SERIES: Against All Odds
MESSAGE: Believing the Miracle-Making Messiah
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 11:1-6

MESSAGE SUMMARY
We have discovered that the evidence that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah as predicted by the ancient prophets was compelling and even overwhelming. Yet not everyone believed in Jesus. And even Jesus’ own forerunner, John the Baptist, struggled with doubts. How can that be? And what evidence is helpful in reasoning through those doubts? Jesus indeed fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, but not all of them…yet! Let’s look together at how Jesus’ miracles provided solid evidence of His identity.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: February 26, 2017
Speaker: Skip Heitizg
Teaching: "Believing the Miracle-Making Messiah"
Text: Matthew 11:1-6

Path

We have discovered that the evidence that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah as predicted by the ancient prophets is compelling and even overwhelming. Yet, even in His own day, not everyone believed in Jesus. Even Jesus' own forerunner, John the Baptist, struggled with doubts. How can that be? What evidence is helpful in reasoning through those doubts? Jesus indeed fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, but not all of them...yet! In this teaching, Pastor Skip looked at how Jesus' miracles provided solid evidence of His identity, and showed us how believers deal with doubt:

  1. Devout Believers Wrestle with Their Faith (vv. 1-3)

  2. Developing Believers Reason through Their Faith (vv. 4-5)

  3. Determined Believers Remain in Their Faith (v. 6)


Points

Devout Believers Wrestle with Their Faith
Developing Believers Reason through Their Faith
Determined Believers Remain in Their Faith
Practice

Connect Up: A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Pastor Skip mentioned that Jesus performed thirty-five miracles during His ministry. Read Luke 4:18-21. Then, discuss the role of miracles in Jesus' life. How did they provide verification of His mission as the Messiah?

Connect In: Miracles are listed as one of the "gifts of the Spirit" (see 1 Corinthians 12:8-10). Calvary Albuquerque believes in the perpetuity of spiritual gifts—we believe the gifts are still active and present in the church today. Talk about a time when you believe a miracle occurred. How did the miracle transcend a natural explanation?

Connect Out: One of the phenomena of the early church was how miracles were used to verify the power of Christ via the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:43, 4:31, 5:12-16, 6:8, 8:6-13, 9:39-42). How can miracles demonstrate the power of God in a person's life, whether they are a believer or unbeliever?

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. We have been looking at prearranged predictions as to the identity of the Messiah
      1. God wanted to make sure it was impossible to misidentify the Messiah
      2. Born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14)
      3. Born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2)
      4. Called out of Egypt (see Hosea 11:1)
      5. His ministry would begin in Galilee (see Isaiah 9:1-2)
      6. He came to serve (see Isaiah 42:1)
      7. He came at just the right time (see Galatians 4:3-5)
    2. When you put all the puzzle pieces together, you have an accurate description of who the Messiah would be
    3. One puzzle piece is that He would perform miracles (see Isaiah 29:18; 35:5-6)
      1. When Jesus came on the scene, almost immediately miracles started to happen
      2. Turned water into wine (see John 2:1-10)
      3. Healed people who were sick
      4. Raised people who were dead (see Mark 5:35-43; Luke 7:11-15; 8:49-55; John 11:1-44)
      5. Controlled forces of nature (see Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:37-39)
    4. Even people who hated Him had to admit something was different about Him
    5. The Gospels record thirty-five miracles, but there were more (see John 21:25)
    6. John the Baptist
      1. Pointed to Jesus and believed in Him
      2. Was imprisoned and eventually died there
      3. Struggled with doubts
  2. Devout Believers Wrestle with Their Faith (vv. 1-3)
    1. An Uncommon Messenger
      1. The predicted forerunner of Jesus (see Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1)
      2. Jesus called him the greatest man to have ever lived (see Matthew 11:11)
      3. A strange man
        1. Lived in the desert
        2. Ate bugs
        3. Wore animal skins
      4. Unique teaching style (see Matthew 3:1-2)
        1. Called people to repentance
        2. This is what got him into trouble
      5. Family history (see Luke 1:5-64)
        1. Father was Zacharias and mother was Elizabeth
          1. Zacharias was a priest in the temple
          2. Both past the age of having children
        2. Zacharias was visited by an angel and told he would have a son
          1. He did not believe the angel
          2. He was made mute until the birth of the child
        3. When Elizabeth was about six months along, her cousin Mary was also visited by an angel and told she would be the mother of the Messiah
          1. Mary visited Elizabeth
          2. When Elizabeth heard her voice, Elizabeth's baby leapt for joy in her womb
        4. When John was born, Zacharias called him the prophet of the Most High
        5. John and Jesus were second cousins
          1. Grew up together
          2. Added to the authenticity of John's testimony about Jesus
          3. John was absolutely convinced Jesus was the Messiah
      6. John was arrested and thrown in prison
        1. Herod Antipas married his brother's wife, Herodias
        2. John called him out on this and was subsequently imprisoned (see Matthew 14:3-4; Mark 4:17-18; Luke 3:19-20)
    2. A Common Misconception
      1. John's doubt was based on an unfulfilled expectation
        1. From prison, he heard about the things Jesus was doing
        2. He was under the impression that when the Messiah came, He would immediately set up His earthly kingdom
      2. John knew the words of the prophets about the Messiah
        1. He would establish an everlasting kingdom (see Daniel 7:27; 9)
        2. John knew the words Jesus had spoken
          1. He came to set the captives free (see Luke 4:18)
          2. John was a captive at that time and wondered why he wasn't free
      3. It is not unusual for spiritual leaders to have times of uncertainty
        1. Moses second-guessed his calling (see Exodus 5:22)
        2. Jeremiah wanted to quit (see Jeremiah 20:9)
        3. Elijah wanted to die (see 1 Kings 19:4)
        4. In the New Testament, all but one mention of the word doubt refers to believers doubting
          1. Jesus rebuked His followers for doubting (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28)
          2.  Some even doubted Him after His resurrection (see Matthew 28:17)
      4. You almost have to believe before you can doubt
        1. A believer who has served the Lord faithfully can be shaken by an unexpected event
        2. John had been preaching to thousands of people, then suddenly found himself in a pit in the middle of the desert
      5. When in doubt, go to Jesus
        1. John sent people to ask Jesus about his doubt
        2. If you are doubting, the first thing you should do is take it to Jesus
  3. Developing Believers Reason through Their Faith (vv. 4-5)
    1. The Appeal to Human Experience
      1. Personal discovery
      2. Subjective
      3. Your personal testimony is the most powerful tool you have in your spiritual arsenal
    2. The Appeal to Biblical Prophecy
      1. Objective
      2. Jesus knew John knew prophecy, especially that of Isaiah
        1. People would be healed (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
        2. Gospel would be preached to the poor (see Isaiah 61:1)
      3. Jesus' message was proved by His miracles
      4. People make two mistakes concerning miracles
        1. Naturalize them
          1. Make miracle a common term
          2. Miracles are extraordinary, uncommon events
          3. Cheapens the term
        2. Trivialize them
          1. Explain them away
          2. If there is a God who can act, then acts of God can exist
          3. If Genesis 1:1 is possible, then anything is possible
          4. God is never a prisoner to His natural laws
      5. Let your faith be reasonable faith, not ransacked faith
  4. Determined Believers Remain in Their Faith (v. 6)
    1. Jesus added a P.S. to the end of His message to John
      1. Skandalizó = cause to stumble, cause to sin, cause to become indignant, shock, offend
      2. A gentle rebuke to John the Baptist
      3. Jesus gave him enough evidence that could keep him tethered
    2. Never give up what you know for what you don't know
      1. Let God be God and you be you
      2. Let God be the one seated on the throne and you be the one who bows before it
  5. Closing
    1. If you are struggling with your faith:
      1. Wrestle with it
      2. Reason through it
      3. Remain in it
    2. Some of the strongest believers were once struggling believers
    3. "With God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27)
Figures referenced: Herod Antipas, Francis Collins, David Greenglass, Herodias, C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Charles Spurgeon

Works referenced: Dead Sea Scrolls, Miracles, Talmud

Greek words: skandalizó

Cross references: Genesis 1:1; Exodus 5:22; 1 Kings 19:4; Isaiah 7:14; 9:1-2; 29:18; 35:5-6; 40:3; 42:1; 61:1; Jeremiah 20:9; Daniel 7:27; 9; Hosea 11:1; Micah 5:2; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-2; 6:30; 8:23-27; 11:11; 14:3-4, 31; 16:8; 19:26; 28:17; Mark 4:17-18, 37-39; 5:35-43; 10:27; Luke 1:5-64; 3:19-20; 4:18; 7:11-15; 8:49-55; 12:28; John 2:1-10; 11:1-44; 21:25; Galatians 4:3-5

Topic: Prophecy

Keywords: prophecy, predictions, miracles, John the Baptist, doubt, faith, messenger, forerunner, testimony


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