One of the first things you'll probably notice about this sermon is how short it is. DelBene simply reads his text—the story of Thomas and his initial unbelief—and shares a litany of stories that show the fine line between unbelief and belief. The brevity is due in large part to DelBene having a simple point: when you encounter the presence of Christ, you either believe or you don't. But it's a little shorter than usual because DelBene first preached this sermon right after Easter Sunday (we've edited the manuscript slightly to make it applicable for any given context). After spending a few intense weeks filling the minds and hearts of his congregation with the life of Christ, they were at a climactic point in their journey: they were either going to believe in Christ after all their encounters or they weren't. Why talk about it too much longer? The time for a radical decision had come. As you read the sermon, you'll see that it's quite fitting as a climax for any series that focuses on encountering Christ.
In John 20:19-31, John writes:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples ...
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