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February 3, 2021 2:00 am
Many believers wrestle with doubt, so it's comforting to know that Jesus never turned away the questions of a sincere searcher. In the message "Jesus Loves Doubters," Skip reveals vital insight about faith and doubt by looking at two notable doubters.
This teaching is from the series Jesus Loves People .Links:
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Note could be that some of you are struggling with similar doubts like John as to the identity of Jesus you wonder is Jesus really the same guy that all these Christians tell me that he is and I just suggest you do with John. John did just doing his prison cell. You don't just bounce this person or if you want to find the answer by sending his men to go examine Jesus if you ever dealt with. Rest assured that you are not alone. All believers struggle with but that doesn't mean there aren't any answers today on connect with Skip Heitzig Skip share some encouragement that will help you when you struggle with death. Now want to share about an exciting resource that helps you better understand the unconditional nature of God's love.
People everywhere have a deep God-given need to be loved, but sadly sometimes the people who need love the most the most rejected here. Skip, I think we all crave love. We will do sometimes almost anything to get it to know that we are loved by somebody else unconditionally.
No wonder that better than Jesus love the worst of sinners.
You love the best of saints Jesus. So the love of God in human flesh we want to give you a glimpse of God's relentless love for all people including you by sending you the Jesus loves people for booklet collection by skip.
I think all four Jesus loves people titles including Jesus loves the broken RR thanks for your gift of $25 or more today to help connect more people to God's love through his word connectwithskip.com/offer to give online securely or call 892 1888. Matthew 11 John 20 as we dive into the teaching with highs. Dennis was a doubter. Dennis grew up in a home with a family that gave him a traditional upbringing, believing in God, going to church but as Dennis came of age, he found himself doubting many of the things he had been taught by the time Dennis had college. His struggles were pronounced. He became a major in science and eventually his doubts solidified into deep convictions. He was very secure in his unbelief. Dennis went on to become an instructor in biology at the college level and then a medical doctor eventually by the time I met Dennis however he admitted to me that he knew something was missing in his life and we had great conversations and I remember Dennis beginning to doubt his own doubts and he revisited all of the things that he was doubting and what he had once believed and I watched a man who at one time held is some form of belief and become a doubter and eventually unbelief to move from unbelief back to doubt and then eventually to become a bona fide strong, vibrant believer in Jesus Christ great Dr. Gray Christian Dennis's story is not alone. Hundreds of people for generations have struggled with issues of faith did did you know that people who even lived during the time of Jesus did as well. Remember the story of the man who had a son who is oppressed and brought his son to Jesus in our Lord said, if you believe anything is possible to him who believes in the man said. I believe but help my unbelief.
Ever been there, I believe, but there's this part of me that struggles with doubt Tim Stafford who was an author admitted this when he was in college. He said I was supposed to hear his voice in a 2000-year-old book I was supposed to talk with him in prayer. But when I read the Bible.
I heard no voices in my prayers often seem more like I was talking to myself.
My sense of his presence was never intense enough to form absolute proof of God and other people's experience. Well, I was other people. So one blustery night when the wind blew the trees high into the air. I walk for miles asking God again and again to simply show himself to me. I shouted to have an to shatter the silence.
I did not want to work up a feeling of God. I wanted God to break in on me. He did not. I heard no voice. I saw no lights in the sky. I went home to my dorm room and I went to bed and I survived.
I did more than survive. I grew but I did not stop longing for God to be unquestionably real to me. I discovered something that many people like Dennis. Some of the strongest believers I've ever met or read one time struggling unbelievers. CS Lewis, Josh McDowell, Francis Collins, who was the head of the human genome project, medical doctor, many, many people like those people struggled through doubts and came to vibrant faith which you need to know that even the very closest men to Jesus had their own doubts.
The apostles themselves. After the resurrection. When the women came and reported that the tomb was empty. Listen to what the Bible says, and their words seemed like idle tales and they did not believe them, will you look at two skeptics today to doubters. John the Baptist, I prefer: John the baptizer because we really don't know if he was Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian. So let's just call him John the baptizer or Jade the be if you prefer he was the one who announce the Messiah and then the other one is the classic doubter and that is Thomas you could call this message a tale of two skeptics, John the Baptist and Thomas Rogan a look at these two gentlemen and then working a look at their doubts, and then looking to see how Jesus handled.
Let's begin with John the baptizer. The first notable doubter in Matthew chapter 11 and his problem is that he doubted the identity of Jesus. Matthew 11 verse one it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding his 12 disciples that he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to him, that is, the two disciples of John said to Jesus, are you coming one or do we look for another Jesus answered and said to them going tell John the things which you hear and see the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up in the poor have the gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who is not offended because of me. So here's John the Baptist. Wondering if this Jesus is really the guy. Are you the coming liner do we look for another.
Let's back up a little bit at one time John the baptizer was very clear as to who Jesus was. He was the guy you remember when when Christ came to the Jordan River and John Syme said look, there's the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. That's a clear statement of faith that the Savior right there. Another time he said you know this guy is so great I'm not even worthy to bend down and untie his shoelaces's sandal straps. That's how great he is and how not great. I am and then he said of Jesus, though John himself was older than Christ. He said the one who comes after me is preferred before me because he was before me. Another translation says he preexisted before I was born a powerful statement of his deity. She put it all together. John knew who Jesus was. He's the Savior of the world is God in human flesh now and add a layer to that. We know that probably John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were second cousins.
Most scholars believe that Jesus mother Mary and Elizabeth were first cousins making Jesus and John second cousins to me. That adds to the authenticity of the statements of John about Jesus because two of you would ever say about your cousin.
My cousin he's God used a lot of other things about your cousin probably not that my cousin he's a Savior of the world, but John growing up with Jesus going to the festivals in Jerusalem being at family reunions knew him very well believe that about them, but now he sort of second-guessing it. It says he is in prison and we know why he is in prison. The Bible tells us because he was very openly preaching against one of the rulers name Herod Antipas who dumped his wife so that he could marry his brother Philip's wife named Herodias they were hooking up. John saw that any preached against that ended them up in jail.
So now he's in jail and is rethinking the whole thing is rotting in jail and he's wondering. So where's the kingdom are you the one or do we look for another, let's go to Thomas now in John chapter 20 Thomas the apostle John chapter 20 verse 24 now Thomas called the twin, one of the 12, was not with them when Jesus came the other disciples therefore said to him, we have seen the Lord so he said to them, unless I see it in his hands, the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails and put my hand into his side.
I will not believe. After eight days. His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shot and stood in the midst, and said piece to you and he said to Thomas, reach your finger here, and look at my hands and reach your hand here, and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing and Thomas answered and said to him, my Lord and my God. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
Okay so Thomas was the apostle from Missouri right the show me state hey Tom Jesus is alive. Show me the really the tomb is epic. Show me he was that guy. He's the classic doubter.
We always think of Thomas whenever there's a word association about doubt that we even call people who are doubters work on doubting Thomas is if Thomas is somehow the patron saint of all skeptics.
He has to live with that wrap will usually find Thomas in the New Testament singing in the minor key, he always sees the dark side of things.
I've often said if this were a Winnie the Pooh cartoon Thomas would be DR right ER the donkey good morning, your good morning.
If it is good which I doubt any time.
That's Thomas. I heard about a woman who was her first time she had ever made Thanksgiving dinner turkey for Thanksgiving for her family and that she wasn't she was anything but an expert. She was a novice and she said to her family look this is my first go around.
If this turkey does not turn out. I don't want to hear a word from you. Were just going to go out and grab dinner at a restaurant, so she went into the kitchen and brought the turkey into the dining room and there was her family already dressed "ready to go. Thomas was the apostle with the code on. However, there's a couple things that I think we need to know about Thomas to servicer to balance out his profile. Thomas was loyal.
Did you know that all of the apostles. Thomas was the guy who was loyal to Jesus as there was that time when our Lord said let's go back up to Judea and all of the apostles said no way to minute the Jews recently have sought to stone you in Judeo. Why would you go there. It was Thomas who spoke up and said let us go with him also that we made die with him. Okay now that's not a very encouraging statement. That's an ER statement, but that's a loyal statement.
It's a very courageous statement.
I am willing to follow you to death, so he was loyal. Second thing I love this about Thomas. He was honest he was real.
He was real. He was the guy in the upper room after the Passover supper when Jesus said to his men. Let not your heart be troubled you believe in God believe also in me. In my father's house there are many mansions if it were not so I would've told you I'm going to prepare a place for you and if I go I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And where I'm going.
You know, and the way you know Thomas immediately piped up and said we don't know where you're going and how can we know the way pretty honest in it. I can sort of imagine the scene that all of the apostle sort of nodding. When Jesus was saying oh yeah amen good profound Thomas going. I don't get a word you just said I'm so glad he piped up and said that you know I because immediately Jesus said what I consider gold in Scripture. He said I am the way the truth and the life.
No one comes to the father but by me. But Thomas was never the guy to try to put on a spiritual mask and a safe glory to God hallelujah praise the Lord. If you didn't mean it. He does it. Don't know where you're going.
Couldn't figure out the way the little boy that came over the bad report card is dad looked at it and said one thing is good with grades like this. You couldn't possibly be cheating and I would say Thomas was statements like that you couldn't possibly be faking. So Thomas was a doubter, but Thomas was loyal and he was real. So those are the doubters J the B John the Baptist on the baptizer Thomas the apostles John. He doubted the identity of Jesus Thomas. He doubted the activity of Jesus that he had risen from the dead. So let's now look at the doubts that they had the things they bring that they're struggling with to Jesus.
First of all, John now John's doubt was based upon listen on fulfilled expectations, unfulfilled expectations, John expected certain things out of Jesus that he was not seeing or getting and therefore he doubted John had the misconception like even the apostles had that when the Messiah comes in here is Jesus. So when the Messiah comes easy to set up his kingdom now he's gonna overthrow the Roman oppressors. He's gonna stop all of that suffering.
He's going to judge them and easy to set up his kingdom now that's not happening to John John's in jail and in jail. Now he's rethinking it.
Thoughts probably like this.
Didn't Jesus announce he was in the set the captives free. Wasn't this the guy who said I have come to set at liberty those who are bound so you you take those unfulfilled expectations and you add to them emotional and physical strain and you have a recipe for doubt is John's doubt unfulfilled expectations only tell you this is not unusual for strong believers, even Christian leaders to from time to time struggle with uncertainty. Did you know that Moses second-guessed his calling a few times. Jeremiah wanted to quit the ministry altogether.
Elijah wanted to end his life. See when a believer has faithfully and sacrificially serve the Lord for years and then experiences, tragedy, or series of tragedies. It's hard to figure that out. The loss of a child, a child going astray cancer entering into the family. The person starts asking questions God where are you when I really really need you.
How come you don't help.
Why did you let it happen, you know, it could be that some of your struggling with similar doubts like John as to the identity of Jesus you wonder is Jesus really the same guy that all these Christians tell me that he is can I just suggest that you do what John did. John did just doing his prison cell. You know, just bounce in this questioner. He went to find the answer by sending his men to go examine Jesus. Once you personally examine Christ now.
If you are a skeptic, even an atheist. Let me give you just a little challenge and I can have you go read reams of material, but simply this, a 21 day challenge and will take you 10 to 15 minutes a day early and lets her came up with this and I've always loved that. He said every day for the next 21 days read one chapter of the Gospel of John will take about 1015 minutes to do so. Just read through it and in the 21 days answer one question who is Jesus to John present Jesus Christ to be begin their go to the source and find out about him such John the Baptist. Now let's consider Thomas's doubt. Thomas's doubt was different than John's in that Thomas's doubt was based upon personal presupposition I need to explain. Thomas had a pre-disposition of presupposition in here it is. Dead people don't get up again when people die. That's it. Okay he had seen Jesus raise people from the dead, but that guy himself is now dead and he was not expecting Jesus to ever die if he's the Messiah he's going to set up the kingdom now now is dead because he wasn't expecting his death. He certainly was not expecting his resurrection. He wasn't even open to the idea at all, which places his doubt in a different category altogether. I would even label it unbelief, no doubt and unbelief are different. Doubt looks for answers. Unbelief doesn't really care that much about the answers.
Doubt says I can't believe unbelief says I won't believe doubt is honesty. Unbelief is obstinacy exceed our work through the difficulties and find a faith that is reasonable and satisfying unbelief is different. It decides against faith and pushes it away at all costs. So Thomas did this, he was one of the apostles that did not go to the tomb to see it was empty.
No record of them ever going. In fact the first time Jesus shows up with the apostles.
Thomas wasn't even with them. Look at verse 24. Thomas called the twin, one of the 12, was not with them when Jesus came he showed up showed himself to them.
They told Thomas because he wasn't there.
He isolated himself from other believers very different from John. John was put in prison he suffering Thomas is in solitude. He isolated himself from the other apostles who he was not with them. Matthew Henry once said, there are none so blind as those who will not see there are none so deaf as those who will not hear photographers with I want talk about. I will not talk about things I want to talk about Jesus blindness. That's unbelief. Don't confuse me with the facts with a message from the series Jesus loves people want to share about a unique opportunity to take your knowledge of Scripture to a new level.
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