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Series Theme:  "Faith Sermons"




















































Title:  11. Knowing, Believing, Doing


Reading : John 16:25-33


1. Introduction


 We're going to consider ‘belief'


 Jonathan Whitfield was preaching to coal miners in England . He asked one man, “What do you believe?”

“Well, I believe the same as the church.”

“And what does the church believe?” “Well, they believe the same as me.”

Seeing he was getting nowhere, Whitfield said, “And what is it that you both believe?”

“Well, I suppose the same thing.”


Many people have no beliefs or confused beliefs


The EVIDENCE is powerful - to help belief

 When Lew Wallace set out to study the life of Christ, he was not a Christian. In fact, writing a story such as Ben Hur was the farthest thing from his mind. Wallace was antagonistic toward Christianity, and determined he would study the life of Christ so thoroughly, and then write so convincingly, that he would be able to kill the story of Christ. He wanted to prove that Jesus, if He had lived, was not God, but merely a man, that He never rose from the dead, and that Christianity was a hoax. So he studied. This great and enormous subject drew him further and further into his research until the evidence overwhelmed him. He dropped to his knees and cried out to Jesus to be his Savior and Lord. Then, instead of writing a book to prove to the world that Jesus was not God, he wrote Ben Hur, to try to prove to the world that Jesus was God.

Reading context – the Last Supper - with closest disciples

This passage in the reading is confusing - but challenges us to think


2. Different Levels of Believing?

John 16:25-33  

 25 "Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

  • future plans v.25
  • Jesus will speak directly about his Father v.25
  • they will ask directly in Jesus' name v.26
  • they are loved, simply because they loved Jesus v.27
  • NOTE : they already believed


28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

  • present plans declared


29 Then Jesus' disciples said, "Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God."

  • disciples think this is the time of clarity
  • they think this is why they believe v.30 – it isn't


31 "You believe at last!" Jesus answered. 32 "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

  • you believe is a question in some versions
  • you think you believe – but you're about to be scattered
  • you will doubt your beliefs
  • they will eventually come to a place of fresh belief
  • that will be after the Cross & resurrection



3. Believing


  • Knowing can be passive
  • Believing is active (meaningful) knowledge
  • But there are clearly different levels of believing
  • Disciples saw miracles – believed


Jn 2:23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in him .


 Jn 4:39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony .  

  • Disciples heard truth (reading above) – believed
  • Cross – brought doubts
  • Resurrection - believed again at a new level


Jn 2:22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken .

  • Believing is a thing God recognises and acts upon


Jn 7:39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

  • But believing is not a guarantee


see Lk 8:11-13


12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while , but in the time of testing they fall away.

  • For salvation believing has to be ongoing
  • Believing has to turn into doing


Jn 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing .

  • faith = believing in action i.e. doing


I would recommend you either believe God up to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two. Be satisfied with nothing less than a faith that swims in the deeps of divine revelation; a faith that paddles about the edge of the water is poor faith at best. It is little better than a dry-land faith, and is not good for much. (C. H. Spurgeon)


You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? (C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed)




The following are support resources to go with this morning's Bible teaching


1. Knowing


Lk 1:3   “since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you….. so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

•  Luke writes after careful investigation

•  He now produces an ‘orderly account' – his Gospel

•  with the aim that we might know the facts of what happened


NB> Definition: “knowing” – being aware of specific information.




Rom 8:28   “ we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”

•  know that whatever happens, God is working for our good

•  yes, in everything He is at work on our behalf if we are His children.


Eph 1:18,19   “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you , the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

•  know He has a wonderful future for us.  


Eph 3:17-19   “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge --that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  

•  know His incredible love for is which can fill us. 


Col 4:6   “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you ay know how to answer everyone.”

•  know how to be able to talk to people and share God's love


2. Believing

  • “Knowing” is about receiving information.
  • “Knowing” is passive, e.g. we know there are planets out in space but that ‘knowledge' doesn't affect how we think or live.
  • ‘Believing' is about active response to ‘knowledge'. ‘Belief' is knowledge coming alive.


For example, to take a verse we considered previously:

8:28 we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”


We might point that out to a non-believing friend, showing them that that is what the Bible says. “Oh, all right,” they respond, but it is nothing more than a piece of knowledge in their mind. They are untouched by it (as we probably were about the planets!).


A young Christian hears that same piece of information one Sunday morning and responds, “Wow, that's wonderful!” What was the difference? They believed it, i.e. they believed that it was true and because they love God they now believe it applies to them. Their mind and their emotions have kicked in, in response.


3. Doing


“Doing” is the response of ‘belief'.

Our young Christian has responded to the ‘knowledge' (information) with ‘belief' – it is for them! They ‘believe' what God has said in His word, that it is applicable to them.

So when things get difficult in life, their ‘belief' kicks in and they remain at peace. Instead of panicking they are able to continue enjoying life, knowing that their loving, heavenly Father will be at work in these difficult circumstances to bring good to them.

Negatively they do NOT get stressed and edgy with other people.

Positively they continue to rejoice at God's goodness and remain a blessing to those around them. This is ‘doing' in response to ‘believing'.