Monday, April 4, 2016

Hello Friends!

I'm back with a word about Doubt.

Following the Resurrection, the disciples were greeted by Jesus for the first time that first Easter Sunday evening...all of the disciples but Thomas, who was absent.  When the others told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he doubted. In fact, he did not believe them.  Thus, the legend of "Doubting Thomas" began.

All of us have doubted from one degree to another.  And that doubt can either discourage us from seeking the Lord or encourage us to seek him more intently.  I define "doubt" like this:

Doubt is a crisis of Faith precipitated by a wavering belief that God is able or willing to fulfill his promises in our lives.

If you will listen to this message, I am confident that God will bless you.  And if you are blessed, I ask you one favor...tell your Christian friends for they will be blessed, too, with this common challenge in the life of every believer at one time or another.  Below is an outline, for your convenience.

Let me know what you think.  God bless, Kirk McCormick

 “A Bout with Doubt”
John 20:24-31

4 Concepts of “Doubt” in the New Testament

Concept/Word/Cause # 1 - Wavering

Matthew 14:31 - “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and
caught Peter. Jesus said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt/waver?”

Concept/Word/Cause #2 - Skepticism

ILL:  This is the doubt about which Jesus chastises the disciples when he says in Mark 11:23 -

I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.

Concept/Cause #3 -  Over-thinking

1 John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness…”

…but you convince yourself that that Promise of God cannot be true in YOUR CASE!

Point: Over-thinking rather than just accepting… causes doubt.

Concept/Word/Cause #4 - Unbelief

Literally!  = apistos = “a” =  prefix “Not” or “no”…and pistos = faith.

(apistos) = no faith = DOUBT!

** This is the word for Thomas’ doubt = lack of faith  **

Note:  Thomas’s doubt was from not a lack of:

1. …knowledge about the Resurrection. 

** Just before Thomas doubts we read,

John 20:25 - “The other disciples kept telling him,
‘We have seen the Lord!’”

…but even with that knowledge, Thomas doubted/didn’t have faith.

2. Thomas’ doubt was not caused by a lack of…love for Jesus

Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
(John 11:16).

Note: No one is willing to die for someone they DO NOT love…

Point: Thomas loved Jesus…but he still doubted.

3. Thomas doubt was not caused by a lack of… interest in Godly things.

ILL:  Like when Jesus said (John 14:2-4) -

I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

** It was Thomas who said, Lord we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way.”

…and it remains a common characteristic in his disciples even today!

Summary Definition:

** I guess if we were to try to summarize doubt or develop a working definition, we might say that:

Doubt is a crisis of faith precipitated by a wavering belief or unbelief that God is able or willing to fulfill his promises in our lives.

** I like how one author defined Doubt -

“Doubt is a state of mind in suspension between faith and unbelief.”

…we’ve all had “A Bout (or two) of Doubt”

Faith is the Antidote to Doubt.

Application 1:  To overcome Doubt, build Faith by…Connecting with Jesus.

“Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’”  (John 20:26b - NIV)

App 2:  To overcome Doubt, build Faith by …Saturating your life with the Promises of God.

1 Timothy 1:3, 4 - “I urged you to stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread wrong teaching or to give attention to myths and unending genealogies; these things only foster doubts instead of furthering God's plan which is founded on faith.” 

Application 3:  To overcome Doubt, build Faith by …Focusing more on God’s eternal promises than your temporary circumstances.

Romans 4:18a, 20, 21 - NJB -  Against all hope, Abraham believed...Counting on the promise of God, he did not doubt or disbelieve, but drew strength from faith and gave glory to God, fully convinced that whatever God promised he has the power to perform.” 

Note: John, in 20:30, 31, tells us why he wrote the Gospel…

John 20:30, 31 - “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” 

John 1:12 - “To all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 - “For by grace are you saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves – it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.”

John 20:31 - “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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