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Feb 28, 2021

Thomas: Don’t Let Doubt Define You

Thomas: Don’t Let Doubt Define You

Passage: Matthew 28:16-17

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: The Twelve That Changed The World

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: gospel, disciples, thomas, following jesus, doubting, the twelve, doubting thomas, easy believism, matthew bible study, easy believe-ism, struggling with doubt, components of faith

Thomas | The Twelve | Matt Petty | Burnt Hickory This week, we dive deep into scripture to look at the life of Thomas, who seems to have gotten a bad rap over the years from preachers for being a doubter. Every Christian struggles with doubt, even the great cornerstones of faith in the bible have. But we can’t allow a season of doubting limit our future walk with Jesus. Pastor Matt shows us six components that prove Thomas’s faith was not limited by doubt, and how we should not be defined by doubt. A.W. Tozer puts it this way when speaking about easy believe-ism, “I want some of your blood for the forgiveness of my sins, but I don’t have any intention of following you or obeying you, and now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get on with my life.” Take time to examine your walk with Jesus today. Does this ring a little true? Then we challenge you to take the next step and be fully committed to Jesus.

Well, good morning church. Before we jump into this morning's message, I feel like I need to publicly respond to some of your snippy social media comments to me this week on a Tuesday. Yes, I did, I was the chaplain for the day at the Georgia Senate. And yes, I do own a suit. Thank you very much. I just feel like I needed to say not only do I have one suit, I have multiple suits. And if you like to see them, I can back it up with proof. And if I have a suit on and on your behalf, either it's a very good day for you, or a very bad day for you. Either you're married, or you're buried, one or the other in my life. So, I just felt like I needed to get that off my chest and confess my heart to you guys this week. But no joke. Would you continue to pray for our leaders, continue to pray for our local leaders, our state leaders, our national leaders, there are some things on the docket right now with identity, with creation, who we were created to be that are incredibly heavy things, that we have a responsibility to the Lord to bring them up and to lead some prayers on that behalf. Well, I want to jump into the message. Welcome to week five in the series, you just saw the promo for on the disciples, on the 12 that changed the world. And if you've been traveling this journey with us, you'll know that we've made the point every week to look through the lens at these guys to say that they were just ordinary men, we're looking at the original disciples that walked with Jesus that talked with Jesus, they learned from Jesus that spent just about every waking moment in that period of time with Jesus. And we've said that they're just like you, they're just like me, they don't have any superpowers. They weren't raised and matured into this process. They were ordinary people, just like me. And they were called just like you by Jesus into a relationship with Him. And then obviously called into being a disciple making disciple. And I'm hoping that you're just feeling the theme of this.

Because I want us to be able to look into ourselves and our lives and say that the same power that they have is the power that's available to us. It's the power we just sang about. It's the power that's available from Christ. We've been walking through some of the specific men in this group, we don't have time for all of them. But we've looked at a couple and we started with the Apostle Philip, the administrator of the group. And we said that he would just look at us at some point in our faith and say, Look, you don't have to have all the answers to step out in faith. In fact, you can't have all the answers and still call it faith. But yet some of us we operate in the semi faith zone. And we say that if I don't have the answers, if I don't know the outcome that I would never take this step for Jesus. Well Philip would go look, you can check all the boxes you want, but sometimes faith just doesn't make sense and we're asked to just be obedient. And we're asked to submit to Him and some things in our lives. We moved from him to the Apostle John. And we said the Apostle John would look at us as an elder statesman and just say, look, it's all about the balance. It's about the balance of never backing down from absolute truth on this side. But on this side, always backup the truth with absolute love towards other people. And John could say this to us, because John lived this in his life. He watched this pendulum swing one side and to the other. And John would just want us to bear the warning of, Look don't be a universalist heretic on one side, obviously, we are about the Word of God. We will not back down from the Word of God. But he also said don't be a jerk on this side and just love people. Back it up with the love of people. Last week, we moved from John into the Apostle Peter. And the Apostle Peter, kind of the fan favorite of the group because most of us can relate to his mouth that is in the shape of his foot. And that's where a lot of ours kind of stays. We know that a lot of times when he spoke, he would have to he would have to kind of back it up with all right Lord, sorry about that. And he gave us this message last week that I hope you took this week and that is that our failures are not fatal. They're not fatal if we'll just continue to fall towards Jesus. And we looked into his story and we watched his story of how he failed. But yet later on, Jesus looked at him with the same look that He looks at us and says, Hey, look, you're forgiven. And I hope you walk this weekend that forgiveness, that’s available to you, and not allow yourself to be burdened down from a past failure. Well, this week, we're going to step into another life of one of the disciples. And in the last two weeks, we've looked at two different guys that really a lot of books have been written about, there's a lot of studies on, there's a lot of kind of journey in through a lot of their lives. And we feel like we have a really good grasp on who those guys are. This morning, we're going to look at a guy that's a little bit different and it, actually, this guy is a little lesser known than those disciples and He, in a lot of ways gets a bad rap. This morning's disciple we're going to look at and kind of take some things from his life is, the Apostle Thomas. The Apostle Thomas this morning, but I want you to know, this morning that we're going to look at Thomas's faith. And actually, we're going to look at his heart that gave him faith. And I want you to know that Thomas is a little bit different than some of the other disciples that we've been talking about. You see, Thomas, we don't know a lot about his lineage. We don't know a lot about his history, we don't know a lot about his calling.

In fact, we don't even get to see Thomas's calling, when Jesus called him to be a disciple, we just get to see that one day, his name just popped up on Jesus's list after he went and prayed and identified it. But we do know that Thomas deeply loved Jesus. And we have to go a little bit deeper to find out about Thomas. In fact, we see Thomas over in Luke chapter 21, we see him post resurrection, he's in the boat with these other disciples, they go back to doing what they know best, right? They go back to fishing after the crucifixion. And we see Thomas is one of those disciples. So, you could I mean, this is just an assumption, but you could make the assumption that he was a fisherman, like a lot of the other disciples. Or you could even make the assumption that Thomas was a carpenter because some of the early church writers. Some of the early church writers would put the symbol by Thomas's name, sometimes that almost looked like, what would commonly be known now as a framing square or a ruler. So maybe he was a carpenter. Maybe he was a fisherman. We don't really know what Thomas was, but we do know that Thomas loved Jesus. He loved Jesus. But we can also say it's fair to say this about Thomas just by looking at the Bible. We can say that Thomas loves Jesus. But the reality is, is that Thomas was kind of like one of your friends. Do you have that friend that is the glass half empty friend? Do you know who this is? Don't be punching your spouse right now, this is not the time. But do you have that friend in your life that no matter what comes up, no matter what happens, they're always the glass half empty, or they're the pessimists of the group. They would call themselves a realist, but we know that's not true. They're just a pessimist. They're just a glass half empty person. Well, that's who Thomas was. We can almost define Thomas maybe bring it into a little bit more of a light for some of you, as the as the Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh, right of the disciples. He's kind of always the, Well, I don't know about that. He's always the one that kind of gives off this air of well, maybe, but it's fair to say about Thomas, listen, he loved Jesus. He loved Jesus. You see, Thomas probably didn't get the best of starts, in fact, a little-known fact. But the word Thomas, the word Thomas; I know some of you are like, we don't care about words, but you'll like this one. The word Thomas is actually from an Aramaic word that literally just means twin. It just means twin. It is not a proper name, alright? I want you to feel this. Thomas is not a name. It is just the word twin. In fact, you'll also notice if you've been studying the Bible a lot, that Thomas is also known as Didymus. You'll see this in quotes all over the Bible. And here's what Didymus means; it is the Greek word for twin. You got it right. So, go with me on this just for a minute. Thomas didn't even have a real name. He didn't even have a real name. Let me tell you how we know this. We can find this in history. I love this, this week.

When someone would have twins in first century Palestine, look, they didn't get to go to the doctor. There were no sonograms there was nothing like that available. The reality is they did not know that they were having twins. Imagine this. Some of you are like, Well, I know how that was because I did it, alright? Imagine this, you have your baby, and all of a sudden everybody's celebrating but it isn’t over, alright? Baby number two comes out. And here's what the family is dealing with at this moment. They didn't know they were having twins. So, the first baby would come out. They would present this baby; they would name this baby. Here is, I don't know pick a name, Sue, alright? Whatever it is, it doesn't matter. But if you had a twin, the problem was you didn't have a name for the second baby. You didn't have a name. So, the second baby would come, and they would just merely name the other baby Thomas. They would name this other baby Thomas. Now, for the most part that was just a temporary name. It was a temporary name until they came up with a name that was suitable that was for family that was for something, but not for poor Thomas. Poor Thomas's parents gave up on him so early in life, they never even gave this poor guy a name. So, he was just known as Hey, twin. Hey, Twin come here. Hey, Sue's brother, come here. Hey, John's brother, we don't really know. But we know that he was the second twin. And Thomas never got a name. So, it's no wonder he's the Eeyore, right? He didn't have a good start. So, we see when we're looking at Thomas's life, we see that he's a little intense. He's got a little baggage to carry, right from early on in life. Hey, twin, let's go do this. So anytime you read the word Thomas from now on, just look at it as a twin. So, Thomas, I love this guy, because it's kind of sad that he didn't get a real name. But it also shows us that man, you can bounce back from things. We don't find where Thomas and Matthew, Mark and Luke, except for just the mentioning of the disciples, that's all we see him in, but the reality is, John in John's Gospel gives us a pretty clear glimpse of who Thomas is on how Thomas's life worked, on what Thomas's faith looks like. But before we get to that, though, I need to clear something up. Because if you're like me, and you grew up in church, if you're like me, you've been maybe studying the Bible for a long time, you've been reading, you've been hearing people like me for a long time. Anytime you hear the word Thomas from the Bible, there is one thing that sticks out in your mind and that's Thomas's nickname, right? Because Thomas, what have you heard your whole life? Thomas was a Doubting Thomas. He was a Doubting Thomas.

So now we've got a guy with no name that we have successfully judged for 2000 years. For 2000 years, authors and teachers and preachers and writers have judged and railed on this poor guy, Thomas. But here's what I would say, why don't we do this for everybody? I mean, think about the Bible just for a minute. What about King David? I mean, what about David? Half the Psalms are David, doubting his relationship with God, but yet we still call him a man after God's own heart? What about in the New Testament? John the Baptist, the greatest prophet right to come? What do we say about him? Man, he was the forerunner of Jesus. But look, he ended up one day in prison and sending a guy to ask Jesus, Hey, are you the one I just need to know. But we don't judge him like that. We don't call him doubting David or doubting John the Baptist or doubting fill in the blank. We don't do it. So, look, here's what I want you to see. We're all in the boat with Thomas. But Thomas just gets a bad rap. In fact, Matthew in Matthew's Gospel towards the end of Jesus's ministry on this earth, I want to show you this because this is a big point. He sends the disciples to the mountain, He's about to ascend to the Father, He's given his last message to them, He's appeared to them, He's appeared to hundreds of people, He's been on this earth almost 40 days and then He's about to give the disciples the Great Commission in Matthew 28. You don't want to turn there; we're going to end up in john 11. But I just want you to see this. It says this, Matthew 28, verse 16, it says, "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go, but when they saw Him, they worshipped Him," to which we're like, Yeah, they did. They just saw Him, but look at the next line, "but some doubted." But some doubted. You see, Thomas gets a bad rap in Scripture. But I think Thomas, just like the other disciples, like we've said, every single week, Thomas gives us a picture of an incredible life that I think that we can relate to. Do you know why? Because I think we've all been there. I think we've all been in moments of our lives where we have had doubts. In fact, listen to this, one author said it like this. I put it on the screens for you. He says this, "90% of Christians have admitted to having an occasional doubt and the other 10% they're just lying." It's so true, right? Why? Because we've all been there.

We've all had moments of our lives to where we have doubted what we believe in. We've had moments where we've doubted what we stand for, where we're going. We've had these moments they might not have been out loud, because we're good church people, but we have had these moments in our lives. These ideas in our lives, were like, Well, I'm just really not sure. So, I want you to hear Thomas's message today, because I think if Thomas were with us, and I think if Thomas were walking into this message based on how hard we've judged him over the last 2000 years and based on the fact that he knows that you and I are in the same boat, I think here's the principle of Thomas. I think Thomas would look at you, and he would look at me and he would say this, never allow a season of doubt, to limit your future walk with Jesus. I think this will be Thomas's message. And here's why. Because we've all been there. We've all had a season of our life to where we did not know which end was up. And I use the word season here on purpose, because season can mean a short, temporary moment or season can mean a long, long, maybe months, maybe years, maybe a decade moment. And some of you that's your testimony. Some of your testimonies say Listen, I know that I came through the church, I was born in the church, but I had a long season of my life where there was college or after or whatever, that there was just a season of darkness in me. There was a doubt in me, I didn't know which end was up. But for some of you, you're like, Well, you know what, mine is just kind of a little bit more secret than that. Maybe it's just every now and then. Maybe it was at the death of this person or the divorce of whoever in my life. Here's my prayer today. My prayer is that we can look at Thomas's life and we can look at his faith and we can look at the elements that built his faith, and that we can relate to him and we can point in the same direction that his faith went in, even though he did doubt. Let me give you six kind of elements or six components this morning of Thomas's faith, and here's my challenge to you; is that you would take them, and these would be seeds that you plant in your heart of how your faith can operate. I want to show you the true Thomas.

Number one. Thomas's faith, it was willing to sacrifice. Thomas's faith was absolutely willing to sacrifice. John chapter 11. John chapter 11 is the first place that we pick Thomas up in the Gospels. John chapter 11 is obviously the story of Lazarus's death. Lazarus was an incredibly close friend to Jesus. So was Mary and Martha, Lazarus got sick, he continued to get sicker. And they did the only thing that they knew what to do. So, they called out to Jesus. They asked Jesus to come help, which seems like an incredibly good plan for all of us to do. We need the healer; we call out for the healer. But here was the problem. Lazarus and Mary and Martha they lived in Bethany, which is basically kind of the barely outskirts of Jerusalem. And Jesus, just before this happened, had been run out of Jerusalem, he had been run out of Bethany or Judea, and now he has crossed over the Jordan. He is in the wilderness, and he's having what most scholars believe is one of the most fruitful times of Jesus's ministry life. Hundreds and hundreds of people possibly 1000s are coming to know the Lord. He's healing people. We're seeing people come to know the Lord and He is escaped the High Priest. He's escaped the religious leaders, that what John 10:39 says that we're literally trying to kill him. They ran him out of the city. And we know it's not his time, but yet they call out to Jesus and at this moment of incredible ministry, Jesus realizes what he needs to do. He needs to go back to Bethany, and he needs to be with Lazarus. Check into the story. John 11:6 says this. "So, when He," that's Jesus "heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was for two more days." I love it. Hey, he's sick, He had to give him a minute. "Then after this, He said to his disciples, let us go to Judea again. The disciples said to him, But Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you. And are you going there again?" Now, put your finger there because I want you to feel the power in the story. His disciples are like, whoa, wait a minute, they literally just tried to kill you in this little spot. It's not like we're going to be able to hide going in Jesus, they're going to kill you. What do we do?

Verse 11. Look at it. "After he had said this, He went on to tell them, our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. But I'm going there to wake him up." His disciples report, I love the disciples. "His disciples replied, Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Just let him sleep it off. Verse 13, "Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He meant taking a rest in sleep." Verse 14, "Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus has died and for your sake, I am glad that I was not there so that you may believe. But let us go to him." Jesus is looking at them going, Hey, I'm glad we weren't there, because now I can raise him from the dead and maybe just maybe you will believe who I am. Listen to this. Listen to Jesus, He says this. "Let us also go to him. So, then Thomas," verse 16 this is the first time we ever see Thomas speak, "Thomas also known as Didymus also known as the twin, "said to the rest of the disciples, let us also go that we may die with him." Let us also go so we can just all die. Now look, I love this moment. You know why? Because Thomas is the only one that speaks in this moment. Now, on one side, it looks like Thomas is being a little bit snippy, right? He's being a little bit half glass full; he's being a little bit pessimistic. It's almost like he's kind of going, ah alright, fold it up, boys, let's go die. But I need you to see that's not what he says. That's not what Thomas says. But it's easy to read it like that. Thomas in this moment looks at Jesus and he says, Look, Jesus, if that's what we need to do, if we need to go back there, and we're going to die for you, then Jesus, then so be it. This is where I want to be. I'm with you. I'll die for you. I'll sacrifice for you. Thomas looks at Jesus and goes, Hey, look, Jesus, I would rather be with you in death than away from you in a meaningless life. I would rather be with you in a moment of sacrifice, in a moment of victory because I know that I'm going to be with you in eternity than just be able to hold back and send you by yourself. I can just see Thomas going, well okay, let's go. Let's go. So, I just want you to feel this. On one hand, it looks like he's just being snippy. But on the other hand, I think we're seeing Thomas's devotion to how much he loves Jesus, how much he honored Jesus, how much he was willing to sacrifice for Jesus. Thomas was putting on display right here the exact same words that Jesus said in Mark 8. Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Take up his death tool and follow Me. "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, and the gospels, will save it." So, listen, this is an incredible moment of faith by doubting Thomas, right? This is incredible, because he's looking at it going, I am willing to sacrifice everything for you, Jesus, which made me ask myself this question all week long. Here it is. And I want you to ask yourself, is my faith a faith of willing sacrifice or is my faith just one of convenience? Is my faith a faith that no matter what Jesus says, we're going to do? that I'm not worried about the consequences?

I'm not trying to count a convenience moment. Is my faith, knowing that there are moments in my walk with Jesus that are not going to be convenient? Or am I just giving God the leftovers when everything else falls in place, when all the schedule works, the leftover scraps for God? Because ultimately, that's what he's saying, He's looking at and go, Hey, I'll die for you. Thomas's faith was willing to sacrifice number one, but also want you to see number two, it was prepared to follow. It was prepared to follow Jesus, no matter where he went. You see, one thing that we notice about Thomas all through the Bible is that Thomas wanted to be with Jesus, wherever he went, he didn't want to be apart from Jesus, he always wanted to be in lockstep with Jesus. And the reality is, this is the definition of what a disciple should be. It is a wandering follower. It is a learning follower. It is someone that says, Jesus, I will go with you. This is what we see in John chapter 14. It's the next time that we see Thomas. John 14 is Jesus, he's checking back in with the disciples, and he's telling them, hey listen, guys, I know that we've been doing this thing together. I know that we've been walking together, I know that you've been learning from me, but there's coming a time where is very soon, where I'm going to be handed over to the priests, I'm going to be handed over to the authorities and I'm going to be sacrificed for you. And then I'm going to die. And then Jesus looks at him and says, and hey, listen to this, you're going to die as well. Now, when we read the statement, 2021, we're like, well, heck yeah, He is, He's going to die. I need Jesus to die because that is the covering for my sin. But for these guys, this is a little bit different of a story for them. They've never had a moment of their faith that they hadn't walked with Jesus. They never had a time that they hadn't been with. Jesus hadn't heard from Jesus hadn't enjoyed Jesus's fellowship. So, when Jesus comes to these guys and said, Hey, I'm about to leave you, that's an incredibly big deal. So, Jesus breaks this news and check this out, John 14:1, it says, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If that were not so, would I have told you, that I go and prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I," Jesus says, "will come again and I will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also." Look at verse 4, "And you know, the way to where I'm going." Look at verse 5, I love Thomas. "Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going." We don't know where you're going. "How can we know the way?" Now pause there, we're going to get to that next verse, pause there. Look at Thomas. Thomas is looking at Jesus. He's like Jesus, I want to know the way. How can I know the way and look at Jesus's response, Jesus answered one of the most incredibly, incredibly foundational statements of the whole New Testament, "I am the way the truth and the life? No one comes to the Father, except through me."

Thomas basically looks at Jesus. Now this looks like an incredibly abrupt statement by Thomas. You're like Thomas, just let it blow over, let it go. But Thomas his heart is showing here. His heart of devotion, his heart of followship. He looks at Jesus in the face and he goes, Look Jesus, I just need you to be very clear right here. I need you to be very clear. I do not want a moment where I'm not with you. I don't want a moment. I'm not walking with you. And Jesus, if you could just plainly give us the map, we're in, we are going with you. Now look, this is not a derogatory statement. This is not a loss of faith or loss of dedication statement. This is a clarity statement. This is a me looking at God going God I know you got plans for me. I know you got things in my life. I know you're calling me to do something. God, I just need you. God I'm coming before you right now and I need you to show me how I can follow you fully. That's what he said. To say, Look, I'm not doubting I just need to know how to follow you, Jesus. You know what this made me ask myself this week? Made me ask myself, am I willing to follow Jesus anywhere? Or does it have to fit into my little American Christianity mode? Am I willing to look at Jesus and go I know you're calling me Jesus, and it doesn't even really matter where you're calling me? It doesn't matter how you're calling me. Doesn't matter what it's going to cost me. I'm willing to follow you Jesus, if you show me the way. Show me the way, show me the way. I love Thomas's heart. I love it. Does my faith do this, is my question to myself this week. And I need you to ask yourself does my faith do this? Or does my faith have to fit into the easy believe-ism that most of us have adopted? You know what easy believe-ism is? A. W. Tozer is the one who coined that phrase. And here's this quote of easy believe-ism. It says this. "Easy believe-ism is where we say this. I want some of your blood for my forgiveness of my sins, Jesus. But I don't have any intention of following you or obeying you. Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to get on with my life." See, Thomas says, No, no, no, no. I'm prepared to sacrifice my life and I'll follow you anywhere. Just show me where to go, just show me. But it doesn't stop there. I want you to see number three, that Thomas's faith was fully honest. It was a fully honest faith.

Now, this was a little bit out there. But I want you to hang with me, because here's what this means. You see Thomas's faith was honest with himself. It was honest with himself on where he was with Jesus. It was honest, his heart was on display for Jesus. He was searching. You can read this in Scripture, you can feel it. Thomas's heart was honest with his other disciples, with his friends with those that are closest with him and with ministry happening around him. He was honest with his faith. But Thomas's faith was also honest with Jesus. It was incredibly honest with him just looking at Jesus. And if he didn't understand something, he would just offer up an honest prayer, an honest conversation. Here's what Thomas did not do. Thomas did not fall into the crowd and was quiet when he didn't think that he needed to say anything. Thomas made sure that everything in his heart was authentic. It was authentic, and can I just beg us to find a way to have an authentic honest faith with God, with Jesus, with others around us and quit playing like we're all okay. And just quit playing like we've got everything all together, everything is fine. Listen, Thomas's desire was for nothing to get him off the track of following Jesus, no matter what anybody else said in his life. He wasn't there to fit in. He wasn't there to blend into the crowd. He wasn't there to not make any disturbance just live an easy life. No, John chapter 20 is the next place we catch up with Thomas. John chapter 20 is post death of Jesus. He's gone to the cross, he has died and now Thomas and the other disciples are incredibly distraught. Thomas's worst nightmare has just happened, right? Jesus has just left him. Jesus has just died and now he doesn't have any Jesus to follow. And Thomas is left without Jesus. So, what happens here. In John chapter 20, the other disciples are upset as well. So, 10 of the disciples end up in the upper room, probably the same room that Jesus was there with them earlier, we're really not sure. And then all of a sudden, at this moment, Jesus shows himself to the disciples. Shows them who he is, and that he's fully alive and they have all of their questions, answered. But there's one problem in John chapter 20:24, check out what the problem is. Verse 24 says, "Now Thomas, also known as Didymus, one of the 12, was not with the disciples when Jesus came." Now I want you to feel what's going on here. All the disciples, 10 of them are there, Judas is gone. Thomas is not with them, to which leads my inquisitive self to then say, why is Thomas not there? And here's what I've been taught over the years. And I'm glad I'm breaking free from this. We don't know why Thomas wasn't there. Maybe he didn't get the email, maybe the text didn't go through. He didn't check the bulletin board of disciples; we really don't know. So before, listen to me, before you get down on Thomas already, it is possible. Here's where I stand in this. And this is just me, it is possible that Thomas's heart that we have seen on these first two elements of his fate is so destroyed, that he just didn't want to be around people. He didn't know that it was going on. He felt crushed and destroyed. He didn't have an idea. He was devastated. And I think that this is less about Thomas not having enough faith to go to church. That's why you don't miss church, you miss Jesus. We've all heard it right? All the time. I think it is less about him not being in the room and more just about the honesty of his hurt. Because we see this in his life. And let me say this, I'm going to keep moving. So, I know this is just kind of me talking and not Bible and I don't want this to be.

I think this shows us something right here. And I think it shows us that sometimes it's okay not to be okay. I think it shows us that sometimes it's okay to be able to just go look, I'm hurting, and I'm destroyed and I'm needing a moment. And I just need to be honest before God, before others, before everybody that I am hurting. It's okay to not be okay church. And I know that we're not good at this, why? Because we're American Christians. We're in the south, right? We got to have it all together. Our lives got to be on track. I mean, we got to be Instagram worthy of every moment of our lives right now. Right? I mean, all of it. But it's okay not to be okay. To be honest with God, why? Matthew 11:28, what did Jesus tell us? "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Love? Possibly. We're just seeing the authenticness of his faith. But, not only that, but we also see that Thomas's faith, check this out. It was supported by evidence. It was supported by evidence. And I want you to feel this because here's what happened in Thomas in the story, stay with the John 20 story. Thomas's faith was backed up. Look at verse 25. "So, the other disciples told Thomas, we have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Well, unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and I put my finger where the nails were and put my hand in his side, I will not believe. So, the disciples they see Jesus, they get a glimpse of Jesus. All of their questions are answered in this moment, but Thomas is not there. So, they go let's find Thomas. Let's tell Thomas. What's going on. They go to Thomas. They're like, Hey, listen, you need to know this. He's alive and Thomas is like nope, not till I see it. Not till I experience it. To which good Christians like me, would probably get down on Thomas right here, but hang on a minute. I need you to see something don't get down on Thomas, was he doubting? Yes. But I think he was doubting more of the evidence that they were giving him more than the evidence that he was looking for in Jesus. Did you know that no one in this group believed until Jesus showed up in front of them? Have you ever realized this? I mean, think about the story just for a minute of the resurrection. Mary goes to the tomb, right? She sees that Jesus is not there. She accuses everybody around her of stealing the body. Where is Jesus? Jesus is not here. Even the angels appear to Mary. She leaves the angels looks at the poor gardener and she still asked the gardener. Where did you put Him? And Jesus is like, Mary, come on. It's me. Right? What about John? I mean, what about John and Peter go into the tomb, they both look into the tomb. Poor John gets there before Peter, he won't even go in because he's so confused of what's going on. Verse 9, in Luke 20 tells us that they don't know what's happening. Until what happens? Jesus shows up to them later.

I mean, think about all of the disciples, they're in this upper room, they don't know what's going on. They're just there to meet. And until Jesus shows up in front of them, they don't know what's happening. In fact, Mark chapter 16:10 in Mark's account, Mary goes to the disciples, and look what she says, "She went and told those who had been with Jesus, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that Jesus was alive, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it." They didn't believe so look, we're all down on Thomas right here. But nobody believed until they got the evidence. Here's what I want you to hear. There's plenty of evidence. There's plenty. Look at what happens in verse 25, "But he replied, I won't believe unless I see the nail wounds in His hands, put my fingers in them, and place my hands into the wounds in His side." I will not believe. A week later, "The disciples were there together again and," listen, "Thomas was with them. And though the doors were locked, but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. Peace be with you." You got to say peace when you come through a wall. It's just how it works. Verse 27, "Then He said to Thomas, put your finger here and look at my hands. Put you hand into the world in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!" I want you to see something here. I want you to see who initiates this contact? Jesus does. Did Thomas ask Jesus a question? No. Did Thomas go to Jesus and go Jesus, I just need to talk to you? No. How is this happening? The same way happens with you. You see, Jesus knows in our hearts when we are struggling, and he perceives our needs, and what does Jesus do through the Holy Spirit in our life, He gives us the evidence that we need. He gives us himself. Listen, Jesus initiates this conversation, and we have a big enough God to handle your questions. We have a big enough God to handle your requests before him. In fact, what did we just see? We just saw that Jesus hears our questions, the resurrected Jesus, the glorify Jesus, he knows when you're struggling, and He wants you to have the evidence that you need. He wants you to have it. We have it. Now we have the complete canon of Scripture. We have the years of living out of their lives of Christians, and we have the words of God. He gets the proof he needs, and I want you to see what happens next verse 28. Thomas said to him, "My Lord, and my God! Thomas exclaimed." Then Jesus told him, you believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing." We haven't seen him. But we believe Jesus is blessing us right here. But I want you to see Thomas's faith. Step number five is that he was incredibly theologically mature. He was theologically mature. Let me tell you why. Verse 28, by most scholars is seen as the number one greatest statement of faith by any apostle. By any apostle. You say, Matt, what are you talking about? Look at it again. John 20:28, "Thomas said to him, my Lord, and my God! Now, don't get lost in first century Palestine because we say this all the time. But listen to what Thomas said, Thomas said, I will bow to you, I will follow you I will be yours. I am yours, Jesus, you are my Savior. You are my Messiah; you are my King. But then he steps over to and he says something that has never been said in the New Testament before. He calls Jesus God. He calls him God. Now Jesus has alluded to it, now don't get lost in the depth of this, please. Jesus has alluded to it. But nobody else in the scripture has put the two together in a more emphatic statement that yes, Jesus is Lord. But yes, Jesus is God. In fact, if the Jews would have heard this, they would have absolutely killed him on the spot. Why? Because we see right here, the deity of Jesus. And he wasn't just the guy who walked on this earth. You're seeing how mature Thomas was right? Was he a Doubting Thomas? Well, he had a moment, right? But we're seeing a guy who fully understands who Jesus is. That's what our faith is about. It's about fully understanding, getting evidence asking questions following Jesus. But then I want you to see what happens next, because this changes everything. In number six is Thomas's faith was spread to others. It was spread to others. You say, Matt, what are you talking about? I just want you to see this. Jesus has risen. He meets Thomas. Thomas submits his life to Him. There's is no more doubting. In fact, church tradition tells us that Thomas moved from there to ancient Babylon, which is kind of Iraq today. Then he moved on over to which is now present-day Iran. And in 52 AD Thomas sails to India.

He sails to India and he plants some churches in India and reaches the Brahmin people. Now, if you remember from history, maybe, maybe not the Brahmin people are the highest cast of the Indian society. Thomas plants, these churches on the west coast of India. Reaches these people, preaches there for 20 years to about 70 AD, and then he moves over to the eastern coast of India and plants, another couple churches to where eventually he is martyred for his faith and thrown into a pit, a spear is driven through his chest. But here's what I want you to see. I want you to know that because Thomas reached the highest class of Brahmins, you can actually today go to India and trace the lineage of at least five churches on paper directly to the apostle Thomas, directly to him. Now, let me just flip the whole script here and say this, while we may see him as a doubting Thomas, I can see him as a man who's looking at me and looking at you and going, Hey, never let a moment of doubt limit your future walk with Jesus. Here's the deal. We hold out. What are we seeing in Thomas's life? We're seeing he was willing to sacrifice he was prepared to follow. He was fully honest about who he was. He had the evidence that he needed to move. He was incredibly theologically mature. And eventually his faith began to move into a whole region of the world to which 2000 years later, we can still celebrate. So, here's my question to you this morning.

Where is your faith today? Is your faith at a point in your life to where you're looking at Jesus honestly going, I just need you to move in my heart? Are you still just hanging out in the surface level American consumeristic Christianity? Lord today, Lord I just pray that in these next moments, Lord Jesus, that we can have a moment for you to show us who you are.

Lord, Thomas's life shows us that our only job is to be fully devoted to who you are, Lord Jesus. God, I'm praying right now for the people that are hearing me speak, that they need to give their heart and life to Jesus today. That they've never made a decision for you to cover their sins, to invite you into their lives. That God today would be a day that they would say I need you Jesus. God, I'm praying for the people today that are just absolutely just consumers of the faith and not walkers, of the faith. Lord I pray that you would show them. Lord that we're here to represent you as a disciple making disciple Lord. I pray for people who are trying to decide right now to take that next step of baptism. Or to take that next step of joining us here at Burnt Hickory as part of the family stepping in and becoming a member of this church. Now would you just move in these next couple of minutes and show us what our next step needs to be Lord Jesus? It's in your name we pray. Amen.


Follow Along with the Message

The 12 That Changed the World

Thomas - Don’t Let Doubt Define You

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. -Matt. 28:16-17

PRINCIPLE: Never allow a season of doubt  your future walk with Jesus.

6 Components of Thomas’ Faith:

1. Willing to  .

John 11:6-7, 11-16 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” … 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Mark 8:34-35 "If anyone would come after me; he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whomever wants to save his life will lose it, but whomever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

2. Prepared to  .

John 14:1-6 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

3. Fully  .

John 20:24 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came…

Matt 11:28 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

4. Supported with  .

John 20:25 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have 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.”

Mark 16:10 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it

John 20:25-27 …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.” 26 A 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!” 27 Then 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.”

John 20:28-29 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

5. Theologically  .

John 20:28 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

6. Spread to  .

Heb. 4:1515 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Heb. 4:16 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.