VIDEO Why? Why? Why?

By Jack Hibbs

When things seem out of our control, the question we most often stop to ask is: Why? If we aren’t careful, this desire to know everything will breed doubt in our minds. Pastor Jack discusses how to walk in faith when we don’t have all the answers.

Billy Graham: How One Moment of Doubt Solidified His Commitment to God

by Greg Laurie on Jun 1, 2021

You’ve heard of the literary classic A Tale of Two Cities? It’s a historical novel by Charles Dickens set in London and Paris during the French Revolution.

Well, in the Christian realm, we have our own version of that story. But let’s call it “A Tale of Two Preachers.”

One was Billy Graham, a modern-day prophet who led a remarkable Christian life and is considered by many as the greatest evangelist of all time. The other was a Canadian man named Charles “Chuck” Templeton, whom sadly, time has mostly forgotten.

In the late 1940s, the two were barnstorming evangelists for Youth for Christ, an international Christian movement. They traveled the world together, filling auditoriums, halls and even football stadiums, preaching to thousands looking for hope. Many thought Templeton—not Graham—was the one who was going to overturn the world with the gospel.

From the moment they met, the two had been fast friends, though they couldn’t have been more opposite:

Billy was reared in the South by Christian parents who had a firm belief in God and His Word. Templeton grew up in grinding poverty and was the child of a single mother.

Billy was always a country preacher in his heart. Templeton was a street-smart Northerner who led a sinful life before his adult conversion.

Billy was warm and ingratiating. Templeton was eloquent and cerebral.

Billy preached with vigor and great conviction. Templeton effectively used his keen sense of observation and humor in his sermons. Templeton was skeptical by nature and questioned everything.

They were about as city-mouse and country-mouse as you could get.

Over time, Templeton could no longer accept many of the basic teachings of the Christian faith despite his longing for a personal relationship with God. He later wrote, “Christianity is not a faith for the scholar or the contemplative.” That is not true, of course, but it was in his mind.

Billy searched and examined the Scriptures, and they rang true to his heart. The power of God’s Holy Spirit in him bore witness to this. Templeton succumbed to the lure of intellectual superiority, and even made Billy question his faith. For the first time since his conversion, Billy was questioning the truth and dependability of the Scriptures.

“Can the Bible be trusted completely?” Billy secretly wondered. Thus began an intensive study of the question, with Billy soaking in the writings of theologians and scholars on all sides of the issue as well as the Bible. If Billy didn’t reach an answer that fully satisfied him, he knew he could always go back to milking cows for a living on the family farm. It was a true crisis of faith, and Billy was wracked with doubt.

He finally dropped to his knees in prayer and decided that the Bible was God’s inspired Word, and he would accept every word by faith. Weeks after that spiritual experience, Billy Graham traveled to Los Angeles to commence the campaign that would propel him to international prominence. Heaven is fuller today because of that decision and Hell lost more than a few residents.

As for Templeton, he drifted away from God and into the wilderness. He eventually left the ministry, got divorced and turned his back on all those he had befriended during his years with the church.

Outwardly, the next few decades of Templeton’s life looked successful. He bounced between television, music, screenplays, books, politics, advertising, and journalism. His first screenplay was adapted into a 1980 feature film, The Kidnapping of the President. His 1995 book Farewell to God was his parting shot at Christianity and listed the reasons why he left the faith.

Shortly before the book was published, Templeton was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But it led to a poignant 1998 interview with my friend and author Lee Strobel as he was working on a book that would become a best-seller called The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus.

Strobel, a former atheist, was an award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune. He tailed Templeton to an apartment in Toronto. Strobel mostly wanted to know how Templeton went from preaching the gospel alongside Billy Graham to agnosticism.

Templeton spoke of the concepts of Heaven and Hell, atheism versus agnosticism, and God’s existence. When they got to the subject of Jesus, not only did Templeton acknowledge His existence, he also declared He was “the greatest human being that ever lived.”

“You sound like you really care about Him?” Strobel asked.

“Well, yes, He’s the most important thing in my life,” Templeton replied. I know it may sound strange, but I have to say it . . . I adore Him. And if I may put it this way, I . . . miss . . . Him!”

Templeton then did something that took Strobel completely by surprise—he began sobbing uncontrollably.

Charles Templeton was not as much of an agnostic as he famously claimed; he was, in fact, a prodigal son. And like the story Jesus told, the prodigal son missed his home.

On his deathbed, Templeton’s wife Madeleine said he was gazing upward when he saw angels.

“Look at them, look at them!” he cried to her. “They’re so beautiful. They’re waiting for me . . . I’m coming.”

I have no doubt that when Billy Graham died in 2018, his old and dear friend Charles Templeton was there sitting near the throne of God to welcome him to the kingdom.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

Read more from Pastor Greg Laurie when you request his newest book, Billy Graham: The Man I Knew with your donation of any size.

This article was originally published at Fox News.

Wretched Man That I Am!

by Jeremiah Johnson June 24, 2015

Every believer understands the frustration, confusion, and doubt caused by our sin after we’re saved. We know we’ve been transformed through the power of God’s redeeming work. He’s changed our nature and set us free from the dominion of sin and Satan. But we don’t always live in the reality of that freedom. In fact, we sometimes get the sense that we’re still wicked sinners, and that nothing has changed at all.

Apostolic Exasperation

That angst over remaining sin is probably best described by the apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-25.

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

That passage has puzzled scholars and theologians throughout the history of the church. Is Paul describing himself before Christ, or is he talking about someone else—perhaps someone with very little spiritual maturity, or a believer still caught in sin’s grasp? Or is this passage an indication that Paul was mentally unstable, as he seems to drift between two contradictory mindsets? The mind that has not been illuminated by the Holy Spirit likely cannot make any sense of Paul’s confessional self-description.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

In his book The Gospel According to the Apostles, John MacArthur helps us answer some of those questions and understand the inner conflict Paul describes.

This is no carnal Christian or someone with a low degree of sanctification. Paul’s repeated use of the personal pronoun in this context emphasizes that this was his own personal experience. The verb tenses show that he did not consider himself past this stage. The conflict that he describes here was one he knew well—even as an advanced Christian. God’s sanctifying work in his heart is clearly evident. He says he hates his sin (v. 15). He loves righteousness (vv. 19, 21). He delights in the law of God from his heart (v. 22). He thanks God for the deliverance that is his in Christ (v. 25). Those are all responses of a mature Christian, in this case as seasoned apostle; not someone floundering in the throes of a desperate state of established carnality. In fact, it is the description of a godly man whose occasional sin feels like a constant thing when set against the backdrop of his holy longings.

Romans 7:14-25 thus describes the human side of the sanctifying process. We must not set it against Romans 8, as some do, imagining that these chapters describe two separate stages of Christian growth. They simply give two different perspectives on sanctification. Romans 7 is the human perspective; Romans 8 is the divine perspective. Romans 7 is Paul’s own testimony of how it is to live as a Spirit-controlled, spiritually grounded believer. He loved the holy law of God with his whole heart, yet he found himself wrapped in human flesh and unable to fulfill it the way his heart wanted to. Are there Christians anywhere who are so spiritual that they can testify to a life lived above this level? [1]

For believers, the push and pull the apostle describes is a common, even frequent occurrence. We understand hating sin even while we’re sinning. We recognize the compulsion to return to the very sins the Lord has saved us from. And we can appreciate how the remaining stains of our sinful past cause us to question whether we’ve truly been transformed at all.

An Unlikely Source of Assurance

But in the midst of that frustration, John MacArthur says we ought to find encouragement and assurance.

All true believers should be living at precisely this level, struggling with the tension Paul describes between an ever-increasing hunger for righteousness on the one hand, and a growing sensitivity to sin on the other. Though the degree of sin will vary depending on one’s level of spiritual maturity, sin in the genuine believer should always make him or her feel the conflict Paul describes in these verses. [2]

In a slightly ironic twist, the believer’s frustration over his sin and lack of spiritual growth is a strong indication that he is growing spiritually. In fact, it’s the believer who doesn’t have this inner struggle who needs to be concerned.

Though some have tried to claim they live above Romans 7, they only reveal their own insensitivity to the pervasive effects of sin in the flesh. If they would honestly measure themselves against God’s standards of righteousness, they would realize how far they fall short. The closer we get to God, the more we see our own sin. Only immature, fleshly, and legalistic persons can live under the illusion that they measure up well by God’s standards. The level of spiritual insight, brokenness, contrition, and humility that characterizes the person depicted in Romans 7 are marks of a spiritual and mature believer who before God has no trust in his own goodness and achievements.

So Romans 7 is not the cry of a carnal Christian who cares not of righteousness, but the lament of a godly Christian who, at the height of spiritual maturity, nevertheless finds himself unable to live up to the holy standard. It is also the experience of every genuine believer at every stage of spiritual development. [3]

We need to take great comfort in the fact that the struggle against our flesh is an indication of victory over the flesh. Paul was no ordinary believer—he encountered Christ face-to-face; he was whisked away to see the glories of heaven; he witnessed and performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit. In spite of all that, he still struggled with sin, and longed to be free of the fleshly shackles of his former nature, crying out, “Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

That was not a helpless exclamation—he already knew the answer, as he immediately identifies His Savior: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 7:25). Paul’s confidence was not in himself or his righteousness, but in God’s triumph over sin, producing a settled hope of heaven’s glory. He made that clear just few paragraphs later in Romans 8:18-19.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

His assurance was rooted in the character and promises of God, and he knew that the Lord would not abandon His transforming work in His people before it was completed. “These whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:30).

He made the same reassuring point in his epistles to the church at Corinth. He wrote, “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. . . . But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:5357). “While we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4).

The struggle against sin is a good thing, so long as you continue to struggle. It’s a lifelong battle, but as John MacArthur points out, one that bears significant fruit.

Yet for now the battle goes on. Full deliverance awaits glorification. Victory here and now is only possible bit by bit as we mortify the deeds of the body through the power of the Holy Spirit: “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).

We are bound to be frustrated by our inability to experience holiness to the degree we desire. That is the inevitable experience of every true saint of God. Because of our flesh we can never in this life achieve the level of holiness to which we aspire. “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). But that hope further inflames our aspirations to holiness. [4]

In The Gospel According to the Apostles, John closes his chapter on Romans 7 by quoting 1 John 3:2-3. It’s a good reminder that while the holiness we long for sometimes feels a long way off, it is never in doubt.

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Next time we’ll bring our discussion of sin, grace, and righteousness full circle, as we consider the believer’s adoption into the family of God.

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B150624/~

Rightly Divide the Word and the Situation

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

July 31, 2018

Most situations in life are the result of a negotiation. The best negotiators are the ones who have refined the art of reading the situation and the parties involved.  A misread of the situation or parties can be disastrous.

Most people became involved in multiple contracts when they got a phone, opened an email account or bought a house.

How many people took the time to read the fine print? There could be something in the fine print that is objectionable. However the fine print is where the ‘gotcha clause’ is hiding in plain sight.

For a couple of thousand years, we have been warned, that whatever is done in secret will come out into the light.

A daily reading reminded me that we should rightly divide the Word. I would take that one step further to say we should rightly divide every situation.

The term rightly divide the Word has also been written to properly handle the Word, digging into the real meaning and using it in context. The Word should be separated into two or more parts, meanings, areas, or groups which fit into the context of the sentence, paragraph and chapter to determine the true meaning of the Word

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Properly reading the situation will provide you the best opportunity to obtain favorable results

This command is for us to “give diligence” (Greek spoudazo) for God’s approval by “rightly dividing” the word of truth. That which is to be rightly divided is not in doubt: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The end goal is to “display yourself” as one who is, therefore, approved by God.

Properly understanding the people, situation, or documents will provide you the best opportunity to obtain favorable results and a peaceful outcome.

The key is to “rightly divide” the Scriptures. The Greek word orthotomeo, only used this one time, has several shades of meaning: to cut straight, to cut straight ways; to proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course; to make straight and smooth; to handle aright; to teach the truth directly and correctly.

This cuts down the opportunities for deceptive practices to prevail.

Two passages emphasize the way to “divide” the Scriptures. When Isaiah asked rhetorical questions about how to learn and understand biblical knowledge, the answer was “precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10).Thus:

Find the major pieces first.
Find the supporting elements next.
Find the pieces throughout the text.

Solomon, as the “wise preacher,” noted that one who would teach the people knowledge must have given “good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs” (Ecclesiastes 12:9).

Pay attention to the words (meanings, context).
Penetrate (research) the teaching (text first, then books).
Organize the information for teaching purposes.

This kind of study preparation requires a “workman”—one who is willing to give the diligence necessary to produce the powerful sayings built on the “word of truth.” If properly prepared, the workman will never be “ashamed.” HMM III (1)

We are all the workman in every situation in life. You decide if you want to do life the easy way or the hard way. The hard way could lead you to spiral down the road of fear, anxiety, depression and their related costly and generally unwanted consequences.

When all else fails, read the directions. Pay attention to the words and their meanings in context; to the signs and the situation. Stay alert to the fine print to save yourself a lot of needless aggravation and from the road of fear, anxiety, depression and their related costly and generally unwanted consequences.

Reference

  1. http://www.icr.org/article/10710

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/rightly-divide-the-word-and-the-situation/

5 Reasons Why People Doubt Their Salvation

I am confident of this: that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

The Bible teaches not only does Jesus save us, but He keeps us in the faith. It teaches God not only gives eternal life, but will preserve us in that life. It is not life until we sin again, it is not life until we feel differently, it is not life until times get tough and our faith grows weak, it is eternal life which will never end. Scripture is filled with the assurance that our salvation is secure.

Many people, however, tend to doubt their salvation. Here are five reasons why:

1. They have a faulty understanding of how they are saved.

If a person thinks he is saved by good works, then it stands to reason he would think his salvation could be lost by bad works. This is the problem with many people today. They feel they can lose their salvation. They say, “If I could earn it, I could lose it. If I could deserve it, I could desert it.” But this is incorrect. The truth of the matter is since we cannot earn it, since it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast, then we did not deserve it in the first place.

This is why a proper theological understanding of salvation is important. God chose to save us, not based on our merits or what we deserved. Rather, He chose to save us in spite of who we are and contrary to what we deserved. Salvation is based on His goodness and grace, not on our merit. When we get a proper understanding of that, when we get a clear picture of how bad our sins are and how great God’s grace is, it will give us a new and deeper appreciation for our salvation.

2. They do not have a biblical understanding of perseverance.

Instead of realizing what God has said and trusting He will be faithful to His Word, many people have based their beliefs on what someone has told them, how they feel, on faulty interpretation, or something other than the revelation in God’s Word. This is the fundamental problem with all doctrinal error, that people have not rightly divided the Word of God and have based their belief on a view which is not biblical.

Many people base their beliefs on experience. They might say something like this: “I knew a person who was a great Christian for many years, but then one day he decided to walk away from the faith and leave God behind. He just laid down his salvation and abandoned God.” Scripture gives insight into such cases: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19). If we are truly saved, we will persevere in our salvation to the end.

3. They are ignorant of God’s promises in His Word.

The level of biblical illiteracy today is astonishing. Many professing Christians know more about their favorite sports teams than they do the doctrines of the faith. It is no wonder why so many of us are so easily led astray by every wind of doctrine which blows across the ecclesiological landscape.

The antidote for this is simple: get grounded and rooted in the Word of God, and learn what it says about who God is. God’s Word tells us He gives eternal life: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 John 5:12-13).

4. They are out of fellowship with God and do not sense His presence.

There are many Christians today who experience doubts about their salvation for no other reason than they are out of fellowship with God. Our salvation is all about relationship. It is about walking and talking, breathing and being; it is about practicing the presence of God in our lives. But many Christians have allowed sin to remain in their lives, unconfessed and unaddressed. They have grieved the Holy Spirit of God and are no longer sensitive to His presence in their lives, nor are they aware of His movement around them. It is little wonder why people in such a state doubt their salvation.

The solution for this is simple: Get right with God. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).

5. They are not saved and sense they are lost because they really are.

One of the reasons people doubt their salvation is simply because they are not saved. They may have knowledge of the church. They may have knowledge of Scripture. They may have grown up in a Christian home, surrounded by Christian friends and family, but at the end of the day, they cannot say they have ever experienced a transformation of their life, the kind of transformation which only Jesus can bring when He gives a person a new heart and a new mind.

It is to this end that Paul tells the Christians at Corinth: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). The reason many people will go to hell from a church pew is because they never gave themselves a spiritual examination. They never stopped to consider whether or not they were really saved. If you are truly saved, you should know it. God does not want you to be paralyzed by fear or doubts, which are ungrounded or unfounded.

The solution is clear: know what God’s Word says about your salvation. Stand on the truth that it is Jesus who saves you and not anything you have done. Ground yourself in good doctrine. Remember your salvation is a reflection and an extension of God’s character. Let Him show you if there is any sin in your life and stop for a moment to examine yourself spiritually to see if you are truly in the faith: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

* If you enjoyed this, I encourage you to read more in my book, Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living.

Cover (woods)

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/5-reasons-why-people-doubt-their-salvation/

What Is Unbelief?

December 6, 2019 hepsibahgarden

A simple definition of UNBELIEF is THE ABSENCE OF FAITH. It is also known as Doubt.

In the Scriptures, we see unbelief being quoted in different parts of the Old Testament and the New Testament as well. Because of unbelief, or in other words whosoever gave room for doubt were unable to enjoy complete deliverance from their problems. They were unable to receive God’s blessings in their lives. But yet, whosoever believed and acted upon their faith, were able to witness mighty wonders and miracles unfolding before them.

Let’s look at a few examples of people from the Scriptures who were unable to have complete faith on God because of unbelief:

  • The Israelites were called to go into the Promised Land. But because of unbelief, they were unable to enter into the rest Hod had prepared for them. Hebrews 3:19.
  • In the course of His ministry, once when Jesus went to Nazareth, He entered the synagogue to share the Word. The people there were astonished seeing Jesus preach and discuss things. They were unable to believe the wisdom and mighty works of Jesus. The Saviour couldn’t do much over there because of unbelief. Mathew 13:54-58.
  • When we depart from the living God, an evil heart of unbelief begins to form inside of us. We need to be very careful about this. Hebrews 3:12.
  • After the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the eleven disciples could believe it was Jesus who appeared before them while they were reclining at the table. Jesus scolded them for their unbelief. Mark 16:14.
  • The disciples were unable to cast out the devil from the child who was a lunatic because of unbelief. Mathew 17:19,20.
  • Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, had to literally put his finger into the nail-scarred hands of Jesus to confirm whether it was really Jesus who was standing before him. John 20:25. It was because of his unbelief.

An Important Reminder: Unbelief is a sin which grieves God deeply. Often, even in our own lives, we are unable to fully trust God and His promises, His marvellous works of deliverance; that He will work for us if we believe and trust Him. How does faith come? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17. Therefore, God wants us to grow in faith by hearing His Word so that we finally reach unto the faith of the Son of God and attain His perfection in us.

May God help us.

Be blessed 💕

Original here

 

Doubting

May 20, 2019  by JC Cast

Do not allow thoughts of doubt to steal your joy. Doubtful thoughts do not make you a weak or noncommitted Christian; it only shows that you’re human.

Throughout my four-plus decades as a Christian, I have experienced many times when doubt creeped into my thoughts during periods of complacency, or crashed to the forefront during traumatic situations.

Similarly, I do not know one Believer that has not experienced various degrees of doubt during their Christian walk. A fact which is equally confirmed in God’s Word.

Thomas, one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, was both inquisitive and zealous. We see his zeal portrayed is John 11:16: “Thomas, nicknamed ‘The Twin,’ said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let’s go too—and die with him.’”

Unfortunately, that is a side of Thomas many people forget since he has been tagged as “Doubting Thomas” down through the centuries because he chose to disregard the initial reports of Jesus’ resurrection. Like all humans, Thomas was susceptible to doubt, and it arose at that particular time. Though, he wasn’t the only doubter in the Bible.

There are numerous examples of Believers showing their humanity in the form of doubt. Too many, in fact, to deal with in a blog post. However, I will touch on one more that I found surprising; yet, it truly shows that all humans can succumb to moments of doubt. That individual was John the Baptist.

Similar to the prophecies announcing a coming Messiah, there were prophecies of one that would come before the Messiah and proclaim his coming. Approximately eight-hundred years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah wrote the following in Isaiah 40:3: “Listen! I hear the voice of someone shouting, ‘Make a road for the Lord through the wilderness; make him a straight, smooth road through the desert.’”

The aforementioned prophecy, along with others pertaining to a “Crier of Good News,” were fulfilled with the arrival of John the Baptist.

In Luke 1:13 we see that the angel Gabriel told Zacharias that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son, and they were to name him John.

Similarly, in Luke 1:30-31, Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear God’s son, and to name him Jesus. He also tells her that her aunt Elizabeth is equally pregnant. In other words, for those who may have forgotten, John the Baptist and Jesus are cousins.

In John 1:32-36, John the Baptist confirms, not once but twice, that Jesus is the chosen one that he’s been preparing the way for.

“I didn’t know he was the one,” John said again, “but at the time God sent me to baptize he told me, ‘When you see the Holy Spirit descending and resting upon someone—he is the one you are looking for. He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw it happen to this man, and I therefore testify that he is the Son of God.” — John 1:33-34.

The following day, Jesus walked by John the Baptist and two of his disciples, and John declared, “See! There is the Lamb of God!” — John 1:36.

All of his life John the Baptist knew he would eventually be used by God. And, from all accounts, he performed his ministry with a zeal rarely matched by others mentioned in the Bible. And yet, during his imprisonment by King Herod, this robust Believer showed he was still human. In Luke 7:18-19 we read the following: “The disciples of John the Baptist soon heard of all that Jesus was doing. When they told John about it, he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him, ‘Are you really the Messiah? Or shall we keep on looking for him?’”

Just consider that for a moment. The coming of John the Baptist, like the coming of the Messiah, had been prophesied. The angel Gabriel spoke to a parent of both John and Jesus (John and Jesus were cousins). And, to top it off, God had specifically given John the Baptist a sign to look for during his ministry that would confirm who the Messiah was—a sign John saw and publicly proclaimed after baptizing Jesus. Yet, he still succumbed to a moment of doubt during a time of trial.

If it can happen to John the Baptist it can happen to each of us. Just remember, such doubts do not make you a weak or noncommitted Believer. It’s merely a sign of your humanity. As long as you do not allow the doubts to override your Christian walk you will come out stronger after the experience or trial.

Personally speaking, the doubts could never overcome the truth I hold in my heart or the abundance of evidence I’ve found through many years of study.

 

Original here

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