“A DOUBLE-MINDED MAN”                               By Pastor YAU

Text: John 20:24-29                                                  July 19, 2009.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   The double-minded man: After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples while they were inside a house with doors locked for fear of the Jews. (20:19) Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But Thomas, one of his disciples, was not with the others when Jesus came. Later the other disciples told him that they had seen the Lord but Thomas didn’t believe them. He said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks inn his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’” (20:25)

2)   The double-minded Christians: In the first century Christian history, there were many brave, dedicated followers of Jesus Christ. At the same time, there were many half-hearted or even double-minded Christians as well. When we read the epistles to the early churches in the New Testament, there were ample records of chaos in the churches, false teaching and teachers and many double-minded believers. Facing such a dilemma, James used strong words to rebuke, correct and encourage them to hold on to their earlier faith. In conclusion of his rebuke, James warned them that a double-minded man should not think that he would receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:7-8)

 

HERE IS A DOUBLE-MINDED MAN: Demonstrated by the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15:11-19.

1)   He cared for “I, Me, Mine”: This young man was lucky to have a caring father, a hard working brother and servants to take care of his life without a mother in the family. But he was unhappy with what he had. He wanted more of “his” way of life regardless of his duty and contribution to his family. He wanted out. Many double-minded people are like this young man. They already have so much good things in their life but they still want more for their own satisfaction. They don’t care about others in the family, the friends, the church or anyone else. They want a change for themselves at the expense of others. They always see the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

2)   He wanted to live life “My way”: The fact he lived a wild life and squandered his father’s wealth without the watching eyes of his father tells us that he wanted to live his life “his way” like many people do today. They want God’s blessing but they don’t want to follow God’s rules in their life. Today some so called Christians want to live their life exactly the same way as did the Prodigal son: God’s blessing but not God’s way.

3)   He got burnt both ends: It didn’t take long for this young man to lose both what he wanted: his wealth and his wild life. When he had squandered his wealth, he was faced with a severe famine and he couldn’t find a decent job from his buddies. Those who think they are smarter than others that they can live their lives  their ways need to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. God is in control, they don’t. Things will not go the way they want them to. Things will go wrong, and they will suffer the consequences beyond they can handle.

4)   He needed to come back: Many of us applause the come back of this double-minded young man. In fact, he didn’t have a choice but to come back. Of course he could stiff his neck and continue to tend the swine but what for. That’s the point. It is for his own good that the double-minded man returned to his father. All double-minded people must give up their double mindset and get back to their right track, the track God has prepared for them. Otherwise, James said, “this man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:7)

 

DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS, A LOSING BUSINESS:

1)   It means no goal of life: When a man has a goal of life, he knows what he wants and he will pursue his goal to the utmost of his ability. If a man isn’t sure what he wants for life or is confused of too many goals and directions, he won’t have enough time or energy to make anything successful. Apostle Paul said, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” (1 Corinthians 9:26) Paul had a goal and he pursued his goal to his utmost. He certainly was not a double-minded man.

2)   It means no certainty: If you are sure of your goal, decision or direction, you don’t need to have second thought. It is when you are uncertain of your decision or direction or goal or direction, you will be in double or triple minded condition. If you are uncertain of your job, your future, your health, school, marriage, friends and everything else, imagine what kind of life will you have? Even though many things in this world are uncertain, we surely can have certainty in our Lord Jesus Christ because he will never change, not yesterday, today or tomorrow. Paul was certain of the crown of glory he would receive. (2 Timothy 4:8)

3)   It means no contentment: Contentment is being happy with what you have and where you are. If you are content with who you are and what you have there is no room for second thought or double-minded. It was this very temptation, Eve was pushed to disobey God’s command because Satan suggested a second thought: you could have more and better. But when Eve and later Adam accepted double-minded temptation, they lost all the blessings from God. Just like someone is not content with the amount of money he has and engages in gambling, hoping to double or triple his wealth. He ends up loses all he used to have.

4)   It means no happiness: Happiness rests mostly in the sense of fulfillment, achievement and success. It is difficult or even impossible to be happy or a sense of accomplishment if you are double-minded, unsure of what you want. You may have a lot more than many others, but you just can’t be happy. This is true with many rich and famous people. Many of them ended their lives either in despair, destructive life style and endless trouble.

 

THE JOURNEY OF THOMAS: In all the resurrection stories of Jesus, the story of Thomas stands out in a negative way. Even though he was one of the Twelve, Thomas did not share the joy and the blessings of the risen Lord. Let’s examine how he got where he was and how he got his way back.

1)    This double-minded man: (20:24) What do you think was the reason Thomas had left the group and went his own way? Did he have a double-mind when he first followed Jesus: a different purpose than that of the Lord’s? Thomas was not the first disciple to turn away from Jesus. When Jesus foretold his disciples his coming death, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer following him.” (John 6:66) When people have second thought or different purpose in following Jesus, sooner or later they will find out and will leave. Is your purpose of following the Lord the same as His? Do you have a second thought in mind other than His?

2)    This stubborn-minded man: (20:25) Thomas wasn’t there with the group when Jesus appeared to them, so, his friends came and testified their personal encounter with the Lord. Yet Thomas refused to believe them the same way he didn’t believe Jesus. He didn’t regret that he had missed the precious experience but continue to hold his own decision with frustration. He won’t just take the words of his long time friends. He set his criteria of faith: touching the nail marks and the wound in the side and hands of Jesus. Many of these double-minded Christians have the same problem: they insist on their condition and refuse to open their mind to see the truth.

3)    This kind-loving Lord: (20:26-27) People will turn away from the Lord, but the Lord will never turn away from people. Jesus won’t leave Thomas alone. He won’t let him fall away without giving him another opportunity to follow him. He did exactly what Thomas asked for evidence to prove that He has truly risen from the dead. This is not about God compromised His way of doing thing. This is about God’s love and patience to bring back the doubters and faithless.

4)    This repented doubter: “My Lord and my God” (20:28) was a short but powerful answer to demonstrate the total turn around of this once a double-minded disciple. When Jesus invited Thomas to touch his hands and his side as Thomas had asked, there is no room for him to hold on to his doubt. How many of us need the Lord to go extra mile to show us evidence before we can truly believe in him and come back to his service? Can you just take the words, testimonies, encouragement and words of love from your fellow Christians and return to the Lord?

5)    The blessed believers: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (20:29) If you have been double-minded with the Lord in your Christian walk, service in His church or the level of commitment to Him, you really need to turn around and make a second commitment as did Thomas. It is never too late to come back to him and be strengthened for His glory. Christian history said that Thomas, after his renewal of faith, went east to Asia, stayed in India and started spreading the gospel. Today, there is an area in western India with very strong Christian churches.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   Heed the warning: “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:8) If you lament that you are ineffective, not much fruit bearing and life is dull and aimless, you may want to re-examine your heart: are you a double-minded” man? Turn away from your doubts, get rid of wavering life style. Make a definitive commitment to God and He will make you a blessing.

2)   Heed the opportunity: Today is the day of coming back to Him. Confess to Jesus that He is your Lord and your God. Get on His plan for your and begin to live with power and joy.

3)   Heed the invitation: A head start is your relationship with God through your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not refuse His love and forgiveness if you confess your sins to him. Invite Him to enter your heart and be the Lord of your life and He will give you meaning and strength for your life.