Seeing Is Believing?
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 4 months ago

Seeing Is Believing?


Do you ever doubt God? Have you ever wondered why God won't just reveal himself to you more clearly? Like, if He was just standing in front of me I would believe! Well, would you? Is seeing really believing? In this iDoubt series we hope to help you transform your doubts into opportunities to walk in faith!

Today we start a new series called I doubt, and my goal in this series is to help you transform your doubts into an opportunity to walk in faith. And so I think oftentimes, as Christians, we think our goal is to like, not doubt. Right, like one of our goals is, I'm not going to know, my faith is going to be strong. And I think we think that because, like so often, we're here about believe, believe, believe, believe, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Right, for God so love the World He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. And so it's believe, believe, believe. But what if we struggle to believe or what if we don't believe, we might fail, think that we're failing, wondering if we're doing this right, and no one wants to think that right. Nobody wants to think that they're failing. Nobody wants to think that they're not doing something right. And what's kind of ironic is one of the main reasons that you're a Christian, that I'm a Christian, is that we recognize that we do fail and that we don't do stuff right. And so therefore we can't trust in ourselves. We can't make up something and and believe just enough that it's going to be true. You know, we have to trust and believe in Jesus. And when we trust and believe in Jesus, he forgives our sins, he comes into our life, he transforms our life and we follow him. And so it's not about what we do right, it's not about how good we are. We have to trust and believe in Jesus. So you kind of have to do something right. You have to believe. So what if you don't? Or what if you don't believe as much as you wish you would? Or maybe at one point in your life you really believe and now you're not quite sure. Is that good enough? These are some of the questions that you can kind of go on a rabbit trail down and just wonder. How does this all work? How does this all fit together? And because it's confusing and maybe challenging, we like to avoid doubts all together. All right, we say doubts is the opposite of belief. And if we're supposed to believe, then I don't want to doubt at all and I like to I like to think about it this way. We like to move forward in our life, don't we? You like to move forward, you like to like the go somewhere. Our...

...mission as a church is to connect you to God's next step for your life, like there is something next. There is something next for you and and in our faith, in our spiritual life, we want to take our next steps, to become more like Jesus, to mature and our faith, to strengthen our faith. We want our faith to be stronger tomorrow than it is today. Right. But what if it's not? Well, if you wake up tomorrow and you're like, I didn't, I didn't expect to feel this way. I like to think of it like a car. All Right, hang with me here. These two illustrations. You're going somewhere in your vehicle, right, you're driving down the turnpike hours. You're in the car for three, four hours, maybe more. Some of you like to drive long distances, and you're going on the open highway. You're going like seventy five miles an hour, and you could probably sit in that car for quite a while, couldn't you? You're listen to the radio, you got your foot on the gas pedal, you got the cruise control set and you're just going your zooming and that's fine. But then all of a sudden you see some red lights in the distance and you just passed the last the last exit to get off, and you come to a stop on the highway, on the turnpike. You got three or four miles before you can get off and you're not moving. You're like, I hate that feeling. I know me too. That's the worst RSS like you're in something designed to move and you're not right, as long as you're moving, as long as you're going, it's fine because that's what it's designed to do. You could sit there all day long, but the moment you're stock, you're stopped, you're not making progress in something specifically designed to move. Now it's the end of the world. Right, and the same can kind of be said about airplanes. Right, you could sit on an airplane for hours and hours and maybe even a day or so and your cruising, you're flying, it's amazing, you know, you're enjoying your time, and then you sit at the gate for like twenty minutes and it's like the end of the world, right? Or maybe you're real close to your destination. You circle around the airport, like what, are we flying in circles? Yeah, yes, you are. You're waiting for the right conditions to land, you're waiting for an opening, and but it feels terrible. It feels horrible because you're in something designed to move and you're not. And I think that's what makes life so frustrating, is because our life is designed to move forward, to take steps, to be better, to follow Jesus better. And and when we're not, we wonder why. And when we don't take steps forward, sometimes the thing that causes us... get stuck is our doubt. We don't feel like we're making progress in our spiritual life. And so what do we do? And we get faced with all these difficult emotions that being stuck on an airplane gives us. Right and so so often our response to doubt is to quit, like if I just doubting this right, let's just quit. I can't take this anymore. It's not working. I'm tired of sitting on this airplane circling the airport. I'm done. Maybe you felt like you were so close to your destination. Everything was great, and now not only are you circling, the plane has kind of turned around and headed in the opposite direction and you're just looking for a parachute because you want to get out of here as fast as possible. When we doubt, oftentimes the response is to quit. And practically what this looks like is like we just quit engaging with church, we we quit praying, we quit giving, we quit serving. Maybe you try something else to fill your void, or maybe you go back to an old habit that you know will make you feel good in the moment. Or maybe you've been trying to defeat a certain sin. You know you are making progress and then you know, you just doubt it and you feel like you got stuck and you just kind of accept that sin and just say you know, this is life and you just embrace it and you hope for the best. So wouldn't it wouldn't it be good in life, in your life, if God would just show up and just tell you what to do, you know, just like physically just be like here here's the deal, right, have you ever thought about that? You've got big questions, right, you need to know the answer to these questions of life, and if this was so important to God, then certainly he would answer them right. Well, years ago somebody asked me this very important, very very important question to them, and this was the question. They said, is it a sin to vape? I told you, very very important question, and so if you ever ask me a question phrased like that, this is going to be my response to you. I just tell you up front, right I say, if you have to ask that question, you probably already know the answer to it and instead of trying to figure out how close to the line of sin you should go, you should try to figure out how close to God you should be. Right.

So a better question than is this thing a sin, is how can I honor God by doing this? How can I love God by doing this? How can I love others by doing this? How can I obey God? By filling the blank, because it's a lot better question to try and get closer to God than it is to see how close you can get to the line of sin. But wouldn't it be great if God would just show up to this particular question? Let's say, right, is it a sin to Vape, and like, what if God would just like literally sin in stand in front of you right, God standing in front of us and he just says, okay, thou shalt not vape, because God speaks in King James Only language. Right, you would a hundred percent trust it. Right. Maybe, maybe, and you're like, okay, well, you know, God's not gonna die. I'm not expecting him to do that, you know. But but if there was a verse in the Bible, It's God's word, right, it's a hundred percent true. It's I would believe it. I would trust it if God's Word said it. I'm looking, I'm looking and you're like, I'm looking in first smoking. One hundred fifteen says do not vape. It is a sin before God. And if you were reading it on the page in front of you, some of you are looking for I just made that up. Is Not. There's no first smoking. If you were reading it on the page in front of you, then I would believe it because it's God's word. Right, really, maybe that's a little bit of a a silly illustration. Let's do a serious one. That's pretty serious. What about life after death? Life after death, that's a pretty big one. Like we can't know for sure what happens right until we get there. And then once we get there it's kind of too late, isn't it? Maybe you doubt that anything happens after you die. Maybe you doubt there's a heaven or you doubt there's a hell, and so maybe you've thought before if there was just some way to know, like if, like, if somebody could go there and come back and tell us, well then I would trust it. Right, right, maybe. But it's really fascinating that Jesus tells us a story of this exact scenario. And if you have your Bible, turn with me to Luke Chapter Sixteen. We're going to look at Luke Sixteen a day and one other passage. If you don't have your...

Bible, that's okay. Well, we'll love to send you home with a free one in the new here area in the lobby. We would send you home with a Free Bible. And there's words are on the screen behind me as well. And so in Luke Sixteen Jesus tells this story. It's a parable this story that illustrates a bigger spiritual truth. and Jesus said there was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury, and at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. And as Lazarus lay there, longing for scraps from the rich Man's table, the dogs would come and lick his open source. And so Jesus just tells the story. He sets it up. There's a rich man, he's got everything you ever want, and outside the gate of this house there's this poor guy. He doesn't have anything and his life is kind of miserable. Right, rich man, poor man. Jesus goes on. He says the poor man died and was carried to the angel's side, beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. And that's how the new living translation translates the phrase Abraham's bosom, which, again, you're probably like, what is that? Also Paradise in some ways heaven. So I encourage you, if you're curious, to look into the relationship between Paradise and Heaven and how does that work together. But Jesus is telling the story to illustrate this point. Right, the poor man died and he goes to this good place with Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. Certainly he was with God. This is the good place with God. The rich man also died and was buried and he went to the place of the dead. Greek word for that place of the dead is hades. And again, if you want to study it, hates and hell. How do they relate? They're similar. That could be different. Something to look into. If you want to talk more about that, feel free to call me, text me or ask the question in the next series will answer it. And so the rich man died, he went there and they're in torment. He saw Abraham in a far distance with Lazarus at his side. So Abraham, Abraham's bosom, is the good place and the poor guy is there and the place of torment, the place of the dead, Hades, is where the rich man went to. The rich man shouted, Father Abraham, have some pity. Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames. You think of hell as like fire and brimstone. Right. These are some of the verses that kind of bring these ideas about. There's flames in this place and if he just would get like a little drop of water, then his life, for his experience, whatever you want to call it, might be a little better. And I just wonder, like, did the rich man ever think to bring some water to this poor guy outside of his gate? You know, all these years he's just sitting there, and now it's flipflop. Now the rich guys asking the poor guy for water. And it's interesting too that we get this idea...

...from this story. Again, it's a story, it's a parable illustrating some deeper spiritual truths that in the where, in the life after death, you can talk. I mean this guy's shouting, this guy's talk and he's looking, he's seeing, he's feeling different things. And so Abraham Responds to this guy's message and he says, son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted and Lazarus had nothing. And now he is here being comforted and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us and no one can cross over from here and no one can cross over to us from there. And so again the story illustrating I don't think you can see each other in heaven and hell. I don't. I don't think there's evidence of that. But he's illustrating that there is a separation and you can't just go from one place to the other. You know once you get there. That's that's what it is. The rich man said, please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father's home. Right, if there is nothing you can do for me, go to my five brothers. I want him to warn them so they don't end up in this place of torment. Write this rich guys, like I got five guys. I don't want them to be here. There my brothers, there, my family. I need you to go and I need you to go and tell them, because they don't believe, and then I want them to write. So here, let's just send them somebody who's been here before. And Abraham said Moses and the prophets had warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote. God, speaking through Abraham in this moment, is saying you have your scriptures, you have your Old Testament, Torah, five books of the Penitube that Moses wrote, like what he wrote is enough, plus all the other writers in the Prophets. That's enough. If somebody were to come back, if Lazarus was to go back, God is saying through Abraham here in this moment. It's not going to make a difference. They have enough. I love this guy, the rich man replied no, Father Abraham, I think there's something inside of all of us that's like no, like, I know there's got to be more. I have well, have the buyble, I could read it, I know, but there's got to be more. No, it's not good enough. But if someone which is be sent from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God. Like he knows he's in this place of torment, he's in this place of anguish. He knows how to not go there. He knows that you have to repent of your sin and turn to God. Repent of your sin and turn to God. Just turn to God. That's what repent means. Is Repent just literally means to turn. And so we're following ourselves or trusting in ourselves or trusting in something, and we need to repent, we need to turn and we need to turn to God. We need to trust God, follow God, turn to God, and that will keep you from Hades, keep you from Hell. and Abraham said, if they won't listen, this is the...

...conclusion. If they won't listen to Moses, and the Prophets. They won't be persuaded even if somebody rises from the dead, like this is God saying, like, you know, we feel it in our heart right, if someone would just come and we would believe it, we would trust it, we would know it, we would fully embrace it and God through Abraham here in the stories, like that's not that's not it. Like even if someone were to do that, it's not good enough. They have the scriptures. I've given them everything that they need to believe. I've given you and me everything that we need to believe, and I think you know this inside. I think you do, because you've probably heard stories of people that have claimed that have passed away and have come back and have told their little story in your like I'm supposed to believe a five year old boy in a movie, really, and so, like there's a lot of crazy, insane people and stories and things that people maybe make up. Maybe they make it up for popularity's sake, maybe they make it up for all this different stuff, and so their story, you would think, could be good enough, but I don't know if it always is. And I've come to learn that this type of experience, this you know, going dying and kind of being brought back, as it could be called a neardeath experience, and there's a lot of really interesting research that has gone into this experience that people have all over the world and certainly there's stories that are real and God uses them to change people's lives and make them turn to God and it's incredible. But sometimes they are kind of crazy and, you know, just interesting to listen to, but other times they're they're by very credible people, people that have a lot to lose, you know, if if they start telling something crazy and there, they might lose their job, they might lose their there are lots of money that they have, and so there's some interesting people that have had these experiences that God is used in their life, and so it's definitely a very real thing that some people could experience this and kind of come back and kind of share. But the point is is that that's not like good enough. That doesn't help us believe for all those different reasons we just talked about, right, and so maybe you might wonder this question. If somebody like random's testimony, their experience isn't good enough, well then what if? What if God would go there and come back like you can believe God right. There's got to be something that's a hundred percent true, a hundred percent right, and if God would do it, well, then certainly I would trust it, I would believe it. You might know where I'm going next. In Matthew Twenty eight on the Grand My Bible for this Matthew Twenty eight, five through..., we read that. Then the angel spoke to the woman. Don't be afraid, he said, I know you're looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here. He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come see where his body was lying, and now go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you. So Jesus, who claimed to be God, was was crucified, he was buried and he rose from the dead. And on the day of the morning that Jesus did this, who was there? Some women, and what were they coming to do? Put burial spices on Jesus, and an angel had to show up and remind them that Jesus isn't here, like he told you what was going to happen, and yet they still didn't think it would. You would think that all the times Jesus predicted his death and burial and resurrection that in the moment that had happened, like all the disciples, like everyone, would have been standing outside the grave, you know, counting down like three, two, here he comes, one and you know party, they weren't. No one was there, not even his closest followers. And the ones that did show up they came to help bury him better, and he wasn't even there. And so the angel reminds them go to Galilee. Jesus told you to meet him in Galilee. Why are you here? Why are you? Why are you standing here? So then, in Verse Eight, it continues. The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy. Two things that seemed to be very opposite happening at the same time right, great joy and great fear, and they were frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel's message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them and they ran to him, grasped his feet and worshiped him and Jesus said to them, don't be afraid, go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee and they will see me there. As his message, I told these guys, just like three days ago, to meet me in Galilee, like take this important message to them, because obviously they haven't gotten it right now. And Jesus meets these women after he came back from the dead. Real incredible. It says then, as the women went on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers,... must say Jesus's disciples came during the night while we were sleeping and they stole his body and if the governor hears about it, will stand up for you so that you won't get into trouble. And so the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say, and their story spread widely amongst the Jews and they were and they still tell it today. So Matthew, who wrote this Gospel, in the moment he was writing it, he was saying that there is this story circulating, and it's they're still telling it today. And isn't this is true, like you would think. Okay, God just died, he just came back from the dead, he is here showing himself to people. You've got an entirely different group of people creating their own story, their own truth, their own this is what is really real, this is what really happened. Make sure you tell it to everybody, while Jesus himself is telling the complete opposite story. So in the same moment you have Jesus displaying the truth and you also have people making up what they want to be true, what is beneficial to them, what is helpful to them, what makes sense to them. And then we read that the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go, and when they saw him they worshiped him. Obviously, but some of them, and if you're following along, you know the word, but I want you to just hold on to it for a second, because when they saw him, they worshiped him. Makes Sense, and some of them they they didn't. And as I was studying this this week and I'm like, you know, I want to talk about Jesus resurrection and how they trusted and believed in him and didn't and all this stuff, and I was amazed, a new, a fresh a just how, like crazy, this resurrection day, like the moments after the resurrection. How did they all fit together? How do they work? It was really it was really fun to study that and to see and like this whole point about going to Galilee, going to Galley, go to Galilee, and they just didn't. They just didn't. Like Peter, didn't go to Galilee right away. The disciples didn't go to Galilee right away. And so when Jesus rises from the dead the angel, the main thing the angel says in Matthew Twenty eight seven is now go quickly and tell the disciples he's risen from the dead. He is going ahead of you to Galilee and you will see him new. Remember what I told you. And then when Jesus shows up and tells the people, the Women,...

Matthew Twenty eight ten and Jesus said to them, don't be afraid, go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee and they will see me there. It's like the main message the angel says that Jesus says it it's because that's the last words that Jesus told his disciples and mark one. Thus, fourteen twenty eight, after the Last Supper, on his way to the garden a Gasemite, where he was going to be betrayed, is going to be crucified and coming hours, Jesus said, after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there. It's pretty clear this is what Jesus wanted their people, that disciples as close as followers, to do. But then we read in John Chapter Twenty Versus Nineteen to twenty one, that Jesus met the eleven, they're called because Judas wasn't with them anymore, in Jerusalem that resurrection Sunday evening. That was not a part of the plan right go to Galilee. But we see that Jesus met them in Jerusalem. But there was somebody who wasn't there, and his name was Thomas. We're going to talk about him next week. Doubting Thomas is his name, but I think there's a better name for him than that. Eight days later we read in John Twenty, twenty six through twenty nine, Thomas showed up and Jesus showed up again. So Thomas was there this time. Say Hey, but what about Galilee? Right, this was the plan. This was always the plan. So finally, then, in Galilee, Jesus appeared again, but there was only seven of them. Where were the other four? They didn't. They didn't figure it out fast enough for something. There was only seven of them in John Twenty one, one through thirteen. We read that story. And then finally, what we just read in Matthew sixteen through seventeen, Jesus met with all of them in Galilee. So Peter, specifically Peter Okay, Peter, saw the resurrected Jesus three times before. He was in the place that Jesus told him to go to three times, one time personally and Luke thirty four, one time in that first meeting with the eleven in Jerusalem on the resurrection evening, and one time again eight days later when Thomas was there, and still when Jeep Peter went to Galilee. They're on the beach. John Twenty one. This is the story. Peters like okay, Jesus told me he's going to meet me here. WHAT DOES PETER DO? He goes fishing, because what else are you supposed to do? This isn't going to happen. My my savior, my Lord, he was dead. Yeah, maybe I saw him three times already, but, like, I don't know what else to do. I'm going to go back to my old way of life, I'm going to go back to what I am familiar with, and Jesus is just bringing them along and teaching them and...

...with them. And so we just think that if only God would just show up and tell us, if if only Jesus, who claimed to be God, would predict his own death, his own burial, his own resurrection and actually pull it off, then I would believe in him. Right, matthew, seventeen and when they saw him, the resurrected Jesus for like maybe the fourth time or fifth time, depending on whose there's, they worshiped him. Obviously, resurrection wow, but some of them so we could look at them in judgment and say, you were there, you saw it, you shouldn't doubt. But they did, and don't miss this, they doubted. They did because they were there, they saw it, they were obeying, they were in community with the disciples. They were there and because they were there they doubted. We don't know exactly how their life ended up. But if the goal of a Christian's life is to not doubt, then they shouldn't have been there because I don't know, or living in ignorant is not doubt right. But the very fact that they were standing there, that they were confronted with something, that they had to wrestle with it and deal with it, cause them to doubt. Because they were following Jesus, because they were listening to Jesus, they experienced doubt. And so the question becomes with every single one of us is, what do we do with this? Do you quit? That's the common answer. Like I've seen it, I've tried it and I still can't believe. Or do you let your doubt drive you into deeper faith? And I hope they aren't no time together in this series. That's exactly what God will do in your life. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we come before you and we just worship you and thank you that you are who you say you are, that we believe this morning that you predicted your own death, your own burial, Your own resurrection, and that changes everything.

Lord, help us to turn from our sin and turn to God. Help us to do that and Lord, we just acknowledge, in a moment like the US, that it's easier said than done and that we have questions, our faith maybe isn't as strong as we would hope, maybe our faith isn't really there at all. But, God, I just hear you saying that that doesn't change what is true. God, you are true. What you have done is truth. And, Lord, as we wrestle with it, as we fight with it, as we ask questions, as we figure it out, Lord, I pray that you would give us the faith to not quit and to allow our questions, allow our doubts, to bring us into a deeper relationship to you, with you, I believe you're calling US deeper, you're calling us closer, you're calling us to get to know you better, to get to know you more. You don't want us to be left in the dark. You want us to explore, you want us to understand, you want us to know you and love you and be with you and be close to you. And the closer we get, most often the more questions will have, and that's okay. R be with us now. In Jesus name,.

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