Summary: This morning we want to discover freedom from doubt—to see that the nagging questions that sometimes fill our hearts all have answers. With God’s help we can be free from doubt. Instead of doubt being our enemy that seeks to hold us captive, it can beco
FREEDOM FROM DOUBT – Questions Lead to Answers
• John 20:24-29 (NIV)
 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
On April 21st, in the year 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez sailed into the harbor of Vera Cruz, Mexico. He brought with him only about 600 men, and yet over the next two years his vastly outnumbered forces were able to defeat Montezuma and all the warriors of the Aztec empire, making Cortez the conqueror of all Mexico. How was this incredible feat accomplished, when two prior expeditions had failed even to establish a colony on Mexican soil? Here’s the secret. Cortez knew from the very beginning that he and his men faced incredible odds. He knew that the road before them would be dangerous and difficult. He knew that his men would be tempted to abandon their quest and return to Spain. And so, as soon as Cortez and his men had come ashore and unloaded their provisions, he ordered their entire fleet of eleven ships destroyed. His men stood on the shore and watched as their only possibility of retreat burned and sank. And from that point on, they knew beyond any doubt there was no return, no turning back. Nothing lay behind them but empty ocean. Their only option was to go forward, to conquer or die.
How often does doubt seemingly fill our hearts causing us to want to run and retreat. According to Ray Comfort 80% of those who accept Christ today in America backslide and abandon their faith. According to Comfort these people where sincere when they accepted Christ, but they did so for the wrong reasons. Rather than understanding that they had sinned against a holy God and escape His wrath at judgment through Jesus Christ, they come to Christ to have a life filled with peace love and joy. Therefore when they experience difficulties, and we all do, they are overcome by doubt and return to the world to try to find something else that will make them happy.
It’s time for us to burn the ships, to never let doubt cause us to want to retreat to the refuge of familiar places and the pleasures of sin the world offers for but a season. When you burn the ships and are committed to stay the course and not retreat, DOUBT CAN BECOME YOUR FRIEND. When hardships and difficulties come and doubts fill our hearts that is when our faith can be strengthened and with a new found resolve we persevere to the end. Burn the ships; there is no turning back. I choose to make doubt my friend so my faith will increase and I will stand before Christ unashamed because I overcame by faith.
This morning we want to discover freedom from doubt—to see that the nagging questions that sometimes fill our hearts all have answers. With God’s help we can be free from doubt. Instead of doubt being our enemy that seeks to hold us captive, it can become our friend that strengthens our faith to be stronger.
Through the story of “doubting” Thomas we are going to discover how God responds to our seasons of doubt as well as some important steps that we can take to make doubt our friend so our faith will grow.
I. What is doubt?
1. Doubt comes in many shapes and sizes.
a) According to the dictionary doubt is:
1. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
2. to distrust.
doubt. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Retrieved September 01, 2006, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=doubt&x=17&y=12
b) Essentially to doubt is to question or be skeptical. When our doubt is directed at a person doubt is seen as distrust because we call into question the ability or character of the person.
c) This can even happen with God. We can doubt God’s love or His power to heal. Doubting God is to question if God will do what He said He will do.