Clothed With Power

On the Fortieth Day of Jesus’ appearances the disciples stand before Him SAVED, SENT, and COMMISSIONED.  You would think they were ready to take on the world!  But Jesus said, “Hang on guys, before you go there is one more thing that you need!”  Then He instructed them to wait, not to attempt anything in their own power and strength, but to first be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Not only did the disciples need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, but we need it too.  Come this Sunday and expect an impartation of that same Holy Spirit into your life!

Act 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)

The Holy Spirit will empower you to advance the kingdom of God, as well as live a victorious Christian life.  The Greek word used here for power is ‘dunamis’, with means strength, ability, and power.  Our translation of dunamis is dynamite power.  It’s exciting to know that the Holy Spirit fills our lives with explosive power to do all that He has called us to do!

“…It is quite possible to have something, yes much, of the Spirit’s presence and work in the heart and yet come short of that special fullness and work known in the Bible as the baptism or filling with the Holy Spirit.”  R.A. Torrey

splash rescheduled

commissioned to go 5.25 Forty Day Appearance “Commissioned to Go” Believers Statesboro 05-25-14

Watch or Listen Online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he (Jesus) showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (NIV)

On Sunday Morning, the first day of the week Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many people.

· The first person he appeared to was Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9

· The second appearance was to Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Matt 28:9-10

· Jesus appears to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-33

· On the evening of the resurrection Jesus appeared to Ten Apostles and others. (Thomas was not there.) John 20:19-26 That night they were saved and sent.

Seven days later Jesus appeared to Thomas and dealt with his doubt. John 20:24-25

Sometime later, afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. John 21 There they were challenged to Follow Him and Spiritually Feed others. Now near the end of the Forty day period.

Jesus Appears on a Mountain in Galilee

Matt 28:16-17 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

Amazingly as it may seem, Jesus appears to the eleven (THE ELEVEN) on a mountain in Galilee and some worshiped Him and some still doubted.

Matt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

And with all the authority given to me, I am now commissioning you.

The Great Commission

Matt 28:19 Therefore go… Go, take action, don’t stay and do nothing. Follow the plan of action!

The word “Go” in the great commission is a present participle in the Greek, which is better read as

“As you are going.” Go and do what?

clip_image001NEXT STEP: Memorize the Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20

The Great Commission was so important to Christ that the Holy Spirit inspired each of the gospel writers to include a form of it in their gospel and Doctor Luke mention’s it again in the book of Acts.

· Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

· Luke 24:46-49 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer

and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 "And you are witnesses of these things. 49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

· John 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

· Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses

to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

The Great Commission contains Three of Believers Church’s Five Purposes

Two of our purposes are from the great commandment.

Worship Love the Lord Your God

Matt 22:37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the First and Greatest Commandment!”

Ministry Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Matt 22:39 “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Three of our purposes are from The Great Commission

Matt 28:19a Therefore go and make disciples of all nations

Evangelism Make Disciples of All Nations

Evangelism is the natural outflow of a true worshiper.

  • Isa 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Evangelism is the natural outflow of a true follower of Christ Jesus.

· Acts 4:20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." (NIV)

Evangelism is simply sharing how your story intersected with His story.

· Be Authentic – Paul said, “Imitate me. If you don’t know what to do.”

· Be looking for opportunities! Don’t isolate yourself from the world.

· Be Prepared – What’s your story? How does that tie into His story?

Evangelism is not just our responsibility; it is our great privilege!

Matt 28:19b “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

Fellowship Baptizing Them

  • Baptism symbolizes new life in Christ Jesus and our identification with the Body of Christ.

As Christians, we are called to BELONG, not just Believe.

Baptism is a symbol of both salvation and fellowship.

1 Cor 12:12-14 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free– and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many …

“You are members of God’s very own family … and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” Eph. 2:19 (Living Bible)

Matt 28:20a and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Discipleship Teach them to obey my commands

It’s back to Follow and Feed, which is all about Discipleship. To Be Taught and To Teach Others.

Jesus Will Be With You As You Go!

This is truly a great commission! This is a great task! But the good news is that Jesus will be working with you!

Matt 28:20b And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (NIV)

Jesus didn’t just send us and commission us to go and say, “Good luck!” He said, “We are going to do this together!” I’m not going to leave you, but I will be with you by my Spirit.

Next week in “Clothed With Power” we will see how Jesus empowers us to be a witness!

The Simple Gospel (Good News) Truth

Mark 16:15-16 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

The Extremely Good News!

Mark 16:16a Whoever (of all living creatures) believes and is baptized will be saved!

Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God

raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified,

and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)

Baptism is not an option for us; rather it is a commandment that God requires out of every believer. Some of Jesus’ last recorded words instructed believers to be baptized. Believing and baptism seem to naturally flow together. Jesus’ call for us to believe in Him also included a call to be baptized, showing us the importance and high value that the Lord places on Baptism.

The Extremely Bad News!

Mark 16:16b …But whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Notice that even though we are expected to be baptized, Baptism is not what saves us, that believing does. “whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Baptism is an outward display of an inward change.

Not believing in the work that Jesus did on a cross for you, not believing that God has raised Jesus from the dead, not accepting or appropriating his finished work on the cross into your life, will leave you in the CONDEMNED category.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn. You were condemned already! Jesus came to save!

John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall

not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save

the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands

condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (NIV)

Signs

Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will

speak in new tongues;

The different kinds of tongues are Holy Spirit inspired messages to His people. These different kinds of tongues may be both human language, unknown to the speaker, as in Acts 2:4-13, or tongues unknown to humankind, such as tongues of angels, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:1. Both are supernatural manifestations.

Mark 16:18-19 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them

at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." (The signs demonstrate that a

supernatural God is at work and he has the power to change a life too!) 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to

them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. (A few other things happened that we will

talk about next week.)

Working With the Lord!

Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed

his word by the signs that accompanied it. (NIV)

Acts 4:29-30 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. (NIV)

How was Jesus accredited (attested) by God? By miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him. Now in Acts 4 we see the disciples praying that God would confirm their ministry with signs and wonders.

· These signs and wonders would also give them boldness when preaching the Word.

· The signs and wonders seem to be a confirmation that God is at work moving in the hearts and lives of people.

· Just like healing, the signs and wonders will draw people in so that they can hear the gospel preached. It is the Word and Spirit working together as it should be.

So the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied the preaching of his word!

They were SAVED, SENT, COMMISSIONED and now they will be EMPOWERED!

NEXT STEP: In response to my commission, I commit myself to share and to preach the good news everywhere as the Lord works with me.

Life Group and Family Devotional Application

1) In your everyday life, how do you personally fulfill the purpose of Evangelism? Is what you are doing effective or working? What ways would you like to expand that purpose in your life?

2) In your everyday life, how do you personally fulfill the purpose of Fellowship? Is what you are doing effective

or working? What ways would you like to expand that purpose in your life?

3) In your everyday life, how do you personally fulfill the purpose of Discipleship? Is what you are doing effective or working? What ways would you like to expand that purpose in your life?

4) Signs accredited Jesus as the Messiah. Signs will accompany those who believe, confirming the words that we preach. What’s the deal with signs, miracles, and wonders? How do signs help spread the gospel?

5) Do you really feel like the Lord is your partner or working with you as your share His word? Why do you feel the way you do? What evidence do you see?

commissioned to go 5.25

On Sunday Morning, the first day of the week Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many people.

  • The first person he appeared to was Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9
  • The second appearance was to Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Matt 28:9-10
  • Jesus appears to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-33
  • On the evening of the resurrection Jesus appeared to Ten Apostles and others. (Thomas was not there.) John 20:19-26 That night they were saved and sent.
  • Seven days later Jesus appeared to Thomas and dealt with his doubt. John 20:24-25
  • Sometime later, afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. John 21 There they were challenged to Follow Him and Spiritually Feed others.

Nearing the end of the 40 days, Jesus appeared on the Mountain of in Galilee with a Great Commission, a plan of action! Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. for week six of the FORTY DAY APPEARANCE as we learn that we as disciples are “Commissioned to Go.”

 

Sunday is also the continuation of our Anniversary Celebration with our church party at Splash in the Boro at 6:30 p.m. If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, don’t leave without them Sunday!

Anniversary Celebration

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This Sunday we will have a great time of celebration together at Splash in the Boro. Join us from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Admission is free for Church family and friends and concessions will be available at normal Splash in the Boro prices. See you there!

40 Day Appearance Follow and Feed Believers Statesboro 05-18-14- Watch or listen online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/.

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples by the Sea

John 21:10-3 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this

way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedeem

(James and John), and two other disciples were together. 3 "I’m going out to fish," Simon Peter told them,

and they said, "We’ll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Peter, renamed the Rock, who had spent the last three and a half years with Jesus, the one who made the confession that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God, saved, sent, as the F05-18-14 40 Day App_Wk5_Feed and Followather has sent me, I am sending you, called to be a fisher of men… Yes that Peter. He is the one who says, I’m going fishing!

Peter did like we do today, when we are faced with a crisis in life, we find ourselves in confusing times, when we are having a hard time figuring out what is happening in our lives, we tend to fall back to what is comfortable! The familiar, what we are used to, a safe place, that’s where we go.

Not only do we do that, not only did Peter do that, but the other six disciples did the same thing. They said, “We’ll go with you.” But when Jesus has called you out of the ordinary, when He has blessed you, when he has broken you, and is planning to use you, anything else you try to do will be unfruitful. It will be work, toil, and disappointing. Vs John 21:3b So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

John 21:4-5 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven’t you any fish?" "No," they answered.

Again we see that when Jesus appears He is not immediately recognized. This time it may be more of a distance issues more than anything else. They were 100 yards, the length of a football field, away from Jesus so they did not recognize that it was Him. That was a literal distance, but haven’t we discovered that to be true in our own spiritual lives as well. The further we get from Jesus the harder it is to recognize Him in our live.

The further we get from Jesus, the harder it is to hear His voice.

John 21:6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were

unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

James thinks to himself, wait a minute, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Didn’t this happen about three and half years ago? (Luke 5:1-7)

John 21:7-9 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard

him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the

water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about

a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

“A fire of coals” (GW: Anthrakia) a heap of burning coals or a charcoal fire.

This charcoal fire brought back some memories for Peter.

John 21:10-11 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter climbed aboard

and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. (Luke 5:6)

John 21:12-14 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are

you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the

fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

This was the third appearance to them as a group. Jesus had appeared to other individuals.

Do you love me?

John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

1. Due to his denial of Jesus, Peter’s love has been brought into question.

2. If Jesus is going to use Peter again, Peter’s works most be motivated by love. (2 Cor.5:13-14)

More than these?

1. More than the people around us.

a. James and John, Peter’s best friends.

b. Andrew, Peter’s brother and companion.

2. More than the boats and nets – the pleasure of fishing.

a. Remember in John 21:3, Peter said, “I’m going back to fishing.”

b. Fishing was Peter’s identity.

c. It was his life’s passion.

3. More than the 153 large fish.

a. Peter’s livelihood.

b. Money

4. Or do you love me more than these other people love me.

a. Peter always thought of himself as better than the others.

b. This challenges his vain-glorious boast that, though all men should deny you, I will not.

He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Greek words for love:

· Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with agape love, God’s kind of unconditional love.

· Peter answered that he loved the Lord with phileo – brotherly love and kindness.

o Peter couldn’t yet love Jesus with agape love.

o After he was filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, he referred to agape love often.

Next Step: Ask yourself, “Do I really love Jesus more than these, my friends, my pleasure, my livelihood? And do I look down on others and think I love Jesus more than them?”

Feed My Lambs

John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Peter’s Love Questioned a Second Time

John 21:16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" (Jesus, having made His point, drops off “more than these.”) He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." (Again, agape vs phileo love.)

Take Care of My Sheep

John 21:16b Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." (A second question of love and a second calling.)

Peter’s Love Questioned a Third Time

John 21:17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

The third question, “Do you even love me with phileo love? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." (With Phileo love) Why Three Questions? The three questions offset the three denials of Peter.

Feed My Sheep

John 21:17b Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

John 21:18-19 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

Follow Me

Peter’s original call: “Follow Me”. The icing on the cake is that Jesus brings it all back around to Peter’s original call to follow Christ. And the promise is still there. If you follow me, I will make you into something that you are not. Jesus would make him a fisher of Men. Matt 4:18-22 "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

You Follow Me!

John 21:20-23 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" 22 Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"

I use to follow Jesus, I had a call on my life, and I use to really serve Him BUT…

· I got pregnant outside of marriage… Jesus is saying to you. Follow Me

· I had an abortion… I committed fornication…

· I became an alcoholic… I got my girlfriend pregnant…

· I was unfaithful to my spouse… I became a drug user…

· I got divorced… I killed…

· I stole… I fell in love with money…

· OR I just slowly slipped away and left my first love.

Jesus is saying to you. Follow Me. But as you follow… Feed My Lambs, Take Care of My Sheep, and Feed My Sheep!

Follow and Feed

Follow and Feed is all about Discipleship. To Be Taught and To Teach Others.

To follow means to be a disciple. Webster defines Disciple as: a pupil or follower of any teacher or school. Disciples follow.

To Be Taught: Rom 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Two ways to accomplish this: (Both by the illumination of the Holy Spirit)

1) Personal bible study

2) Discipleship – learning from a teacher

To Teach Others: Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Every person is a leader and has a group of friends that he or she can influence. (Leadership is Influence.)

Take what you have learned, be it great or small, and teach it to others.

Ex: Some say, “I can’t teach others because I’m not an expert or a professional.”

    • Did a professional teach you how to bake a cake?
    • Did a professional teach you how to play golf, tennis, or softball?
    • Did a NASCAR driver teach you how to drive a car?
  • You learned from non-professionals, from family and friends.

Next Step: This week, as I follow, I will look for ways to feed others.

Jesus would ask us the same question He asked Peter. “Do you love me?” If the answer is yes you, Follow and Feed.

Life Group and Family Devotional Application

1. Is there something in your life that Jesus called you to do (like be a fisher of men) and for whatever reason you haven’t done it yet and you just went back to doing what you normally do (like fish for fish)?

2. Even though Peter has denied Jesus three times, Jesus forgave Him and restored his calling to be a fisher of men. Jesus is in the restoration business. Have you ever felt like you have done something that disqualified you from being a Christ follower or thought to yourself, “Jesus can never use me now?” Do you think that thought is from God or our adversary the devil?

3. Everybody seems to get the concept of being a follower of Jesus. But what does it mean to “feed my lambs”, “take care of my sheep”, and “feed my sheep”. What does that look like in our lives? How do we do it?

4. To be a disciple and to disciple others is to Follow and Feed. To be taught and teach others. What do you do in your life to continue to learn and be taught? How are you intentional about learning?

5. To be a disciple and to disciple others is to Follow and Feed. To be taught and teach others. What do you do in your life to teach others what you have learned? How are you intentional about teaching?

05-18-14 40 Day App_Wk5_Feed and Follow

No matter what we have done in the past, no matter what mistakes we have made, Jesus still calls us to follow Him. Not only to follow Him, but spiritually feed others as well. Join us this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m as we continue our series  Forty Day Appearance, with “Feed and Follow”. It is also Baptism Sunday and there is still room for more so if you are ready to declare Jesus as you Savior, along with several others it is not too late. See you Sunday!

Ladies join us for dinner this Friday night at 6:30 p.m.!

SpringIntoService

05-11-14 40 Day App_Wk4 Believing Without Seeing

Forty Day Appearance “Believing Without Seeing” Believers Statesboro 05-11-14

Mother’s Day

Watch or listen online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he (Jesus) showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (NIV)

On Sunday Morning, the first day of the week Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many people.

· The first person he appeared to was Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9

· The second appearance was to Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Matt 28:9-10

· Jesus appears to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-33

· Last week in Saved and Sent we saw that Jesus appeared to Ten Apostles and others. (Thomas was not there.) John 20:19-26

Bad Day to Miss Church

Well this may not had been an official church service, but the disciples were assembled together on the evening of resurrection Sunday, but Thomas was not there. I don’t know what Thomas was doing to not be present, but he missed seeing Jesus in the very day of Jesus’ resurrection!

John 20:24-25 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in

his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

What would it be like to miss church one Sunday and Jesus, literally, showed up that day?

The truth of the matter is that Jesus shows up every time we get together on official Jesus business!

Matt 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV)

The phrase “I will not believe it" in Greek is a double negative, which would mean, “I absolutely

will not believe it.” We like to write Thomas off as a doubter and say, that’s what you would except out

of a “Doubting Thomas”. What else would you expect him to say?

· But one of the things that we have to understand is that the disciples were all struggling with doubt and disbelief that Jesus had risen from the dead.

· We also have to understand that Thomas and the disciples were hurting. When you think about it, Thomas’ rather snappy answer to the statement “We have seen the Lord!” isn’t that surprising when you understand that it is coming from a person who was traumatized by Jesus’ death and hurt deeply. Notice that the “nail marks in his hands” and the wound on Jesus side were at the forefront of Thomas’ mind.

· Maybe Thomas would rather doubt, than have faith that Jesus was alive and risk being hurt even more!

For the next seven days Thomas used doubting as a self-defense mechanism to keep himself from hurting even more and risking being hurt again.

Do you ever do that?

Because you don’t want to get hurt again or be disappointed again you don’t stand in faith, which is hard, faith takes some energy and effort. So you just settle for “come what may”, which later results in doubt.

· I doubt I’ll ever be healed. So why ask.

· I doubt my children will ever come to Jesus. (I’ve just kind of stopped praying for them.)

· I doubt my daughter will ever marry the right man.

· I doubt my son will ever get a job.

· I doubt I will ever have any impact on the world around me.

Maybe you don’t come right out and use the words “I doubt”, but you are not standing in Faith either!

I Doubt It

One Week Later – Jesus appears to Thomas John 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and

Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be

with you!" (Remember this the next time you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing behind locked doors!)

Jesus goes right to the doubter and addresses Thomas concerns. John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your

finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

Mom taught me that I’m not a bad person if I have doubts.

Jesus didn’t condemn Thomas for doubting, but Jesus addresses His concerns and showed Thomas His wounds so that Thomas could overcome his doubt. When I would express my doubts or misgivings to my mom, she would say, “Take it to the Lord in prayer.” When I followed her advice and was honest with Jesus and told Him how I was feeling, He always responded to me with love, understanding, and often times new revelation. Not all the time, but sometimes I still don’t understand something. Jesus just let me vent it, never giving me the final answer, but listening to me with love anyway.

A Christ-follower may doubt God in circumstances such as a spiritual defeat or sin, sickness, suffering, injustice, opposition, economic problems, family problems, national calamity, or apparently unanswered prayers, world’s religion class, unable to defend beliefs to another person, and hypocrites.

Be honest, what doubts are you struggling with today?

· Maybe you doubt that God has really forgiven you.

· Or you wonder whether the Bible really is the Word of God.

· Or you’ve said to yourself, “I think I’m a Christian, but sometimes I’m not sure.”

· Or maybe you’re thinking, “Seriously God, did Noah really get all of those animals on that boat?

Often time’s life gets so busy that there’s just not time to reflect on your faith so doubts creep in.

· I’ve heard someone say, “Doubt cannot hurt you.” But I would say, “Unresolved doubt can.”

· Doubts can be dangerous, if we handle them in the wrong way or let them control our thoughts.

Yielding to our doubts often leads to bad decisions.

· Doubts can also be dangerous if you ignore them. It isn’t honoring to God when you blindly accept things because you think that’s what Christians are supposed to do.

· Doubts can be healthy, only if we handle them in the right way. Sometimes after wrestling through your doubts, you gain greater insight into God or greater intimacy in your relationship with Him.

Whatever it is that you doubt, take it to Jesus in prayer and have an honest conversation with Him. He will not condemn you or reject you. (I’ve got to let you in on a little secret…. He already knows!)

He is just waiting for you to admit it and talk to Him about it.

Matt 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (NIV)

NEXT STEP: I doubt _______________________________________________________

This week I will take my doubt(s) to Jesus.

Stop Doubting and Believe

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into

my side. Stop doubting and believe." That’s a word for all of us today! Stop doubting and believe!

Mom taught me to use my faith given to me by God.

Rom 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (NIV)

Every believer is given a measure of faith when they are born again. It is up to us as individual believers to develop the measure of faith that we have. You may have strong faith or there may be times when your faith is weak.

There are other times when you may need to ask Jesus to help you with your faith.

Mark 9:23-24 "’If you can’?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"(NIV)

My Lord and My God

John 20:28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

The height of our salvation is when we acknowledge Jesus as both Lord and God!

Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord at all.

In other words Jesus has to have access and control in all areas of your life! He has to be God over everything about us. If there is any area in your life where Jesus doesn’t have control, isn’t that a form of doubt. Doubting that you can trust Jesus to manage that area of your life better than you can?

Believing Without Seeing

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Thomas had a great advantage over you and me. He has seen the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! He was able to verify that is was Jesus. He was able to touch Jesus’ wounds, and look him right in the eyes!

Now Jesus looks to the future, to the countless thousands upon thousands who would believe, to you and I and said, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Mom taught me faith sees the unseen.

2 Cor 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)

Faith looks to God’s Word and believes God’s Word rather than the natural circumstances.

Romans 4:17 As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed– the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. (NIV)

Moms are good at seeing people especially their children through “Eyes of Faith”.

That’s what Jesus did with the twelve disciples. In the natural they were a far cry from being the salt of the earth, yet He looked right at that rough bunch and said, “You are the salt of the earth…” Matt 5:13a (NIV)

Ask Jesus to allow you to see your children and other as He sees them. Through eyes of faith!

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

That You May Believe

Don’t doubt, but believe was the whole reason for John’s book. He wrote his book so that people would not doubt, but believe! John 20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

Why were the signs and miracles important?

Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. (NIV)

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (NIV)

Mom taught me that faith is based on the Word of God and the Promises He has made.

Rom 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (NIV)

Next Step: This week I will find one scripture verse that contradicts my doubt.

Mom taught me that faith is a way of life.

2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight” / Romans 1:17 “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

Faith is a way of life. It is practical and works in every area of our life.

“Oh I wish God would just show me what tomorrow holds so that I will know what to do.” IF He did, you wouldn’t have to live by faith.

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Thomas and Jesus worked through his doubts. You and Jesus can work through your doubts too.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Life Group and Family Devotional Application

1. Maybe Thomas would rather doubt, than have faith that Jesus was alive and risk being hurt even more!

Do you ever do that? Because you don’t want to get hurt again or be disappointed again you don’t stand in faith, which is hard, faith takes some energy and effort. So you just settle for “come what may”?

2. Doubts can be dangerous, if we handle them in the wrong way. Giving into our doubts often leads to bad decisions. Talk about a decision that you made when you doubted God and went your own way. What were the results?

3. Doubts can also be dangerous if you ignore them. It isn’t honoring to God when you blindly accept things because you think that’s what Christians are supposed to do. Do you presently have any doubts that you haven’t voiced?

4. Doubts can be healthy, if we handle them in the right way. Have you ever wrestled through your doubts and as a result you gained greater insight into God or greater intimacy in your relationship with Him?

5. Jesus said, ““Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Faith sees the unseen. What does Pastor Scott mean when he says that we need to see through eyes of faith? Give an example of doing that.

Spring Baptism

We are so excited to celebrate “Water Baptism” this Sunday, May 18th at both the 9 a.m and 11 a.m. services!

For those of you who have already been water baptized, let’s make this a day of great celebration and rejoicing about what God is doing in the hearts of those He loves.  But also let’s use this time to remember our great salvation and thank the Lord for His grace and mercy in our lives.

Why Be Baptized?

Because this is your NEXT STEP after salvation.  As a new believer, it is important to follow Jesus’ example and be baptized in water.  Baptism is an outward expression of what has already occurred in your heart.  As you make the decision to be baptized, you publicly declare, “I am now a new creation in Christ Jesus, the old has passed away and all things are new!  I am now baptized into the Body of Christ Jesus.  I am part of His family!”

I highly encourage you to be water baptized.  It will be a significant spiritual event in your life that you will treasure forever.  Please contact the church office @ 912-681-1440, for more details and to let us know which service (9 or 11 a.m.) you will be baptized in.

“Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2:38.

Looking forward to a great day!

Pastor Scott