TEXT: Matthew 11:2-6
THEME: Defeating Disappointment Before It Defeats You
There is a saying that goes like this, "Into everyone's life a little rain must fall". All of us at one time or another have experienced the "rain". This rain has many names like "trials" or "tribulations" but one name we are all familiar with is "disappointment".
§ Let's consider the true story of a man and his wife and their bout with disappointment.
§ This family had one child, a little girl.
§ This little girl was the joy of their life.
§ One day when she was about eight years old, she began to have trouble with her vision.
§ She was rushed to an eye doctor who concluded her situation was serious. It was so serious that by the age of eight this little girl had gone permanently blind.
§ Both husband and wife were seized with disappointment. They were devastated. The joy of their life was blind.
§ The husband was so disappointed that he went into prayer and told God he was through. He did not want to serve God anymore.
§ As he prayed though, he was reminded by God of the many hours of fellowship they had together and the many other blessings through the years.
§ Before he could end his prayer, the husband was praising the Lord for His goodness and had defeated disappointment before it defeated him.
Proposition - God has answers to the problem of disappointment.
Transitional Sentence - Lets consider this problem of disappointment by looking at it the following way:
1) THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM OF DISAPPOINTMENT
i) Disappointment is a "FAILURE" to meet an expectation either of your own or of someone else.
ii) Someone in whom you trusted implicity has failed you.
iii) In other words, things do not go as expected or planned.
iv) We do not reached the anticipated goal.
b) Symptoms (listed in order from least to worst)
i) Frustration which leads to anger
ii) Doubts that rob us of our faith
iii) Regret about bringing this little one into the world, or worse, being a Christian.
iv) Discontentment to the point that nothing can make us happy.
v) Defeat which lead to quitting like the husband in the story.
c) Causes of disappointment
i) Wrong expectations (everything in life didn't go Job's way) (people who fail us)
ii) Insufficient information (Thinking the Christian life is "peaches and cream")
iii) Misinterpreting information (Thinking that God is punishing you)(Thinking people are out to get you).
2) SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM OF DISAPPOINTMENT
a) Try to forget
i) Don't think about it maybe it will go away.
ii) Divert your attention into other things like work or hobbies.
iii) Get away from it all for awhile.
iv) Psychologically it is called "sublimation" and it is an attempt to divert any expression of disappointment into some expression that is more culturally acceptable.
v) The problem is the hurt will not go away by ignoring or avoiding it.
b) Talk to other who are disappointed
i) This is what you call a support group.
ii) Using this strategy you may find someone whose disappointment is greater than yours and that will make you feel better about your own.
iii) This could easily backfire when you find out that your is greater than others and now you are driven into deep despair.
iv) You run a big risk of severe emotional damage since your emotional state is further agitated.
c) Do not allow yourself to be disappointed again
i) This solution is an exercise of your will power.
ii) You keep close guard of your emotions and in effect put up a wall of defense.
iii) You stop trusting anyone (including God) so that you will not be hurt again.
iv) You set goals (expectations) that are readily achievable (no risk policy).
v) This strategy cripples your life. There are no challenges, no trust, no dependency on anyone other than yourself. You have put yourself in a prison of your own making.
3) THE BIBLICAL SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM (Matthew 11:2-6)
a) FIRST, we must realize that our knowledge of the problem is insufficient. (Matt 11:2-5)
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
i) John was in prison, he was about to be beheaded, things did not work out like he thought they would.
ii) John was proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, the one who would set up His kingdom on earth. (only it was not a physical kingdom)
iii) John prophesied this in Matthew chapter 3
10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
iv) John did not see any evidence of this in Jesus' ministry.
v) Jesus failed to meet John's expectations.
vi) John's knowledge about the savior was flawed. He was unaware of exactly what was happening in the ministry of Jesus.
vii) That wasn't the only problem, John was shut up in prison for "doing the right thing" in speaking against Herod's adulterous situation. If Jesus really was the Messiah why wasn't John being rescued from the clutches of Herod?
viii) John says in essence, since you did not meet up with my expections should we look for another to come.
ix) What John didn't realize is that Jesus' work was not to be swift and severe but one of grace.
x) John was looking for "Messianic Judgement".
xi) Later in Matthew chapter 11 Jesus would talk about "messianic judgement" when he condemned the cities of Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.
xii) The judgement would come but it would be at the end of the age.
xiii) Jesus' ministry was to be one of proclaiming the Lord's favor and grace.
xiv) Jesus sent the solution to his disappoint by way of John's disciples who returned word to him in prison. It said this:
MT 11:4 Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
xv) Jesus gave the true credentials of the Messianic ministry. These are fulfillments of the prophesies of Isaiah in Isa 35:5-6 and 61:1.
i) When you are disappointed, you like John, may not have all the information about the circumstances surrounding your failed expectations.
ii) Only God knows the "big picture". He knows the secrets of men's hearts, the motives.
iii) You need to consider that God does have ALL the information and we need to trust Him that he will reveal it to us IN HIS TIME.
iv) By realizing that God does understand your situation and trusting in Him, you can minimize the sting of your disappointment.
c) SECOND, we must realize that disappointment can offend us and destroy faith (Matthew 11:6)
i) Look at our text in verse 6
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
ii) The word "offended" in our text is actually a word picture.
iii) The Greek text gives the picture of a trap which holds bait on a stick. When the stick is touched the trap snaps shut. The results are nearly always fatal.
iv) "Offended" is a strong word. It is translated "fall away" in the NIV. ("stumbling block in the New English Bible)
v) The picture here is that if we let disappointment defeat us the results can be fatal.
vi) The fatal result is quitting on mankind and worse yet, quitting on God.
i) If God did not do what you expected, DO NOT GIVE UP ON GOD.
ii) If you did not get what you prayed for DO NOT FIND FAULT WITH GOD.
iii) Listen to what Isaiah said
ISA 55:9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
iv) Should God work according to your timetable and expectations?
v) Is God responsible for for what people do to crush your hopes and dreams?
vi) Is God responsible for your failed expectations?
vii) Don't let the Devil use disappointment against you.
viii) DO NOT let the Devil trap you (offended), do not stumble, do not fall away and most importantly DO NOT LOSE YOUR FAITH by thinking this way.
ix) Remember, every good and perfect gift comes from above.
§ The truth of Matthew 11:2-6 stands before us big as life itself
§ The ministry of Jesus was one of recovering from the Devil those people who are lost and hurting.
§ The ministry of Jesus is one of life-ETERNAL LIFE!
§ You need to be saved today
§ God has a solution for disappointment and discouragement
§ Have you been disappointed in relationships
§ How about at work
§ How about at church
§ We must realize that we do not possess all the information right now
§ We must realize that God's ways and His thoughts are higher than ours
§ We must not be offended when disappointments come (and they will)
§ We must not stumble
§ We must not fall away
§ We must rededicate our lives to Jesus Christ and have nothing to do with disappointment
§ Do you need a church home?