Summary: In our world today we face doubts all the time. Doubts in our ability to be salt and light. Doubts in God’s ability to use us for his great plan. Doubts about our worthiness to God. But Thomas let his doubts bring him closer to Jesus.
Sermon – 060423
(Set up: Time Hack request with music minister --
Check watch at start of sermon, tap it a few times then ask music minister the following:)
“What time is it?" (No matter what answer is given say:) "Naw, that can’t be right. (walk over to her to look) Let me see your watch….”
(As you walk back to the pulpit, without looking at the congregation yet, ask them:)
How many of you checked your own watches, even after you heard the time? This grown woman looked at her watch, analyzed the data, and gave us the answer, and yet many of us, somewhere in our brains, doubted her ability to correctly perform a skill mastered by the average 7-year-old child.
I. Thomas Had Doubts
a. The other apostles didn’t hear about Jesus’s appearance second hand like Thomas did: they saw Jesus in the room with them!
b. Remember that on Easter morning, when the women told them that Jesus was risen, they didn’t believe what they heard. Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves.
II. Other People in the Bible Had Doubts
a. Mark 9:14-24
i. Father with a son who was possessed by evil spirit. Disciples couldn’t cast it out, so he asked Jesus to have mercy on them and help, “Do something if you can.”
ii. When Jesus says, “Anything is possible for one who believes” the father says, “I do believe, but help me not to doubt.”
b. Matt 28:16-17 (Page 85) – Almost the Great Commission
i. “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”
ii. That’s SOME, not ONE. Thomas isn’t the only one of the disciples who doubted the risen Christ, even when Jesus was standing right in front of them!
III. Thomas Actually Faithful
a. When Jesus told his disciples they were going to Bethany following the death of Lazarus, Thomas tells the other disciples, “Let’s go with him, so that we may die also.” He knew the danger that faced all of them, since the authorities wanted to kill Jesus, but he was willing to go anyway.
b. When Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus he said, “My Lord and my God.” He was the first apostle to call Jesus “God.”
i. Peter had recognized him as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Son of Man, etc.
ii. But no one else had referred to Jesus as God until Thomas.
IV. Doubt Leads to Questions
a. When we have questions about our faith, we can trust God, take him at his Word, and read his Word.
b. God has spoken consistently to more than 40 different authors over about 1,500 years, compiling his story in the Old and New Testaments
c. The Holy Spirit has also guided theologians over the past 2,000 years in various commentaries.
V. Let Your Questions Lead You Closer to God
a. Carl Rogers, famous American psychologist was in seminary
i. Attended a seminar designed to explore religious doubts
ii. He later said, “The majority of members...in thinking their way through questions they had raised, thought themselves right out of religious work. I was one.”
b. Thomas, on the other hand, let his doubts lead him closer to God through his faith
i. Trust God
ii. Seek him in prayer
VI. Prayer Builds our Faith
a. Not just asking God for things
b. It’s also listening for his voice
VII. Prayer has Amazing Results
a. LT Carey Cash, Navy Chaplain with Marine Corps
i. Witnessed miracles in the desert of Kuwait and in Iraq
ii. One battle in Iraq was April 10, 2003, as they captured the presidential palace by the Tigris river. His battalion was ambushed by about a thousand Fedayeen at four in the morning. The close-quarters urban battle lasted nine hours, with between 1,000 and 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades fired at his convoy.
iii. Cash expected mass casualties and many dead Marines. But when he got to the presidential palace, he found they had lost only one Marine, and that the battalion was behaving like they’d “just walked through the Red Sea.”
iv. Over and over stories were told to him: “Chaplain, let me tell you what God did for me; Chaplain, the angels that we have been talking about for weeks, preceding this war, shielded me and protected me.’ It was amazing.
b. Cash’s Marines didn’t physically see any angels. But they did see that rocket-propelled grenades would come at them, and then literally curve in mid-air and go around them.
c. Others saw rockets coming at them which then literally dove down as if they were batted by some unseen hand.
d. One rocket went through Humvee passenger-side window, exploding in the compartment. It should have killed every man in that vehicle. But instead the explosion just blew out the front windshield, and not a single man was injured.