Doubt and Faith

2019-04-28 – Year C – Easter 2 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Acts 5:12-29; Psalm 111; Revelation 1:9-19; John 20:19-31
Jr. High Youth Ministry trust fall – they didn’t catch me!

Doubting Thomas

  • Poor Thomas has gotten a bad reputation!
    • Didn’t doubt any more than any of the other disciples who didn’t believe the women when they first shared the news of the empty tomb.
    • “When Jesus first appears in the Gospel today, John tells us that the “doors were locked for fear of the Jews.” (John 9:19)
    • Might be called faith-filled Thomas because he is the first of the disciples to call Jesus “God” (John 20:28).
  • Pisteuo (verb: to believe, trust) pistis (noun: faith, trust) pistos (adj.: faithful, trusting)
    • “pístis is saving acceptance of Christ’s work as proclaimed in the gospel. This includes believing, obeying, trusting, hoping, and being faithful…”
  • Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is…the conviction of things not seen.”
    • It is not really faith if you are staring at a concrete reality, like Thomas experiencing the wounds of Jesus.
    • Sri Lankan Attack on Easter Sunday
      • “During Sunday School, [a teacher] had talked to the children about the importance of repentance and receiving Jesus as Lord. Because a recent vehicle accident had claimed the lives of six Zion Church members, he had referred to that event and challenged the children, asking them if they would be willing to even die for Jesus. All the children had responded by putting their hands up and signalled their fresh dedication to Jesus by lighting a symbolic candle. For so many of those children it would be their final act of worship (2 Timothy 6:6-8).”
      • “We are hurt. We are angry also,” stated a Sri Lankan senior pastor, Roshan Mahesen. “But still—as the senior pastor…, the whole congregation, and every family affected—we say to the suicide bomber, and also to the group that sent the suicide bomber, ‘We love you and we forgive you. No matter what you have done to us, we love you, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Purpose of the Gospel of John

  • John 20:29 “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
    • We are those people.
    • John’s Gospel was intended to lead people from unbelief to belief in Christ.
      • John 20:30-31
    • This story about fearful disciples is intended as an encouragement to us.
    • John wanted to encourage the next generation of disciples in their faith even though they didn’t have direct experience.

Stepping out in Faith

  • Faith begins with a belief in the mind and heart, but it should extend to action.
    • If we believe that God heals people, even today, we should be quick to pray for the sick expecting something to happen.
    • Remember the word pistis means “faith” but also “trust” and “obey”.
    • If we have faith, it should make a difference in how we live.
  • We see a demonstration of the faith of the Apostles in the reading from Acts.
    • Peter and the Apostles were healing people left and right and multitudes of men and women were coming to faith in Jesus through their ministry.
    • The high priest had the Apostles arrested, but an angel opened the doors of the prison and told them to stand in the temple and “speak to the people all the words of this Life.” (Acts 5:20)
      • Acts 5:21 “when they heard this…immediately…” they were quick to obey.
      • There were risks, but they were willing to endure them.
    • When questioned about why they were disobeying the order of the High Priest to remain silent about Jesus, the apostles respond saying “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29).
    • Peter and the Apostles were then beaten by the authorities.
      • Their response was rejoicing! Acts 5:41-42.
      • They continued to preach the name of Jesus! That is faith.
    • Ultimately, we know that all of the Apostles, except for John, died a martyrs death, preaching the name of Jesus. That is faith!
      • Our faith should inspire passion!
      • It should cause us to walk out the doors of this church each week with eyes of expectation, looking for what God is doing and asking how we can be a part of it!
  • If that kind of faith seems far from your grasp, just remember how Thomas and the other Apostles started, scared and locked in a room for fear.
    • Faith is a bit like a muscle that gets stronger the more you exercise it.
    • Mustard seed faith. Luke 17:5-6.
    • It can be a challenge to listen for the voice of the Lord at first.
    • The more you listen and act, the surer you become of hearing in the first place, and the more willing you become to listen and obey in the future.
  • “Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith;” (Collect for Easter 2, BCP2019) May it be so!

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