Summary: In these verses we see John The Baptist face a period of doubt. This sermon shows us how to react when we encounter doubt in our lives.
Standing In The Shadow Of Doubt
In the previous sermon in this series, we looked at “Faith That Impresses Jesus”. The Centurion believed that Jesus could heal his servant without even having to come to where he was. We saw as Jesus marveled at the great faith of a Gentile.
Now we come to a portion of scripture that is in stark contrast to that “great faith” I have heard it said that “The opposite of faith is doubt”. Tonight we have a great illustration of doubt. This occurrence of doubt comes from an unlikely source… John the Baptist!
Look at Jesus’ testimony concerning John in - Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. - John was not the first man of God to doubt Jesus, nor will he be the last.
Doubt– To be uncertain or undecided, having a tendency to disbelieve, a wavering of opinion or a lack of trust.
The Christian life is based on faith. Doubt involves thoughts or feelings that are contrary to faith. You have heard the phrase “Beyond the shadow of a doubt?” Well, tonight I want to examine what happens when there is a shadow of a doubt! Join me as we consider the thought “Standing In The Shadow Of A Doubt”
There are two groups of people here this evening.
1. Some are unbelievers and experience doubt.
You may doubt:the existence of God, the divinity of Christ,the idea of an afterlife, the reality of Hell and many other aspects of Christianity.
2. Some are believers and periodically experience doubt.......
There are a number of areas in this life in which a Christian may experience doubt:
a) Is the bible actually 100 % accurate?
b) Is Jesus really the only way to heaven?
c) Is there really a place called Hell?
d) Do I really possess eternal life?
e) Does God hear me when I pray?
If we are honest, there are times in life when we feel like God is a million miles away.I read a very accurate poem by Norman Shirk of Dallas seminary:
Let me meet you on the mountain, Lord,
You wouldn't have to burn a whole bush.
Just a few smoking branches
And I would surely be ...like Moses.
Let me meet you on the water, Lord,
It wouldn't have to be on White Rock Lake.
Just on a puddle after the annual Dallas rain
And I would surely be...like Peter.
Let me meet you on the road, Lord,
You wouldn't have to blind me on North Central Expressway.
Just a few bright lights on the way to chapel
And I would surely be...like Paul.
Let me meet you, Lord,
Just meeting you in your Word is so hard sometimes
Must I always be...like Thomas?
I am not here to attempt to justify or excuse doubt. Doubt can and will bring about many difficulties in your life.When your life is filled with doubt you will be less likely to pray, study or serve the Lord. When you get to this point you are on a slippery slope that usually leads to a backslidden condition.If you are struggling with doubt, I have some good news! THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU!
The forerunner of Jesus… The great prophet John the Baptist faced doubt as well. The encouragement comes in the fact that John did not remain in this condition. You may be here and you have lost all hope.You have questions, concerns, and yes …DOUBTS! Maybe you are so ashamed of your doubts that you have refused to talk to anyone due to embarrassment and you are carrying a heavy burden as a result. The goal of this message is to show you that that is hope!
Look with me to verses 2-3 and see:
I. The Common Reality Of Doubt v2 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?
We read in Matthew 4:12 that “John had been cast into prison”. By the time we arrive at Matthew 11, some time has passed and John has some questions and concerns. John’s disciples have been going back and forth reporting to John concerning the events that have taken place concerning Jesus’ ministry.It is possible that John was expecting to be released at any moment. He, like many others may have expected Jesus to immediately judge Israel and establish His Kingdom.
John hears the reports of what is happening in Jesus’ ministry