Summary: Doubt is not the opposite of faith. In fact, doubt can be used to build faith.
SERIES: “ANSWERS TO SOME OF LIFE’S DIFFICULT QUESTIONS”
TEXT: LUKE 7:18-28
TITLE: “IF I STRUGGLE WITH DOUBT, CAN I STILL BE A CHRISTIAN?”
INTRODUCTION: A. A trial attorney was defending a man charged with murder. There was strong
evidence pointing to guilt but there was no corpse. Knowing that it was his job to do
everything to hold off a jury decision of “guilty,” the defense attorney resorted to
using a trick in his closing argument.
He stood, looking as confident as he could, and said, “Ladies and gentlemen of the
jury, I have a surprise for you. Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this
case will walk into this courtroom.” The lawyer then turned and looked at the
The jurors were stunned and all looked eagerly toward the door. A full minute
passed and nothing happened. Finally the lawyer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I
apologize to you for making a false statement. However, every one of you looked on
with anticipation as you awaited the arrival of the person presumed dead in these
proceedings. Therefore, I must ask you to deliver a verdict of “not guilty” because
there was reasonable doubt in every juror’s mind as they looked at the courtroom
door. The reasonable doubt is that anyone was actually murdered.” He then sat down.
The jury, now clearly confused, retired to deliberate. Within a half-an-hour, the
jury returned to the courtroom and delivered a verdict of guilty. The defense attorney
was stunned! He couldn’t believe his ears. He stood up and asked, “How in the world
could you find this man ‘guilty?’ Every one of you looked at the door and waited for
the man presumed dead to walk into this very courtroom.” The foreman of the jury
said, “Oh, yes. Everyone of us looked. But your client didn’t.”
B. I’m sure that most of us here this morning have struggled with doubts
1. If you seriously contemplate your faith and what it means to follow Jesus Christ –
the chances are that every once in a while you’re going to come down with some
questions, some issues, some uncertainties, some doubts.
2. The struggle with doubt can either be a virus that drives us away from God or the
motivation to study the evidence more carefully which draws us closer to God.
3. The problem is that some Christians leave their doubt untreated because they don’t
want to admit they have it.
--They erroneously think that to be a real Christian, they must have absolute
certainty about everything regarding their faith, and so they’re afraid to admit it
when doubt starts eating away at them.
C. What doubts are you struggling with this morning?
1. Maybe you doubt that God has really forgiven you.
2. Or you wonder whether the Bible really is the Word of God.
3. Or you question why God lets people suffer.
4. Or you’ve been praying for help with a struggle in your life, but so far there has
been silence, and you’re wondering whether anybody’s at home in heaven, or if
there is, whether He really cares.
5. Maybe you have questions about how God created the world or even how He’ll end
6. Or you’ve said to yourself, “I think I’ve become a Christian, but sometimes I’m not
sure. Maybe I wasn’t sincere enough when I was baptized.”
D. I want us to look at someone this morning that we might be surprised struggled
--Lk. 7:18-28 – “John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them,
he sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we
expect someone else?’ When the men came to Jesus, they said, ‘John the Baptist
sent us to you to ask, ’Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect
someone else?’ At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses
and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the
messengers, ‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind
receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the
dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who
does not fall away on account of me.’ After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to
speak to the crowd about John: ‘What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed
swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine
clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.
But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.