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‘Soar Like Eagles’ – The gospel of John – #16 Assurances for the Troubled Heart John 14

12 Jun

jesus-matthew2

(first a few ‘leftovers’ from John 13)

* What is your A.Q. (Acceptance Quotient)?

The story of Peter and Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper shows us something magnificient about the Savior and about His ability to accept others in spite of the sin that clings to them. As an I.Q. test measures our minds, indicating our intelligence quotient, an  A.Q.  test measures our attitudes, indicating our acceptance quotient.

* THE APPLICATION OF THE A.Q.

– Willingness to accept people without partiality.

James 2:1-4 serves as an excellent application of this principle. How do you respond when somebody who doesn’t quite fit the typical membership profile comes to your worship service?

(James 2:1-4)  “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. {2} Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. {3} If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” {4} have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

– Willingness to accept another style without jealousy or criticism.

   (Mark 9:38-40)  “”Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” {39} “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, {40} for whoever is not against us is for us.”

– Willingness to accept offenses without holding a grudge.

   (Romans 12:14-21)  “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. {15} Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. {16} Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. {17} Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. {18} If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. {19} Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. {20} On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” {21} Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Now for John 14

This is part of Jesus’ farewell discourse. In the next four chapters (John 14-17), Jesus must drive home three critical facts:

  • He is leaving.
  • The Apostles will continue Jesus’ mission with opposition from the world.
  • The Holy Spirit will assist them in their mission.

This is one of those “good news/bad news” scenarios. What lies ahead is difficult. But Jesus’ promises are simply out of this world!

To be troubled is a natural and expected response to a distressing situation. We are troubled when things go wrong in our lives. Surely, if there was ever a time to be troubled, it was the day Jesus was crucified. Jesus prepared His disciples for this event by calling on them to trust Him and by leaving some special resources with them

Jesus suggested that the proper approach to the question of human destiny is faith in a personal God. If a personal God exists, who is the judge and redeemer of man, there must be a destiny for man beyond the grave.

Similar verses that speak of being afraid

(Matthew 8:26)  “He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”

(Matthew 10:28)  “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

(Luke 12:7)  “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Jesus wants His followers to stop being afraid at any given moment of our life and also to take control of those feelings for the events in our future. And, besides, if we don’t take control of those emotions, they will take control of us, won’t they?

But His words went much deeper than that. He was also saying that they should believe Him against all odds. Remember, He was doomed to death, which overtakes all men. Yet He promised to prepare a place for them and to return to claim them

  1. A home to envision (14:1-3)

Knowing how awful it is to be left alone, Jesus gave His disciples a new way to think about His approaching absence. They were told to see it as a time when He would prepare a heavenly place for them.

1  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

  1. A direction to embrace (14:4-11).

Do we want to draw near to God? Do we want to be close to Him? Jesus gave them a direction to look in their time of trial.

4  And you know the way to where I am going.”5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8  Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10  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 authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

  1. A presence to experience (14:12-14).

He assured them that He would continue to be ‘there’ for them through the Spirit and through their prayers.

12  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

  1. A helper to expect (18:16-18, 25-26).

They would not be orphans…they would have “one who comes alongside.”

16  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17  even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

25  “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

  1. A command to obey (14:15, 20-21, 23-24, 31).

They were given a series of commands so they could understand what God expected from them.

John 14:15 (ESV)
15  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 14:20-21 (ESV)
20  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

 

John 14:23-24 (ESV)
23  Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

 

John 14:31 (ESV)
31  but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

The question of “making it without Jesus” has challenged Christians since Jesus went to Calvary. It grows out of the strange paradox of our faith:

  • Our Lord is with us, yet He is away from us
  • From the moment of our baptism into Christ, we exist in an “in-between” time – a no-man’s land of waiting to be with the one we adore
  • We have said good-bye to a life of human aims but not yet said hello to eternity in a divine place
  • Christ’s presence is real enough to the heart, but our eyes long to see Him
  • Like Paul, we desire “to be with the Lord” yet must wait for His return

* The power of fear is a matter of focus.

Adam and Eve were in trouble when the focus of their attention moved from God’s love and power to their weaknesses. Fear caused them to forget about the loving way God had provided for them and the gracious way He had sustained them. They instantly developed a kind of fear-driven tunnel vision that allowed them to see nothing but an oncoming train.

* Conquering fear is a matter of choice.

Jesus’ command “to fear not” needs to be viewed in light of another kind of fear, a healthy one that the Bible speaks of often:

(Proverbs 1:7)  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

 

(Isaiah 12:2)  “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.””

The key to keeping our hearts from being troubled is choosing whom to fear! Faith is actually the choice to fear God only. Put another way, it’s deciding between the greater of two fears.

WONDERFUL ASSURANCES  FOR THE TROUBLED HEART

  • You are going to heaven (13:36-14:6)
  • You know the Father right now (14:7-11)
  • You have the privilege of prayer (14:12-15)
  • We have the Holy Spirit (14:16-18)
  • We enjoy the Father’s love (14:19-24)
  • We have His gift of peace (14:25-31)

Only after the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 did they understand, and everything made sense.

  • Jesus still had been arrested, tried, convicted, and killed–but they understood.
  • Jesus had been resurrected, but now they understood.
  • They knew where he was, why he was gone, and the certainty of his return.
  • Now they understood forgiveness as never before.
  • Now they had hope as never before.

 

 

 
 

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