Summary: Three Skeptics in the Word
INTRODUCTION. -- Many people have an idea that all skeptics are pretty much alike, and that they are all a pretty hard crowd. But if every one will study his Bible carefully he will find that this is not so. He will find that skeptics differ very widely from one another, and that many of them so far from being a very hard crowd are a very respectable company. Now, there are pictured in the Bible four typical skeptics:
I. Nathanael. John 1:45-51.
1. Note the kind of man Nathanael was. He was a thoroughly good man. He was a sincere man, a pure man, an especially honest man, a religious man, but he was a skeptic.
2. He was a skeptic because he did not know the facts in the case. His skepticism did not come from badness of heart, but from ignorance. He was not ignorant about other things.
3. Note what Nathanael did. See the honesty and humility and sincerity of the man. Philip said, "Come and see. Just let me introduce you to Jesus." And Nathanael accepted the offer at once.
4. Note the outcome. Nathanael becomes a thoroughgoing believer. He met Jesus. Jesus spoke to him. His eyes were opened, and Nathanael cried out, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel." That is always the final outcome with the Nathanael type of skeptics.
II. Thomas. John 20:24-29.
1. Thomas was a good fellow in many ways. Kind-hearted, generous, noble impulses. John 11:16.
2. Thomas had some grand faults, and his skepticism came from those faults.
(a) He absented himself too much from the society of people of stronger faith than his own. John 20:24.
(b) Thomas was a man who was inclined to take a dark view of things. John 11:16. It is a bad disposition, this of always looking on the dark
(c) Then Thomas was governed by his senses. John 20;25. He lived in the basement of his being. He believed only what he could see with his eyes, and feel with his hands.
(d) The next failing of Thomas was that he was unwilling to take anything on any one else's testimony. John 10:25. When a man thinks all the world are liars but himself, he is himself probably the greatest liar extant.
(e) He was stubborn. He said, "Except," etc., "I WILL NOT believe."
3. But for all of Thomas' stubbornness he was honest at heart. The next Lord's Day he was not away moping by himself, he was with the disciples when the Lord came. Poor, slow, dull, melancholy, stubborn Thomas was convinced at last. Saw more than any of them had seen, and he cried, "My Lord and my God.”
III. Pilate. John 18:38.
1. The causes of Pilate's skepticism.
(a) The first cause of Pilate's skepticism was Pilate's wicked heart.
(b) Second cause of Pilate's skepticism was the entanglements of his life.
(c) The third cause of Pilate's skepticism was a lack of moral earnestness. Pilate was a trifler.
2. The result of his skepticism. The result was ruin for time and eternity.
IV. The King's Courtier. 2 Kings 7.
1. The cause.
(a) The principal cause of this captain's skepticism is not at all hard to discover. It was simply self-conceit, scornful self-conceit. He could not see how God could do what He promised to do, and he had an idea that if he could not see how it could be done then it couldn't be done at all, for didn't he know everything? Could God possibly know anything
(b) He had a lack of due consideration and respect for others and their opinions.
2. How the skeptic was treated.
Elisha made no attempt to deliver him from his doubts. He simply answered: "Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof." That was wise treatment. There is no use wasting time upon a skeptic of this class.
3. The outcome.
Everything came to pass just as God said it would. So shall it be to every skeptic of this class who does not speedily repent. The promises of God will all come true. Those for this life come true in this life, those for the life to come shall come true in the life to come; but he will have no part in them. They shall see, but not enjoy.