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On this continuation of the Courage series, pastor David covers the life of Thomas. Exploring Thomas' uncertainties and questions when dealing with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, this sermon helps us understand what doubt is, its causes, and how we can deal with it.

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David Loader


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Good morning everyone uh if you've got your Bible say you might like to turn to John chapter 20 we're continuing in our integrated study and for those who aren't aware in the third term of each year we write our own study and uh so we preach on it our small groups our extended family groups do it our kids also this morning looking at this looking at Thomas and whatever so we're halfway through for the last four weeks we've looked at four Old Testament characters two men two women and so so thankful to those who wrote those studies and for the next four weeks we're looking at for New Testament characters now I feel a bit neglected by Dylan this morning on a couple of reasons because generally what we've been doing is that we've been interviewing the study Riders and I missed out on my interview this morning and um and not only that hello but not only that about feeling neglected he also said this morning that he um he messaged all the young adults and I laid across to end and I said did you get that message and she said no and I said neither did I yours is still coming in the mail oh is that right so um am I just going to interview myself I'm having to interview you if you want good yeah I'd like that so church this morning for your integrated study what we've got is Pastor David loader he's going to come up and he's going to be speaking on the topic if Thomas did you write this study or did someone else no I wrote this one you wrote this one okay I'm confused because he's also here next week but so loader prepared this study um so he's going to have a lot to say but later would you would you like to tell us about yourself um my name's David and I'm married to Anne we have uh we have three daughters three sons-in-law and 11 grandchildren we had three of them stay for the last few days I'm glad they've gone any grandparent knows you'll so look forward to having grandkids come when they are there you'll look forward to them going but when they go though five minutes down the road and you're missing them I know all their first names no idea about their second names and their birthdays is a mystery that's what grandmas are for very nice very nice I think maybe the grandchildren might have taken your invite to the young adults yeah good probably so I'm sure you're going to tell us a little bit but this topic of Thomas if there is one take-home thing what would it be for the church if everyone's going to start to fall asleep during the sermon what's the one thing that they should take home I'm watching them this morning um I got this interest a special interest in Thomas a few months ago and I think he gets a bad rap about being called doubting Thomas I'll talk a bit about this but what I learned to admire about Thomas is that you know on Sundays you're probably not like this but I am is that sometimes on Sundays we come up and we want to put our best face on for everyone and Thomas was happy in other instances just to lay it out to everybody so this is me this is what I'm like so he really lived an authentic Christian well believing life and that's my encouragement is that whether we have doubts or whatever it might be questions that we just live the authentic life you know if it wasn't for Thomas asking the question we wouldn't have that famous quote by Jesus I'm the way the truth and the life as Thomas asked that question so um so just be ourselves not only before God but before others wonderful and I'm just going to quickly consult my mentor is there any questions I've forgotten to ask we're catching up tonight I'll speak to you very severely thanks Dillard I didn't really expect that but uh now I'm lost what do I do now Brendan if you've got your Bibles here you might like to follow through as I read these verses from John chapter 20 verses 19 to 31. this is probably the main part of what we remember Thomas about verse 19 says on the evening of that first day of the week when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews Jesus came and stood among them and said peace be with you after he said this he showed them his hands and his side and the disciples were Overjoyed when they saw the Lord again Jesus said peace be with you as the father has sent me I'm sending you and with that he breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit if you forgive anyone his sins they are forgiven if you do not forgive them they are not forgiven now Thomas who didn't miss which means twin now Thomas called didn't miss one of the twelve was not with the disciples when Jesus came so the other disciples told him we've 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 it 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 and 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've seen me you have believed blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ the son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name well let me just say a couple of things about Thomas and then we'll get into it so Thomas we know as we've just read that his name is Thomas his nickname didimus which means when we don't know who his twin was various ideas are given and you can name whoever you like it wasn't me but I don't know who it was so he's one of the 12 disciples and just about everything we know about Thomas is in John's gospel if you've got your integrated study book The Daily Readings this week each of the the daily readings is from John's gospel about where Thomas is mentioned so we get a picture of the man through John's eyes now we don't know what happened to Thomas in the end but tradition says that Thomas went as a missionary to India so he's responsible and so he's still a very um very important person in in Christian circles in India and that he was martyred there on the 21st of December in ad 72. so it's who we're talking about today if you've studied anything to do with philosophy and and as soon as you say that word all sorts of reactions responses have happened but at whatever level you would have come across a man by the name of Renee Descartes or his name is built Des kitties the c-a-r-t yes the Frenchman so that's why we try to say descar born 1596 I think it was the died when he was about 54. but he was uh he's an important figure in in philosophy and still philosophers look back at a lot of other people look back at Descartes and by the way it wasn't just uh important for the thing which I want to mention this morning she studied algebra and um and geometry he was the one who bought those two things together so he had that sort of a mind this Frenchman and anyway he as a philosopher and I'm simplifying this so that we can just simpletons like me can understand a little bit about Descartes but one of the foundation things that he wanted to do is that he wanted to to discover what is real truth and he thought the way to discover real truth is to doubt as much as he could and now if you've read a bit about history there's various tales about what uh Harry came to this conclusion some say actually sat in a fireplace but more like more than likely it's just that in a heated room and as he was sitting amusing just thinking he started to think and he wasn't sure am I thinking or am I dreaming and and so he came up with with this statement which originally was written in French and I'm not familiar with friends outside in in um in Latin no I'm not familiar with Latin either but it's what he's most famously known for is he came up with this statement cogito Ergo soon which means this I think therefore I am so I doubted till he could doubt absolutely no more and when he could doubt no more he came up with that that little statement cogito ergosom I think therefore I am in other places he wrote it differently he wrote dubito Ugo I doubt therefore I am and then in another place he put it even further elaborated on they said dabito uh cogito Ugo song how you going here with the it's one of the things um just as Adrian's appeared to embarrass people I'm here to make life difficult for Kim in uh translating but but he also came up with this idea where he said I doubt and because I doubt therefore I know that I'm thinking and because I'm thinking therefore I know that I exist and so this whole area of Doubt became became a very important thing for uh for Renault Descartes and and it's also recognition it's also recognition not everything that he said was you know it was way out that's also an important recognition for us to realize that doubt is the natural part of our lives and not only is there a natural part of our lives in our wider lives but as we're seeing from this man called Thomas that that also exists in the life of Christians and you only need to read the Bible and you see that doubt occurs again and again you only need to read some of these Old Testament characters and you see that the doubts they had or remember when the angel came to Mary and told her that she was going to be the mother of the Lord Jesus the angel said this is what's going to happen what did she do she said how can this happen there's a deity or remember that John the Baptist that he was there as the Forerunner of Jesus he's related cousin something to Jesus and so he's he's prophesied in the Old Testament you know it's going to be a John the Baptist John the Baptist is there and there he he's in prison and when he's in prison do you remember one of the things that he did when he was in prison he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask Jesus Jesus are you really the one who we're looking for or is it someone else so even John the Baptist who um we could call a doubting John the Baptist but but again and again this area of doubt and the thing is so I don't know about you but it just seems to me that this whole area of doubt in in Christianity Today gets this bad rap that that we shouldn't doubt and as I said earlier in that in-depth interview that I had with Dylan is that sometimes we when we show up on a Sunday we have this veneer on that hey on I'm doing all right Folk when inside of us there might be a whole range of issues doubt being one of those but a whole range of other things this will May in fact be going on with us as well honestly a couple of things about doubt before we get into this so what is doubt doubt that is this uncertainty it's a lack of conviction I don't know really what the way ahead is and and that is somewhere in between belief and disbelief so when I believe I'm convinced of something when I disbelieve I convince it it's not that or it's not going to happen or whatever and doubt is that bit in between where I'm just not sure I'm not sure which way to go here and and that's where Thomas was and and what is the causes of a doubt well sometimes sometimes um sometimes doubt occurs because God doesn't act the way that I expect or or it sometimes it might be because I don't understand what's happening I don't know about you but when I read the Bible and when I particularly when I read the gospels about Jesus on his in his life on Earth and you know we're as Christians we exhorted to to as a spirit living in us to be like Jesus and when I read about how Jesus acted sometimes I read that and I think wow I would not have said that I would not have done it that way or something and and I'm sort of left perplexed well how am I supposed to be like Jesus like that and and so there's all of that when things happen which I don't understand or God doesn't act the way that I expect so that might also come from not trusting others faith so somebody says something and and we're not sure whether to accept that or not and that was certainly Thomas's case wasn't it is that the other disciples said the other disciples said we've we've seen the Lord Thomas Howard can't buy that fake unless I can so it's not a total disbelief but if I can get the point where I can put my finger in in the holes in his hands hand in the side then I will believe so it's somewhere in between all of that so he just couldn't come to the point of trusting what others were saying I also want to say this is that doubt is different from unbelief explained and I also want to State very clearly today is that to doubt is not sin okay I doubt it's not the opposite of faith faith is something which will overcome doubt but but it's different from it and and doubt in itself is not sin but actually can be can be a gateway to uh to walking down a pathway to a deeper relationship with Jesus just remember that to consider that maybe if you didn't want to take what I said previously you might want to take that home so here we are going to be looking at at this uh at Thomas I'm gonna have to do this very quickly I can see so the first thing that we want to ask this morning about Thomas is this Thomas where are you physically this is covered in verses 19 to 25. and and to ask these questions remember that the disciples were there on the Resurrection Sunday Peter and John ran down to the tomb Where's Thomas he's not there where was he I don't know nobody knows and then when when the disciples were gathered together in that locked room and Jesus appeared to them where was Thomas then I don't know nobody knows but he wasn't there and so where was Thomas physically in these times of real real importance well don't know in fact we've got to think about our physical location from time to time about where we are and I want to say this is that is that do not remove yourself Do Not absent yourself from the place of God's blessing if if Thomas had have been there on the resurrection morning on going down to the tomb wouldn't he have been blessed if Thomas had been there on the first appearance of Jesus to the disciples in that locked room would he had not been blessed then but Thomas was nowhere near where the place of blessing was in fact sometimes we have to we have to think about our priorities let me just be straightforward here I've got to think about our priorities about when I've got a choice of whether I'm going to be here or there whatever that might be whatever those choices might be where is it that God wants me to be you know Sunday morning when we gather together is a place of blessing there's a place when we as this part of God's family gather together we worship Together We Sing great with uh with Jason leading us we welcome people into the family we Fellowship afterwards we sit around God's word together um it's it's a place of blessing and as we've heard about the camp you know it's a place of blessing where God might be calling us to it's not just these incidental places where we go for an incident but can I also say it might even be where you live um you know you live where you live because God has chosen that and and if God is urging you to relocate then you've got to be thinking carefully about that we just feel will the couple just quietly in our church a couple of Sundays ago who really felt this tearing away from here because they've just felt so much that this is part of their church family God's been blessing them here but they've sensed this strong call makes God has led them to build a house over the other side of Brisbane and to move down there you see we the the pace of blessing is where God wants you to be now let me give you an example which won't um doesn't impact you that probably won't but it illustrates you know that prior to being here that I had a denominational role with Queensland Baptist and part of that was helping churches in finding pastors helping passes foreign churches and so on and we know that our brother Adrian and Sharon family that they ministered in Mount Isa you know Mount Isis are really really tough place to minister and and there were a couple of times in my role when Mount Isa was without a pastor you know it is so difficult to find a pastor who's willing to go to mount Isa and some other remote areas as well God bless Adrian Sharon who felt the call of God that's the place of blessing for them contrast that with when on me speaking literally here is that when there was a church become vacant on the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast I would get like 10 pastors saying God is calling me to this church and I was to say tongue-in-cheek it's not fair of God that he calls everybody to the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast and not to mount Isa and try to convince pastors that the place of God's blessing is where is where he wants you to be fake and so whether that's here in caboolture more I feel or ever you need to be responsive to that or whether it be here on a Sunday morning or any of the other 20 or 30 places but you could be or to be a part of an EFG or to be on a camp or to be wherever realize this with pace of blessing is where God wants you to be that's the best place to be so where was Thomas physically in all of that well we don't know but he missed out on the blessing at that time but not only where was Thomas physically when I asked this question today too where was Thomas what are things coming next where was he spiritually his will in all of this and to ask ourselves this question Thomas where are you spiritually and this is 26-29 covers this area of Thomas's relationship with the Lord Jesus so the Bible tells us that seven days later seven days after this appearance to the ten disciples Judas of course is not there and not as Thomas seven days after that a week later Jesus appears again can you imagine what it must be like and I've been in places folk overseas we've been invited to share the word Anne and I were in this country where we invited each other where we're just visiting and where we said yes and then the doors were locked windows closed a um the lookout posted at the door because we were sharing from God's word and because of fear of if the authorities or those around were aware what was going on what might be the consequences and so there is this this sort of low level of anxiety for us it was more for the for the locals but here were the disciples in this locked place for fear of what was happening and so everything's locked up nobody can come in Jesus is there and just like he had a week earlier and Thomas is there and and Jesus immediately care fronts not confronts the care fronts Thomas at that moment I've used that word deliberately and as you see I've said there that's an act of love is because this is one of the ways one of the places where if I was Jesus I would have responded quite differently Thomas why weren't you listening I've told you that I'm going to be rights from the dead frustration or anger Thomas why don't you ever listen or Thomas how stupid can you be we don't get that but rather the god of love Jesus the god of love okay friends Thomas and sis to Thomas what are your needs Thomas 's needs at that moment was that he needed to see Jesus he needed to be able to touch you and Jesus in his in his way is this act of love just comes and stands there and it just seems to me that in this gentle quiet measured why says to Thomas Thomas here I am here you are what do you need to do here's the hands here's the solid do what you need to do but but whatever you need to do Thomas do it just do it Thomas says to get rid of the doubt and that you might believe Thomas's all his needs were met in that one moment wasn't it where his response is that that awesome confession where he just looking at Jesus looks him in the eye and says my Lord and my God um folk we might want to stop and think about why this passage is so important for us to be aware of that we might be aware of in the in the 21st century and it's this is because of Resurrection the resurrection is so important it's foundational to the Christian belief what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15 12 to 19. is is a good summary for us but tell me this since we preached that Christ rose from the dead why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the Dead for if there is no resurrection of the dead then Christ has not been raised either and if Christ is not being raised then all our preaching is useless and your faith is useless and we Apostles would be all lying about God for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave but that can't be true if there is no resurrection of the Dead and if there is no resurrection and if Christ has not been raised then your faith is useless and you're still guilty of your sins in that case all who've died believing in Christ are lost and if our hope in Christ is only for this life not for the afterlife if our faith Our Hope in Christ is only for this life we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world see that's how Central the resurrection of Jesus is that the whole of Christianity um is is foundation this is foundational stuff also the death and the whole life crisis other things but this this Resurrection is so important how important is it well it's like this you know there are some things about the Christian faith that some people believe this and some people believe that and I really don't care what you believe say for instance if somebody said held a gun to my head and said do you think that I've got to be calvinist or Armenian to be a Christian I'd say don't pull the trigger couldn't care you can be whatever you like I'm a bit of bass that doesn't bother me um do you think somebody ought to be interlapsyrian or hold the superlapsarian view and uh probably none of you that have heard of that too and so that's how important that is I had to learn about in theological college no one has ever asked me about it don't pull the trigger you can believe whichever one you like or neither of them uh what about the resurrection of Jesus do you believe in the resurrection you bet I do and if you don't like it pull the trigger that's how important it is and so it is important for us to be considering this that all the appearance of Jesus after his resurrection that there is this one appearance amongst the many others are all important but there's this one thing that stands so clear that who is this man who just uh couldn't cope with a second-hand Faith who was just going along with what others said but had to experience it for himself that that he came to that point where Jesus is an act of love came to him and said Thomas here I am um and so it's important that we are in that same area as well for us to be courageous in the way in the stand that we take the the end part of this passage that we read is so important because in verse 29 Jesus said because you've seen me you have believed blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe see that special blessing there there's a special blessing for those who have not seen Jesus and yet believe heads up folk that's us that's us we haven't seen Jesus but we believe and there's this special blessing which Jesus put out when he saw Thomas how blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe and and then John who who wrote this that's inspired word of God he went on to say this many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book and then he says this but these are written that you may what you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name Jesus said to Thomas you believe because you've seen blessed are those who've not sane and yet believed and then John says Hey picks up that thing and he says you know what this gospel has been written for those of us who haven't seen Jesus and yet want to know about him that we might believe in him isn't that important for us to know and to realize that that's one of the purposes of um of John's gospel so what are our next steps well just before we go there can you go back one hand just back to where I was we where it's written and so John's gospel there so it does means that we do need to read study meditate on John's gospel as being a great place to start in addressing doubt so what are our next step here are our next steps one if we have doubts acknowledge them as as I said as I said sometimes deaths can be the Gateway into a deeper relationship with Jesus secondly keep an open mind when we sort of in between things don't shut down too soon because the doubt becomes unbelief then and that is an issue or a problem thirdly as we keep an open mind to seek answers through Reading talking with others that's what your extended family group lead is for your extended family group your brothers and sisters in Jesus the church Council the Pastoral team that's what we're here to help explore all of this But ultimately we need to be depending on Jesus love you know we've got to get Beyond well I certainly do get Beyond this sometimes our thinking about about God being this one up in heaven who looks down and somehow wants to spoil all our fun but to keep reminding ourselves and to expose ourselves to the love of God that God is love and that just as Jesus carefronted Thomas on that occasion is whatever situation we find ourselves to die whatever situation you find yourself today God is not here to condemn you as the Bible says that clearly that Jesus not here to condemn but to assist and that he is reaching out wherever we are whatever our situation is and wanting to embrace us to expose himself to us so that we might enter either for the very very first time a relationship with him but if we are in relationship with him to go deeper with him in our relationship and so folk I'll ask this question today um we've entitled our integrated study courage living for God in in difficult times and and I just want to on this studies just as we have done with the other four studies to say what's God saying to you in this what's your take home in um in all this what what have you learned so well Dylan asked me the question what is it that um that I'd want you to take home there's an even more important question God tapped you on the shoulder today and said this is what I want you to take home today let's pray Lord Jesus if you're here physically this morning you'd be standing here with open arms while you're not here physically we know you're here spiritually Father Son and Holy Spirit reaching out in love to each one of us meeting us wherever we are encouraging us to be authentic authentic with you real with those around about us we're so glad that you have patience beyond measure love beyond measure that is able to meet us where we are and to instill in us the courage that's necessary to live your life our life in these difficult times thank you thank you so much in the name of Jesus. Amen.