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The Rev. Alan Munden: “A week later” (John 20)

April 25, 2010

From the good people of Jesmond Parish Church in the United Kingdom we have a sermon titled A week later by the Rev. Alan Munden, which is based on John 20.  In this sermon Rev. Munden looks at the example of the disciple Thomas, who became known as “Doubting Thomas” because he wanted proof that Jesus had risen; he did not want to rely on the testimony of those who had already seen Him.  I like what Rev. Munden has to say about the relationship between seeing and believing:

May I suggest to you that believing without seeing is similar to believing without hearing? How do we hear God’s voice? In the OT men like Abraham, Isaac, Moses and the prophets heard with their ears the voice of God. But generally speaking today, we don’t hear God speaking to us like that. (Though of course there’s nothing to stop him doing so if he wanted to). Now we don’t hear an audible voice. Our encounter with God is through scripture as ‘God’s Word written’. In other words, we hear God speaking to us as he addresses us from his word. In other words, the Bible is God preaching to us. And as he speaks to us, the Holy Spirit makes real to us his word in our hearts. He confirms what is said to be true.

Similarly with ‘seeing and believing’ we don’t see with our eyes the risen Saviour, but by faith we believe in our hearts. In v.31 John wrote:

‘these things are written that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

These words were written that you may come to faith, and that you may continue in the faith. That you may believe and to continue to believe. These words are both evangelistic to bring people to a living faith in Christ, and also these words are to encourage us to continue in the faith and to be built up in the faith. To grow in Christ and to become more like Jesus. The words in v.31 are addressed to each one of us. John is not speaking to those who were there at the time, but to subsequent generations, including you and me. ‘The scriptures (that is the OT and the NT) were written that you may believe (and to continue to believe) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’. Here then is the challenge for each of us to trust the Word of God, to believe that its personally addressed to each one of us.

So may I ask: Do you believe the scriptures to be true? And in reading them are you convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? But if you are still uncertain and find it heard to believe, then pray to God and look to his promises, and believe. Put your trust in him! Believe his word and obey! Come to faith in him! And v.31 ends:

‘And that by believing you may have life in his name.’

Here believing that Jesus is the Son of God is linked with new life in Christ. New life, resurrection life, comes to all who believe and come to faith in the living Lord Jesus.

If you’d like to hear this sermon, you may do so at this link.

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