John 14: Heart Trouble
Let not your hearts be troubled. Do you have heart trouble today? Not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. A troubled heart. The disciples were finishing their meal, now known as the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Jesus has told them three things about to happen which had cast a pall over the evening. The victorious entry in Jerusalem on Sunday was suddenly forgotten in the bad news Jesus was now conveying to them. Jesus has told them: there was a traitor among them; Peter, the bravest of the 12 would deny Jesus three times before morning; and worst of all, Jesus said I am leaving you and you cannot follow me now.
Hope deferred makes one heartsick. These 11 disciples, (Judas had departed) were devastated with this news. I do not know the condition of your heart today. But I know, you know by now what it is to have your hope deferred; to receive bad news, to experience sadness and loss. In other words you have experienced heart trouble. The heart is the center of our being. It is not the organ which pumps blood, it is our soul. It is the spiritual part of us where our emotions and desires dwell.
Jesus will give the disciples and us some wonderful assurances to claim as ours, they are our antidote for a troubled heart. Many people with heart trouble, angina, take nitroglycerin to open the blood vessels to relieve the pressure when they feel pain. Here Jesus gives us our antidote for heart trouble. He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.” This is what we must take for a troubled heart- we must take Him at His Word, just as the nobleman did in John 4. He did not need to rush home to see if Jesus’ word could be trusted, he took Jesus at His Word and rested, assured his son would live as Jesus said He would.
There are several ingredients in this medicine Jesus gives us who are heart sick because of deferred hope. Let’s look at each one, and may the Holy Spirit witness to you the absolute truth of each of these:
- If you are saved: You are going to heaven. Jesus tells us “in my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there now to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place I am going.” Heaven is a real place. If were not so, Jesus would have told us. Remember He is the truth, He came to testify to the truth. God made us to dwell with Him. He wants us to live with Him. Heaven is my Father’s home and it is home for all of His children. This is where God the Father dwells and Jesus is there at his right hand. Heaven is called: a kingdom, an inheritance, a country, a city and home. Home is where the heart is- and where your treasure is, your heart will be also. Jesus, the carpenter, is building his church, His body, on earth; and building a home for the church in heaven. Words cannot express the grandeur of this place, eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor has it entered into the hearts and minds of men what God has prepared for those who love Him. Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. God has placed eternity in the hearts of mankind. Mankind searches for paradise on earth. They long for the Garden of Eden for something which can provide them with heaven on earth. I like the description in Revelation which tells me what is NOT there: no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain, no more night. Thomas wanted to make sure he knew the way. Jesus says He is the only way to the Father and the Father’s house. He does not point the way- He is the Way, The Truth and the Life.
- We can know the Father, Almighty God. Phillip wanted Jesus to show them the Father. Phillip wanted to see God for himself. What does it mean to know someone? We can know the facts about someone. We can google them and get facts about their life. For example, I shook hands with George Bush the elder. I know a lot of facts about him. He is lefthanded, he played first base on Yale’s baseball team, where he went to college. His father was a US Senator. I know he was a pilot in the Navy in WWII. I have been outside his home in Kennebunk Port. But I do not know him personally. We can know facts. Many of the scribes and Pharisees knew the facts about the Word of God, but they did not know the one called, The Word of God. There is a knowing which comes from understanding the truth behind the facts. Jesus said He was the Truth. There is an intimate relationship like the relationship of a husband and wife. A deeper knowing and this is what Paul longed to know Him, the Lord Jesus. We are told we can know Him and have this mind in us which is in Christ Jesus. Often my wife and I are thinking the same thoughts which comes from the intimate knowledge we have of each other which has grown over the years. Now you and I have not seen Jesus physically. But we have sensed His presence. I have seen Him in His Word, as surely as I picture the hero or villain or character in a novel. God has given us the gift of imagination so we might visualize in our minds for this is the purpose of stories. They are the language of the heart. They put facts in context. They allow us to see with the eyes of our heart. God would have us use this gift for good, the devil will use it for evil. But if we believe the One who is called the Word of God spoke and the universe came into being and is controlled by Him, why would our hearts be troubled if He is your Loving Father? For Jesus and the Father are one. If you have seen Jesus in your mind, with the eyes of your heart, you have seen God. And you can know Him. He longs for you to see Him as He really is. Notice again believing Jesus and what He says is the Rx for a troubled heart. “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Do you believe this? If you do, then you can know God personally. Phillip had seen God, because he had seen Jesus. I have seen Jesus through John’s description, as surely as I have seen Abraham Lincoln through the stories I have read and the accounts of eyewitnesses. You and I can know God personally and intimately. It means spending time with Him. He speaks to you through His word.
- Privilege of Prayer. Can you imagine what it will be like when we get to heaven and hear the prayers of those on earth during the Tribulation. We know now we are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses who have gone on before us into heaven. I do not understand all of the wonder of heaven, but prayer is our greatest privilege as his children. We can come into the throne room of heaven to seek grace to help in time of need. There is an old hymn which admonishes us: “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Jesus says “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things that these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Let us make sure we understand what is involved here. First of all we will not do greater things than the Lord; the servant is not greater than the master. The “greater” here refers to quantity, not quality. And we are able to do more because has sent His Spirit to indwell us. It is in fact, God doing the work through us accomplished through prayer. “For it is God who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Phil.2) we are to ask for what Jesus would ask for which is to glorify the Father. In His name, means we ask what Jesus would ask for. How can we know what Jesus would ask for? He tells us what he would ask for: It is to ‘hallow His name.’ John would write in I John 5: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us- whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of Him.” Does this mean you cannot ask Him for other things? No of course not. Listen to the Model prayer Jesus gave us: “ Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is on heaven. “ So our prayer starts out with the goal of our prayer is to hallow His name, bring glory to it, honor it. Next we want His kingdom to come and rule and reign in our lives. We want His will to be done. So in asking for those three things, we know we are asking what Jesus would ask: Father glorify your name, your will not mine be done. Now we can then present our petitions to Him: Give us the provisions we need, our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive others. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. So when we ask for those things we need to do God’s will, He will grant them. Now if we ask for something we think we need to do God’s will, but the Lord does not want to provide it- it is not needed. Example: Paul thought he needed to have the thorn removed from his flesh, because it was keeping him from being productive in his work for the Lord. But the thorn was actually God’s will for his life, so Paul would rely on God not on himself. A lesson we all need to learn.
- He has given us the Holy Spirit. When Jesus ascended to heaven and was exalted above all else with all authority and power under Him, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell and seal us. He told the disciples I will send another. Jesus was leaving the disciples, but He was not leaving them as orphans. The Spirit of God had dwelt with the disciple these 3 and half years in the person of Jesus Christ. He had lived with them night and day. He had guided them, guarded them and taught them. Now He was leaving, but He sent the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, to not live with them but in them. This is the same Holy Spirit who indwells and seals and lives within each of us who are saved. This is the Holy Spirit of God who came at Pentecost. He is called Comforter, a Comforter who not only comforts but strengthens. He is called our Advocate, Counselor who defends us against the lies of the enemy. He is the Spirit of Truth who inspired the Word of God, and illuminates it for us. He reveals these truths to us that we might know what has been given to us by God. He is our teacher, just exactly like Jesus was the disciple’s teacher. He will never leave you or depart from you. But the way you treat the Holy Spirit is the way you are treating Jesus. Are you grieving Him? The world has not received the Holy Spirit. They walk by sight and not by faith.
- As believers, we enjoy the love of the Father. Jesus said: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Judas, not Iscariot asked Jesus: “But, Lord why do you intend to show yourself to us and not the world?” Are you beginning to realize these disciples had as many questions about what to do and how to do it, as we do? When the Holy Spirit comes into your life, He sheds abroad the love of God in your heart. We who are saved are loved by God the Father and God the Son and indwelt by the Spirit of God who witnesses to us God loves us. It is interesting in the story in Genesis 18, Abraham and Sarah have three visitors. It is the Pre-incarnate Lord and two angels. Notice the Lord does not go down to Sodom and Gomorrah to see Lot, He sends the two angels. He was at home with Abraham, but He was not a home in Sodom and Gomorrah. He has revealed Himself to us, the church. He indwells each believer with His Spirit. He has given us the Great Commission. We are to be witnesses to God’s love by loving Him, one another and our neighbors as ourselves. We are to tell the story of how He came into our lives. Our personal testimony is our witness. We tell the truth about how we were, what happened and what was the result of this change. The Lord waits patiently in heaven giving opportunities for sinners to repent and be saved. You do not have to be a theologian to tell your story. Several years ago a writer for a Christian magazine interviewed Charles Swindoll and James Dobson for an article. These two men were at the zenith of their ministries with books, speaking, preaching, teaching via radio and television reaching millions of people. The writer asked both men who had impressed the most in their lives regarding the Lord. Both men, separately being interviewed, immediately answered Professor Howard Hendricks. So the writer had to find this professor and interview him. She did and discovered the popular professor at Dallas Seminary had influenced hundreds and hundreds of ministers and missionaries. She asked him who had most impressed him. And Professor Howie, as he was known, told her immediately his eighth grade Sunday School teacher. What did he teach you that so impressed you, she asked? ‘I cannot remember a single lesson he taught us, said Hendricks. “But he loved us and showed us his love by spending time with us. “ In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision or uncircumcision has no value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” ( Galatians 5: 6) We are to share this love which has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We are to love others as Jesus loved us. This is the 11th commandment. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing that there is just too little of…
- He has given us the gift of peace. Jesus said: “My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ( John 14:27) The Lord’s peace is not like the world’s peace. The peace of the world depends upon resources. The peace the Lord Jesus gives depends upon a relationship. To be right with God brings joy and peace. The world depends upon personal ability. We depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ. The world works for peace. In Christ, peace is a gift. The unsaved, natural man enjoys peace when there is no trouble. The saved enjoy peace in spite of trouble. The world walks by sight and depends on externals. We walk by faith and depend on the internals. Greater is He who is in us, that he who is in the world. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the antidote for heart trouble.