Summary: The true believer believes because he trusts God.
Are You A Doubting Thomas?
Text: John 20:24-29
1. Illustration: A man and his dog are walking along the beach when they see a visitor to the beach. The owner of the dog is proud of his dog’s newly mastered feat - so he says to the visitor, "Watch this." He tosses a piece of driftwood far out into the sea and the dog immediately runs on top of the water, fetches the wood and runs back. The visitor shacks his head in disbelief. The owner of the dog repeats the trick two more times. Finally, he asks the visitor, "Did you notice anything unusual?" The visitor replied, "Your dog can’t swim can he?"
2. Doubt comes in many forms. There is the:
a. Doubting Spirit
b. Confronted Spirit
c. Believing Spirit
3. This text is a classic text about doubt. In fact, we even refer to those that doubt as a "Doubtin Thomas."
4. Read John 20:24-29
Proposition: The true believer believes because he trusts God.
Transition: The first spirit is...
I. A Doubting Spirit (24-25)
A. Unless I See
1. Thomas had not been with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them, and the "other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
a. Like so many today, he staunchly refused to believe that Jesus had actually risen from the dead.
b. The disciples testified and bore witness to the glorious truth.
c. The Greek means they "kept on telling him," but Thomas became stiff-necked and obstinate in his unbelief.
2. He even argued against their testimony, and he argued with deep intensity.
a. He was deeply aggravated and frustrated, feeling great disappointment and guilt.
b. The depth of his aggravation and guilt is seen in his repulsive shout, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
3. What was it that frustrated Thomas so much and caused him to sense such intense guilt and react the way he did?
a. Thomas had forsaken the Lord, and that was enough to frustrate any man’s spirit.
b. Thomas had also withdrawn from the disciples; consequently he was not present when the Lord first appeared.
c. He missed another opportunity to be identified with Christ.
4. Of course, this caused Thomas to become aggravated with guilt all over again.
a. He became critical of the body of believers.
b. It was his own fault, but as human nature so often reacts, he blamed others through his aggravated spirit.
c. He argued against their experience with the resurrected Lord.
B. Reasons For Doubt
1. Illustration: Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When his touches will come we never know, but when they do come they are indescribably precious (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest).
2. Some people doubt because they have been hurt by someone in the church, or a family member.
3. Some people doubt because they have had a bad experience.
a. They had a prayer that wasn’t answered the way they wanted it answered.
b. They had some big disappointment in life.
4. Whatever the reason, doubt is crippling.
a. You cut yourself off from the truth.
b. You cut yourself off from abundant life.
c. You cut yourself off from the blessings of God.
5. Ps. 95:8 "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
a. We must guard our hearts against doubt.
b. We must trust that no matter what happens God is on our side.
c. We must realize that people will always let us down, but God never will.
Transition: Then there is...
II. A Confronted Spirit (26-28)
A. Do Not Be Unbelieving
1. John tells us that "after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst..."
a. Note the confrontation. The doors were again shut and locked.
b. Proper residences were equipped with bolts and locks. Bolted doors would prevent anyone from entering (a heavy bolt could be slid through rings attached to the door and its frame), unless one could walk through closed doors.—Bible Background Commentary
c. Suddenly, unexpectedly, without notice, Jesus stood in the midst of the disciples.
2. Again, He eased their shock by giving the normal greeting: "Peace be to you."
a. But then note what He did: He turned immediately to confront Thomas.
b. Jesus revealed that He knew all about Thomas’ unbelief and demands.
c. Jesus knows every man’s heart: his despair, doubts, fears, hope, love.
d. He knows where and when to strike at a man’s heart.
3. Thomas is being challenged to change, to become like the others who, upon seeing Jesus, embrace him with faith ( Burge, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: John, 562).