Summary: Addressing the doubts we have about Jesus
The Prophet was right
Gladstone Baptist Church – 18/9/05 am
Have you ever watched a Marathon? I can remember going down to Kingsford Smith Drive in Brisbane to see the Commonwealth Games marathon. It was early on in their race and all the runners looked fresh and strong. But sometime during that race, as will all other marathons, the runners reach that point where they wonder whether they can keep going. They hit the wall. They doubt they can finish the race. Their muscles burn with pain; their strength is gone. They feel defeated.
Often we feel like that as we go through life. In many ways we are like a marathon runner. We have a long distance race ahead of us. There are some steep hills and some valleys. There will be times we feel as though we are physically finished, but at other times but then we’ll get our second wind.
This morning, I want to talk about the problem of doubt. Doubt can either be a virus that drives us away from God or the motivation to study the evidence more carefully and therefore draw us closer to God.
Everyone has doubts. The problem is that some Christians leave their doubt untreated because they don’t want to admit to it. They wrongly think that to be a real Christian, they must be absolutely certain about everything and they are so afraid to admit that doubt is starting to creep in.
What doubts are you struggling with this morning?
1. Maybe you doubt that God has really forgiven you.
2. Or you wonder whether the Bible really is the Word of God.
3. Or you question why God lets people suffer.
4. Or you’ve been praying for help with a struggle in your life, but so far there has
been silence, and you’re wondering whether anybody’s at home in heaven, or if
there is, whether He really cares.
5. Maybe you have questions about how God created the world or even how He’ll end
6. Or you’ve said to yourself, “I think I’ve become a Christian, but sometimes I’m not
sure. Maybe I wasn’t sincere enough when I was baptized.”
I want us to look at someone this morning that we might be surprised struggled with doubt.
Read Luke 7:18
18 John’s disciples told him about all these things [What things? The healings of those possessed by evil spirits (4:31), the leper (4:12f), the paralytic (5:17), the centurion’s son (7:14), the dead son (7:11) and Jesus’ radical teachings When John was told of these things] . Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
John the Baptist was the one chosen by God to ANNOUNCE THE MESSIAH. Isaiah predicted his coming in Is 40:3 “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.” He was a STRANGE CHARACTER. Matt 3:4 describes him as being dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt, who ate locusts and wild honey. He was the Grizzly Adam’s of the first century and he drew a crowd – not just because he was a bit of an oddity, but because of what he was preaching. He preached a STRONG MESSAGE which condemned the so called “religious” practices of the day and those that practiced them to the neglect of true holiness. He called for confession of sins and a repentance. He baptized people as a sign that they were repenting. It was fairly common in Jewish society to undergo ritualistic washing. John’s baptism was an adaptation of this. It was a symbol that the people being baptized were sorry for their sins and were seeking forgiveness from God.
John was a guy who wasn’t scared of what others thought. In fact, he regularly RUBBED POWERFUL PEOPLE up the wrong way. He called the Pharisees and Saducees “a brood of vipers.” (Matt 3:7) He also publicly confronted Herod - the Jewish king of Judea. Herod had divorced his first wife in order to marry his brother’s wife and John condemned this as unlawful and as a result, he was thrown into prison in Machaerus.
John remained in prison and it is while in prison that he began to have some DOUBTS. He called some of his disciples and sent them to Jesus to ask “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” “Are you the promised one? The Messiah? Or have I got it completely wrong.”
How vastly different from the John we knew of old. Turn over to John 1:29
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”