Sermon for the service of April 23, 2017 by Pastor Steve Hopkins
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus performed many other 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 Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:24-31, NIV)
- “So to ask an adult to believe in the resurrection the way they did when they were at Sunday school simply won’t do and that’s true of much of the key elements of the Christian faith” (Director of the Modern Church, BBC News Poll)
- The Problem of Doubt (or Unbelief)
- “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (Thomas, John 20:25, NIV)
- “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” (Jesus, John 4:48, NRSV)
- Immediately, the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NIV)
- So, What Does Jesus Do?
- “Thomas, bring your finger into my hands and bring your hand into my side. Let go of your unbelief, and now, believe.” (Jesus, John 20:27, Steve’s Paraphrase)
- But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. (Mark 9:27, NRSV)
- Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1, Phillips Paraphrase)
- Thomas Responds: “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28)
- The Way of Worship, the Way of Belief, The Way of Life…
- But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)
- What is this life like? “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jesus, John 13:35, NIV)
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:21,22, NIV)
Δ? How do I resolve my doubts or unbelief? How do I help others walk through doubt or unbelief?
Δ? What is God stirring in me today?
- “Sunday School” faith? “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Jesus, Matthew 19:14, NIV)