Summary: Use doubt to solidify your faith.

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February 8, 2015 Evening Service

Immanuel Baptist Church, Wagoner, OK

Rick Boyne

Message Point: Use doubt to solidify your faith.

Focus Passage: John 20:19-29

Supplemental Passage: But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:30-31 NASB)

Introduction: We all have doubts about many things at various times in our lives. Sometimes, we doubt our own faith, our salvation, or even that God exists. God is big enough to handle being doubted. But, as we work through our doubts, we shouldn’t just “give up” because we have the doubts. That is a ploy the devil uses to defeat us. Case in point: Carl Rogers, the U.S. psychologist, was 22 years old when he entered Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1924. While there, he participated in a seminar organized to explore religious doubts. Rogers later said of the group, "The majority of thinking their way through questions they had raised, thought themselves right out of religious work. I was one." Book of Lists, p. 20.

I. Two Types of Doubt

a. Honest – working through your faith, trying to understand

i. "It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:22-24 NASB)

b. Dishonest – using your lack of understanding as an excuse to keep you defeated

II. The Case of Thomas

a. When Jesus announced that Lazarus was dead and He was headed to Judea, Thomas bravely announced, “Let us go with Him, that we might die, too” for he thought Jesus would be killed if He went back to Judea.

b. Asked Jesus how they can follow when they don’t know where He is going. Jesus answered, “I am the way the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.”

c. Thomas arrived in India in 52 AD and brought the Gospel with him. He is said to have converted two kings and many Indians from Hinduism to Christianity. He was India’s first missionary and his authentic presence is active to this day.

III. Answers to Questions not yet asked: (Something to hang onto when the crisis comes)

a. Where was God when…?

i. He was right there with you. (Matthew 28:20 I am with you always)

ii. And there *arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they *woke Him and *said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. (Mark 4:37-39 NASB)

b. Why did God allow this to happen?

i. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

c. Why did God do this to you/me?

i. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

ii. Gene Limb, “God didn’t “do” this to me, but He’s going to see me through it.”

Application/Invitation: Don’t use doubts as an excuse to check out, move out, or be snuffed out. Honest questioning of why do you believe is actually a very healthy thing. But don’t leave God out of it when you try to figure things out. Ask God for wisdom and guidance. Doubts can be converted into steadfast faith if met honestly. Read God’s perspective on your situation and seek help from others. Don’t be ashamed of your doubting; ask for prayer from someone you trust. You should not allow your inability to understand something drive away your entire faith.

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