Faith Chapel

John The Doubter

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Floyd Bresee


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000375

00:31 Hi, I am Pastor Floyd Bresee.
00:35 And I've been thinking it seems to me there be
00:39 a lot more Christians, if Christians were
00:42 a lot more Christ like. Let's pray about it.
00:48 Loving Lord, I pray that you will teach us
00:54 something today that will help us become
00:58 more Christ like Christians.
01:00 This is our prayer in Jesus name. Amen.
01:06 Our focus today is on John the Baptist.
01:11 Especially the time that John the Baptist became
01:14 John the doubter, we don't very often think of
01:16 him that way. But we're talking today
01:18 about a particular instance when John
01:21 the Baptist became John the doubter.
01:24 Let's open our Bibles to Luke chapter 7,
01:28 and I'll be using the New International Version.
01:32 There are some words you know that
01:34 where reluctant to talk about in church
01:38 one of those is doubt. To some Christians
01:42 doubt is a dirty word and you should not use
01:45 dirty words in church. But it's our word today,
01:49 even John the Baptist on occasion
01:52 wrestled with doubt. John the Baptist,
01:55 a fearless outdoors men, a man's man.
01:58 One of the best men who ever lived doubted.
02:03 Our lesson today is from his life and it is this.
02:07 Genuine faith grows out of honest doubt,
02:12 genuine faith grows out of honest doubt.
02:18 If you maybe are just a little uncomfortable
02:22 with my daring you to doubt today,
02:26 maybe you will be a little bit offended.
02:29 But please, hear me out, hopefully
02:32 we'll end up agreeing.
02:36 John the Baptist, doubted, Luke the 7th chapter
02:41 and verses 18 and 19 John's disciples told
02:46 him about all these things.
02:49 Calling two of them, he sent them to the
02:52 Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to
02:56 come, or should we expect someone else?
03:03 Now John the Baptist is a very rare Bible
03:05 character, one of the very few of whom no
03:08 sin is ever recorded. And yet he doubted.
03:12 Then doubt must not necessarily be a sin.
03:17 Once this great man of faith had said,
03:21 behold the lamb of God at Jesus baptism,
03:27 he heard the words "This is my beloved
03:29 Son, in whom I'm well pleased."
03:32 He preached and preached and preached the Messiah.
03:38 Now, he was doubting.
03:42 Christianity is not plastic surgery.
03:46 You can get plastic surgery and rearrange
03:48 your nose and rearrange your face,
03:50 you better like it because it's
03:52 permanently changed. And we like to think
03:55 that when we have expected, have expected
03:58 our Lord, that we'll always have
04:01 total faith and never doubt.
04:04 But that simply is not the way it works.
04:08 We like things that are free, we like fat free
04:13 milk and cholesterol free eggbeaters and
04:18 pesticide free vegetables and doubt free religion.
04:24 We should be, everybody who
04:27 thinks doubts, and if I have no doubts maybe
04:31 I'm not thinking, look at the Bible characters,
04:35 Abraham fell down laughing when God said
04:37 that 99-year-old Sarah was going have a baby,
04:40 the father of the faithful doubted.
04:46 Jacob's wrestling with the Angel brought a
04:49 blessing and a new name to Jacob,
04:51 now they call him Israel, and Israel means
04:54 one who strives with God.
04:56 He still calls his children Israel,
04:58 his children are those who are striving with God.
05:03 In the book of Psalms,
05:05 about 60 percent is doubting.
05:08 God, where are you says the Psalmist?
05:12 Even Jesus doubted. My God, my God, why
05:17 have you forsaken me? But you see there are
05:21 two kinds of doubt. There is negative doubt
05:25 and there's positive doubt, negative doubt is
05:28 refusing to know, if God were real and
05:33 God were good, I'd have to submit to him
05:36 and I want to do whatever I want to do,
05:39 no submitting for me. Doubt can actually be
05:42 self worship, nothing can be true
05:45 unless I can understand it.
05:48 Listen, a God small enough for
05:51 you to understand would be much too
05:54 small for you to worship.
05:57 And so there is negative doubt,
05:59 really not wanting to believe.
06:01 But this is also positive doubt,
06:04 longing to believe, longing to know.
06:08 Doubt, D O U B T has the same root as
06:11 D O U B L E, doubt and double are
06:15 from the same root. A doubt is when we are
06:20 reasoning between two different choices.
06:23 Which one will I make?
06:25 And we work our way through the choices.
06:29 Chinese say that doubt is standing in two boats
06:33 with one foot in each and the boats became to move.
06:39 You need to make a decision, your situation
06:42 is very insecure and only after you chose
06:45 your boat and plant both feet in it,
06:48 can you feel secure again.
06:53 Doubt by the way often follows discouragement
06:56 and next time you have a doubt, see if it's
06:58 because something in your life has discouraged you.
07:02 John had preached his heart out,
07:06 Herod had put him in prison because John
07:09 told him not to divorce his wife and marry his
07:12 sister-in-law Herodias. And this outdoors man
07:16 was cooped up, his disciples were leaving,
07:19 the crowds were forsaking and that
07:22 beautiful book Desire of Ages says
07:24 "despondency and doubt crept over him."
07:28 You notice that, despondency and doubt
07:32 tend to go together. And when you have
07:36 doubt it very possibly will be because you are
07:40 going through discouragement.
07:44 His doubt? Is Jesus really the promised Messiah?
07:50 Have I, have I put my faith in the wrong person,
07:55 we have doubts life comes crashing
07:59 down and we begin to doubt.
08:02 Is God really there? Is God really good?
08:05 Does God really love me? Can I really trust him?
08:08 Have I put my faith in the wrong person?
08:13 And we not only doubt God that we began to doubt
08:15 ourselves especially in times of discouragement.
08:20 Have I really confessed my sins?
08:23 Have I really been saved, do I really love the Lord?
08:26 Am I really a genuine Christian or I am faking
08:31 it and just going through the motions?
08:35 Now John the Baptist admitted his doubts.
08:39 Notice if you will verse 19,
08:43 Luke 7 and verse 19:
08:48 "Are you the one who was to come,
08:52 or should we expect someone else?"
08:57 This was his doubt woman came to Moody.
09:04 She said, I have been a Christian for 25 years
09:07 I have not had one single doubt.
09:11 And Moody replied, madam,
09:14 I doubt you've ever been a saved Christian.
09:18 We erroneously think that to be real
09:21 Christians, we must have absolute
09:23 certainty about everything.
09:27 Listen, none of us have God all figured out.
09:32 We're all of us like ducks on a pond,
09:36 they just go sailing, just so
09:40 beautifully gliding across the water.
09:42 But underneath they're peddling like crazy.
09:46 And sometimes that's the way with
09:47 us even as Christians. We show tranquility
09:51 on the outside. But underneath
09:54 we're trying to figure out how is God leading
09:57 me and how am I to relate to him?
09:59 How can I get closer to him?
10:00 What is his plan for my life?
10:05 Now, doubting doesn't mean that your faith stops.
10:10 It means, you're trying to understand your faith
10:14 at a higher level. I stand on a small
10:21 mountain and I enjoy the view and it's
10:26 comfortable here. But looking yonder,
10:31 I see a higher mountain, it must be even more
10:35 majestic up there. How am I going to get
10:38 from this mountain to a higher mountain.
10:40 I must go down into the valley and do
10:43 the hard work of climbing higher.
10:47 And I have faith in my Lord, but I want to have
10:51 a greater faith. I want to climb higher
10:53 in my relationship to my God.
10:55 How do I get there? It maybe we have to
10:57 go down through the valley of doubt and
10:59 climb up, but when we get
11:01 there we have a larger review.
11:04 For we know God better and if,
11:06 and when we know God better we can love Him
11:09 more and that's what we are really after.
11:12 Genuine faith grows out of honest doubt.
11:19 It's okay to doubt.
11:22 Just don't make a career of it.
11:27 If you are going to doubt it should be temporarily.
11:32 Doubt only if you have the
11:34 courage to doubt your doubts.
11:38 Now, what did John the Baptist
11:41 do about his doubts? Well, notice first of all
11:46 that he investigated his doubts.
11:50 He sent two disciples to Jesus.
11:52 Notice, if you will verse 20.
11:56 Verse 20 of Luke and the 7th chapter.
12:02 "When the men came to Jesus they said,
12:05 John the Baptist sent us to you to ask,
12:09 are you the one who was to come,
12:11 or shall we expect someone else?"
12:16 He investigated his doubts.
12:20 Now, how do you investigate your doubts?
12:23 How do you resolve your doubts?
12:27 I want to make four suggestions,
12:29 you want to resolve your doubts.
12:31 First of all, to resolve your doubts about your
12:35 relationship with your Lord, make it a point to
12:39 associate with believers more then with unbelievers.
12:44 This was a part of John's problem,
12:47 his temporary doubts must have been
12:49 partially from his disciples,
12:51 who were watching Jesus and they began to
12:53 sow doubts in John's mind.
12:57 To grow roses you don't go to the North Pole,
13:03 you go to where roses grow.
13:07 You want to grow faith, you want to go where
13:11 there are people whose faith is growing,
13:15 you can learn from them. Go to church and when
13:21 you get there you will find every member
13:25 still has a lot of growing to do.
13:28 But you will find also many who are growing
13:32 steady and it is easier to grow when you're
13:36 surrounded by others, who are growing too.
13:41 If you haven't been making it a practice or
13:45 you haven't in some way kind of lost
13:47 confidence in the people who make up
13:50 the body of a church. Oh! They have a lot of
13:54 growing to do, every single one of them does
13:56 including the preacher, but you will find some
14:00 there that are growing and can show you how to grow.
14:03 So, first of all spend more time with
14:06 believers then with unbelievers.
14:10 And then, you want to resolve your doubts,
14:13 take time to study, take time to think.
14:19 We get so busy that we spend all of our time
14:24 with the secular. No wonder we began
14:27 to doubt the sacred and take a look at how
14:30 you've been spending your time.
14:32 If you've been spending it all with the secular,
14:35 no wonder you are beginning to have
14:38 doubts about the sacred. Fill your mind with
14:43 faith building materials, sermons or music or
14:48 books and especially the Bible.
14:53 Spend time with your Bible.
14:57 Spurgeon threw out quite a challenge,
15:01 he said the greatest doubters are the people
15:05 who do not read the Bible.
15:09 Fill your mind with scripture,
15:12 fill your heart with Bible promises.
15:17 And memorize some of them.
15:20 For example, you will be seek me and find
15:24 me when you will search for me with all
15:28 your heart or ask and it will be given to you,
15:33 seek and you will find, knock and the door will
15:35 be open to you or again. Never will I leave you,
15:40 never will I forsake you.
15:44 Don't wait to believe until your have God
15:48 all figured out, it's just not going to happen,
15:53 God is simply too big for ours.
15:56 Get over it. If God sat down across
16:00 the table from you to explain himself to you.
16:03 You could no more comprehended it,
16:05 then you can comprehend advanced
16:07 calculus after flunking high school algebra.
16:11 But, we can reason enough to conclude that
16:16 it's more logical, more sensible to believe
16:20 then to disbelieve. You will never totally
16:24 understand God, but you can think yourself
16:28 through, your way through to where it
16:30 makes more sense to believe then to disbelieve.
16:37 And then you want to resolve your doubts,
16:40 remember his leading in the past.
16:45 And if you notice the good things he's done
16:48 for you before. As you look backward it's,
16:52 it's so much easier to trust
16:54 his leading in the future.
16:57 Doubt is often the result of short memory,
17:01 all we're thinking about is God isn't doing what
17:04 we want Him to do right now, and so we
17:06 wonder if He is real or if there is a problem with us.
17:11 You doubt miracles. Well, remember the
17:14 miracles he's worked in you, in your body,
17:17 every single day of your life.
17:21 These are miracles that nobody understands.
17:25 You doubt this thing of life after death,
17:28 is there really going to be a resurrection,
17:30 is there such a thing as eternal life?
17:34 Well, that's not so hard to remember.
17:37 If you remember how to believe,
17:38 if you remember how he's led you in the past.
17:40 He gave you your life once,
17:43 nobody understands how he did it.
17:47 And if God gave life to you ones before is that
17:50 really so difficult to have faith
17:53 to believe so he can do it again.
17:58 Science is proving that there is dying and new
18:01 life going on in your body everyday.
18:06 Continually, within your own body,
18:10 old cells are continually dying and new cells are
18:15 being continually born, created if you please.
18:21 As a matter of fact all the cells in our bodies
18:25 are replaced on a regular basis except
18:28 they say for those in the brain and a few stem
18:31 cells in each of the organs of our body.
18:35 Actually, did you know that the cells in your
18:38 taste buds last only a few days.
18:42 And that virtually all the cells in your body
18:45 are replaced every 90 days, every 90 days
18:49 you have seen death and life going
18:52 on within your body. Why doubt that there is
18:55 such a thing as life after death, it's been going on
18:58 right within you everyday of your existence.
19:05 And then, if you want to resolve your doubts
19:10 focus on Jesus. It's interesting to
19:14 notice Jesus reaction to John's doubting.
19:18 Actually, we learned from this story that
19:20 Jesus respects the honest doubter.
19:25 Notice, if you will verse 28.
19:29 Luke 7 and now verse 28. "I tell you, among those
19:36 born of women there is no one greater than
19:40 John, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of
19:43 God is greater then He." There is no one greater
19:49 Jesus said, then John, don't you see?
19:54 God is not frightened by your doubts.
19:58 He wasn't frightened by John's doubts.
20:02 He is not threatened when you come to him
20:04 wondering and not sure. And when you come doubting.
20:09 He is not frightened by your doubts.
20:12 And then notice that Jesus will provide the
20:16 necessary evidence at the right time when you
20:20 doubt and you come and you ask for help,
20:23 He has help available. Notice in verse 22,
20:27 here came John's disciples and they
20:32 were representing to Jesus John's doubts.
20:35 And what are we suppose to believe?
20:38 What really does the future hold and now
20:42 notice how Jesus reacted in verse 22.
20:48 So he replied to the messengers,
20:51 "Go back and report to John what
20:54 you have seen and heard:
20:56 The blind receive their sight,
20:58 the lame walk, those who have leprosy are
21:02 cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
21:06 and the good news is preached to the poor."
21:11 You see apparently, John the Baptist being
21:19 Jewish had, had at least some misunderstanding
21:25 regarding the mission of the messiah.
21:29 The Jewish thought that the mission of the
21:31 messiah was to rule, he was going to come
21:34 to throw off the oppressor, but as the disciples
21:40 came back and they reported what they had seen,
21:46 ah! A light came on and John the Baptist realize
21:51 more fully now what the messiah's true
21:55 mission was it was not to rule the Romans.
22:00 His true mission was the help the hurting his
22:05 true mission wash to bring to
22:08 good news of salvation from sin.
22:12 And so, our story has a happy ending.
22:17 John the Baptist overcame his doubts,
22:22 the book Desire of Ages says "the disciples bore
22:25 the message, and it was enough."
22:31 And having investigated, having seen the proof
22:33 the evidence his doubts began to vanish and
22:38 honest doubt grew into a martyr's faith.
22:48 Genuine faith grows out of honest doubt.
22:54 And if you want to resolve your doubts,
22:57 do like John the Baptist, first of all admit them,
23:00 don't be frightened of them, don't be afraid to
23:03 bring them to the Lord in prayer.
23:07 Confront your doubts and then do some
23:10 investigating, instead of just kind of stewing in
23:15 your own juices. Investigate, examine,
23:19 seek evidence, spend time associating
23:23 with those you are believers, spend some
23:25 time studying, spend some time remembering
23:28 all of the things in your past that God has
23:30 already done for you and makes you so much
23:33 easier to believe that he will lead you on into
23:35 future and that helps to remove
23:37 doubts and above all else. Focus on Jesus.
23:48 Do you believe that I have a $20 bill
23:54 in my hand or do you doubt?
24:02 Well, how do you go about deciding whether
24:05 or not I have a $20 bill in my hand?
24:11 What if I were to look you in the eye and tell
24:14 you I swear there is a $20 bill in my hand,
24:20 would that remove you doubt?
24:23 I may not be a man of my word,
24:26 I may be a prankster. I may be just pulling
24:32 some kind of a nasty joke on you.
24:35 I maybe trying to fool you.
24:39 How do you know whether it's true when
24:41 I say I have a $20 bill in my hand?
24:47 Well, it would help if we would spend time together.
24:53 And the more time that you spend with me the
24:55 more you get to know me the better you
24:58 understand me. They should begin
25:00 to increase your trust. And while it increases
25:04 your trust it will decrease your doubt.
25:13 God holds out his hand to you today,
25:18 and he says I have in my hand love.
25:24 And I have in my hand eternal life.
25:30 Do you sometimes doubt it?
25:33 Well, how you going to decide?
25:36 The way you decide is to spend time together.
25:41 And as you spend time together with God,
25:45 it will increase your trust.
25:48 And it will decrease your doubt.
25:52 Now, listen folks God's hand is going to remain
25:59 closed all the way from here to heaven,
26:03 you will never ever be able to prove everything
26:07 you may want to prove about God.
26:11 But when you spend time with Him.
26:15 You will be able to thank Him for all good
26:18 things He has done for you.
26:21 You will be able to see how He has led you and
26:24 you will learn how to trust Him.
26:28 Spend time with Him, one day when
26:31 we get over there, His hand will be open.
26:35 And you will understand it all,
26:37 meanwhile through spending time together
26:41 learn to trust Him here. Let's pray.
26:46 Father, we thank you for all the good
26:50 things your holding in your hand.
26:54 Sum of what you offer, we can't see and we
26:59 can't always understand. But may we today
27:04 commit ourselves to spending more time
27:07 together, so that we might learn to trust you more.
27:13 And doubt you less, in Jesus name. Amen.
27:22 Are you spending time?
27:26 It takes time to learn to trust God.
27:31 Find someway on an everyday basis to spend
27:36 time with your Lord. And as you spend time,
27:41 you will learn to trust Him more and more and more.
27:45 And faith will grow and doubt will decrease.
27:49 Thanks for tuning into Faith Chapel.
27:52 God bless you and yours.


Revised 2014-12-17