Living Confidently in Christ - Week 3 - How do I deal with doubt?
Sermon Date: April 29th
Readings Matthew 11:1-6 / Psalm 77
We have a relative in her early sixties and she has been in acute back pain for the last three months. She has been seen by two physiotherapists and her GP; all offer different treatments and assure her that her back will get better in time! As the weeks go by, we are beginning to have “doubts”(our topic for today!). Obviously we are all praying for her, but leaving this aside, and assuming we do not have any medical experts in any of our families what advice would you give her in practical terms. Clearly you would want an expert opinion and you might ask for an MRI scan, but it would be of no help to ignore the problem or to pretend it did not exist.
How do you generally deal with doubts? (not about faith, we will get into that in the study)
Can you remember something from last Sunday’s sermon that struck you?
Ask the group to divide into smaller groups of three, read Luke 1 v 5-80 and Matthew 3:1-17 in your small groups. What is the relationship between John and Jesus? In the light of all this evidence what do you think was John’s expectation of Jesus? After 10 minutes each group can share what they discovered.
Please read Matthew 11:1-6 together
John had announced the coming of the Christ (John 1 v 19-28) but now he had been languishing in prison for months (see Luke 3 v 19/20).
Do you think he was justified in having doubts that Jesus really was the Messiah?
How did John attempt to deal with his doubts? (*Hint)
Jesus gives a brief factual answer (Matthew11 v 4-6) and then makes some profound comments about John. Please read Matthew 11:7-19, John the baptist is a very important person.
How do you feel when you see that he also had doubts?
In coming to the practical lessons we can learn from John, we need first to realise that we are all tested by doubts on occasion. The important thing is what do we do about them when they come along. John is a good example for us to follow, so let’s face up to the doubts we are individually facing now.
It is important to remember that we need to treat what we say in the group with total confidence.
What are the doubts that you are grappling with today? (seek to answer them in open debate but if the questions are proving too difficult or troublesome offer to look into them and return after you have had a chance to carry out your own research. If you are still in difficulty, the staff team is happy to help, just send Nico an email email@example.com)
Ask two members to read alternative verses of Psalm 77 v 1-9 expressing the psalmist’s doubts.
What encouragement could you give the Psalmist?
Then ask someone to read verses 10 – 15 and let the Psalmist encourage you.
Focus for concluding prayer: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord.”
* 1 John acknowledged his doubts
2 John sought help from those he trusted
3 John asked Jesus (via friends)
Howard Gracey, 19/04/2018