Summary: In the world today Christians live in a sea of skepticism and doubt. And when you’re swimming in doubt, it’s hard not to get wet, to have that doubt seep into your thoughts.
Faith Expectations Part 8
[This lesson and this series are drawn from the writings of Tom Allen in his book “What to expect now that you believe.”]
This lesson is another in the series titled Faith Expectations. This series purpose is to explore those things our faith brings to us as we strive to walk in the way of Jesus. It is probably fair to say for many of us, if not all, that when we obeyed the call of the gospel, accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and been Baptized into Him there were some expectations of what our faith would do in us, for us, and through us. And we are justified in these expectations:
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
John 10:10b “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
As believers we should never lose the “great expectations” of our faith especially since the greatest expectation is yet to come, that being the return of our Lord and Savior. Until that day it remains for us to balance our expectations with the reality of living as sojourners in this world. And so let us consider a great expectation of our faith: Expect Doubt.
A.We have discussed some of the “good news” expectations of our faith: Blessings, Forgiveness, Peace, and Joy.
1.Having already explored Trails, Persecution, and Temptation we now continue the “bad news” expectations with Doubt.
2.Bad News some might say but I hope through the course of this lesson we will see that even Bad News is pretty good when God is in the mix.
B.We live in a sea of doubt
1.In the world today Christians live in a sea of skepticism and doubt. And when you’re swimming in doubt, it’s hard not to get wet, to have that doubt seep into your thoughts.
2.Have you ever doubted? Have you ever wondered about this whole business of Jesus and the cross and the resurrection? Have you ever asked yourself if your faith is really only a superstition? Have you ever wondered, “Am I a Christian only because my parents were?
3.Often we’re afraid to face our doubts because we’re afraid of what we might find. We’re afraid of what others might think.
4.We don’t wish to appear weak of faith so we keep our doubts to ourselves. And yet, our doubts don’t go away, they’re always there, and like a cancer, our doubt slowly eats away at our faith, until we believe in Jesus less and less, and we become more and more skeptical.
5.We need to know that doubt happens and we need to know the only and best way to deal with them when they happen.
A.Example of Elijah.
1.1 Kings 18:19 – 19:5
2.But the main cause for Elijah’s failure was spiritual doubt: he saw Jezebel and failed to see the Lord; he listened to Jezebel’s threats and forgot to wait for God’s promises. In every step he had taken in his ministry, Elijah had waited for God’s command, but now his doubt led to fear, and fear led to disobedience
3.James 5:17 “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…”
B.Example of Peter
2.Peter had doubt surface even in the midst of experiencing a miracle and yet he would be the one to make the profession of faith upon which Jesus said He would build His church.
[Jesus asks Peter, “…why did you doubt?” So let’s examine how we might answer that question…]
II.Our Inner Thomas
A.There is a bit of Thomas in us all
2.Why does Thomas refuse to believe? Because Thomas was a practical person, and he lived in a practical world.
3.He had his doubts and we have ours, so what is the source of our doubts?
B.Sources of Doubt
1.Satan, our adversary
a.His favorite tactic is to use questions to raise doubt leading to defeat: Genesis 3:1 “Did God really say you must not eat…?”
b.Satan wanted Eve to doubt God’s word even to question His character and intentions.
c.He doesn’t stop there.
d.He will seek to raise doubts concerning our salvation, the truth of the scriptures, and the reality of the resurrection.
e.He knows the debilitating effect of doubt and will use insinuation to try and discourage and defeat us.
f.We must recognize that doubts can and will come from our adversary.
2.Sin can lead to doubt
a.When we struggle with unconfessed sin we open the door to vacillation and doubt.
b.Unconfessed sin will keep us in a state of disarray until it is resolved. If we persist in harboring sin while trying to walk with God we will be the “double-minded” person of whom James warns us in James 1:8, “unstable in all he does.”