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Doubt and the Power of Truth

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Hope  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:33
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We all need hope—a hope that brings assurance, confidence, encouragement, trust. Without hope, life gets stuck.
Proverbs 13:12 ESV
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Doubt, fear, and disappointment—emotions that often rule our lives—and rob us from experiencing hope.
John 20:24–25 ESV
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.”
Thomas followed Jesus for about three years—he experienced Jesus’ teaching, miracles, and healing power.
However, when Thomas saw Jesus arrested and executed, the hope that once sustained him vanished.

Misplaced hope will lead to disappointment and discouragement, which will lead to a crisis of faith.

Even when his friends told him that they has seen the risen Lord, he refused to believe.
Thomas’ refusal to believe is expressed using the double negative (ou mē), showing he was adamant about this matter.

A crisis of faith is not the end of the story.

John 20:26 ESV
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.”
Quite some time elapsed before Thomas’ doubt were dealt with.
Since the door was locked, it appears that this Gospel indicates that all the disciples were afraid.
It is in this setting that Jesus miraculously appears and declares to his fearful disciples: “Peace be with you.”

Jesus brings peace to our crisis of faith.

This peace is loaded with meaning—peace with God and peace with fellow believers.
It is the peace you have because of your sins are forgiven.
It is the peace you have because God has invited you to be part of His family.
It is the peace you have because you are no longer alone.
It is the peace you have because you belong to His church (His Body).

Jesus knows what we need to move from doubt to hope.

John 20:27 ESV
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.”
It is not good to demand proofs from the Lord before one will believe, but the one ‘who knew what was in a person’ met Thomas where he was, inviting him to touch the nail prints in his hands and the spear wound in his side.

Jesus does not reward faithlessness, but with His grace, leads you to faith.

“Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
For Thomas, the effect of Jesus’ words was immediate:
John 20:28 ESV
28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Thomas’ confession is the climactic confession of this Gospel. He confessed Jesus not only as his Lord, but his God.
This is a strong declaration of the divinity of Jesus Christ. And, it brings full circle to what John wrote at the very beginning of this Gospel:
John 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Believing in Christ invites blessing and restoration of hope.

John 20:29 ESV
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas came to believe because he saw the risen Lord, but Jesus did not praise Thomas’ pathway to faith; rather, he pronounced a blessing upon those who have not seen the risen Jesus yet have believed in him nevertheless.
These are those who hear or read the witness to Jesus borne by the disciples and confirmed by the Spirit.
The purpose of the Gospel (which is a blessing from God)
John 20:30–31 ESV
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Hope is received and sustained by faith, a faith the responds to the Gospel.
Hebrews 10:23 ESV
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
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