CAN FAITH AND DOUBT COEXIST?

Mark 9:24, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

John 20:26, “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus (Don’t you love it when Jesus Comes?), the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

I want to ask you a question this morning, and I suppose this will be the title of the message, “CAN FAITH AND DOUBT CO-EXIST?” 

I love the story in Mark chapter 9 where a father has an issue with his son, and he brings him to the disciples, but the disciples can’t do anything for him, so Jesus says, “Bring him to me.”

And Jesus says, “All things are possible to him that believe,” and the Father says, “LORD, I believe – help thou my unbelief.

So, if the father believed in something, what is it that he didn’t believe in?  You see, I don’t believe that father doubted God – I believe he doubted himself. 

Now when it comes to my own life, I have no doubt in my mind that God is real – and there is nothing you can do to change that.

When it comes to God being a healer, I have no doubt that God can heal who He wants, when He wants and however He wants.

When it comes to God being my provider, I have no doubt about that. “He said He would supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.

But where that doubt comes in is when I ask the question, “Can that same Healer do it for me?”

It’s not a matter of CAN HE DO IT, but WILL HE DO IT?  So the doubt is not in God, the doubt is in us!

So, we all have to ask ourselves Can faith and doubt co-exist, and it’s something we all have to ask ourselves as a child of God. 

And listen, I’m going to say this upfront, please understand that just because you have some doubts in your life, and just because you have doubts about God doing something for you, doesn’t mean that you are not saved.  It doesn’t mean that you are sinning, it doesn’t even mean that you lack faith.  What it does mean is that you are a human being. 

I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we’d have to say that there have been times in our lives when we’ve seen God do mighty things in peoples’ lives and then we say to ourselves, “Well I know God did that in so and so’s life, but I don’t know if God will do that for me.” 

Now I want to show you three people in the Book of John where both Faith and Doubt Co-existed.  But, each one of them overcame their doubt.  And the way that they overcame their doubt is the same way that you and I will overcome our doubt.

I.          THOMAS DOUBTED BECAUSE OF HE DIDN’T SEE THE SIGNS (John 20:24)

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.”

And Thomas even said in verse 25, “You told me He showed up, but I haven’t seen Him with my own eyes.  “. . . Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

In the Bible, he is referred to as Thomas, but most of us refer to him as “Doubting Thomas.”  That’s odd, because the Bible NEVER refers to him as “Doubting Thomas.’

You know why he is referred to as Doubting Thomas?  Because church people gave him that name – because we are quick to point out other people’s failures and mistakes. 

Now, it is obvious that he did have doubt.  He had doubt because he didn’t see the signs.  He was looking for something, and because he didn’t see it, he doubted that it could be true.

And this is a common theme when it comes to doubt in our own lives.  Just because we haven’t seen God do it yet, then we begin to doubt that He can, or even that He will

Sometimes we can wait on God for so long, that we begin to wonder if He is ever going to show up again.

As I was researching the history of a Church recently, I came across a news article about the 250th Anniversary.  I read of a certain lady (93 at the time), whose forefathers where members of this church, whose sons and husband were baptized at this church and whose husband is buried in this church cemetery, said, “I remember when the church was filled and had revival meetings with no air conditioning,” She said. “We raised the windows and people were sitting outside on their cars looking inside listening to the message. We really had revival then.”

I got to thinking about my home church, 4th Street Baptist Church in Hartsville, and I thought about some of the services we had back then, and I said to myself, “I sure do miss the services we had back then and I pray God will let me see services like that again before He calls me home.”

And I find myself saying “Lord, it’s not that I don’t believe You can, but will You?”  We wait months, sometimes years and even decades and we ask ourselves “Will He do it again?”  And because we haven’t seen Him do it, Doubt sets in.

Thomas said, “Until I see it with my own eyes . . . I will not believe it!

But notice what the Bible says in verse 26, “THEN CAME JESUS.”  Now the reason that Thomas didn’t believe is because he wasn’t in the right place the first time. 

Now folks, this is a beautiful picture of GRACE, and I’m going to show you why.

You see, Jesus didn’t have to come a SECOND TIME.  He already showed up once, just a few verses earlier.  And for whatever reason, Thomas missed Jesus when He came the first time.  And when Thomas said in verse 25, “Unless I see I will not believe,” verse 26 says, “Then came Jesus!”

And it left Thomas saying, “My LORD and my God.”  What a beautiful picture of Grace. 

  • Jesus didn’t have to walk through those walls;
  • Jesus didn’t have to show up again.
  • But He did – and it dispelled Thomas’ doubt.

And in verse 27, Jesus tells Thomas, “Thomas, don’t worry about the things that you haven’t seen – focus on the things that you have seen!”

Folks listen, God has done so much for me in my life, that if He never does another thing, He has already done more than I deserved.

Thomas Doubted because he didn’t see the Signs

II.         MARY MAGEDELLIN DOUBTED BECAUSE SHE DIDN”T SENSE THE SAVIOUR

             (John 20:11-13)

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”

She had doubt because she didn’t know where the LORD was.  Maybe you never been in the place where you had to wonder where GOD is at – But some of you have been through some things and you’ve questioned “LORD, WHERE ARE YA?

You see, I believe we’ve all had those John 11 moments, “LORD, IF YOU’D OF BEEN HERE . . .

When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha:

  • They are going through the biggest valley they have ever crossed;
  • They are facing the greatest trial they will ever face;
  • They are facing the greatest tragedy they’ve ever faced;
  • And they are carrying the heaviest burden they will ever carry.

And so they were left asking “LORD, IF YOU’D OF BEEN HERE . . .

  • “LORD, IF YOU’D OF BEEN HERE . . . my daughter wouldn’t have cancer.”
  • “LORD, IF YOU’D OF BEEN HERE . . . I wouldn’t have lost my job.”
  • “LORD, IF YOU’D OF BEEN HERE . . . my marriage would have lasted.”
  • “LORD, IF YOU’D OF BEEN HERE . . . this wouldn’t have happened.”

And listen, when we have those John 11 moments, Satan will come and jump all over that doubt and he will cause it to swell.  But folks, just because you can’t see Jesus doesn’t mean that He’s not there!

In verse 15, Mary was talking to who she thought was the Gardner, pleading with him to find the body of Jesus, when in fact, it actually was Jesus, and He said, “Mary . . .”  And when Jesus spoke her name, the lens of doubt was removed and she realized He was there all along.

Folks, just because you can’t see Jesus, doesn’t mean that He’s not there!  He’s been there every step of the way.  The Bible says “He never leaves us nor forsakes us.”

Mary almost missed it because her perception of what Jesus looked like was different than what she got. 

Mary didn’t Sense the Saviour,

Thomas didn’t See the Signs,

III.        SIMON PETER DIDN’T STUDY THE SCRIPTURES (John 20:9)

For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”

I have heard many messages regarding the folded napkin  that Peter and John found in that tomb, and even heard some beautiful songs in regards to that napkin, and the symbolic meaning it had to Jesus custom – but folks, there is something very significant that I see about this folder napkin that we can dismiss, or miss altogether by just subscribing to the theories or customs.

So let’s just play CSI of the tomb for one second and exam it’s contents. 

  1. There was linen clothes just waded up lying there;
  2. Then there was the folder napkin place properly on the bench where Jesus’ body lay.

Can I submit to you that the evidence that I see does not point to a Robbery – but to a Resurrection

Because who is their right mind, if they’re going to steal a body, would stop to take the time to fold the napkin?

No folks, I believe Jesus took the time to fold that napkin Himself.  And I think He was leaving a message for Simon Peter.  “Simon Peter, I know you have some problems.  I know you’ve denied me, and I know you are hurting.  But Simon Peter, if you know the Scriptures, then you’ll know the evidence I’ve left fulfills Scriptures that “No man can take my life . . . I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again.

The most sure fired way that you and I have to combat the doubt in our lives, is to know the Scriptures. 

I heard a story about a drama teacher that was taking her class to see an Opera play.  But before going, she gave all of them the script to the play to read.  The students were upset with the teacher for assigning the homework and said that she was spoiling the play for them.  But what they didn’t understand was that the play was in Italian.  And the teacher said,  the reason I am giving you this is because when you see it, you won’t understand it, unless you’ve read it.”

And sometimes we miss what God is doing, because we haven’t read what He can do.  But when you’ve read what He can do and has done, and He shows up – you will have no problem recognizing when He does it again!

So what happened?  Well, Jesus Showed Up!  Look at verse 19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

 Let me read that again.  Can somebody tell me what the first day of the week is?  SUNDAY.

So, the first day of the week, Jesus shows up and rids them all of their doubt.

Now listen, I know that God can show up anywhere that He wants to, any time that He wants to. 

  • He has shown up with me in my truck;
  • He has shown up with me while riding my motorcycle;
  • He has shown up to me in a hospital room;
  • He has shown up to me in the grocery store.

But it doesn’t happen every day.  If doesn’t happen every time I get in my truck, it doesn’t happen every time I ride my motorcycle, it doesn’t happen every time I visit the hospital or walk through the grocery store.  BUT IT DOESN’T HAPPEN EVERYTIME.

But, there is one place I can guarantee you that He shows up EVERY SINGLE TIME – whether we see Him or not.  And that place is “On the first day of the week,” where the Bible says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

They were assembling on the first day of the week – then came Jesus!  Sounds a lot like church to me. 

So, why do we need Church on Sunday and why do we need church on Wednesday?  Because we don’t know it all. 

But it’s not enough for just us to show up, we need Him to show up!

  • Aren’t you grateful for the when Jesus showed up and you got saved?
  • Aren’t you grateful for the day when Jesus showed up and your children got saved?

I pray today that you and I can get past enduring our salvation, to enjoying our salvation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s