Wrestling With DoubtSeries: Doubt
Text: Matthew 21:18-22
I. Why we need to talk about doubt.
A. Being a person with strong faith means knowing how to deal with doubt.
B. The problem is that to deal with doubt, the Church has to talk about it.
C. There is stigma to talking about our doubt. We might fear being perceived as weak or a failure. We're afraid of the reactions of those we share our doubt with. The last thing we want is condemnation, embarrassment or discouragement at a time when we need help. We wonder if God is there for us, but we're also wondering if Christians are there for us.
D. Too often the expectation for believers is that their faith be rock solid at all times. There cannot be any room for doubt
E. Surprising as it may sound, doubt is not rare in the life of believer. It is part of faith.
II. What is doubt?
A. Doubt means - to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer
B. Matthew 21:18-22
C. James 1:6
D. James 2:4 – showed partiality or distinction
E. Matthew 14:28-31 – made a distinction of what he was doing and what he was seeing.
F. Often doubt isn’t about what God can do Himself but what God can do through ME!
III. Doubt is not abnormal.
A. When it comes to scripture there is no shortage of God's people experiencing doubt. They so often doubt that it seems doubt is a part of faith rather than an abnormality.
B. Just look at what is called the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 – which praises the faith of God's people in the Old Testament.
C. Abraham and Sarah, heroes of the faith according to Romans 4 and Hebrews 11, both laughed at God, and tried to have a child with a maidservant rather than trust in the promise that they would have a child in their old age (Genesis 16).
D. Gideon, who is recognized in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, doubted either that God could or God would give him victory in what seemed like an impossible battle.
E. Barak, the commander of the army, would not go into battle without Deborah - a non combatant - despite her prophecy of Israel's victory.
F. Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith is filled with people who at one time or another doubted. Their lives are not defined by their doubt. Their lives are defined by the faith that God grew as they journeyed through doubt.
G. John the Baptist was in prison for speaking out against King Herod. John heard about Jesus’ ministry and wanted to make sure that Jesus was the Messiah. When John’s disciples asked Jesus if He was the one who was to come, Jesus told them to go back to John and report all that He was doing—the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cured, the dead are raised, and the gospel is being preached to the poor.
1. What was Jesus’s response to John’s doubt?
2. Jesus told the crowd that no person who had ever been born of a woman was as great as John the Baptist Matthew 11:1-11.
IV. Our reaction to doubt
A. What really matters is our reaction to doubt.
B. Will we acknowledge it and bring it before God crying out to Him for help: "I have faith, help me in my doubt?"
C. Will we go to those who love us and love Jesus for help to walk us through the journey out of doubt?
D. Romans 8:1 says, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
1. God is not condemning our doubt.
2. God is not pushing us away when we doubt.
3. We are walking towards Him or walking away from Him.
E. Our reaction to doubt must be to pursue it. We need to look for answers to our hard questions in the Word of God.
F. We need to seek out counsel from friends and family as we pursue faith.
G. In that counsel, each must “give mercy to those that doubt” Jude 22
H When we examine our doubt and pursue God through it our faith will actually be strengthened on the other side.