not a poor people, where the children of Abraham. we’re righteous. Im no slave to sin. I’m not blind! Listen here you, son of Mary, why don’t you do a couple miracles! Put on a show for us. And in all of this they were just looking for something, one little thing that they could base their unbelief on. They didn’t want to know the truth. They wanted to justify themselves in their disrespect, to commend themselves in their rejection of Jesus. Friends, that’s a fool’s errand. It is impossible to justify your rebellion.
Jesus cast out all kinds of sickness and disease from that entire land but in the end, for all his trouble, they tortured him to death, hanging him naked on a tree. They weren’t looking for the truth. If they wanted to know if Jesus was from God or not they had all the evidence they needed. They were simply looking for a defense for their hatred. That’s what they were looking for. That’s what they really wanted. To continue on in their sin with a clean conscience. There was no room found for him, not in the inn so many years ago in Bethlehem, and not now, in their hearts.
They go on and ask, Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary
Consider this, they didn’t say he was a prophet, even though it that time everywhere people considered him a mighty prophet. They don’t even call him Jesus they say “this man”. And this word here man isn’t the regular word man, it has more of a negative or casual or even disrespectful tone. It’s as if they said “hey, this guy” or “this dude thinks he’s really something, but we know he ain’t nobody”. And then they say, “is not this the Carpenter?” They don’t call him Lord, or prophet, or teacher. They say Carpenter. There’s nothing bad about this world there’s nothing negative about it but the way they use it they want to say that he can’t have that kind of wisdom can’t have that kind of authority. You see, they’re trying to lower his status, to make him look lowly, to make him look foolish. He came to them as a savior, think of that word, savior, a rescuer, a deliverer, a hero, – the TRUE hero. … and they say, hey, isn’t this guy the carpenter?… The son of Mary?
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And here is a very thinly veiled hint at all those rumors, rumors that for sure everyone in the village had heard before about Jesus being born out of wedlock, that Jesus was an illegitimate bastard child. Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Mary?… I mean, the son of Joseph. Hahaha. (if you’re uncomfortable hearing the preacher talk this way, that’s good. it shows that you have a repulsion to such shows of blatant disrespect towards Jesus. you should be repulsed by thatJust imagine the insult, the hatred in their hearts, to talk this way. It’s not good to sugar coat it. look and see how ugly stony unbelieving hearts are.
Remember when Jesus was rebuking the unbelieving Jews and said, (John 8:37) you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” You Are of Your Father the Devil 39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality.” wow!
These were the kind of things that they were thinking and saying and feeling about him. This was their attitude towards your precious Jesus. Take care brothers that unbelief not take root in your own heart or in your household.
don’t Harden your hearts when you read… Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
don’t Harden your hearts when you read… Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her,
don’t Harden your hearts when you read… Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”
don’t Harden your hearts when you read… Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger
don’t harden your hearts, but instead arise… “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” That’s the promise of God. cling to it!
For the people of little Nazareth Jesus wasn’t some super star, he wasn’t some great figure, he wasn’t glorious and wasn’t influential. And that is a large part of why the people were continually Amazed by his teaching. Because he taught them. First of all, he had the gall to teach them and secondly because he taught them as if, that tells you how they thought of him, as if, he was one of great Authority.
Chances are, that if he was proud of them, if he bragged about them wherever he went, or at least just remain silent about sin and repentance, then they would have all been extremely proud of him, they would revel in the fact that he was one of them. They would have said things like, “oh that’s our Jesus.” They would have told every new acquaintance on the street, that they knew him. They’d be bragging about how Jesus was from their Village, that he
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was their neighbor long time ago, that he helped them build their house and on and on. They would have installed a great big sign on the way into their Village saying Welcome to Nazareth Home of the Prophet Jesus!
But Jesus was proud of his father. That’s where he’s Delight was, that’s where his treasure was – that’s who he gloried in, his father, your mighty maker. and he dared to tell them that they were blind and sick and that God sent him to Proclaim healing and to give sight and to liberate the captive and lift up the downtrodden. but instead of accepting, instead of bowing down and falling at the feet of the king and being forgiven and accepted by him, they disrespected him in the most disgusting way. That was the choice they made in their hearts.
And that’s maybe something to take note of. It’s the tactics of an unbeliever when God shows him the truth, when the truth is obvious and the truth is pertinent to him, he tries with all his might to cloud the obvious to darken it to make it fuzzy. And then he will bring up all sorts of facts or questions that have nothing to do with what’s at hand and then last of all if none of that is able to clear his conscience he’ll attack the messenger. That’s something not only that you need to be aware of and to watch out for and to know that it’s coming when you speak and act out the truth, but it’s something to guard your own Hearts from when the truth is spoken to you. Brothers and sisters, take care, guard against an evil, hard heart of disbelief.
mark continues by saying, And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.
how interesting it’s written here that he could do no Mighty work there except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and heal them. As if laying your hands on a few sick people and healing them doesn’t count right? Just by the fact that he actually did heal people, it’s clear that he was able to work mightily or perform Miracles there, but it clearly says that he couldn’t. Why?
You know how it is, when a person can’t do something because of an internal conflict, and not because they’re physically unable to do something. Sometimes it’s your conscience that won’t let you do something. For example, your young child asks to sit down behind the steering wheel of your car and take it for a spin and you say, “no, I can’t let you do that.” Well, that’s not because you can’t let them do that, and it’s not because they can’t do that. It’s because that would be horrible and there’s a more important factor involved here so you can’t let them do that. It wouldn’t be good if you did that. You wouldn’t be good if you did that. Or maybe you see a drunk on the street begging for money. Well you could give into them and give them the cash out of your wallet. You could do that, but you don’t because it’s not good for them, you know chances are they’ll just go out and harm themselves with it and harm their family. It would do them no good. They’re not in a state to accept your generous gift. (maybe there’s a sermon in there somewhere)
Jesus could have done among them great miracles and would have done it with great joy, if only it would have been beneficial to them. But he saw that they had stones instead of hearts and no Miracle, no sign would become a foundation of faith for them. He even taught his disciples saying… “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6)
well, Some people act like dogs don’t they? They live like pigs and then they get offended at God when he doesn’t treat them like beloved children. Oh I hope that’s not the case with you. Once again, Guard your hearts!
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pause and finally, it is written, he marveled because of their unbelief. Unbelief is an amazing force. It’s a power so great that it exist and has an effect that extends throughout eternity.
It was unbelief that brought the curse upon all people. It’s because of unbelief that you sweat and toil and bleed and groan and act for your bread. it’s because of unbelief that you scream and curse in and writhe in pain during in giving birth. It was unbelief that broke apart The Fountains of the deep and brought the rain from heaven and flooded the world and slowly drowned the human race. And it is unbelief today that sends people into the Everlasting flames. It’s not so much the multitude of horrible sins, as it is that one quiet deadly sin of unbelief that strangles and snuffs out the soul of man.
The Word of Life says, … But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
And… though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
But if a man does not believe in Christ, does not believe him to be who he claimed and showed himself to be, then that man remains outside of God’s mercy. Even Judas, who sold the savior for 30 worthless pieces of silver could have found forgiveness, if only he would believe and in turn, turn his back towards sin. It’s written: whoever does not believe will be condemned.
but God says… Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
You see, the true reason for the destruction of body and soul is as Jesus taught… you do not believe … you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:40)
Only twice is it written that Jesus was amazed. One time was when the Roman Centurion ask Jesus to heal his servant saying… “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. … When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. (Matthew 8:7) And the other is here when his own people, who knew him personally and lived with him for many years, but could- not, would-not accept him. Like little children before bedtime protest and say no I won’t do it, no I’m not going to bed I won’t do it I will not brush my teeth I will not be bathed! I am not going to bed. No! And they scream and shout, theyre red in the face and they stomp their feet . It’s this ugly mind-bogglingly stubborn refusal to believe and submit in obedience.
The NIV says he was amazed at their lack of faith. It was their incredible unbelief that was amazing, not so much that they didn’t believe. He knew full well that the father has Mercy on some and gives them a heart to believe and others are left in their unbelief. He knew full well that the people of that Village didn’t believe in him, didn’t trust him.
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But just as the faith of the Roman soldier was so intensely beautiful that when jesus looked on it, he was amazed, he was awestruck, so here, he looked at their unbelief and was disgusted and Amazed by it. It’s like an amazing painting from a Renaissance master, you know these paintings exist, you’ve seen pictures of them in textbooks but when you go to the museum and you come face-to-face with a masterpiece, it captivates you. You can’t look away. it fills you with Wonder and awe. Or probably many of you have seen the Grand Canyon. When you see a picture of it in a book or online you think yeah, that’s pretty cool. But when your feet are standing there on the edge, what lies before you is so immense so Grand so spectacular that all your senses can’t even take it all in. it’s too big for you. it’s too beautiful. it’s amazing. You stand there in awe. You almost lose track of time. It’s hard to pull yourself away from that. That’s a picture of the supernatural, Glorious faith of a Roman, Roman, a gentile, a heathen Soldier, who never had the law and prophets or any of the blessings of being part of the people of God, none of the history of God’s mighty and faithful right hand. he had none of that, but he still had the faith to tell Jesus that he didn’t even need to come and see and lay hands on his servant it was more than enough for Jesus just to say the word and his servant would be healed. That’s beautiful! that’s stunning.
And then you have the unbelief of these people which didn’t have a single argument, they had no basis – no grounds for their unbelief, for not accepting Jesus. These are people who grew up with Jesus, who saw him grow up. They saw him with their own eyes, the way he loved his family, the way he served people, the way he was faithful in all things, the way he loved the scriptures and his God. How he kept the sabbath holy, how he honored his parents, how he kept his heart pure from adultery and hate. The way he was humble and honest and brave and just and they looked at that, they looked at him and in their hearts they said, “NO!” I won’t have it no I won’t come to him I won’t be washed.
What an ugly hideous distgusting unbelief! That’s the stuff of true nightmares!
It’s like maybe you’ve witnessed a car accident. Now you know that car accidents happen. you’ve heard about them. you’ve seen them on TV and so forth. But if you were to witness with your own eyes a head-on collision and see the broken glass and hear the crunching of the cars and smell the smoke and fumes and see the blood pouring and hear the shouts and the groaning and screams,- that’s a scene that enthralls. it captures you and holds you tight and its grip deeply deeply impresses upon you. It amazes you in a most horrible way. You want to look away but you can’t. You Marvel at the horror of it all.
Thus, the amazing Jesus was amazed by their unbelief.
Well, what can be said in reply to all of this?
Nazareth and the people of that Village are a warning today to you and your neighbors and for all people. It doesn’t matter if you were brought up in the church. It doesn’t matter if you call yourself a Christian or if you pray before every meal. It doesn’t matter if you go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays or if you go to the social events if you don’t see Jesus as the beautiful glorious hero that he is, none of it matters. If a person will not entrust themselves to him will not throw themselves at his feet it’s all for naught. – it will all burn
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I’m calling you to guard your hearts. As a preacher of the word of God I beg you and not me myself the very word of God, the spirit that formed the world and created all things is calling you to guard your heart to be vigilant to keep yourself from an evil spirit of unbelief. and this isn’t an on/off light switch type of thing, as if either you believe or not. Remember the man who was begging Jesus to heal his son? Jesus said to him, (Mark 9:24) “All things are possible for one who believes.” and Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” “I believe; help my unbelief!” what a beautiful trusting prayer!
Unbelief is the deadliest of all cancers! it grows. it starts with just a single cell but grows and grows and kills a man from within. Be careful, take care! guard yourselves from it. Search it out! look within yourself and violently and brutally rip it out by the roots! this is no game, no petty thing, no empty word, it is your life!
How frightening it is to think that today, this very hour, Jesus is amazed by the unbelief of people, people who have every reason to believe, who have the bright shinning witness of Christians throughout 2000 years of history, people that have in there town 3, 4, 5, 10 churches, people that have 15-20 translations of the Bible in their own language but they will not. they won’t. they don’t want to come to Jesus and live.
Be amazed yourself. be in awe. and don’t be indifferent. let that amazement capture you. be captivated. marvel at the horror of it! Your God is gracious and merciful long-suffering and abounding in steadfast love. Pray to him. Pray that your God would help your unbelief. Pray that God would give your neighbors faith and sight to see and ears to hear and a heart of Flesh to feel.
Don’t give up! hold on to the faith! Guard your hearts, and guard your brother’s heart. Remember, it’s written, “exhort one another every day” This guarding is not a stoic thing, it’s a community thing. Christ died for the Church! you belong to a body. look at the person next to you,. Inside that person is fragile heart, prone to go astray,. It needs protecting. Will you step up and be your brothers keeper? All for one and one for all! that’s the battle cry. Your God is still in the business of opening eyes and freeing slaves and he’s working through his children. Be Witnesses yourself in your speech in your thought in your life. At work, at home, on the sports field, in the library, in the bus, in your car on your way home from work, at starbucks, be witnesses of the amazing grace which you yourselves have received from him! Praise God with your very being! Throw yourself upon him! He is mighty to save! Pour yourself into the Bible. Take his promises with you wherever you go. read them aloud! Take care! (That’s the application, in case you missed it.)
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
So, to help guard your hearts… In hopes of spurring you on to towards a truer and stronger faith, in hopes of having you gain the victory over sin and unbelief, – in hopes of the bright and glorious future promised to all who believe, remember this story, the story of your amazing Jesus and how he himself was amazed by the hideous unbelief of his neighbors.
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