The dangers of doubting

 

Everyone has experienced doubt in one form or another. But this morning I will be talking about the dangers of doubting when it comes to God and his word. First of there are many people today that doubt weather God exist or that we have his words recorded for us in our Bibles. This obviously very dangerous to a persons spiritually well- being because they will have no idea what to do with their lives and they will never be able to be saved because of their of their doubt.

 

This was one of the major problems with 1st century Jews. Now granted they believed in God and they knew that scriptures spoke of coming Messiah but because of expectation of some grand man who would establish a great earthly kingdom they doubted with every fiber of their being that Jesus was the son of God. Because of their lack to investigate Jesus real birth place or what it was that he was saying they simply refused to see him as the son of God. This was even the attitude of one of Jesus disciple before he believed.

 

John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me."44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote -- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

 

You see Nathanael attitude was very negative as he doubted any good come out of Nazareth. The reason why he makes this statement was because Nazareth was a town that was kind off to itself and it a large number of people who lived there were poor so it didnít have a good reputation.However Nathaniel did something different than the many of Jews of that day did not. He actually went and he investigated if there was anything to this Jesus and when Jesus revealed to him how he already knew him his doubt was turned into belief. Nathaniel could of easily of said I donít care what you say. Iím not going because nothing good could possible come out of Nazareth. This exactly what many do today when it comes to God and hearing his word.

 

I have no doubt whatsoever that if those who call themselves atheist or doubt that God exist, that if they would simply do some investigating of Godís Word they would soon realize that there has to be God and that the Bible contains his inspired word. Now I donít have time to go into ever detail that shows that Godís word could not possible be the creation of a man but I certainly have time to share with you basic points of which shows that there is a God and that we have his word.

 

One of the greatest arguments that has been brought forth to prove that there is a God without even looking at the Bible is the fancy term called the cosmological argument.


The basic principle behind this argument is this,

  1. Everything has a cause(s).
  2. Nothing can cause itself.
  3. Therefore, everything is caused by another thing(s).

You can make this argument as complicated as you want to but a basic argument is this. The universe that we live and all the Billions of factor that make it work could not come from nothing but it had to have a cause and of course we all know that that cause God.

We can relate this argument to any object that we make today. For instance if you ship on the water you know that ship had cause and did not happen by itself. Now the cause was the people who built and all parts that made up that ship.

Now this is a very simple logical argument but is very effecting to showing that some thing or some caused the universe to exist and a God would be the logical choice. Even those who do not believe in the God of the Bible will usually agree that some higher being brought us into existence. So there should be no doubt there is a creator.

Now all one has to do consider the general facts about the Bible and what it say about the creator and the plan that he has for us find out that it truly is the word of God and is proof within itself that there is a God.

When you considered that the 66 book that we have in our Bibles were written by some 40 different writers with different backgrounds and languages over 1600 year period yet all the scriptures flow together in harmony is proof within itself that these books were not written by the creation of man because if that were the case their would be contradiction after contradiction. Further proof of this is the fact that when the Bibles speaks historically or even scientifically it remains to be spot on and no other book even written by one author could make such a claim that I know of especially when it comes to the filed of science. Book just written 10 years ago have become obsolete in the science world because we keep making new discoveries. So it should be very clear just from looking at this perspective of the Bible that we should have no doubts that we have the inspired word of God in our Bibles. And we should have no doubts in believing what it promises us or how much God loves us. But again I say to those who doubt the existence of God and his word are in grave danger of losing their soul because as long as they hold on to their doubt they will never believe nor can they ever experience the joy and peace that comes from knowing God and his Word.

The next thing we learn about the danger of doubt is that it is a sign of a weak faith. Now in this point I am talking about those people who believe in God and his word but still yet they have their doubts about it and so they are not 100%. We can see many great examples of this type of doubt with Jesus disciples that walked with him. It has always amazed me how they could Jesus with their own eyes and experienced first hand the miracles that he did yet many of them still had their doubts and it caused them problems.
Our first example comes from,

Mark 4:35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side."36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.40 But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

Now Mark gives us more details about this event than Mat. or Luke does for instance we learn from Mark that not only was Jesus boat on the water so were many others that were following after him. Now I donít know if you have been out in water when a storm came through but I have and it amazing how high the waves can get. You see I was a kid I went fishing with my dad on the red river when this storm came in now the red river was fairly calm but we had to go across lake texoma to get back to our truck and as soon as crossed the point where the red river and Lake texoma run together the waves were enormous. Some of them were reaching about 5 foot in height and our little boat was pounding through them. Now this would probably scare most people but I was about 13 years old and so I thought it was fun because I didnít realize how dangerous those waves were and by the time we made to the land our boat had quite a bit of water in it.

So, I can definitely relate at least in part to what these men were experience out on the water. The major difference is that they didnít have a gas powered to engine to help get them out of their situation and so you can just imagine how scared they were thinking that this may be their finally hour because their boat were filling with water and they were to sure to sink. But what do find Jesus doing during this time? He is a sleep on his pillow. Again can imagine what was going through his disciples heads when they realized that Jesus was sleeping while they were scared to death. Well, as we read they wake Jesus up then he tells the sea Peace be still and then it was calm. You see his disciples had become overcome by fear because they doubted that they would make through this storm alive and then Jesus point out their doubt and questions them about it by saying, 40 "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"

Here Jesus shows them that God is control and even when something as scary as a storm on the sea comes about you should be able to keep your faith in God in tact and realize that he is control. Even if you happen to die during such an event you can still keep your faith and not doubt because you can know in your heart that you lived a faithful life to God and that you will receive the promised given to you by God.

 

Our next example comes from,

Matthew 14:25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Once again our example involves water and the wind. Here we find Jesus walking across the water when he was spotted by his disciples. Now he did this walk sometime after 3 am and so again if you can imaging being out in the water early in the morning and you see somebody or something walking across the water this certainly would catch your attention and you would have all kind of thought running through your head trying to figure out what in the world is this. Well they find out that its Jesus.

Now Peter still seems to have some doubt if this Jesus for sure or not so he wants to test him. He ask him to command him to come out on the water with him and so Jesus commands him. Now at first Peter doing a great job as he walking on the water toward Jesus. His faith is strong and had no doubt in his head. But then all of sudden he begins to notice the wind and he starts doubting what he doing and so he begins to sink but Jesus was there to lend him a helping hand but again Jesus gets onto Peter for doubting which meant that he faith was not very strong.

You see in similar way today we must be careful that we donít allow the world around and it problems to distract us to the point to where we begin to doubt in God our we too will end up spiritually sinking but Just like Peter if are willing to cry to God when we start sinking he will be there for us to lend us a hand.

Our third example of this kind of doubt is found in,

Mark 9:14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.16 And He asked the scribes, "What are you discussing with them?"17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit.18 "And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not."19 He answered him and said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me."20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.21 So He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood.22 "And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!"26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead."27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

Now Jesus, Peter, James and John had came down from the mountain where the transfiguration occurred and they come upon this situation where the other 9 apostles could not cast this one demon out of this boy. Now when Jesus hears what has been going on he talks about how weak a faith this generation has. Since these 9 apostles could not cast out this demon you can imagine that this caused doubt among many people including the 9 apostles and this doubt became contagious.

However I do like this father here who is just as honest and sincere as he can be because when Jesus ask him if he believes he basically is says yes lord I believe and if I have any doubt or unbelief help me to believe and course Jesus is able to cast out this spirit. The point I want to make with this is we must be careful about allowing doubt to enter our lives today or it keep us from being able to do what we should be able to do. You see the more we doubt in Gods ability the less we are going try new things that will bring glory and honor to him. You see doubt will take away our confidence in what we can do through the Lord. So instead of being full of doubt we should have the attitude of Paul and say,

Philippians 4: 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

One more quick point I want to make about doubting is that can also hinder your prayers. Paul tells Timothy,

 

1 Timothy 2:8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;

 

Paul teaches 2 things about prayer. We shouldnít pray with wrath or anger and we shouldnít doubt when we pray. When it says not pray with doubt this means that you shouldnít praying with the attitude of well maybe God will answer my prayer if he has time or thinking such thought well I guess can pray but it probably wont happen. When pray with doubt our prayer is empty. Notice James says about this,

 

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

 

So basically whatever you doubt in your prayer will not be answered based upon what James has just told us. So this is just another danger of what doubt can cause in persons life. Well now that we have talked about the dangers of doubting I would now like to share with 3 quick point on how to overcome doubting. Now all 3 of these point all have to do with learning to trust God and the Book of Isaiah teaches this great lesson. First look at,

 

Isaiah 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the LORD, And my just claim is passed over by my God"?28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

 

Here Isaiah is trying to convince the Jews that God is concerned with them and he will help them. He is not God who goes to sleep and peeks in on his creation when he feels like, no instead he is always there and no grow tired of helping his people. Knowing that God is always watching and listening should help us to know that we can always trust that God will be there to help us in our time of need and this should help us to overcome doubt. Our second point comes from,

 

Isaiah 49:14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me."15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.

 

Once again the children of Israel have great doubt and they think God has forgotten them. But God wants them to know that he will never ever forget them. He even gives us this visually picture of us being inscribed on the palms of his hands. Besides in the NT it teaches that God has even numbered the very hairs of our head and had told us,

 

Hebrews 13:5 "I will never leave you nor forsake you."6 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

 

So if we will remind ourselves on a daily basis that God will not forget us it should help us to overcome any doubt that tries to creep into our lives. Then our finally point this morning comes from,

 

 

Isaiah 50:2 Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink because there is no water, And die of thirst.3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, And I make sackcloth their covering."

 

Here Isaiah teaches us that there is no limit to Godís power to deliver and we should never think that Gods hand is shortened after all he had the power to create the universe and you and I and so why should ever doubt in God and what he is capable of doing in our lives. When Jesus was answer his disciples question of who could be saved,he tells them,

 

Mark 10:27. "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."

 

I hope this lesson this morning has clearly shown you the dangers of doubting and how it can:

Keeps some from believing in God

Create fear in those who face difficult situations

It cause you to spiritually sink into a world of sin

It can rob you of your confidence to grow as a Christian

It can hinder your prayer life.

 

I also hope that you will remind yourself on daily basis the 3 points that Isaiah made on how to overcome doubt.

1. He taught us that God is always watching and listening

2. He taught us that God will never leave nor forsake us

3. He taught us that Godís hand is shortened because nothing is impossible for Him.

 

When we take the time to remind ourselves of just how awesome our God really is and how much he loves us it will help to trust in him more so that we can overcome the dangers of doubting.