Church @ 6 – Facing your doubts

Posted on: April 15th, 2016 by E-Free Lethbridge

The questions were great tonight as we heard Pastor Ian share about the disciple Thomas and John 20:24-31.

Here is part 1 of our responses:

Do you think our doubts limit God?

– absolutely not. I believe that if God is limited by us, He’s not worth believing in.  Matthew 14:31, Jesus asks Peter “Why did you doubt?” but that didn’t limit Jesus in his invitation to Peter out on the water. Jesus had to know that he was asking Peter to do something miraculous and there would be doubt. Doubt likely faced everyone who brought the sick and lame to Jesus, but Jesus worked to relieve them of their doubts.  He call them to himself, moving beyond their doubts, delivered miracles to them and THEN called for life change.

Likewise, Numbers 20 tells the story of Moses striking the rock to bring water to the people, even though God only told Moses to speak to the rock. God was not limited by Moses’ lack of faith. Moses doubts and decided that talking to the rock was not enough. He felt he needed to hit it. However, God still provided the water for His people that they needed, despite Moses’ doubt. (Josh)

Should we be differentiating between the honest doubter and a headstrong skeptic?

Understanding the intention behind the doubts and skepticism definitely helps the situation. It also points towards the attitudes that you’re grappling with. Walking through the questions of an honest doubter can be calm, cool and collected, with an openness to a number of different possible outcomes.

The reality is, that with headstrong skeptics, they can close themselves off to possible resolutions or explanations and limit themselves. In my brain, I differentiate between the two because I believe that the honest doubter is willing to “get out of their own way” in finding the answer, while a headstrong approach can involve to much of your own biases and prejudices. (Josh)

If someone leaves the faith, are they still saved? Or is it only while you are a practicing Christian that you receive the gift of eternal life?

The Bible never really separates believing from practicing (James 2:22, Galatians 5: 16 – 25). If you profess faith in Christ, we believe the Holy Spirit will transform your being into His likeness (Ephesians 3: 14 – 20). So, with the Holy Spirit, belief and practice will begin to align as you continue your walk with Christ. We are all sinners. We are all hypocrites. No one is going to have perfect alignment between belief and practice, but from scripture, it is hard to separate belief from practice.

With that being said, Eternal Life is given to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. It is clear from John’s gospel, especially verse 14:6, that if you don’t have faith in Christ, you won’t receive eternal life. In saying that, It is not our call to decide who receives eternal life and who doesn’t. God is the judge and it is God’s decision.

However, if I left the faith – I wouldn’t expect to receive something I don’t believe in!! And from Scripture (see Hebrews 6: 4 – 8 in particular) it is quite clear; no faith, no eternal life. But it isn’t always so clear cut, perhaps this person is doubting or going through a tough season. That doesn’t mean they’ve left the faith. Perhaps they’ll come back! We must pray for them and trust that God will do what is right! God knows the heart.  (Luke)

Does Satan make us feel guilty for doubting?

Ian said last night, let your doubt move you to believe. Perhaps, if your doubt overtakes you and you fall away, we can attribute some blame to Satan. Guilt often does not move us forward but handcuffs us in despair.Conviction of the Holy Spirit: We feel the guilt of sin but we don’t stay there… Conviction moves us forward to forgiveness and new life. Conviction causes us to act!!  Therefore, conviction is from God and guilt is from our brokenness and perhaps the enemy.

So, you might hear us saying, guilt is a tool of Satan. Conviction is a tool of the Holy Spirit. And there is a huge difference.

As Christians, we are no longer guilty (Colossians 2: 6 – 15). (Luke)

That’s all for now. Keep checking back this week and feel free to post questions as comments below.

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