by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Jeremiah 17:5-8
I. I had the opportunity to study with a member of the International Church of Christ.
A. Many of their core beliefs are similar to our own, but they diverge from the plain teachings of the Scriptures in a number of significant ways.
B. While researching their beliefs and people’s response to them, I found it interesting how few used the teachings of the Bible to combat their false doctrines.
1. Instead many relied on psychological studies and opinions of human experts to make their points.
2. To be frank, I was disappointed in the lack of biblical scholarship shown by these people.
C. But, I also noted another idea threaded through most of these papers: There was a strong objection that any one approach to the Scriptures can be correct.
1. It was especially notable in the writings of those with denominational backgrounds, but I found similar arguments in the writings of brethren.
2. There are many religious people who have the idea that we cannot be sure of what we believe.
a. They believe the Bible is filled with mysteries which man cannot possibly understand.
b. Therefore, no one can affirm their understanding of the Bible is absolutely correct.
c. From their point of view, to assert your position on the Bible is correct and all others are wrong is against Christianity.
3. Thus, the belief is that I cannot take a solid stance. After all, I could be wrong.
D. It is one thing to admit that we do not have all the answers and that our knowledge is incomplete. It is quite another to fall prey to doubt .
1. Without confidence in our knowledge of the Scriptures, we are robbed of stability in belief and practice.
2. We will be without the means to oppose false doctrine.
3. We will be without the confidence to proclaim the Truth in opposition to error.
4. We will lose what makes us unique and become like every other man-made religion that surrounds us.
II. Doubt changes everything.
A. It can change something righteous into sin - Romans 14:20-23
B. James 1:5-8
1. Without confidence, we are like the waves that beat against the shore. It seems they cannot determine whether they want to come in or go out.
a. The doubter cannot make up his mind. He wants to have eternal life with the Lord, but the pleasures of life are alluring.
b. When questions arise concerning the teachings of the New Testament, the doubter cannot give a definite answer.
(1) Too firm of an answer may alienate friends and we can’t let a small matter like religion drive a wedge between friends.
(2) Yet Christ said even family cannot come between us and God. - Luke 14:26
(3) Too firm of an answer may condemn the actions of the doubter himself.
III. God calls us to confidence
A. Jesus does not change and neither does his teachings - Hebrews 13:8-9
B. Our stability comes from learning the teachings of God - Ephesians 4:11-16
1. God has seen to our needs. This is why there are teachers of God’s word to help us learn.
2. The effects of righteousness are peace, quietness, and confidence - Isaiah 32:17
3. It is a blessing to trust in God - Jeremiah 17:7
C. Jesus Christ gives us confidence,
1. An assurance through our faith in Him - Hebrews 10:19-23
2. Jesus gave Thomas assurance that he had risen from the grave, but the real blessing comes through belief - John 20:29
3. Anything without faith is sin - Romans 14:23
4. Paul had full confidence in his Savior - II Timothy 1:8-12
5. Mankind is unstable at best, but our confidence does not rest in what I may do or the deeds of other. Our confidence rests on the unchanging Rock - Ephesians 3:8-12
D. The Spirit teaches us to be confident
1. God’s Word is not source of wishy-washy beliefs, but something we can understand and gain confidence from - Colossians 2:1-2
2. By our practice, by our following the truth, by our obedience to God, we know we are of the truth - I John 3:18-22
3. Our obedience will assure us an entrance into heaven - II Peter 1:10
4. A hope that is based on our obedience and more importantly, upon the unchangeable promise of God - Hebrews 6:10-20
5. That hope brought steadfastness to the Thessalonians, a confidence in their salvation, and a boldness in proclaiming God’s message - I Thessalonians 1:2-5
6. Look at Paul’s example - II Corinthians 10:1-7
a. This man did not hide behind uncertainty.
b. He did not proclaim a mystery that could not be understood.
c. He tore down falsehoods with the logic of God’s Holy Word.
IV. What can I do?
A. I recognize my limited knowledge and my need to grow - II Peter 3:18
B. But that which I have already learned, I can take confidence in
1. Faith comes from hearing God’s word - Romans 10:17
a. Faith is a trust in what we have not seen.
b. Faith is an expression of confidence in our God.
2. I am not ashamed of the message - Romans 1:16
3. A confidence to stand and contend the neigh-sayers - Jude 3