Mercy To Those That DoubSeries: Doubt
Text: Be merciful to those who doubt” Jude 22
Introduction: Jesus didn’t treat the idea of doubt systematically.
I. Doubt as Lack of Faith
A. Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
B. A man wants Jesus to heal his son. Jesus asks, “Do you believe I can do it?” The desperate father says, “I want to believe! Help me where I fail to believe!”
C. I love this man’s brutal honesty.
D. I resonate with his dilemma. I want to believe. But sometimes, my collective past experiences (like my son not being healed) over-ride my best desires.
E. Jesus healed the man’s son. Obviously, asking for help with this kind of doubt is not only acceptable but encouraged and rewarded.
II. Doubt as Double-Mindedness
A. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31
B. Peter sees Jesus walking on water. He wants to do it too. Jesus says, “C’mon.”
C. Impetuous Peter, to his own amazement, jumps out of the boat and starts to walk toward Jesus on the water. But, then he loses focus — he starts to analyze the situation — and he sinks.
D. I want to do the seemingly impossible. Jesus tells me I can. I want to believe him. But then my brain kicks in and short-circuits my fleeting glimpse of the miraculous.
III. Doubt as Earnest Questioning
A. “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked” John 3:4
B. Nicodemus was not a believer…yet. He comes to Jesus at night so his friends won’t see him. He knows Jesus is special.
C. But he has his doubts about some of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus tries to explain. But, Nicodemus has some honest questions.
D. Nicodemus wasn’t the first, nor the last to question Jesus.
E. The apostle Paul admitted there were things he didn’t understand. He compared this life to a blurry view of eternal reality 1 Corinthians 13:9, 12.
F. Asking honest questions when you doubt is the only way to grow.
IV. Doubt as Hard Skepticism
A. The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven” Mark 8:11
B. Their doubt was hinder with “blind skepticism.”
C. It is a doubt that says:
1. I’m already convinced of my position, so don’t confuse me with the facts.
2. It must belittle or dismiss all experience that runs contrary to the assumptions that undergird its skepticism.
3. It rules every aspect of life, leaving no room for the miraculous, the impossible, and ultimately, the beautiful.
4. It ridicules the faithful for the naivete of their faith but is blinded to its own prejudiced lenses.
V. Jesus’ Response to Doubt
A. Jesus gave mercy to his disciples for struggling with doubt
B. In all the doubt that came to Jesus, while receiving mercy, their faith grew.
C. The only doubt that did not was the one that came to Jesus with their mind already made up about who He is and what he couldn’t do.
D. The commonality with all these is 2 Corinthians 5:7.
1. We will walk by one of two thought processes
2. Both are weighing the evidence
3. We must choose which evidence is more powerful, the Power of God or the Power of Nature, the power of faith or the power of our thoughts.