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4 Things About Doubt

40 weeks of Discipleship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:05
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Continue to pray about potentially moving to First Baptist Oak Grove
I forgot to tell you last Sunday that Eli had his first gospel conversation!
I did not force him, he volunteered and did a great job
And Eli’s favorite book of the Bible is Job. And guess what this lady mentioned when Eli was talking to her? JOB
We are at a little over 100 Gospel conversations, by we have a ways to go to reach our goal
Scripture Reading:
Psalm 8 “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”
Pastoral Prayer
Pray for the lost
Pray for transformation of our hearts
Pray for God presence in this place
Pray for God’s will to be revealed to us in relocating
What is doubt?
The Dictionary of the Bible says, “to doubt is to be divided in mind”, ‘to be of two opinions,’ ‘to waver,’ ‘something between whole-hearted faith and decided unbelief. When we doubt, faith is robbed of its power;”
ISBE dictionary says, “Doubt reflects man’s dividedness of attitude when confronted with a promise of God. It occurs within the context of prayer and action, at times when God’s word itself is what is being questioned”.
What is doubt? Jesus saw this attitude as the opposite of true faith. And the book of Hebrews says, “without faith it is impossible to please God!”
At the foundation of every sin, every act of faithlessness, every sin of omission you will find at its root: doubt. Paul said, “whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23).
We choose sin because we doubt God’s way is better.
When we fail to walk by faith, we do so because we doubt God’s ability to sustain us and take care of us.
We fail to serve God many times because we doubt it will really make a difference.
Everyone struggles with doubt to some degree. Even John the Baptist the great preacher and forerunner of Jesus struggled with doubt.
Matthew 11:2-6Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive 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. “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
Let me say this: If you have ever doubted God, even the existence of God, it does not necessarily mean that you are lost. John the Baptist was a mighty man of God, preached with Holy Spirit power, seen the Spirit of God light upon Jesus, and struggled with doubt.
I want you to notice something about our passage today. It is placed right after chapters 8 & 9 that repetitively speak of people’s Faith.
Jesus marveled at the great faith of the centurion and healed his son (8:10)
Jesus rebuked the disciples in the storm because of their lack of faith (8:25)
Jesus saw the faith of the paralyzed man and his friends and healed him (9:22)
The woman who bled for 12 years was healed because of her faith (9:22)
Jesus healed the blind man because of his faith (9:29)
And then we come to chapter 11 and we see this great man of God doubting that Jesus is Messiah. Why did Matthew include this section in His Gospel account? Because I think he wanted to encourage disciples who would come after them by showing that even the strongest of followers can have doubts at times.
We are humans and our faith has not yet been perfected. And if we have doubts, it does not necessarily mean that we are lost, or that we are bad ChristIan’s. It is a reminder that we are humans, and we are frail, and we are desperately;y in need of God’s grace.
I think there are some principles that can help us from this section when doubt creeps into our lives. 4 things about doubt:

Doubts accompany hardships

Matthew 11:2–3 NASB95
Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
(v 2) while John was imprisoned. Prison is a hard time in any period of history, but it was especially difficult then. John was imprisoned by Herod. King Herod was known for his insensitivity and debauchery. He had married his own sister-in-law, and John the Baptist had publicly rebuked Herod’s sin. And I could only imagine what was going through John’s mind about what his future held while sitting in prison under an evil king who had a personal grudge against him.
What is the difference in John the Baptist who boldly preached repentance and John the baptist who is now doubting? His situation had changed. And because his situation changed for the worse, he began to question God.
It is sometimes difficult to understand why we have to go through so much trouble, especially some of us. And it seems to me that the more we try to draw near to God, the more hardships we experience.
Circumstances breed doubts because they distract us from what God has said and put our focus on our situation. And we begin to see the struggles over the sovereignty of God and then begin to question God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and His providence.
The cure for doubt is FAITH. And faith does not make decision based upon what the human eyes see! It makes decisions based upon what God says! And if we want to be people who are not affected by our circumstances then we must continue to trust what God has said despite what we currently see.
I want to make some application to this church plant. I am convinced that the mission and vision God has given to us still stands. I am convinced we are called to Oak Grove to reach military families. I am convinced that we are to continue our front door ministry. I am convinced that God has a fruitful ministry in store for this church.
But we do not see it yet. It is easy to look at our situation and say, “hey this isn’t working”. Not many people are coming to faith, we’ve only had one person come in from our front door evangelism, and they are no longer with us. The church isn’t growing like we think it should be growing and not much seems to be happening.
Here is a Word to this church: GOD CAN CHANGE ANY SITUATION IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. God can take this ministry and explode it anytime he wants. God can flood these doors with so many people that we could no contain them in this building! And that is what we must cling to! We do not make decisions based on our circumstances because circumstances change, we make decisions based upon what God has said and trust Him for the timing!

God does not always do what we expect Him to do

Matthew 11:2–3 NASB95
Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
Look at the Scripture: It says, “when John heard of the works of Christ, he sent his disciples to question Jesus”.
What is it that changed in John’s life that led him from a faithful preacher to a doubting prophet? I think it was his expectations of Jesus.
“while he was imprisoned, he heard the works of Christ”. John heard what Jesus was doing, but it was not what he thought the Messiah ought to be doing.
Listen to how John described Jesus when he preached about Jesus:
Matt 3:11-12 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
What did John expect the Messiah to do? He expected a hell fire preacher such as he was. He expected Jesus to come and bring immediate judgment upon all the enemies of God and gather all those faithful followers into safety. He expected Jesus to make every wrong right and bring justice to the nation of Israel.
Now John wasn’t wrong in his expectations, but his timing was off. Jesus certainly was everything John said he was, but these things would not take place until the second coming of Jesus.
Jesus said Himself, “for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”
John expected a triumphant King who would judge the unrighteous and bless the righteous. And what John heard about Jesus is what we read about in chapter 8-9:
Jesus healed lepers
He gave sight to the blind,
He made the the lame walk,
He calmed the sea
And He even taught us to love even our enemies.
Jesus ate dinner with tax collectors and sinners, showed grace to the sinful, and loved the unloveable.
And when John heard what Jesus was doing, and Jesus’ actions did not meet John’s expectations, he began to question if Jesus was who He said He was.
We all have some kind of preconceived expectation about what our lives are supposed to be like as Christians, what ministry is supposed to be like for the church, what our prayer life is supposed to be like. Right?
How many of us when we pray for something we want God to do it! How many of us when we live in faithfulness to God, we expect to live a life of blessedness?
How many of us when we make sacrifices for God, give our time, money, go out of our comfort zone for Jesus think deep down now God is probably going to do this in response to this?
Prov 19:21 “Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.”
We must be open to God making changes in our life wherever He sees fit.
If we are dead set that our way is always right, then we will have many struggles along the way.
Men plan the way, but IT IS the counsel of the Lord will stand.
And our expectations of what we think Jesus ought to be or do, must never get in the way of who Jesus is and what Jesus does.
Practical Application: We must never make plans and expect Jesus to get on board with them. We must figure out what God’s plan is and get on board with that.
If you live your life telling God to come along with you, your Christianity is going to be characterized by doubt. Because God did not save us to serve us! God saved us to serve Him, and God knows the way, not us!
We must look to the perfect counsel of God, and ask Him every time what He wants us to do, then that is walking by faith.

We must have accurate understanding of the ways of God

Matthew 11:4–5 NASB95
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive 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.
Notice what Jesus says to the disciples. Go back and report to John what you hear and see. What Jesus is doing is giving a list of things that He has been doing in His ministry since John Baptized Him. Healing the blind, the lame, and the lepers, and preaching the gospel to the poor.
But what he wants John to know is not simply that he is doing these works, but these works are prophesied in the OT which described what the the coming Messiah will be doing and how we can know him when we see these things.
Isaiah 35:5-6 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.”
Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;”
Here is the point: Jesus is saying to John that He is doing everything that the Word of God says the Messiah is supposed to be doing! If John is having doubts, then the issue is not Jesus, but John’s understanding of the Word of God. And what Jesus does is refreshes John’s memory to the OT Scriptures that describe the ministry of the Messiah.
If we do not know the Word of God, then we will not know the ways of God. It is as simple as that. Not just the gospels, but the OT stories, the epistles, the essential doctrines of Christianity.
The entire Bible reveals who God is and how God responds to humanity.
And one of the most important things we can fill our minds with is God’s Word.
NT Christianity is not about what we think or what we feel. We must never fall into the habit of deciding what it means to follow Christ by what we think following Christ should be. That’s exactly what culture does. That is a dead end road that only leads to frustration and doubting.
The wise Christian must ALWAYS let the Word of God define his Christian walk. The wise pastor always lets the Word of God define what church is. The wise believer allows the Word of God to control his expectations, not the other way around.
To know the Word of God is to be willing to put in the effort and time to study and understand it.
The biggest problem in the church today is not a lack of Bibles or tools to understand the Bible, but apathy in the hearts of God’s people when it comes to laboring over the Bible.
It is hard work to know the Word of God. This book is thousands of years old, and if we have a hard time understanding the king James from 400 years ago, we should expect to have having trouble understanding Greek and Hebrew from 3,000 years ago.
This is not a lecture on why we should read the Bible more. This is truth that if our information comes from any other source than God’s Word, it is not reliable. And it will lead us to a place of doubting and frustration.
To know God is to know His Word. To know God’s ways is to know how God has interacted with humanity for the last 6,000 years. And we have been blessed with a remarkable preservation of that. Let’s not take that for granted.
Let’s make it our life’s goal to know it well. It will pay off far more than anything else you put in your mind.

We must all make the choice to be blessed by Jesus or to be offended by Jesus

Matthew 11:6 NASB95
“And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
One reason I love the Word of God is because it does not sugarcoat the gospel.
This is what Jesus is saying, “this is the way it is, and if that offends you then you will forfeit the blessed life”.
Blessed is the man who does not take offense at Me!
This is also what Jesus is saying, “if we want to follow Him, this is what it is going to look like.”
We are going to find ourselves in situations that we do not want to be in. There will be times when our faith places us in uncomfortable, difficult, and even painful places, BUT Jesus promises He will never leave us.
Jesus is not going to give us everything and do everything the way we think He should. He is God, we are not. He knows what is best for us, we do not. We must trust Him.
To know Christ, is to know His Word. We cannot make up our own religion. To think one thing does not change what God does. The Christ of our salvation is the Christ of the Bible. To know Him, is to know it. To accept it, is to accept Him.
Jesus says He who does not take offense at these things is blessed. “Blessed” does not mean we will have everything we want or things will always turn out the way we want them to all the time. Blessed is a state that we live in, as a child of God with a guarantee of eternal life Right now.
Blessed does not mean we will be happy all the time thouhg it does carry some connotations of happiness. It refers to joy inside that we have in our lives that comes from the presence and acceptance of God. It speaks of divine favor upon our lives, that cannot be taken away no matter what this world brings to us.
John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”
To be a follower of Christ we must receive Him for who He is. It is to receive His ways, His judgments upon our lives, His determination of what is sin, and His calling of what we are supposed to be doing. He must be Lord over it all.
He can be your Lord today. Call out to Him, and receive His forgiveness and truth into your life. Turn and give your life to Him. Blessed is the man who does not take offense at Me.
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