Sunday, January 22, 2006

Just A Little Doubt?

Intro.: “Doubt”

  1. It's one of those things we don't like to talk about.

  2. The Church's hidden secret – we don't want anybody to know that we have doubts.

  3. Yet I know that I do on occasion. I know that each of us also experience those times in our lives when we have to face the confusion that doubt can bring.

  4. As I began to thing about this thing called doubt, one of my favorite hymns started going through my head. You probably have experienced the same thing – a tune starts dancing around and it just won't leave. The tune that I kept hearing was that song that we just sang, “Joyful, joyful, we adore thee”. Listen to the words of the first stanza again:

    Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
    God of glory, Lord of love;
    hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
    opening to the sun above.
    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
    drive the dark of doubt away.i

  5. In fact as I began to gather together the pieces of this sermon, I was amazed to find that the one song that we all associate with the Billy Graham crusades, Just As I Am, reminds us that God takes us as we are:

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

  1. Though we may feel uncomfortable expressing our doubt, it is part of who we are members of the human race.

  2. One way we can understand what doubt means is by looking at the words used in scripture for a term. I want to spend the next few minutes looking at seven terms that are in the NT which will help us understand “doubt”.


  1. aporew -aporeo

    1. The word is composed of two parts - “a” meaning not or without; and “poreo” meaning a way or journey. Literally it means “to be with out a way”. Having said that, it is almost always translated as “perplexed.”

    2. Paul uses this word in his second letter to the Corinthians. He realizes that God is in control, but but is at a lost to understand all that is happening to him. II Corinthians 4:8 reads, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;ii

(Ill.) Vance Havner tells the story of a shop owner who really knows nothing about running a store. He knew nothing about buying or selling. The store is in a dreadful mess. So he turns the whole business over to another person – who will be responsible for running the entire enterprise. The former shop owner now takes over the role of clerk. He is as busy as ever, but his responsibility has changed. The care, the upkeep, the management, all are now the new owner's concern; the shop owner must only be a faithful clerk.

Now why do I tell this story in the midst of discussion of a Greek word meaning “perplexed”. You see, as we live our Christian life we are like that original store owner. Running that store, Rev. Havner says, is as perplexing as living the Christian life. And we have turned our life over a new owner. Christ becomes our owner, our manager, our overseer. Our part is to ba faithful clerk, a steward of the grace of God.

  1. Doubt is not necessarily a bad thing – it becomes a reminder that we must continue trusting God to control our lives.

  1. meteorizw“ meterwrizo

    1. This is the same word that has become our word meteor.

    2. It refers to being up in the air, to be hesitant, to fluctuate, to have one's faith waver as if tossed about in the wind.

    3. Jesus uses the word in Luke 12:29. The NIV reads “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.iii” But in the KJV, the same text reads “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.iv

    4. Worry and doubt are not so different.

  2. (Ill.) John Wesley was walking one day with a troubled man who expressed his doubt of God’s goodness. “I don’t know what I shall do with all this worry and trouble,” he said.

    At that moment Wesley noticed a cow looking over a stone wall. “Do you know,” asked Wesley, “why that cow is looking over that wall?” “No,” replied his troubled companion. “I will tell you,” said Wesley—“because she cannot see through it. That is what you must do with your wall of trouble—look over it and above it.” Faith enables us to look over and above every trouble, to God, who is our help.v

    1. diakrinw” diakrino-----------------------------------------

      1. Our final word is rarely translated “doubt”, but you can see it used in this way in Matthew 21:21 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.

      2. Thomas Merton said, “True faith is never merely a source of spiritual comfort. It may indeed bring peace, but before it does so it must involve us in struggle. A “faith” that avoids the struggle is really a temptation against true

      3. It is not unusual for a believer to have doubts, we saw that even Paul occasionally had doubts. But when we begin to let those doubts control our lives, then our spiritual lives are effected.

      4. Christ makes it clear that we can accomplish a great deal when it is rooted in Faith without Doubt – but doubt can hinder the effective practice of our faith.

    (Ill.) A brief poem helps us see the difference between faith and doubt:

    Doubt sees the obstacles.

            Faith sees the way!

    Doubt sees the darkest night,

            Faith sees the day!

    Doubt dreads to take a step.

            Faith soars on high!

    Doubt questions, “Who believes?”

            Faith answers, “I!”

    Conclusion: Let me conclude by asking you this question: If you had to measure your faith this morning on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being no faith and 10 being faith to move mountains, where is your faith? Let me encourage you to find something to move your faith up a point or two -

    1. Decide to read your Bible each day

    2. Decide to attend join us in Bible Study this Wednesday.

    3. Remember your family and friends in regular prayer this week.

    What will you do this week to remove the dark of doubt away?



    iiThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (2 Co 4:8-9). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

    iiiThe Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Lk 12:29). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

    ivThe Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Lk 12:29). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    vAMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

    viMerton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. 15:1961, quoted in Frank, L. R. (2001). Quotationary. New York: Random House.

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