Summary: We “CAN” believe in Christ to help us through the circumstances of our lives but unfortunately not all of us “WILL”. Today we will look at the problem of unbelief through the example of Sait Thomas as we see: 1. THE CAUSE OF HIS UNBELIEF (20:25) 2. T
“DO NOT BE UNBELIEVING”
Fr. Christopher M. Nerreau
Introduction: (Read passage)
• If you look closely at just about any Red Sox T-Shirt or bumper sticker you will find a single word written on top - “BELIEVE!” We are called to believe that the Red Sox can and will win the series (which is sometimes a great leap of faith. )
• The word - “believe” is different from the word – “know” in that believing means we receive as truth something that we have no absolute knowledge of.
Proposition: We “CAN” believe in Christ to help us through the difficult circumstances of our lives but unfortnately not all of us “WILL”.
Interrogative sentence: What are the circumstances in your life where you are experiencing doubt that Christ will show up?
In our sermon time today I want to discuss the unbelief of Thomas and how it relates to us, as we see:
1. THE CAUSE OF HIS UNBELIEF (20:25)
2. THE COMMANDMENT TO BE BELIEVING (20:27)
3. THE CONFESSION OF HIS RENEWED BELIEF (20:28)
Transitional Sentence: Let first look at …
I. THE CAUSE OF HIS UNBELIEF (20:25)
Explanation: The disciples having witnessed Jesus resurrection plead with Thomas to believe them that Christ is indeed RISEN.
THE BIBLE SAYS: (John 20:25) “So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
• Thomas was a strong willed, pragmatic guy but was very faithful to Christ. **Note: it was Thomas who voted to go to Jerusalem with Christ even though it was probable that it could cost them their lives. (John 11:16)
• But his response in this situation earned him the nickname “doubting Thomas” for all eternity! In his response we see two key components to the cause of his unbelief –
A. On His Terms:
• Saint Thomas’s response to the disciples begins with the word – “Unless I See [and] touch”. Here we find a key component to unbelief.
• Thomas was unable to trust in the witness of the other disciples. Rather he demands that Christ meet him on his terms.
• Because Thomas was one of the original disciples and it was important for them to have a strong witness Jesus does eventually do as Thomas demands but He does it out of mercy and not compulsion.
• The bible strictly commands we do not do this - Deuteronomy 6:16 - “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test”
• THE BIBLE SAYS – (v.25) “Unless I see” and “put my fingers” for Thomas real proof is physical proof. But many things are real that we cannot see or touch. (Love, Patriotism ect…)
B. According To Our Will:
• Secondly Saint Thomas says – “I will not” believe. Note he never said – “I cannot” believe only that I “will not” believe. This shows his disbelief as a component his free will.
• There is no mention of the ability of Thomas to believe only that by his own will he has decided that apart from his terms being met, he “will not” believe. He could have taken hold of the testimony of the disciple, but wanted more.
• Romans (1:18) St. Paul speaks of “suppress[ion of] the truth…”
Illustration: When a person is struck with Cancer doctors tell us that one of the most important components to getting well is believing you can get well. This principle is true in the spiritual realm as well (NOT FAITH IN OURSELVES WHICH IS SIMPLY POSITIVE THINKING BUT FAITH IN CHRIST WHICH IS ETERNAL LIFE!)
• The BIBLE SAYS – Matthew 17:20 “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain…”
• Unbelief is not so much a matter of inability as it is a matter of indecision. If you want to believe you CAN believe.
• Secondly, unbelief always applies terms and tests the Lord – “If God will xyz… Then I will believe.” Putting no value on that which can’t be see or touched (ie The Spiritual). This is sinful! We are testing not trusting!
• The question that you need to ask yourself is twofold – “Have you decided you won’t believe?” and secondly “Have you set terms and conditions on your belief ?
Transitional Sentence: If you answer “YES” to these questions then listen to …
II. THE COMMANDMENT TO BE BELIEVING (John 20:27)
Explanation: Jesus then appears in the upper room demonstrating His power to Thomas, allowing his request and giving the following commandment…
THE BIBLE SAYS – (John 20:27) “do not be…”