“Do not let your heart be troubled”

June 25, 2006

John 14:1-11

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
“And you know the way where I am going.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’?
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

What must have been going through the minds of the disciples on this night – this last supper with the Master. It all began with a call, “Follow me”. They had followed – they had left everything behind to follow this man – they had seen the extraordinary signs and wonders – they had seen Jesus feed thousands, heal every sickness and disease, cast out demons, walk on water, calm a raging sea – and even raise the dead to life. They started their journey with someone they thought was a great man, a great teacher – and now, on this night – they knew – they believed with all their heart, that this man, this great teacher, this prophet, was the Son of God, God in flesh – the Christ – the Messiah – the Anointed One that had been promised so long ago.

But it was different than they had expected it. They had originally thought that Jesus would conquer the Romans and free their nation from bondage and that they would reign with Him in a great kingdom after having put down all their foes. But it was different – death was in the air. Jesus had mentioned on several occasions that He would suffer and be killed, but they always pushed it to the back of their minds – I mean, Jesus couldn’t die – could He? He’s the Messiah! He’s God!

But this night – it was becoming clear – all the other times that Jesus had mentioned His soon coming death were coming to a point. Worse than that, one of their group – one of the closest followers – one of His friends will betray Him – will give Him over to the enemy to be killed.

Jesus was going to be leaving them – was this it? Was this the end? Was Jesus truly God in flesh? Was He truly the Messiah that they had all been waiting for?

Peter raises his voice:

John 13:36-38
“Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”
Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

What do you think Peter felt when these Words left the lips of the Master? He was willing to die for Jesus – and Jesus replies, Really? Would you die for me? Actually, you will cower like a little girl and deny me, not once, not twice, but three times – three times you will say that you do not even know me.

The impact these words must have had on Peter – the crushing feeling that must have overtaken him! The aching that he must have felt in his heart! The sorrow, and the shame…

But now, listen to the Words of Jesus, “Do not let your heart be troubled”

Life is filled with troubles – filled with things that we can worry about – things that scare us, things that depress us, things that make us want to cry, pain that causes us to want to be alone.

What is your trouble this morning? Is something outside of your control – is there something that you’re just not sure how to deal with?

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

There is but one solution to a troubled heart. And Jesus tells that way in this passage. There is only one way to overcome a heart wrought with the pain and disappointment of this life.

The world whispers in our ear that it has the answer – just believe in yourself, they say – you can do it! You don’t need anyone else, you have the power within yourself to overcome any problem – don’t put yourself down – you are the solution! You have the power!

But the world has been deceived by the lord of lies – their solution is no solution at all but leads only to death.

As it says in Jeremiah 17:5
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.

But the words of Jesus, the Words of Truth give us the true solution to a troubled heart.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”

Belief in God and in His Son Jesus Christ is the one and only solution to a troubled heart. Are you troubled this morning? Believe in God, believe also in Jesus.

Psalms 42:11
Why are you cast down [Why are you depressed], O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me [Why are you upset?]? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God [For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention].

Jesus then gave us three reasons why we should be comforted – three reasons why we should hope in God and give thanks to Him for his saving intervention in our lives.

1. He was going to His Father’s house before them

2. He was going there to prepare a place for them

3. He would come back in person to bring them to heaven

1. He was going to His Father’s house before them

Even though they would see Him beaten, whipped, mocked, bleeding, hung on a cross – even though they would see Him die and laid in a tomb – believe! For after all of this He was going to His Father’s house. To a place where He would be honored above all – where His power is above all – never to suffer and die again – to be clothed in glory with the Father. He says later in chapter 14, If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

Be not troubled – for Jesus is King! He reigns in heaven – there is nothing outside of His control! He is above all things – nothing can put a stop to His plans.

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

2. He was going there to prepare a place for them

Not only is Jesus in heaven – but He is there preparing a place for all those who believe in Him – for all His chosen people. If you are afraid that there is no place for you – believe in Him and be troubled no more!

Jesus went to heaven as the forerunner – as the first of many to follow. He made the way clear – He took out all obstacles – not only is the way prepared, but the places for us in heaven – when we arrive, when we die, there is a place for us – specifically for me, just for you! Think of the care of Christ – that He would prepare a mansion just for you, His child. It is enough that we even get to be in the place where He is, but that He is building a mansion for us! He is saving a special place for us! That is beyond comprehension!

He is getting everything ready for you!

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

3. He would come back in person to bring them to heaven

“I will come again” If nothing else – this should wisp all of the troubles in our hearts away. In the end, He will come and personally take us up. Can you even imagine. He will not send his angels, Jesus – the Son of God – God Himself will come and gather us up and take us to be with Him.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
(
1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.
He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
(
Revelation 19:11-16)

This is our King – This is our God – This is our Savior – and He will come for us – NOTHING can get in His way, though the whole world go against Him, He will prevail. He will come – He will come for His own.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

“Do not let your heart be troubled”

There is never a reason for us to be troubled in our heart – if you are – examine yourself – who are you looking to – where is your hope? Seek to believe in God and in Christ – with your whole being – then, as you believe, your heart will be filled with peace because you know what the future holds – for God has spoken and you believe – even though the troubles remain, you will stand un-buffered, your heart will be filled with praise, for you are standing on the Rock – and regardless of how big a storm you encounter in this life – you will be secure – the Rock will save you and secure you.

Our Lord is coming – “Do not let your heart be troubled” – So come Lord Jesus! Amen.

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The 11th Commandment

June 19, 2006

John 13:34-35

(34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
(35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In the early days of Christianity, a deadly sickness broke out in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The sickness spread so easily that being in the same room with one of the sick meant you too would probably become ill, touching a victim meant almost certain death. Everyone in Alexandria was so afraid of the sickness that if someone in their house showed even the slightest signs of the sickness, they threw them out on the street to die – they didn’t even bury the dead for fear that they too would contract the disease.

But when a Christian became sick, the other Christians in the city would come and visit and care for their brother or sister who was sick. No Christian died without a fellow Christian being by their side caring for them. Even though the Christians knew that because they were in contact with those who were sick, that they too would most likely become sick, they continued to care for their sick and dying. So well did the Christians in Alexandria care for each other that outside the city were all the dead were being thrown, not one dead Christian could be found, for their fellow Christians took care of them even in their death, burying them, exposing themselves to the disease, rather than just throwing them in with the piles of other human corpses.

All the non-Christians in the city who had seen what these “Christians” were doing started asking each other – “What is the meaning of this?”

The answer went throughout all of Egypt, “They are of the Religion of Jesus of Nazareth, for these Christians love each other”

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The love that the Christians in Alexandria had so many years ago – that is the love that Christ commands us to have – and by it, the world will know that we follow Christ.

This is the clearest way to know whether you are a disciple of Christ – if you love as He loved. Are you in Christ this morning? Do you love your Christian brothers and sisters as Christ loved you? Think on that as we look more closely at this new command together.

Jesus says, that this is a new commandment – that it is not the same as what had been given in the law before He came. But is it really all that different?

We know the ten commandments:

I am the Lord thy God and you shall not have other gods besides me.

You shall not make for yourself any graven images.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Honor your Father and Mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet.

 

And the greatest commandment, what is that?

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

And the second?

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

But, on the night Jesus has His last supper with the disciples, as a parents on their death bead gives their last words to their children, He gives them this new commandment – a commandment that is different in at least three ways from the Old Testament law.

It is different in degree, different in motive, and different in example.

It is different in degree – we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ as Christ loved us – which is way more than any of us love ourselves. The love of Christ surpasses all knowledge – it is a love that is so great that we cannot even comprehend it. It is a love that suffers everything for the sake of the one it loves. It is a love that dies, that the beloved might live.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

It is different in motive – the command in the Old Testament is backed by the statement, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exo. 20:2). Israelites were to follow the commandments of God because God had freed them from bondage in Egypt, but we are to follow this new command because Christ has redeemed us from eternal punishment in hell. The salvation granted to the people of Israel at the Red Sea did not continue after they died, it was a temporal salvation – but the salvation that Christ has brought us is eternal. Nothing can separate us from the love of God for we have been saved by Christ, once for all time.

It is different in example – the commandment in the Old Testament told us to look at how we love ourselves as the example of how we should love our neighbor, but this new command tells us to look Christ as the example of how to love our brothers and sisters.

There is no longer any excuse, for the example of Christ is clear – there is no room for, “But so and so is so hard to love!” or, “They don’t love me back, so why should I continue to love them?”.

Romans 5:6-10

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Before I close I want to show you a simple application from Scripture. It happened the same night that Jesus gave this command, but is not mentioned in the Gospel of John. Turn with me to Matthew 26 verses 21 and 22.

Matthew 26:21-22
And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”

They thought they were all brothers in that room that night. No one pointed a finger at anyone, but automatically assumed that it must be themselves because they believed with all their heart that one of the other twelve would never do such a thing.

No one suggested, “Ah, it must be Peter, he’s always been hot headed and not thinking about what he does before he does it.” Or “It must be Judas, he’s always been a little sneaky with the money bag, in fact, I think I saw him stealing money out of it the other day!”

No, there was none of that.

There was only, “It couldn’t be me – could it? Could it be? Surely it is not me – Lord, is it?”

They expected evil more from themselves than from others. They believed the word of Christ, that one of them would betray Him, and so, one by one, they asked, “Lord, is it I?”

Then Judas, trying to keep up his deception says almost exactly the same thing, but exchanges the word “Lord” for Rabbi or Teacher – giving himself away as the betrayer and hypocrite –for the word “Lord” he could not bear to say can only be said in truth of Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3).

But even after all this – the disciples still suspected no one. Even after Jesus ordered Judas “to do what he was going to do quickly” they did not know.

Being with Jesus they had learned to love one another. And soon the whole world would “recognize that they had been with Jesus”.

So where are you this morning? How’s your love? Do you love your brothers and sisters as Christ loved you?

This is the love that the Spirit of Christ grants all those who believe, to those who are His own:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

At the beginning of Chapter 13, there is a perfect summation to all of this – a summation of the example of Christ that He is calling us to follow:

“Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)