Sermons

Summary: If we care to avoid being tossed about by every wind of doctrine, we must be doubters who question, test, and evaluate, and be discerning as to what is of God and what is not. Doubt becomes a partner with faith in helping us discern the will of God.

It is a pain to struggle with doubt, but there is a great debate as to whether this is a helpful or

harmful type of suffering. In Camelot, King Arthur says to Lancelot that he is satisfied he did the

right thing in starting the round table. Lancelot replies, "Your majesty, did you ever doubt it?" And

Arthur responds, "Lance, only a fool never doubts."

An army of followers will march to that drum beat, and praise the virtue of doubt. But they will

face a mighty host who feel just the opposite; that only a fool would ever doubt. One of these

leaders writes,

Is there no knowledge to be had?

Has God not spoken once for all?

Indeed He has, all doubt is mad

And destined to disastrous fall.

For God is God, and truth is true.

All doubt is sinful in His sight,

And doubters will have cause to rue

Their doubt through hell's undoubted night.

So the authorities agree, you are damned if you do, or damned if you don't doubt. Thus we are

stuck with the dilemma of doubt. It is always confusing when the same thing can be good or evil,

for this forces us to think and be discerning. We would prefer that all the good guys road on white

horses, and all the bad guys road on black horses. That way, you don't have to strain to evaluate and

discern, for you just know by the visual evidence.

Have you ever turned TV on in the middle of a story, and watched it for a few minutes. It can be

very frustrating because you do not know the context of the story, and you do not know who theheroes are, and who are the villains. The result is, you do not know where you stand, and who you

are for or against in the conflict. The bad guy may be so deceptively noble that you are attracted to

him before you discover he is the villain. We can only feel comfortable in our convictions when we

have the whole context before us, and can see how each piece fits the whole.

Our text in Luke 7 will help us see the dilemma of doubt in its full context so we can grasp how

people can come to such radically opposite conclusions. In this text we see that both sides of the

battle are correct. Doubt is both demanded and damnable. It has both positive and negative

qualities that make it a cause for both helpful and harmful suffering. In order to see the whole we

want to examine the individual parts of this dilemma, and we start with the negative.

I. DOUBT IS DAMNABLE.

None are so blind as those who will not see, and Jesus describes the Pharisees, and experts in the

law, as deliberate doubters who refused to see the light that God has put in front of their face. They

are locked into a damnable doubt that God would ever do anything apart from them. The result is

that no amount of evidence will overcome their blindness.

God sends John the Baptist as a solemn, somber, and serious prophet, and they reject him as a

madman with a demon. God then sends His Son as a life-loving leader who joins his people for the

sharing of the enjoyable social events of life. They reject him as too worldly; a glutton, wine bibber,

and friend of tax collectors and sinners.

Jesus describes them like spoiled children who don't want to play funeral or wedding. They will

not be led, but stubbornly resist all evidence so that no light can penetrate their dungeon of doubt,

and they remain in the darkness of disbelief. You cannot find any better example of the danger of

doubt. These blind leaders of the blind were literally damned by their doubt. Heaven was at their

fingertips, but their doubt was leading them to hell and separation from Christ who offered them

eternal life.

It is true that some of these leaders, like Joseph of Arimathea began to doubt their doubts, and

came to the place where they believed. But most never did, and must have had great fears that it

might be true that Jesus was the Messiah, for He did many miracles before their very eyes. The

unbeliever has more to lose than anyone, and so his doubts are very frightening. Those who attack

the believer try to throw him into a state of doubt, but this is a two edge sword, and cuts even deeper

into the unbeliever when you throw him into doubt about his disbelief. A young skeptic said to

Archbishop Temple, "You only believe what you believe because of your early upbringing."

Temple replied, "You only believe that I believe what I believe because of my early upbringing

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