2017-03-05 – John 20.24-31 – Come to Believe

2017-03-05 – John 20:24-31 – Come to Believe

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

2017-03-05 – John 20:24-31 – Come to Believe, Page 115

Good morning everyone. I am so happy to see you all here today. We have a lot of people out today for reasons, the Murphy family, the Hammond family, the McDorman family to name a few.

D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, was preaching in Chicago on October 8, 1871. Before him was the largest congregation he had ever addressed in the city. He concluded his sermon with a blunder that he called the biggest mistake in his life, one he vowed he would give his right hand to take back.  D.L. Moody gave the people a week to decide for Christ. That night the great Chicago fire broke out and many of the people who were there were killed. Moody said that was the last time he every told anyone to postpone a decision for Christ. (Source unknown).

In the message today we are going to witness a man make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That is the most important decision that everyone of us can make in this thing called life.

Please turn in your Bible to John 20:24-31, or Page 115 in the Pew Bible.  Which is the Inspired, Infallible, and Living Word of God     [PRAYER]

Last week in our message we went over how Jesus rose from the grave and then appeared to the Disciples. He told them “Peace be with you” and Jesus had them see his hands and His pierced side. He told them again “Peace be with you” and said that they would receive the Holy Spirit. And Jesus commissioned them to represent Him, to be His Ambassador to the world. In today’s passages, Jesus is going to present Himself to the only Disciple that wasn’t in the room, Thomas; and that takes us to our first verse of this message entitled Come to Believe.

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

Who was Thomas? He is most popularly known by the title “Doubting Thomas”. We don’t read much about Thomas in the gospels until just prior to Jesus going to the cross and after His death at Calvary. One thing that I admire about Thomas is that he asked questions when others might have just been wondering about things but were hesitant to ask. For example when Jesus said that He was going away and that He was going to prepare a place for the disciples (John 14:2) everyone else was silent, Thomas asked “Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way”? The other disciples might have been thinking the same thing but Thomas wasn’t’ shy about asking. To which Jesus responded by saying that He is “the way, the truth and the life”.

Church tradition and history tells us that Thomas traveled as far away as India to preach the gospel, which is yet another indication of his boldness. Today Thomas is considered to be the Patron Saint of India.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Church+of+St+Francis+of+Assisi/@15.5039354,73.9115551,557m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x4d80d5fbfc3d3947!8m2!3d15.5030679!4d73.91125

These pictures show the journey that Tomas took. 2,700 miles is a long way to travel by foot and by water. About the same distance across the continental U.S. This second picture is of the Saint Thomas church in Goa, India. The third is another church I visited in Goa called the church of Saint Francis of Assisi. India is better than 90% Hindu now, but there are many churches in this area along with the southern part of India. Thomas made a significant impact on India and paved the way for Saint Francis, Mother Theresa, and now even our current Pope. This Saint Thomas changed the world because of Jesus. And it started in these verses we have today.

25But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

Anyone here have family roots in the state of Missouri?
In Missouri they have a well-known nickname as being “The Show-Me State.” Although the nickname has not been officially recognized by Missouri’s government, it can even be seen on their license plates. I had an old army body that used to proclaim frequently “I’m from Missouri and you’ve got to show me.” The Show-Me phrase is used to describe the character of Missourians; being not gullible, conservative, and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence. Thomas here must have been from Missouri. Thomas had doubts.

Have you ever wished you could actually see Jesus, touch Him, and hear His words?  I too have thought how wonderful it would be to sit down with Him and get His advice personally? Thomas wanted Jesus’ physical presence. He wanted to see Him in person and even touch Him with his fingers. We will read shortly how Jesus satisfied Thomas in that regard; but as Christians, we should know this is just a glimmer of a new relationship that God has put together that is actually even better than that which Thomas experienced. Those that call themselves Christians now have the God’s Holy Spirit inside of them. Just as Jesus satisfied Thomas with His presence, God wants to be present with you at all times; and even now He is with His followers in the form of the Holy Spirit. We now have ongoing fellowship as the Holy Spirit of God has joined with our spirit and is our counselor the Bible tells us. So you can talk to Him, and you can walk with Him. And we can also find God’s words in the pages of the Bible written for us to ponder and reflect upon. God can be as real to you as He was to Thomas that day. I find so much comfort in that understanding and I hope you do too.

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

You might recall this is similar to what the Disciples experienced in last weeks message. They were in a locked room and Jesus appeared to them. It doesn’t say how Jesus got there, He could have walked through locked door or one of the walls or ceiling or floor.. We don’t know, He could of just materialized out of thin air. But in each of these incidents they make a point of saying the doors were locked or shut, then Jesus came. And just as He did before, Jesus says Peace be with you, probably because they were afraid at His appearance. I would be afraid, wouldn’t you?  “Peace be with you” He said, and I know that Jesus wishes that peace to be with you not only in the troubled times, but always, for He is Peace.

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Notice that Jesus wasn’t hard on Thomas for his doubts. Despite his skepticism, Jesus didn’t call him out. And God is a God of mercy and compassion and He will not call you out either when you have doubt or are troubled. Just like Thomas, God knows that many people need to doubt before they believe.  If doubt leads to questions, questions lead to answers, and the answers are accepted, then doubt has done good work. However, it is when doubt becomes stubbornness and stubbornness becomes a life-style of sin is when doubt harms faith.  When you doubt, don’t stop there. Let your doubt fuel you to dig deeper. Read scripture, talk to clergy or others that are more mature in their faith, pray for wisdom and understanding. Let the process deepen your faith as you continue to search for answers. I can attest that it is a marvelous journey with purpose and much gain.

28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Tradition says that while Thomas was establishing a church in India, he was stabbed with a spear and died from the wound, so sad it is. The irony in our verses today, Jesus instructed Thomas to touch His side where the wounds from Him being speared on the cross were still visible. Thomas died in service to our Lord. Thomas believed, and it is because of that belief, He served with honor and purpose. And because of that belief, many were brought to know Jesus.

Some people think they would believe in Jesus if they could see a definite sign or miracle. But in these verses today Jesus says we are blessed if we believe without seeing. We have all the proof we need as we feel and see the Holy Spirit and the fruit that comes out in our lives because of His presence. We also have proof in the words of the Bible and the testimony of believers. A physical appearance would not make Jesus any more real to us than He is now already.

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

In the book of James 1:6 it says – But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

Doubt leaves a person as unsettled as the restless waves on the sea or ocean. Anyone here ever seen the ocean? Pretty amazing isn’t it. However, I have also had the experience of being on boats in the ocean during rough waters, and it isn’t pleasant at all. Sometimes life is like the rough seas of the ocean, tossing you to-and-fro, and doubt only adds to the challenge of life’s struggles. God’s word here tells us that if you want to stop being tossed about like the waves at sea, then rely on God to show you what is best for you. Ask Him for wisdom, and trust that He will give it to you.

The Gospel includes everything we need to know to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and savior through whom we receive eternal life. However, the devil doesn’t want you to be settled in your spirit and character. Ever since the dawn of time the devil has been trying to trip us up. Remember how he even tempted Eve by getting her to doubt God’s goodness. Satan made Eve forget all that God had given her and instead, focus on the one thing she couldn’t have.  We fall into trouble, too, when we dwell on the few things we don’t have rather than on the countless things God has given us. The next time you are feeling sorry for yourself and what you don’t have, consider all you do have and thank God.  Then your doubts won’t lead you into sin like it did Adam and Eve.

In our verses today it says that after Jesus showed Thomas His hands and His side, Thomas called Jesus “My Lord and my God!”
Interesting to note that the title for God as Lord is different than the titles for God as Father in that when you recognize somebody as Lord, it is like a royal subject acknowledging the King. You are placing that Lord above you in authority. Thomas declared Jesus as his Lord that day. The title God is a given, God is God, but the title Lord is volunteered. Thomas volunteered and choose to call Jesus Lord. He put Jesus above him in authority, and he put himself under Jesus’ authority. That is what this means. And I have to ask you, have you done that yet?  Have you declared Jesus as your Lord and God?

As we conclude today, you should know that we have only one more chapter to go through in this book of John. I hope through this exercise of reading it verse by verse, you might have a clearer understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for you and for all mankind. Although it can be painful to reflect on all the suffering that our Savior went through leading up to and including the cross of Calvary, it is also very important to always keep before us the image of the empty tomb, and the knowledge that Jesus rose again and defeated death. That is the crux of our faith. Jesus proved that He was alive to Thomas and the Disciples that day, and I proclaim to you all here today. Jesus is Alive!  Amen..

D.L. Moody said he would never again suggest people should put off making a decision for Christ.. So I offer and invitation for you to accept Jesus as your personal savior today..