John 20:17-26

John 20:17-26

John 20:25Vintage message from April 7, 2002.

And this is where, I believe, in our walks with the Lord, that we oftentimes fall short. We look at our will, we look at our desire, we look at the direction we want to go, and then we set plans, and we lay the foundation to make happen those things that we want to happen, and then we stop and say, “And oh yes, by the way God, if You approve,” rather than coming to God first and saying, “God, this is what I would really like to do. This is the direction I would really like to go, but do You have a different direction for me? Do You have a plan for my life that doesn’t quite match up for the plan that I have for my life?” And you know what? That’s a very dangerous question to ask God because oftentimes we make decisions in the flesh, and God is simply waiting for us to come and become serious with Him and ask, “What direction am I to go for You?…”

One of the things, also, that I have experienced in my life and I see in many other people’s lives: the reason that we have doubt is by choice. We don’t want to believe. We want proof, and until God proves Himself to us, I simply refuse to believe. I’ve actually heard people say, “When Jesus comes down right here in front of me and shows Himself like He did to the disciples, then I’ll believe!” Those words are spoken out of the hardness of heart. We have the ability within us, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, to live by faith, and Jesus even says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Do you realize He’s talking about you and I… Even though the faith that we are asked to have in Jesus is not a blind, stupid faith, there are plenty of proofs. There is fulfilled Scripture. There are prophecies that were given that have been fulfilled… We can study through God’s Word, and then we can study through history. Jesus is not a mystery as the world would like you to believe. He is not a figment of some man’s imagination, but there is much in history that is written about Jesus. There are records that were left by Rome. There are records left by historians, by those who had eyewitness accounts, and the Word was fulfilled and Jesus overcame, and He asks of us — especially today — that we would believe that. The problem we run into so often is we isolate ourselves from God, from His Word, from each other, and we insist on having tangible proof. “Show Yourself to me, God! Show Yourself! Prove Yourself! Strike me with lightning. Ah-ha! See, it didn’t happen so therefore I don’t have to believe in God.” You know what? God is patient and is not manipulated by the smallness of our mind. His love is far greater, far greater than your doubt, than my doubt… Faith is believing in that that is unseen. It’s trusting. Even though we have the proofs, the proofs that we have can still be argued against, and so, even though we have the fulfillment of prophecy, we have God’s Word given to us, we can search the Word and we can search history, we have all that we need to believe, it is still arguable. And guess what? We still need to trust by faith…

Each of us are held responsible to learn Who this Jesus was and what the relationship is that He desires to have with us. I can sit here all day and tell you that you need to have Jesus in your life. I can sit here all day and tell you of the wonderful things that Jesus has done in my life, but until you have read it for yourself, until you have concluded for yourself, that Jesus died for you, that these proofs were given that you may believe, until you’ve made that commitment, my teaching is meaningless, just as this Word is meaningless to most of this world. The world has the proof but they bury it. They hide from it. They run from it. You know why? It’s scary. It’s scary to have to be committed to this God Who created us, because you know what? Just like with Jesus in the garden, He might ask of us that we do the thing that is contrary to our own will. He might ask us to go somewhere that we don’t want to go. He might ask us to talk with someone we may not want to talk to. He might ask us to be bold and brave and stand in His name when we don’t want to do that, and so we run and hide from it. Or, even worse yet, we take this book and we wrap it with religion, and then we live by the convenience of our own religion. We wave this as our flag, never breaking it open to see what it has to say. Religion is convenient, but “religion” is not the truth. The name of Jesus Christ is the truth…

As we walk in Him, we need to know He desires for us, just like Thomas, to believe. But unlike Thomas, He may not reveal Himself to us but He asks us to take that step of faith anyway, and there is a blessing given to us. Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen. [Do] you want that blessing? You want the blessing of knowing that God is in your life because you trusted, because you’ve taken that step? That you’re willing to let God be God in your life, and that regardless of what your desires are, regardless of what your plans are, that God may come and ask you to do something different. That’s the blessing. You begin to hear Him, you begin to understand Him, and you begin to learn Who He is through His Word, through your study of His Word, through our gathering together we learn.

Pastor Dave Elkins

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John 17:1-26