Mar 12, 2023 |The Sticky Gospel

I Believe, Help My Unbelief

03.12.23 | The Sticky Gospel

I Believe, Help My Unbelief

Tony Pyle

Mark 9:1-37

Pastor Tony Pyle walks us through the topic of unbelief as we continue through Mark 9 in our series “The Sticky Gospel”.

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I Believe, Help My Unbelief


In the sleepless hours of my early injury, I wrestled against my Reformed
upbringing — no longer were my questions academic, and this was no casual question-and-answer session in a living room Bible study. Lying in bed paralyzed, I fought off claustrophobia with hard-hitting questions. “Let me get this straight, God. When bad things happen, who’s behind them, you or the Devil? Are you permitting this or ordaining it? I’m still a young Christian; if you’re so loving, why treat your children so mean?”

When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes disputing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were amazed and ran to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?”

Mark 9:14-16

Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.”

Mark 9:17-18

He replied to them, “You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” So they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into convulsions. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father.

“From childhood,” he said.

Mark 9:19-21

“And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.”

Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:22-24

He declares that he believes and yet acknowledges himself to have unbelief. These
two statements may appear to contradict each other but there is none of us that
does not experience both of them in himself.


When unbelieving doubt poses a question, it is not interested in the answer
for any reason other than to disprove it. Unbelieving doubt is on the attack.
It is much more interested in the devastating effect of the question itself to
erode the asker’s belief and hope in what is being questioned.

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, demanding of him a sign from heaven to test him. Sighing deeply in his spirit, he said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

Mark 8:11-12

Believing doubt will always anchor in God’s character and word as unshakable and
then take on questions that harass and attack. Sometimes these are emotional questions; other times they are philosophical or biblical. Sometimes they won’t be answered because they are beyond the abilities of the believer or because they delve into mysteries that nobody can rightly answer. This is when the believing doubter is at his greatest risk. But if he stands fully in his relationship with God, even those unanswerable questions will not overcome him.


When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: Come out of him and never enter him again.”

Then it came out, shrieking and throwing him into terrible convulsions. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

After he had gone into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”

Mark 9:25-29

Where are you anchored?


Where has God been faithful to you?


Where are my emotions I feel stronger than the truth I know?


I hope in some way I can take my wheelchair to heaven. With my new glorified body
I will stand up on resurrected legs, and I will be next to the Lord Jesus. And I will
feel those nail prints in his hands. And I will say thank you Jesus. And he will know I
mean it because he will recognize me from the inner sanctum of sharing in the
fellowship of his sufferings. He will see that I was one who identified with him in the
sharing of his sufferings, so my gratitude will not be hollow. And then I will say, Lord
Jesus, do you see that wheelchair over there? Well you were right….when you put
me in it it was a lot of trouble. But the weaker I was in that thing, the harder I leaned
on you. And the harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. I do not
think I would have ever known the glory of your grace were it not for the weakness
of that wheelchair. So thank you Lord Jesus for that.


And now, if you like, you can send that thing off to Hell.