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Summary: Jesus and John the Baptist. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Luke chapter 7 verses 18-35.

Ill:

• Lord Halifax, who was a former foreign secretary of Great Britain,

• Once shared a railway compartment with two prim-looking spinsters.

• A few moments before reaching his destination the train passed through a tunnel.

• In the utter darkness Halifax kissed the back of his hand noisily several times.

• When the train drew into the station,

• He rose, lifted his hat, and in a gentlemanly way said:

• “May I thank whichever one of you two ladies I am indebted to;

• For the charming incident in the tunnel.”

• He then beat a hasty retreat,

• Leaving the two ladies glaring at each other.

• What a great trick for leaving two prim and stuffy ladies in doubt;

• And wondering did my friend really kiss him or not?

Ill:

• Man who slipped of the edge of a cliff;

• Managed to grab hold of the edge but was unable to pull himself up.

• He shouted for help but it was all in vain;

• “Help, help! Is there anybody there?”

• The he heard a voice saying;

• “I am the Lord your God, let go and I will rescue you”.

• Looking down at the great drop below him, he again shouted out;

• “Is there anyone else there?”

Most Christians, at one time or another have had to do battle with doubt:

• Now I believe that having doubts is not wrong!

• Often they can lead us to a deeper stronger faith.

Ill:

• G. Campbell Morgan was pastor of Westminster Chapel in London;

• And was one of the leading Bible teachers in his day. "The Prince of Expositors"

By the time he was 19 years old.

• Campbell Morgan had already enjoyed some success as a preacher

• But then he was attacked by doubts about the Bible.

• The writings of various scientists and agnostics disturbed him

• (e.g. Charles Darwin, John Tyndall, Thomas Huxley, and Herbert Spencer).

• As he read their books and listened to debates,

• Morgan became more and more perplexed.

• Question: What did he do?

• Answer: He cancelled all preaching engagements, put all the books in a cupboard

• And locked the door,

• He then went to the bookstore and bought a brand new Bible.

He said to himself,

“I am no longer sure that this is what my father claims it to be—the Word of God. But of this I am sure. If it be the Word of God, and if I come to it with an unprejudiced and open mind, it will bring assurance to my soul of itself.”

The result? “That Bible found me!” said Morgan.

• The new assurance in 1883 gave him the motivation for his preaching & teaching ministry.

• He devoted himself to the study and preaching of God’s Word.

Doubts are not always the enemy of the Christian:

• Sometimes it's in the depths of doubt that we discover God's richest treasures.

• Instead of making us sinking swimmers or prisoners in a brig,

• Questions make us deep-sea divers, searching for truth.

• They lead us to a stronger faith

• Quote: Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

• “There lives more faith in honest doubt, Believe me, than in half the creeds”.

Note:

• It is worth pointing out;

• That so many of the ‘giants’ of the Bible at one time or another suffered from doubts:

• Abraham, Moses, David;

• Even the man Jesus said; ‘was the greatest’ the man – John the Baptist!

And don’t forget:

• That John was spiritually blessed in a way many of us never were!

• e.g. An angel announced his birth,

• e.g. His conception was miraculous; born of elderly parents.

• e.g. “Filled with the Holy Spirit from birth”.

• John was God's steel-tipped arrow,

• Tempered in the desert and aimed right at the heart of the nation.

• John was a prophet and like so many of the prophets,

• He found himself in mortal combat with despair and its chief envoy, doubt.

(A). Jesus with his Disciples (verses 18-19):

(1). An anxious request (vs 19-21).

“John's disciples told him about all these things [the miracles at Capemaum and Nain]. Calling two of them, 1hhe sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

• Now remember; the one who was asking this question;

• Is the same man who just a few months earlier,

• Had flashed his announcement like lightning across a black sky?

• "Behold, (stare, gaze) the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

Somewhere along the line:

• For John the baptiser, his exclamation point had secretly curled into a question mark:

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