Thomas – Part 2

Why People Just Don’t Understand the Christian Life


DATE: 4 May, 2003 AM          PLACE: BBC Blarney

I.         Introduction and Background


A.      Studying through the twelve apostles of the Lamb


1.        Peter – man of Zeal

2.        Andrew the Soul-Winner

3.        James the Hot-headed

4.        John the Beloved

5.        Philip, the Active Apostle

6.        Bartholomew, or Nathanael as he is called in the Gospel of John

7.        Matthew, the Tax-Collector

8.        Last week, and this week, it is Thomas


B.       Last Week we Saw His Simple Calling (Mt 10:3) Same as all the other 12

C.       Last Week we Saw His Three Conflicts


1.        Met Pessimistic Thomas (John 11:1-16)

2.        Met Slow Thomas (John 14:1-7) – Slow to think

3.        Met Doubting Thomas (John 20:19-25)


D.      I want to go back and develop some thoughts about Thomas’ inability to understand What Jesus spent 3 and a half years trying to teach him, as well as all the apostles! Notice:


1.        John 14:4-9

2.        John 11:23-26,35


E.       This is not a problem that only they had


1.        Israel in the wilderness years had it (Ps 106:7)

2.        Mary and Joseph missed Jesus’ instruction (Lk 2:49-51)


F.       I guarantee you, we ALL have this same problem – just not growing, and being like we ought to be!


II.       Message – Why people Just Don’t Understand the Christian Life


A.      We Expect Things Too Fast (Zech 4:10)


1.        People only expect Instant religion. Instant answers to prayers. Instant miracles. Instant victories over sin and problems. Instant wealth and prosperity

2.        We are Trying to go too fast


a.       When we are hungry, we may eat too fast and get an upset stomach

b.       When we are desperate for God to work on us and change us, we may attempt too much too fast, and burn out and get discouraged

c.       It’s like “cramming” for a school exam – there is no use in cramming for life. It can’t be done!

d.       It’s not really an issue of trying too hard, but just trying to change too fast, and grow too fast (Eccl 3:1-8,11)

e.       Jesus said


1)       Follow Him daily (Lk 9:23)

2)       Trust God for TODAY’S answers – tomorrow will have enough to deal with

3)       Read and study your Bible DAILY (Acts 17:11) – don’t try and catch up with 100 pages of Bible reading to make up for a month-long neglect!


3.        So many end up neglecting the important things, that they will go into an “emergency” mode where they will go hyper in trying to catch up in their spirituality – they will burn out!

4.        Get into a DAILY routine, a weekly routine – and grow at God’s speed

5.        God can only give us confidence if we stay at it (Rom 5:1-5). We need to determine to:


a.       Plow in hope (1Cor 9:10)

b.       Train up our children in hope (Pr 22:6)

c.       Do what is right, by faith, obeying the Lord, in hope (Rom 4:18)

d.       Pray in hope (Rom 12:12)

e.       Prepare to get married in hope

f.        Soul-win in hope

g.       Read our Bibles in hope – knowing that it slowly, carefully cleanses and changes us!


6.        All of the things that Christ promises us is only for those that don’t give up (2Cor 4:16; Gal 6:9)


B.       We are on Wrong Frequencies – our whole attention is focused on wrong desires and expectations – listening for the wrong words!


1.        Thomas, and most of us are listening on a different “radio frequency” than Jesus is speaking on

2.        Thomas and the disciples were listening for key words like: oppression, conquer, food, Messiah, ruling, reigning, kingdom

3.        When Jesus would say the word leaven, they disciples could only hear BREAD (Mt 16:6-12)

4.        Most people come to church, listening only to listen for: Love, Peace, Rest, God, heaven, sweet, wonderful, kindness, meekness, gifts, and snoring!

5.        But this Book, speaks a whole lot more than just that stuff. That’s why we end up offending so many people


a.        “I just didn’t get the message today!”

b.       “How come pastor doesn’t use a computer when he preaches?”

c.       “Where is the cross? Isn’t this a church, or not?”


6.        Stay on the right frequency with the Lord – learn His language – even though it may be in the King’s English!

7.        When a preacher gets up and just preaches this Bible, people don’t want it (1Cor 1:17-25)


a.       Expect confirmations, and baptisms, and signs, and miracles, and wise sayings

b.       But instead we preach Christ crucified

c.       Many times, I say things that may not be the best way to explain it, but God holds YOU responsible for what you do with the truth!


8.        But, thank God, we know that if we just stay at preaching, it works (1Cor 3:5-7)


C.       We Are Not Paying Attention To Words (Mt 4:4) – the individual words


1.        Modern reading – only scanning

2.        God wrote every word of every line of every page of every book of the Bible!

3.        He expects every one of us to read every word of every line of every page of every book of the Bible!

4.        How many times have we said, “Hmmmm. I never saw that before?”

5.        We want an ooey gooey feeling to come over us every time we open our Bible, but that doesn’t happen. God commands us to study (2Tim 2:15)


a.       THINK about the context

b.       Weigh each word like a fifty euro note being counted in front of you at the bank

c.       Compare what you know with what God is saying

d.       Adjust what you know BY what God says

e.       If something doesn’t make sense, ponder it for a while (like Mary did about Jesus in the Temple) – keep reading, and studying – the Lord will bring you back to learn that truth another time


D.      We Are Giving Up Too Easily – not persevering, staying at it (Jn 8:31)


1.        As has already been said, growth depends upon endurance and staying at what we start

2.        Truly, it is not how we start that matters as much as how we finish (Acts 20:24; 2Tim 4:7)

3.        The devil knows what will derail us – and will make sure he works hard at getting us to GIVE UP! You cannot lose Christian, until you decide to give up! DON’T!


E.       We Don’t Think That Every Little Thing, Every Bad Thing, And Every Event In A Person’s Life Is Part Of God’s Classroom For Growth (Rom 8:28)


1.        Look at the life of Joseph

a.       Joseph’s dreams

b.       Joseph’s brothers

c.       Joseph’s agony in the pit

d.       Joseph’s slavery

e.       Joseph’s false accusations against him – in death row

f.        Joseph’s elevation to second in rule over all of Egypt


2.        How about Moses?


a.       40 years of secular training in Egypt

b.       The failure in leadership when he murdered an Egyptian soldier

c.       The next 40 years angry at God

d.       The burning bush – Moses believed he was worthless, and had lost everything – but he hadn’t – God had just been polishing him!


3.        How about Paul? (2Cor 4:7-18)

4.        Every argument in your home – every disaster at work, or every failure in school is JUST AS VITAL as every success, and every victory!

5.        Everything we go through, when we are in the hand of God, is GOOD! Good for us!

6.        Remember this!


F.       We Don’t Understand The Crucifixion (Jn 8:28; 12:16)


1.        It was the cross, and the resurrection that made everything that the Bible said come alive

2.        All of the Bible is only full of religious parables (good stories), if there is no sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross for sinners

3.        The main reason why the disciples did not grow during those 3 and half years was because they never understood why Jesus came (Lk 2:34,35)


a.       They thought He came to reign, to defeat the Romans, to change the world

b.       They thought it was such a tragedy

c.       The need is for people to hear about the real reasons for the cross


1)       US

2)       OUR SINS

3)       HELL


4.        If such a good Man died such a horrible death, what do you think will happen to YOU if you don’t get saved?!

5.        No man took the life of Jesus – He laid it down Himself, for the world!


G.       We Do Not Rely On The Teaching Power Of The Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13)


1.        We don’t pray enough for open eyes

2.        We don’t repent enough of carnal lifestyles

3.        We don’t yearn enough for something still, small, and quiet to speak to us, and guide us, and change us!

4.        We turn to books about the Bible, and about prayer and about revival, and about church growth, and about child-rearing

5.        We wait until Men’s Retreats, and conferences before we surrender to the gentle workings of the Holy Spirit

6.        We need to get alone with God everyday, and surrender! All!


H.      We Don’t Determine To Live Out What We Learn (James 1:22; 4:17; Mt 12:50; Lk 6:46; 11:27,28; John 13:17)


1.        The Christian life is not understood, and not enjoyed, until it is LIVED!

2.        Trust AND obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus!


III.     Conclusion – this is our task, if we want to grow, and change, and develop


A.      Stay on the right frequency with the Lord – learn His language – even though it may be in the King’s English!

B.       Pay attention to every word in your Bible

C.       Repent of giving up too easily

D.      Allow every little thing, every bad thing, and every event in your life to be a part of God’s classroom for your growth

E.       Ponder the Crucifixion – the why’s the how’s, the love, the grace, and the mercy of such a God

F.       Rely on the Teaching Power of the Precious Holy Spirit

G.       Live what you learn

Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church
Ballincollig, Cork
Mallow, Co. Cork

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