This is the audio from the October 2, 2022 sermon, “Loving Those Who Doubt: Offer PROOF!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: John 20:24-29
When we consider our own doubts, it doesn’t seem like it should so difficult to love those who doubt, but it often is. When we look at how Jesus loved Thomas in the midst of his doubts, we find we can love those who doubt when we offer . . .
- Peace. John 20:26
- Doubt can be a frustrating thing in our own life and when we experience it from others. Often our reactionary response to doubt expressed by others is a position of defensiveness. Even knowing the doubts that filled the heart and mind of Thomas, Jesus came to him with an offer and declaration of peace. When we desire to love those who doubt like Jesus loves them, we interact with them in a way that offers peace.
- Reality. John 20:25
- While Thomas is often the Biblical poster child for doubting, the Bible makes it clear that doubting the resurrection of Jesus was a pretty common trait among His followers. In fact, the other disciples had witnessed the same reality Thomas was asking to see before they believed. Jesus understands the substance of what we long for and how a lack of that reality can produce doubt. When we desire to love those who doubt like Jesus loves them, we offer the reality of what they are looking for.
- Opportunity. John 20:27
- While we will get to the faith part a little bit later, Jesus loved Thomas enough to offer him the opportunity to do exactly what he had declared would be needed before he could believe. While the Bible doesn’t say whether Thomas actually reached out and touched the hands and side of Jesus. It is my belief that the opportunity itself was enough to dispel the doubt that had gripped the heart and mind of Thomas. When we desire to love those who doubt like Jesus loves them, we offer them the opportunity to have their questions answered.
- Observation. John 20:28
- There is something powerful about seeing the evidence, or proof, of Jesus for yourself. Whether he did reach out and touch Jesus or not, the opportunity to do so led Thomas to observe and declare that the One standing before him was his Lord and his God. In times of doubt, God continually provides us with opportunities to observe His work and to show His work to others. When we desire to love those who doubt like Jesus loves them, we offer them the opportunity to observe Jesus at work in us.
- Faith. John 20:29
- While doubt comes from a heart and mind filled with uncertainty, faith is the certainty of things unseen. Jesus declares that Thomas believed because of what he saw, but those who believe without seeing are blessed. While believing without seeing the hands and side of Jesus requires faith, it is not a blind faith. In fact, we have the opportunity to see and produce the evidence of faith each moment that we live in a way that represents Jesus well. When we desire to love those who doubt like Jesus loves them, we offer the blessing of faith as it produces its fruit in us.
Today, how will you love those who doubt . . . even if the one who doubts is you?