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May 15, 2017 / brockbruce

The Remedy For My Doubts

***This is originally the sermon notes for a sermon from a series titled “Now What.” You can hear the sermon audio here.***

Confession. I doubt.
Like the disciples in the storm. I doubt.
Like Peter when he stepped out of the boat. I doubt.
Like Andrew looking at the hungry crowds and all they had to feed them were five loaves and two fish. I doubt.
Like the virgin Mary when the angel first told her that she was pregnant. I doubt.
Like Thomas after the death of Jesus. I doubt.
I doubt.
Sometimes I doubt my calling.
Sometimes I doubt that God is really there.
Sometimes I doubt that God cares.
Sometimes I doubt God will do what He has promised.
Sometimes I doubt.
I know I’m not the only one who doubts.
When you hurt. You doubt.
When you sin. You doubt.
When a prayer isn’t answered the way you want it to be. You doubt.
I’m the same.
Sometimes I doubt.
So what do I do?
I do the only thing that makes any sense in the middle of my doubts.
I look to Jesus.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I wouldn’t be a Christian.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I wouldn’t believe in a good God.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I would be miserable.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I would question everything.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I wouldn’t believe in truth.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, doubt would dictate my worldview.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I would be hopeless.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I would be lost.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I would be empty.
If I didn’t believe in the resurrected Christ, I would be a broken mess.
If I didn’t believe.
Often I’m like the father needing Jesus to perform a miracle for his son, I cry out, “I believe, help my unbelief”.
Sometimes I doubt.
 
But It’s in those moments that I look again at Jesus.
I look at the resurrected Christ.
 
I look at the resurrected Christ historically.
 
I look at the resurrected Christ personally.
What do I mean by I look at the resurrected Christ historically?
Firstly, I look at the story of scripture.
I look at the promise made in Genesis 3 and fulfilled on the cross, guaranteed at the empty tomb, and pictured in The Revelation.
I look at the beauty of the covenants that started with Adam, was renewed with Moses, was expanded with Abraham, was clarified with David, and was fulfilled and made new with Jesus.
I look at the life and teachings of Jesus.
I look at the prophecies concerning his death and resurrection.
I look at the biblical evidence of his resurrection.
     That Jesus resurrection was prophecies in advance, by prophets hundreds of years before.
     That Jesus predicted his resurrection.
     That Jesus died.
     That Jesus was buried in a tomb that was easy to find.
     That Jesus appeared physically alive three days after his death.
     That Jesus had a resurrected body.
     That Jesus resurrection was recorded as Scripture within just a few years after it occurred.
     That Jesus resurrection was celebrated in the earliest church creeds as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
     That Jesus resurrection convinced his family to worship him as God.
     That Jesus resurrection was confirmed by even his enemies.
Secondly, I look at the circumstantial evidence of his resurrection.
     That Jesus disciples were transformed.
     That Jesus disciples were willing to die for this fact.
     That the disciples were people of integrity.
     That worship changed. Saturday to Sunday. Jesus as God.
     That women discover the empty tomb.
     That the basis of the early church’s teaching was based on the fact of the resurrection.
     That Jesus tomb was not enshrined.
     That Christianity exploded because of this fact.
Thirdly, I look at the historical evidence for his resurrection.
     That the Jewish historian, Josephus, who lived from A.D. 37-100 wrote that Jesus was crucified but was appeared to them alive three days later.
     That Roman historian, Suetonius wrote about the resurrection of Jesus.
     That Pliny the Younger wrote about the resurrection of Jesus as the basis for a new religious movement.
So when I doubt, I look at the historical evidence of Jesus.
 
But I don’t only look at the historical evidence of Jesus.
I look at the personal evidence of Jesus.
What do I mean that I look at the resurrected Christ personally?
     I look at his intervention in my birth. I should have been still-born or in a vegetative state. But Jesus intervened.
     I look at his personal Spirit-endwelling, baptism when I was only eight years old.
     I look at encounters I’ve had with him. Real, tangible, God-moving, God-speaking encounters.
     I look at how he has met me in scripture every time I open up the word.
     I look at the wife God gave me and that he has preserved our marriage.
     I look at the miracles that are my children.
          That Elleson was healed of epilepsy. That recently the doc was amazed at her back. That the brace she wears fro scoliosis doesn’t straighten out your spine, but at the last x-ray he said one of the curves was practically nonexistent.
          That Carter was raised from death as a one month old. No heart-beat. Not breathing. Indications of spinal meningitis. But after week in the hospital, a miracle happened. Doctors had not explanation. Buy Carter was healed.
     I look at how Jesus has constantly provided for us financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually.
When I doubt, I look at the reality of the resurrection of Christ historically as well as the reality of the resurrection personally.
Sometimes I doubt.
But Jesus never lets me go.
Sometimes I doubt.
But Jesus never doubts his ability to keep me.
Jesus never waivers in his love for me.
Jesus never gets angry at me.
Sometimes he tells me to stop doubting.
Sometimes he has to shake me to wake me.
Sometimes he has to hold me.
But he never gives up.
Sometimes I doubt.
But he never gives up.
I’m not alone in my doubts. 
I’ve got pretty famous company.
Let’s look at John 20:19-29
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” [20] When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. [21] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” [22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Jesus shows up the very Sunday of his resurrection to the disciples.
He immediately showed them his hands and his side.
He knew they wouldn’t believe.
He knew they would doubt.
So before he asks them to follow him, or gives them the next instructions, he calms their fear and removes their doubts.
I love that Jesus understands our frailty.
That Jesus understands our weakness, our mortality.
Jesus has so much for us, but he knows that before we follow him, we must trust him.
He gives us reason to trust him.
The story doesn’t end there.
Because there was one disciple who missed the Sunday night gathering.
If you miss gathering with believers you just might miss something huge.
Jesus and Thomas
[24] Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “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.”
[26] Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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 see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” [28] Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” [29] Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (ESV)
I love that Thomas is so honest.
He’s not going to take the disciples word for it.
I mean, Thomas saw the crucifixion with his own eyes.
He saw the nails.
The beating.
The sword.
The crown of thorns.
He saw the death of Christ.
If he wasn’t going to follow a dead man.
I don’t blame him.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.
Jesus claimed to the only way to the Father.
Jesus claimed to be the Good Shepherd.
Jesus claimed that he would be killed but that on the third day he would be raised.
Jesus claimed to be God.
Thomas wasn’t going to follow a liar.
They only way Thomas would believe is if he saw Jesus just as alive as he was dead.
Unless I see, I will never believe.
Never.
So Jesus goes to Thomas.
He offers his hands, his side. 
He says believe.
And Thomas cries out one of the most important statement in all of Scripture.
“My Lord and my God!”
He believes.
But he doesn’t just believe that Jesus is alive.
He doesn’t believe only that Jesus has been resurrected.
He believes and confesses that Jesus is both LORD and GOD.
That’s the confession that saves.
That’s the belief that causes life transformation.
It’s the only proper response to the resurrection Christ showing up in your life.
I love that Jesus shows up.
I love that he isn’t put off that Thomas has doubts.
I love that Jesus is big enough, good enough, loving enough to prove himself in spite of our doubts.
Jesus is alive.
Sometimes I doubt. But then I look at Jesus.
Or more accurately, Jesus looks at me, and says I’m right here.
Jesus also understands that we don’t have the experiences of seeing Jesus one week after his physical resurrection.
So Jesus offers us a greater blessing that just being him.
He offers us the blessing of His Spirit living within us, empowering us, indwelling us, equipping us, adopting us, keeping us, comforting us.
Jesus isn’t offended by our doubting.
Jesus offers us himself.
Won’t you believe?
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