Sermon on John 14:1-14 – “Take Comfort in the Lord”

Mailed out for: Sunday, June 7th, 2020 at First Presbyterian Church at Unionville, NY (BPC)

Old Testament reading:

[Psa 33:1-22 ESV] 1 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. 2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 4 For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. 5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! 13 The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; 14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. 16 The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19 that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

New Testament reading:

[Act 4:1-12 ESV] 1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. 5 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6 with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Gospel reading and sermon text:

[Jhn 14:1-14 ESV] 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. 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. 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.

 

INTRODUCTION

I’ve been looking forward to preaching on John chapter fourteen because of the well known verse 6. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” This verse, and others like it teach the exclusive nature of salvation in Jesus Christ ONLY. This is one of the unbeliever’s most hated teachings of the Bible. They are happy to let you have Jesus and believe in him. But if you say that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that all others are going to hell, they are greatly insulted. And this seems quite odd to me, for we Christians are not so concerned if a Buddhist were to say we are not finding nirvana, or if a Mormon says we won’t become a god and have our own planet, or if a Viking says we will not be honored in Valhalla. We would laugh because we do not believe in those things. Why is it that the non-Christian is so concerned with heaven and hell? Does this not show that in some sense they believe heaven and heal to be real?

Many of the world’s religion originally had a claim of exclusivity, but in this age they tend to diminish that claim. Certainly in this age of post-modernism the prevailing worldview is that all people are right in their beliefs for themselves. They contend that there is no ultimate right! This, of course, the Scriptures reject. There is only one way of salvation, and that is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So we do indeed find topic of the exclusiveness of the only way of salvation in Jesus Christ, but the main thrust of the sermon is actually in another direction. When we read this passage in its entirety we find that its main focus is on COMFORT. Jesus is comforting his disciples in his coming departure. This is the overall idea from our passage. Everything that follows comes to support it. “Let not your hearts be troubled” … and then comes explanations why.

I’ve outlined the sermon in three parts:

I. Take Comfort in the Lord Jesus who prepares a place for you.

II. Take Comfort in the Lord Jesus only.

III. Take Comfort in the Lord Jesus through whom you see the Father.

First we look at:

I. Take Comfort in the Lord Jesus who prepares a place for you.

Jesus gives reasons for why the hearts of the disciples are not to be troubled any longer. It is not an empty statement but backed up with reasons.

The immediate reason why they are to take comfort is, as Jesus says, “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?”

The love that Jesus has for his disciples (and for us) is on display. And the love that God the Father has for us is on display, for He has arranged there be “many rooms” in his house; the house of heaven. And Jesus’ love is displayed in that he prepares a place for His people.

Jesus is comforting his disciples in his soon departure. He is leaving, but he is preparing a place for them to come to. We find that Jesus did not ascend into heaven to dwell there alone, but is preparing a place for His people.

Not only does Jesus “prepare a place” but he also assures his disciples by saying “If it were not so, would I have told you…” He tells them the truth and in this truth they are to find comfort.

We all need comfort in these days (as in all others). The world is very chaotic in recent times. From a virus pandemic to “murder hornets” to protests against police and riots. The world is certainly troubled. What we need in this time more than ever is “comfort.”

These words alone – “let not your hearts be troubled” – coming from the lips of Jesus are in themselves comforting. “Let not your hearts be troubled.” They are beautiful and comforting words to me, and I hope they are to you as well. Even without the explanations that follow in the passage, these words are comforting. But there is explanation as well, as to why we are not to have troubled hearts.

Not only is there a place being prepared for us in the Father’s house, we have the comfort of having the very path to get there. Jesus Christ himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In believing in him we participate in those things. We have the way to the Father, we know truth, and we have blessed eternal life.

Not only does Jesus prepare a place for us, but he brings us to that place. He says “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.” Jesus does it all.

II. Take Comfort in the Lord Jesus only.

Jesus is the one and only. I’ve said in previous sermons that Jesus is “exclusive.” He is the ONLY way to heaven.

A. Way

This verse – John 14:6 – is one that I committed to memory many years ago. It doesn’t get any more clear than this verse. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There is both the positive affirmation that Jesus is the way, and there is the negation of any other way. “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This is a dire warning to all those who practice false religions or have no faith at all. All other paths lead to death. And not just the paths of drinking, drugs, prostitute, violence, and unholy living. But also the paths of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, and all other false religions. They all lead to death. Life is found in Jesus Christ alone. He is the only way.

This means that there is only one choice. We must chose Jesus. We must believe in him. And in doing so we have that great comfort that he prepares a place for us and will return for us one day. Let not your hearts be trouble – despite all of the turmoil in this world (and the turmoil in your own individual life) the Lord will return for you. Take comfort in the promises of Jesus Christ, the only savior.

B. Truth

In this threefold affirmation we have not only that Jesus is “the way” but also that he is “the truth” and “the life.”

That Jesus is “the truth” I understand to mean that he, as the 2nd person of the Trinity, is the ground of all that is true. God is the very standard of truth. What He thinks and what He says is true. While another human can say a true statement or know a certain truth, only of Jesus can we say that he is “the truth.” Only God knows all things and only Jesus Christ lived a perfect life according to all truth.

Thus we can trust what he says because he speaks the truth. When he says “I prepare a room for you” we know that he is speaking the truth. There is great comfort in the words of Jesus because we know he speaks the truth. Let not your hearts be troubled, we have one who does not lie (and who cannot lie) telling us that he is preparing a place for us.

Now, one might question whether these verse apply to us and not just merely the disciples there present with Jesus. That same question comes up in regards to a lot of Biblical passages. Does it apply to us? They certainly do. In verse 12 we read, “WHOEVER believes in me will ALSO do the works that I do.” That which Jesus is telling his disciples is not limited to them. It is for whoever believes. The very fact that his statements are recorded in writing for future generations goes to show that their application extends beyond those then present. Had Jesus been talking only to the disciples, they would not have needed to record it for others.

So we have the comfort that these promises to the disciples are for us as well.

C. Life

In that strong verse 6 statement we also have that Jesus is “the life.” He both is the origin of all life—the word through which the world was created—and he is the way to eternal life. Both our life in this world and our life in the world to come is because of Christ. We follow his WAY and believe his TRUTH because he brings eternal LIFE.

The Scriptures present eternal life as truly a grand thing. In our own passage today we have the description of heaven as a house with many rooms. It is much grander than our earthly houses that fall apart and need constant maintenance.

The Scriptures describe heaven as “paradise” (Luke 23:43). It is like a wedding feast (Matthew 22:2), with radiance like a most rare jewel (Rev. 21:11). It is a place of light (Rev. 22:5) where the wolf dwells with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6) and there is no more war (Isaiah 2:4). Heaven is truly a great place. It is the greatest place of all, the glories of which are incomprehensible to man. We should greatly desire to be there with the Lord!

So we come to the third of three points:

III. Take Comfort in the Lord Jesus through whom you see the Father.

In the book of Exodus God said to Moses “no one may see me and live.” The glory of God is overpowering. We cannot see him.

But, comforting the disciples and comforting us, we find that we can see the Father through the Son. Whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father. Jesus does the works of God. The comfort we find is in the love of Jesus. We see God’s love in Jesus, that He gave his only son for us. God is now plainly exhibited to all.

We are to take comfort in the Lord who is glorified in Jesus Christ. While God has revealed himself at many times and in many ways through the prophets, he has now spoken to us by his Son.

CONCLUSION

This is encouragement for troubled hearts.

Jesus is going to depart from his disciples and from this world but life will not end. He will return and he will take his people to the glorious Kingdom of God.

Each day we hear of troubles in the world. Challenges difficult to deal with. The disciples were to see the worst thing imaginable – the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But yet Jesus assures them “let not your heart be troubled.” In your difficulties from day to day let not your heart be troubled but have faith in Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life. Amen.

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