Summary: Is doubt a sin? Is it the opposite of faith? This sermon answers those two questions and gives instruction for increasing faith.
Moving The Walls of Doubt
IS IT A SIN TO DOUBT?
IS DOUBT THE OPPOSITE OF FAITH?
I want to address the second question first...
Is doubt the opposite of faith?
NO!!! Opposite of faith is unbelief.
Faith is being sure something is true.
Unbelief is being sure it is not
Doubt is not sure.
Doubt is not the absence of faith IT IS a shortage of faith, not having enough faith TO ACT ON.
Now the other question… IS IT A SIN TO DOUBT?
Lloyd J. Ogilvie..."That depends on whether doubt is dynamic or debilitating.”
Debilitating faith leads to death, to turn from God, from faith, to self...that is sin.
Dynamic faith leads to growth, to questioning and to thinking.
Maybe to searching and study and finding.
Dynamic doubt is just the boundary line of your faith, it is as far as your faith goes, all you have.
It means there is territory not yet conquered by faith, a sign that you need to grow.
It is like a fence to separate what is yours and what is not yours.
What is on your side is what your faith can handle.
What is on the other side ... is what your faith can’t handle.
The good news of God is…
That fence can be moved...
your faith can grow
Before you can push it back you have to bump into it,
become aware of it—that is facing our doubts.
Doubt invades our minds...from several places:
I BELIEVE THAT 90% OF ALL DOUBT COMES FROM THESE TWO AREAS...
THEY USUALLY COME FROM SOME AREA OF OUR LIFE WHERE YOU NEED HIS POWER BUT FEEL IT IS ABSENT.
1. unanswered prayer
2. suffering and death.
Satan points at "unfair suffering"
and shouts "God is dead"
"God is not able"
"God does not care"
The devil has a plan for your life:
Doubt - To make you question God’s word and His goodness;
Discouragement - To make you look at your problems rather than at God;
Defeat - To make you feel like a failure so that you don’t even try;
Delay - To make you put off doing something so that it never gets done.
We begin to doubt God then to blame him.
We see unanswered prayers and suffering as denials of our faith, proof it is a farce.
We wonder if He really loves us,
If he can’t, or won’t do this, can He be trusted in other areas of your life.
Specific doubt turns to general doubt.
God’s word tells us how to deal with our doubt.
Listen to James...as he writes to early church
It sounds like condemnation of doubt but is really to show what doubt is and the cure.
They were facing persecutions that tested their faith in God’s adequacy.
Thy had been pressed to edge of doubt/faith.
They became uncertain of Him… IN THEIR TRIALS
They questioned HIS KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR NEED
They questioned HIS INCLINATION TO HELP.
THEN came questions about HIS NATURE-good/bad
HIS WILL— is it best
Behind most intellectual doubt is a HURTING HEART
RON— I chose to argue with him about doctrine and theology rather that realize that the root of his problem was a hurting heart that blamed God, and needed an expression of love and concern.
HOW DO WE MOVE THE FENCE, THE WALLS OF OUR DOUBT???
Go ahead, admit your doubt to God.
"I believe, help thou my unbelief"
I have some faith, but not enough for this. I’m beginning to doubt you. Give me the wisdom and faith to trust you in this.
Lacks—leipetai—banking term= shortage of resources, INSUFFICIENT FUNDS
Doubt is the spiritual overdraft notice
ASK—aiteo—present active indicative
Keep on and on and on and on and on asking.
Wisdom—sophias— wisdom and understanding that is practical and applicable in actual situations.
2. Step out on faith you have.
As you do you will see God work in new areas as He has in old, you’ll realize that God is not limited,
Faith is a gift like talents in that He only gives more to those who use what they have.
3. Collect and read scriptural promises.
You must read bible for this.
4. Keep a list of answered prayers
ways God is working in areas you do possess… your side of the fence
You’ll become more aware of His ABILITY
5. Keep a journal of His Blessings.
Ways he blesses in areas not even prayed about.
You’ll become more aware of his MERCY and LOVE for you.
6. Read biographies… what He has done in others’ lives.
"The Kidding Place"
In The Presence of Mine Enemies
The Point of the Spear
7. Share his mercies with others.
Tell them about what God is doing, has done.