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In the Dungeon of Doubt

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 11, 2022 12:00 am

In the Dungeon of Doubt

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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April 11, 2022 12:00 am

As Jesus continues His earthly ministry, He is visited by representatives from his cousin—John the Baptist—who is unsure if Jesus really is the Messiah. Even though John the Baptist was commissioned to prepare the way for Jesus as the Messiah, even he has doubts about Jesus. Watch as Jesus acknowledges his doubts, confirms His identity as Savior, and promises to be a help in time of trouble. He is still that help for us today.

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Jesus failed to distinguish dealt from unbelief.

Don't use honest unbelief is obstinate daughters have trouble understanding what God is doing.

In fact, you want to know what God is doing is an indication you care about God. Unbelievers don't care what God's doing. You'll need to tell me doubt is looking for the light nose exists. Unbelief denies the light and its content visited by representatives from his cousin John the Baptist. John was unsure if Jesus really was the Messiah. Even though John the Baptist was commissioned to prepare the way for Jesus as the Messiah. Even he had his doubts about Jesus in this section of Scripture, you'll watch as Jesus acknowledges his doubts confirms his identity as Savior and promises to be a help in time.

He is still that help for us to John when he was a pastor who lives in the 1600s. I've illustrated often from his writing. Because of his biblical convictions.

He be sent to jail on several occasions for preaching as an unauthorized pastor and while serving time, he would end up writing several books. His most famous one published in 1678 was entitled of the Pilgrim's progress from this world to that which is to come shortened now to Pilgrim's progress. If you haven't read it, I recommend that you do. It's an extensive allegory where Bunyan writes about the experiences of Christian effect. That's his name, becomes the face there at the cross heats the warning that he's living in in the city that will be judged any takes off and begins his journey toward the celestial city which is heaven's experiences along the way essentially reflect trials and temptations of every Christian.

John Bunyan includes in this allegory himself and reflects his own struggle primarily with his reoccurring battle over dealt in one particular episode Christian and hopeful his traveling companion are traveling through field and they spend the night there out in the open sleep only to be rudely awakened. The next morning captured by the giant despair who takes them to his doubting castle and throws them into a prison cell.

Over the course of several days. They are beaten regularly by the giant despair who enjoys making their lives miserable. Finally one night Christian and hopeful are praying for help and in Christian remembers that when he had come to the cross early on and that burden of sin and fallen off his shoulders into the abyss. It been given a key called promise. He remembers it. At that moment any poles that keep from his pocket and slips it into the lot of their cell door and it opens.

He then uses the key again and again as they worked their way to the outer edges of the castle. Finally they reached the outer gate and it opens as well. Although Bunyan and in wonderful realism, writes that that final date was stubborn and hard to give way.

But finally it did and they ran for their lives back onto the King Hwy., John Bunyan was revealing with transparency what every honest Christian I know acknowledges a struggle at times with the giant despair and those moments when you feel incarcerated in doubting castle. Even William Carey. Another man I illustrate often from his writings. The men called the founder of modern missions and integrate with a use wonderfully. In India, planting churches, starting schools affect the country's first university. He writes this in 1794. I am defective in all my duties in prayer. I wonder I soon tire, my devotion language. It languishes my soul is a jungle when it ought to be a guard. I am perhaps the most inconsistent Christian. I can scarcely tell if I have the grace of God or not, were in arrears rewrites it's on it, it isn't unusual even for great spiritual leaders that have their days of doubt and uncertainty.

Moses wanted to quit, as did Elijah and Jeremiah. But then he had this really insightful comment. There is a difference between doubt and unbelief.

Doubt is a matter of the mind and emotions when we cannot understand what God is doing or why he's doing, but I believe is a matter of the will.

The will refuses to believe God's word, no matter what he said or done to show you that lived out in the life of a great spiritual leader who was now languishing in a literal dungeon accompanied by despair and doubt he happens to be the last Old Testament prophet and is in prison because he courageously told King Herod. He was sitting in having taken his own brother's wife as his own and of course that wife is going to appreciate that sermon.

She grows to hate him with a vengeance in a matter of months shall succeed, at least vertically, speaking at his head will be delivered to her on a platter will want to go to John's prison cell, where he has been incarcerated and let's learn some things about overcoming doubting castle where Luke's gospel. If you're new to our study. Let's back up here to verse 14. Get a running start to sort of set the scene as Jesus interrupts this funeral.

Then he Jesus came up and touched the beer in the pallbearers stood still and he said the man, I say to you, arise, and the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave them to his mother. Fear sees the ball and they glorified God say a great profit is arisen among us in God has visited his people in this report about him. Jesus spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding countries now at verse 18, the disciples of John reported all these things to him and in John calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord saying are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another and when the minute come to him. They said John the Baptist has sent us to you say these are John's words, this is John's question. By the way, are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another note, let's understand just a little background before we you know accused John of utter faithlessness. John had lived his entire life in the outdoors.

His diet had been locusts and honey he wore rough tunic made of camel's hair with a leather belt. He probably tan themselves. He would rather be outdoors than anywhere.

He's been incarcerated now for a year and 1/2, about 18 months is in a prison cell located in the fortress of Makar S near the coast of the Dead Sea can imagine a more discouraging place than this castle dungeon. John is evidently grown disillusioned confused discouraged during this year and 1/2. I just think for a moment with me of all that he expected he didn't freeze that the Golden age of the kingdom of God was dawning right. He was the one who would introduce Jesus in our theory is the Lamb of God, but he also preached get a winnowing fork is anything to separate the chaff is permanent and fired at the picture, the wrath and judgment of God. Jesus is going to do so now the year and 1/2 later, where's the fire where's the wrath of God. Where's the conquering King. Where's the dawning of the Golden age parent is still on the throne.

Looks to me. Rome is still in charge.

What the world is going on.

See, we often overlook the fact that at this point in time you and I happen to know more about the prophetic timeline with our completed Bibles than John could've ever imagined. We know now that his announcement in the coming of that fire is been separated. Now at least 2000 years, he would never imagine that will did any profit in the old covenant.

The church was unknown to them and keep in mind as well that he struggled with the identity even after, even all through all he had been through, but so did the disciples so must not be too hard on him that if you've ever been in a place in your life.

If you're there right now where you're wondering what purple does is God doing or where in the world… No what you remember John when none of this makes sense to him so eventually he sends to his disciples, Mrs. guys I want to go find Jesus and and and I want to ask you one question and I want you to hear because I do in this question just pathos just raw emotion. It makes you want to weep when you hear it, our use of the expected one or are we to expect you could translated someone else, isn't that what creates the iron bars in doubting castle we expected. God is doing something in your life that you didn't expect God is not doing something in your life that you would expect if I got isn't doing anything that you expected in your life. None of it makes any sense so grateful that the God was transparent enough in the record of Scripture that he gives us this conversation. I mean, I would've probably ended it back with John's fiery sermon. And he moves off the scene. This is if these are his last words Jesus responds here in verse 22 going tell John what you have seen and heard the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up poor, have good news preached to them by the way, don't miss the point that Jesus does not tell them you go back and tell John I'm ashamed of you.

Why in the world are you saying how could you say should I be looking for someone else mean after all you've been through you announced me you introduce me, you baptize me you saw the dog came come down you heard the voice of my father from having what I do for you. Your requests today know Jesus in his response here. I love this just simply says, well let's just go over the promises again see what Jesus does in this responses deliver for different texts from the prophet Isaiah. In fact, passage is the John who preach Isaiah chapter 26 verse 19 dead shall rise their bodies shall live. Isaiah 29, 18 in that day the deaf shall hear. Isaiah 35 verse five the eyes of the blind shall be opened.

Isaiah 61 verse one the poor shall have the gospel preached to them. Jesus is essentially saying John remember remember the promise.

I bet I'm doing it. Your disciples are saying it. It's taking place. It's happening is not on your timetable to be different than what you expected but but the promises are true, then he says in verse 23.

This last word to John. His last words to him tender. Blessed is the one who is not offended by me. Evidently these quotations from Isaiah while they did not set John physically free. They said his mind and heart free. The remainder faithful until his death just in case somebody in the crowd. I get the idea that Jesus is rebuking John Jesus sets the record straight with an amazing tribute. He reminds the crowd when they went out to hear John preach what was he wasn't a read shaking in the wind. Verse 24. That is, he wasn't a man yielding the popular opinion without any conviction.

Was he. Verse 25 Jesus says John wasn't bending under the pressure of all of you know that the powerful and the rich could be dry, he wasn't. It was good to be pampered softened by the luxuries of life. Jesus says to the crowd here.

Verse 26, John was the prophet of God and by the way, not just any profit because on the notice.

You'll notice the quotation that's for Malachi chapter 3 and verse one.

He came to introduce the Messiah becoming King with the notice. The encouragement Jesus adds here in verse 28. I tell you among those born of women, none is greater than John. Yes, the one that is among you who is least in the kingdom of God, weakest, smallest is greater then he Justice Thomas was blessed by believing in the resurrected Lord only after he saw him.

Remember what Jesus said how much more blessed is the one who believes in me having never seen we don't feel more blessed. Frankly, I'd like to see you but he said we are now. He says you know John is seeing all the evidence in all of these signs with how much greater is your faith. John saw me. John baptized John heard a voice from heaven. I kinda like that. This is not your faith is greater because you've never heard that voice audibly seen Jesus face-to-face over that the crowd there immediately polarized and on one hand you have all the sinners you know all those tax collectors and people that are readily admitting they are sinners were told in verse 29 they went out they were immersed by John demonstrating their repentance admitting their sinners on the other hand, he got all these religious leaders that would never admit their sinners, so they're not about to be baptized by John, the prophet with his symbol of repentance which is immersion out here in Jordan.

So Jesus now turns to the crowd of unbelievers. Any any delivers a rather pointed message verse 31 what shall I compare the people of this generation and what are they like what you unbelievers like out here. He says childish what he means you're sitting in the marketplace calling we play the flute for you did not dance we send observers and you did not. We Jesus is doing is comparing the unbelievers childish little babies, as it were there playing their games, but then they don't get another they're not happy.

Play the way I want to play.

I don't like this game anymore.

One author said the text reminded him of the time when he was growing up. One of the boys in the neighborhood always made the rest of us kids play his special brand of baseball.

We had to use his rules and that was because he owned the bat subunit play the way he wanted me not bad. Jesus refers to children playing a game in the marketplace either pretended to be in a funeral or pretending to be in a wedding in these religious leaders just won't play. Nothing makes them happy. Nothing cheers them up. Nothing is good enough and verse 33 seems to apply to John being the funeral director why because his message was doom and blow his sign was death to self immersion we will believe he's got a demon.

Jesus said he had a demon.

Okay, my ministry began a wedding and really it's been a lot of wonderful joyful locations. Since then one feast after another healing resurrected well he says to them, hear you say I'm a glutton and a drunk third. So, on either side from a funeral in a wedding and everything in between. You stomp your feet like babies, you can't be satisfied while truly love this. Jesus then concludes with this pointed statement verse 35, he says, look, you just need to wait.

The patient is more or less than them.

Wisdom will be justified in the end the truth will be proven right in the end, just wait were still waiting 2000 years later were waiting generations of believing children are going to grow up and follow through with.

Think about it even now millions of people around the globe know the name of Jesus. Even though to them it might be a swear word but I guarantee if you got there on the sidewalk in this town you will find one person that probably even those one name of one of these religious leaders. So it is already being vindicated and what their problem wasn't doubt it was unbelief daughters have trouble understanding what God is doing.

In fact, the fact that that troubles you, you want to know what God is doing is an indication you care about God.

Unbelievers don't care what God's doing.

You'll need to tell me the vast difference in 1887 Henry Drummond wrote on this text.

Jesus doesn't fail to distinguish doubt from unbelief. Doubt is honest unbelief is obstinate doubts is looking for the light it knows it exists. Unbelief denies the light. It is content to stay in the dark or most people are familiar with doubting Castle and Pilgrim's progress. The first book actually written by John Bunyan when he was imprisoned 12 years earlier is lesser-known. I also recommend you read it. It's called grace abounding to the chief of sinners. Just a little paperback. About 60 pages.

This is his spiritual autobiography again. One of the recurring themes in this little book is a struggle without discouragement, we repeatedly lead you back to the key promise which is the word of God. Let me read you just a little paragraph from this. He writes this I had no sooner begun to recall my experiences of the goodness of God, then there came flooding into my mind. The remembrance of my sin, especially my coldness of heart. My weariness in doing good.

My lack of love for God's ways is people and along with these sins came this question. Are these the fruits of a true Christian became sick in my inward man in my experiences of God's goodness were taken from my mind as though they had never existed. As I was walking up and down in my house in the most dreadful state of mind the promise of God came to my heart. You are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus was 324 you are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, what a promise. And what I've turned this made that day upon me. Oh what a change made. Have you ever thought about the fact that John's disciples never came back to Jesus in the weeks that he had left after delivering these verses to John from the book of Isaiah. At this point in his life that was enough and I want to tell you that you and I escape doubting Castle time and time. The same way, not by some Rolex you know deed, not by some heroic act of faith where we kill the giant tell you that drive the change you and me all the way to the celestial city. We don't we don't overcome it by some inner termination I'm gonna I'm going to get better that we want to please him. Like Paul, our ambition is to please the father agrees is what we don't know we escape by reaching again and again, the key which is the word of God helplessly. We we reach again.


Don't forget to use your key so are you learning the scheme are you memorizing this key. Are you praying this key. Are you a close friend of this key is a close to you as it were in your pocket. One author after reading John Bunyan's writings wrote this prayer many years ago. I have already prayed for you. Is the cycle Lord, we pray for every believer, taught by despair struggles grief lot in doubting Castle's dungeon, stripped of hope and it's we father, help them to remember your promise is the key that unlocks cell by six thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the Stephen Davey is in a series called demonstrations of resurrection power. This message is called in the dungeon of doubt during the month of April. We have a free resource that were making available.

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