Today I'm continuing to teach on a subject that I've entitled, effortless change. Man, that's a powerful, powerful truth, and I've already covered a week's worth of this teaching. Today I'm going to continue to talk about this. We're now into the second teaching in this four part set, and this second teaching is entitled, overcoming doubt. So, what I've said basically so far is that change comes through the Word of God and the Word of God doesn't just change things outwardly, but it starts by changing you in your heart the way you think, and of course, Romans, chapter 10, verse 17 says, so then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
So, one of the ways that this change happens when you begin to think differently, is you start believing God instead of doubting God. Doubt...Or you could say this, negativity is a insulator to the flow of God's power. It stops the flow of God's power through you, and so what I want to begin to share with you today, and we'll continue this on our programs next week, is how to overcome this doubt or this negative thinking. So, I've made the point already that the change starts with your heart the way you think. How do you get out of this negative thinking? How do you overcome the negative stuff that, you know, is a result of doubt in your life? And I want to use this example from Matthew, chapter 11. I'm using this life for today study Bible that I produced many, many years ago, and the reason for this is because I'm going to be taking things from Matthew's account and Luke's account of this same instance.
You know, when I put together this Gospel's edition of the study Bible here, I organized all of the Gospels into their chronological order, and what that means is, that instead of studying through Matthew and then Mark, Luke and John, I took everything and I put it in the actual order and I put whatever the Gospels had to say about it right here on this one page so that you could compare it, and you gain some things from Matthew's account of this and some things from Luke's account of this, and you have to put the two together in order to get the full impact of that. In Matthew, chapter 11, verse 2 it says, "Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, art thou he that should come, or do we look for another"?
Now, this needs some explanation. I'm going to come back and explain this more in just a moment, but John had... He was the forerunner of Jesus and he came and preached for about six months that there was coming the Messiah, that the people needed to prepare their heart to be able to receive from him and he prepared the people, and over in the book of Malachi it said that if this messenger that was sent before his face didn't come and prepare the people, then the Lord might have smitten them with a curse and have destroyed them. I don't know exactly what that means, but it implies to me that John the Baptist's role was absolutely essential and if he hadn't have gotten the people to where they were ready to receive the Messiah and if there had been total rejection by them, that the Lord might have cursed the earth instead of saved it the way that he did.
You know, I've never heard anybody else say that, I'm not absolutely sure about that, but I'm telling you that John the Baptist had an important role, to prepare the way of the Lord, and yet he only ministered for around six months and then he was thrown in prison because he criticized Herod for marrying his brother's wife, his sister-in-law, and that was against the law, and because John the Baptist criticized Herod, he locked him up, and Herodias, which was Herod's wife, she hated John for criticizing him over this marriage and so she had been plotting to kill him and she actually used her own daughter to seduce Herod and to get Herod to say, I'll give you anything, even up to half of my kingdom, and she asked for John the Baptist to be beheaded, and so Herod... Herod did it, but this is right before he was beheaded and he had been in prison an undisclosed amount of time at this writing.
I've tried to figure this out and I'm not sure exactly how long it was, but I'm sure it was at least six months to a year, or it could have been even longer. John had been in prison and in prison he was hearing about all of the things that Jesus was doing and so he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask, are you really the Christ or should we look for another? So, that's the background of this, and here's how Jesus responded. In verse 4 it says, Jesus answered and said unto them, go, shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.