11-29-14 “The Cure For Doubt” – Pastor Shane Idleman

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COMPLETE SERMON NOTES

MATTHEW 11

10:40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

  • God rewards a giving heart; but resists the proud and selfish (cf. James 4:6)

John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus

11 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

  • It’s okay to ask God about our doubts

  • Questions are good if they’re sincere and genuine

“Come, let us reason together…ask of Me…”; “He who asks for wisdom…” Isaiah 1:8; James 1:5

KEY: DOES YOUR QUESTIONING TURN YOU TOWARD OR AWAY FROM GOD?

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:5 The blind see 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. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

  • Fruit reveals what seeds were planted (Matthew 7:16) and wise decisions can be seen in what is produced: “wisdom is justified by her children” (vs. 19)

  • What is the fruit of Christianity – from changed lives to hospitals, and from outreach to missions.

REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE: this is the primary cure for doubt!

when you were blind and lame and i opened your spiritual eyes?

…remember when i cleansed you from your sin, redeemed you, and paid the price?

…remember when your dead cold and callous heart was resurrected?

…remember when i led you through the darkest days of your life?

…remember when i held you when the weight of the world came crashing down?

Catherine Booth (Salvation Army): “You may suffer, you may bleed, you may break, but you shall go on!”  

7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’

  • “What did you go out to see?” What did you expect? Did you expect John to be exalted vs. imprisoned? Did you expect ministry to be easy and carefree?

REALISTIC EXPECTATION is also a cure for doubt (cf. God’s Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life: http://vimeo.com/112004007)

  • He built up John’s ministry – I’m concerned that many are contending for the faith with a contentious attitude.

               *Everyone is a heretic or a false teacher if they don’t agree with them.

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – cf. James 4:6

  • This may be one reason why your ministry isn’t thriving and why your passion is declining. You are resisting God!

HUMILITY is also a cure for doubt. Doubt is a feeling of uncertainty that often results from resisting God.

11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

  • A huge spiritual upheaval has just begun.

  • John was not reincarnated, but fulfilling Elijah’s role (Malachi 3:1) – “O, you troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18).
  • “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Unplug your ears – the message of redemption is your only hope.

16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying: ‘We played the flute for you,  And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.’

  • A simple story to illustrate the contrast – no matter what they did, the people found excuses to reject him and his message.

Now the application…

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

  • Those who don’t like truth always find excuses.

  • Look at the fruit of your lifestyle – that tells the truth.

Woe to the Unrepentant Cities

20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

  • This is why repentance is so important. Jesus preached repentance because it’s the only hope for the sick – those dying spiritually (cf. Luke 5:31).

Jesus Gives True Rest

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

REMEMBER, RETURN, REPENT . . . (align your life with God’s will again)