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Do you remember a few months ago when the flu was going around? This was an epidemic that hit just about everyone.
Well, thereís a SPIRITUAL VIRUS that has been going around Christian circles for centuries, and itís CALLED DOUBT. And if you havenít caught it yet, you probably will.
In fact, we could divide this room into three groups. The first group would be those who have doubted. The second group would be those who havenít doubted yet, but who will. And the third group would be those who are brain dead.
What I mean by that if youíre a thinking person at all -- if you seriously contemplate your faith and what it means to follow Jesus Christ -- the chances are that every once in a while youíre going to come down with some questions, some issues, some uncertainties, some doubts. And, by the way, thatís not just a Christian experience; doubt is a human experience
thatís common across the board. Even atheists doubt their position from time to time.
So the question isnít, "Will you catch the virus of doubt?" You probably will. The big question is, "How can you prevent that virus from turning into a terminal disease that ultimately kills your faith?"
You see, thatís a very real risk if doubt is left untreated. I mean, just because doubt is common doesnít mean it isnít serious. It can be serious if you just let it spread out of control.
The problem is that some Christians leave their doubt untreated because they donít want to admit they have it. They erroneously think that to be a real Christian, you must have absolute certainty about everything regarding the faith, and so theyíre afraid to admit it when doubt starts eating away at them.
In fact, I mentioned doubt not long ago and after-wards a woman said to me: "I was so glad to hear you say that doubt is common because I thought I was the only one. I was afraid to admit I had questions. Everybody seems to have such a strong faith around here; I didnít want them to think I was some kind of wimp."
Have you ever felt that way -- that youíre unusual because you have questions or doubts? Well, youíre not. So itís okay to come clean -- are you infected with doubt even tonight? You can admit it; youíre among friends.
Maybe you doubt that God has really forgiven you. Or you wonder whether the Bible really is the Word of God. Or you question why God lets people suffer. Or youíve been praying for help with a struggle in your life, but so far there has been silence, and youíre wondering whether anybodyís at home in heaven, or there is, whether He really cares.
Maybe you have questions about how God created the world or how Heíll end it. Or youíve said to yourself, "I think Iíve become a Christian, but sometimes Iím not sure. Maybe I wasnít sincere enough when I prayed."
If those kind of issues bother you, youíve chosen the right service to attend, because today weíre going to deal with doubt by accomplishing three objectives:
ē First, weíre going to put the virus of doubt under the microscope to see what it really looks like.
ē Then weíre going to diagnose how doubt infects us and what makes the virus grow inside us.
ē And finally weíre going to look at some practical ways to get nursed back to spiritual health after a bout with doubt.
In other words, what is doubt, what causes it, and how should we deal with it?
So, first, letís put the doubt
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