First Christian Church
September 19, 2021 1st Service
      • Bible Trivia
  • Love Lifted Me
      • 1 John 4:14CSB

  • Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
  • One Day
  • Wonderful Grace Of Jesus (#338)
    Today we will conclude our four-week series concerning the issue of dealing with doubt.
    We have covered the fact that we can go through seasons of doubt; and that our expectations can lead to doubt.
    Last week we examined how we can struggle to believe because what we see in life does not match what we want to believe.
    Today we will conclude our series by looking at a person you know we have to examine when we tackle the subject of doubt or a struggle to believe.
    How would you like to be known for one mistake you made or one moment of weakness in your life?
    Thomas was one of the original twelve disciples.
    Thomas was a faithful disciple of Jesus.
    We find quotations of Thomas throughout the Gospels.
    When Jesus was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, he was warned by his disciples that Jews wanted to stone him (John 11:5–8).
    Thomas interpreted Jesus going to be with the deceased Lazarus as a part of his plan to restore God’s kingdom.
    The zealous Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16).
    Thomas believed in Jesus as the Messiah—to the extent of martyrdom!
    Thomas was not a disciple who was “lukewarm” or skeptical.
    He had a close relationship with Jesus and would follow him to the end.
    Later in Thomas’s life, according to tradition, Thomas spread the gospel in Parthia and Persia, where he died. Later tradition places Thomas in India, where he was martyred. The Mar Thoma church in India traces its origins to Thomas. (THIS IS TRADITION) Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
    With all of the devotion Thomas showed to Jesus, to get stuck with one of the worst nicknames outside of being called a Judas is a shame.
    The passage we will cover takes place after the resurrection.
    This is a tense, fearful and confusing time for the disciples.
    Remember what they expected.
    Jesus would sit on the throne, put Israel on top again, and kick Rome out on its ear.
    These men were with Jesus from the beginning.
    These men saw and participated in all the miracles, teaching, healing, and some even saw the Transfiguration!
    Here they are, just hours after Mary told them Jesus was alive, sitting behind locked doors, fearful of being rounded up and possibly crucified as Jesus was.
    Something unexpected is about to happen to these men.
    Thomas is called doubting Thomas.
    When we think of someone who doubts, we tend to believe that person is far away from God.
    However, that is not always the case.
    Big Idea of the Message: Just like Thomas, our doubt can show how close we are to God; we can be transformed by Jesus in our doubt.
    As we go through the narrative today, we will see how Jesus will deal with this man struggling with doubt!
    Let’s turn to John 20:19-23
    John 20:19–23 (CSB)
    19 When it was evening on that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
    20 Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
    21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”
    22 After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
    23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

    I. A moment to remember.

    I cannot imagine the level of anxiety the disciples were feeling at this point.
    All of their hopes and dreams were shattered on the cross on Friday.
    There had been some glimmers of hope; Mary’s report and Peter and John's examination of the empty tomb.
    But for some reason, even after all of the times Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen, they were still disappointed, anxious, confused, and afraid.
    Have you ever had your world shattered, your hopes and dreams crushed?
    This is the context of what the disciples are dealing with.
    Our story today hits on all of the other messages from this series.
    The disciple's expectations of a Messiah were not going to be met by a dead Messiah.
    Yes, Jesus told them many times He would rise again.
    Boy, I want to believe that, but people who are crucified and have a spear jammed into their rib cage do not resurrect!
    As a side note, they saw Jesus raise Lazarus.
    Maybe that event did not register because Lazarus was not publically executed?
    Who knows, but when your expectations are not met, not much will pull you out of the throes of doubt.
    These disciples were struggling to believe what Jesus told them.
    I believe they WANTED to believe, but the spectacle of seeing Jesus suffer on the cross and die was just too much for their faith and belief to overcome.
    At what point do you not believe in the promises of Jesus?
    Really, for the disciples of Jesus, this is where the rubber meets the road.
    Jesus told them He would rise again; their eyes and life experience would not let them believe Him.
    What promises will your eyes and life experience not allow you to believe?
    For the disciples, it was a resurrected Jesus!
    The disciples were about to get something, a moment to remember!
    In verse 20, Jesus enters the building!
    Think about this for a moment.
    Jesus enters through a locked door, and He is standing amid His disciples, the ones who are supposed to carry out the mission, and they are fearful and scared.
    What would be the first thing you would say to this group of doubters?
    I do not know if I was in His position that I would say PEACE BE WITH YOU!
    I would probably be more on the lines of “grow a spine,” maybe have a little faith, I don’t know, maybe TRUST ME!
    Despite their display of faithlessness, Jesus does not chastise them; He INVITES THEM.
    Verse 20
    John 20:20 (CSB)
    20 Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
    This was a moment to remember!
    Now Jesus has their attention.
    These disciples did not need to be rejected, chastised, or demoralized for their struggling faith; they needed encouragement!
    Once Jesus has their focus, they are now ready to carry out what Jesus wants them to do, and now nothing would stop them, least of all, fear of what would be done to them.
    Jesus gives them a threefold calling.
    First, in verse 21, Jesus is now sending them to do the work.
    The word SEND is the word we translate as Apostle, meaning one sent!
    Second., in verse 22, Jesus empowers the disciples.
    Jesus endows the new apostles with the resources they will need to function effectively.
    He gives them the Holy Spirit.
    In this gift, they not only have the comfort of the heavenly Advocate in their lives, the true peace of God.
    The word BREATHED is the same word used in the LXX to translate the word speaking of God breathing the breath of life into Adam.
    Third, in verse 23, Jesus gives the authority!
    This time with Jesus will be a moment to remember!
    There is one problem, someone is missing!
    John 20:24–25 (CSB)
    24 But Thomas (called “Twin”), one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
    25 So the other disciples were telling him, “We’ve seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

    II. A moment to doubt.

    In life, there are things that you remember.
    Sometimes they are so incredible that you can’t get them out of your mind.
    When Thomas comes back, he cannot believe what he is hearing.
    Thomas wasn’t there for that great event.
    He did not see Jesus; he did not get to hear Jesus; he did not get to touch Jesus.
    And now he is expected to believe something that logic tells him he cannot!
    It would be kind of like having a fish story or some story that to you seem too incredible, and that would be hard to believe.
    Thomas was not involved in the moment to remember, and the moment was so incredible, he could not believe it!
    What questions would you ask if you heard something so incredible, something you WANTED to believe, but reality wouldn’t let you believe it?
    We pick on Thomas because he is the one we call doubting Thomas.
    But how many of us would have “doubting” for our first name if we walked into that scene.
    Remember Jesus dying shattered their hopes and dreams.
    Then, suddenly, Thomas walks in and sees all this crazy talk about Jesus being alive when Thomas knew when someone was put up put on the cross, you didn’t come off of alive.
    That fact, in part, was true; Jesus did not come off the cross alive; instead, He rose on the third day and defeated death on the third day!
    This is something Thomas should have expected because Jesus told him it was going to happen.
    Plus, Thomas saw the raising of Lazarus.
    However, sometimes no matter what your eyes have seen and no matter how many facts you have before you, some things are hard to believe.
    After the death and resurrection of Jesus, Thomas would not believe the other disciples who reported seeing the risen Lord.
    He said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25).
    Given what we know, does Thomas’s response seem out of line?
    I do not think so!
    Now Thomas gets to hear the stories; maybe he gets needled for not believing for the rest of the week?
    John 20:26–29 (CSB)
    26 A week later his disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
    27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.”
    28 Thomas responded to him, “My Lord and my God!”
    29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

    III. A moment to believe.

    A week later, guess what happens?
    Thomas will get his moment to remember, which will lead to his moment to believe!
    A week later, the disciples were still meeting behind locked doors.
    I find that interesting based on what happened the previous week.
    Maybe the disciples were processing the events of the past week?
    Jesus enters the room again with the same greeting as last week.
    This time guess who is in the room!
    Jesus looks at Thomas and says, get out, loser, ye of little faith. Notice the KJV lingo!
    Jesus says, Doubting Thomas, you are unworthy of me.
    No, no, Jesus does not do that.
    Think about this for a second.
    If Thomas openly doubted Jesus, and Jesus did not obliterate him, run him down or reject him, why would we be so fearful of one struggling with doubt?
    Jesus provided evidence for Thomas so he could believe!
    Why should we not do the same for those struggling with doubt?
    When Jesus met Thomas, he said, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side.
    Do not disbelieve but believe” (v. 27).
    Thomas then proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28).
    Jesus made a point to see Thomas and show this doubtful disciple that he was the Messiah.
    Thomas, when presented with the evidence, was happy to believe!
    Doubt does not always indicate someone is miles and miles away from God.
    In his book on questions and answers in the Christian faith, theologian Roger Olson says,
    “The reflective Christian is one who questions what she believes while continuing to believe what she is questioning” (Roger Olson, Questions to All Your Answers: The Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith[Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008], 153).
    This quotation appropriately comes from the concluding chapter:
    “Believing While Living with Questions.”
    It’s also good for Christians to allow their doubts to be challenged by God’s truth and faithfulness.
    We might see our struggles and doubts as evidence of how far we are from God.
    But those struggles and doubts might show how close we are to Him.
    Our challenge for this week is, “ We will let our doubts be challenged by God’s truth and faithfulness.”
    From this series my prayer is that if or WHEN you struggle with doubt that you will not think you are weird or some sort of loser Christian.
    Jesus is big enough to deal with your doubts and to help you through them.
    I pray you will reach out to your church family for help and that you will actively see answers from God!
      • John 20.19-20CSB

      • John 20.21-23CSB

      • John 20.20CSB

      • John 20.24-25CSB

      • John 20.26-27CSB

      • John 20.28-29CSB

  • Christ Arose (#357)
  • It Is Well With My Soul (#705)
  • He Is Lord

Let us get to know you!

Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
How did you hear about us?