Why Don’t Some Believe?
Taylor Mendoza, Pastor of Students & Adults
Overview: Why don’t some people believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ? This question and more are taken up in our passage this morning. Jesus had previously been teaching on the Mount of Olives but then worked His way across the valley up to the Temple Mount. He was in the treasury during the Feast of Tabernacles, teaching that he was the light of the world when some listeners believed. On one side of Jesus stood a large group of people who we are told believed in him. It immediately becomes apparent that they had said they believed, but their faith was not genuine. Jesus goes on to tell them that the real reason why faith is so difficult for them is because of their spiritual inability.
Main Point: The primary reason why people don’t believe in Jesus Christ is because of their spiritual problem.
Self-Justification (John 8:31, 37, 43, 55, 59)
Slavery to Sin (John 8:32-37)
Allegiance to Satan (John 8:38-47)
Anything but Christ (John 8:48-59)
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Have you ever had an experience with someone who you have shared the gospel with many times, but still doesn’t believe in Jesus? Maybe you’ve heard of various reasons why some say they don’t believe; What are those?
a. Some of the most common reasons include: Too busy, church hurt,
intellectual or theological contradictions, politics, and irrelevance.
2. Why is it important to recognize that some of the reasons listed above may be secondary reasons for not believing, but not the primary reason?
3. Augustine wrote in his work, The Confessions, that the main reason why he did not believe was because, “I withdrew further and further from you, loving my own ways and not yours, relishing the freedom of a runaway slave.” What does Augustine reveal about his own heart and the nature of unbelief?
4. The sermon gave 4 reasons for why the ultimate problem is a spiritual problem. What are they? Out of the 4 reasons, which one stood out to you the most?
5. Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” What is the connection between abiding (receiving God’s Word) and proving to be genuine disciples of Jesus? What are the effects of receiving Jesus’ words?
6. Even for those of us who believe, we might be tempted to think that we no longer struggle with any of the reasons for unbelief. We as Christians still need to strengthen our faith by fighting these spiritual problems in our hearts. Which one do you currently struggle with in your own Christian life? (Self-Justification, Slavery to Sin, Allegiance to Satan, and Anything but Christ)
7. Lastly, spend some time in prayer for those who currently don’t believe, especially those you know personally. Pray also that your own faith would be strengthened and that you would fight the temptations we’ve discussed.
For Further Reading: Keller, Tim. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (NY: Penguin Books, 2009)