Are you weary and troubled? Take heart! Jesus is the source of peace in all circumstances and is in control, marching forward with His plan. Through the person of Christ, we have been delivered from the penalty and the power of sin - He experienced our trouble so that we could live peacefully in His provision! Now trust Him to continually deliver us from the presence of sin in our lives. Believers, He died so that we may live life now, not only after we are gone from the earth. Do you know the power of His work today?
How to Live with Joy in the "Little While"
The Spirit's Coming as the Son Heads Home: Where He is Going and Who He is Sending.
Brace Yourself Lambs: Final Words on Their Final Walk
Love: Our Sign and its Source
It's All About Abiding
Living Proof He is the King of Peace
The Lifeless Lunacy of Love Without Labor
The Holy Spirit is With Those Who Believe
The Greater Works of Those Who Believe
Take Heart: The Difference Between Jesus' Trouble and Ours
We are going to dive into a series of weeks where we're going to come across that little phrase take heart a whole lot. We are in John 14. We've been away from the gospel of John for a while. We pick it back up at an incredible moment when the Commander, if you will, of God's enduring people on earth is addressing the initial group of people who will form this body that the gates of hell will not stand against.
We have some work to do before this thing can endure the length of time they're waiting for reuniting with their Commander and the difficulty of the war they will find themselves in. You, my friends, if you know Christ, are part of this army. If you don't, I'm going to talk to you about the Commander you are going to want to get intimately acquainted with.
I love what I get to do. I have to tell you. I have been just blessed. Thank you for letting me study God's Word this week, that I might spend a few moments with you this morning and open your eyes to the incredible love God has accomplished, communicated, and preserved for you. This is some great stuff.
I'm going to tell you right now that I'm about to ruin a certain part of Scripture you often hear at a very tender moment of your life, but here's the trade I'm going to make with you. It's going to do you a whole lot more good, because this was not a Scripture that was intended for you to be read at a very tender moment in your life. It was a Scripture that was intended for you to have all the time so you might continually live in the fullness of life God intended. Let me pray, and I'll explain.
Lord, what a privilege to stand here and to open up your Word to communicate your love to a group of people who you deeply love. I pray you'd protect them from any nonsense that would come from a man, from any persuasive words or impressive means of communication that would come from me. I pray you would not let them miss the fullness of the glory you intend to be revealed to those you long to be in intimate relationship with.
I pray, Lord, they would take heart as a result of the study we will accomplish these next few weeks. I pray that because we would become courageous and brave and confident in our Lord and King, that this world would never be the same. Would you start by changing our world this morning, and would you use your Word to do it? Conform us to your image. Transform us from the death that is in this world. Teach us some Jesus, amen.
All right. Here we go. I've already ruined this one little verse for you. I'm going to take you back there. Psalm 23 is a psalm that is often read when you gather at a tender moment, when people are burying those they love and have lost. Almost without exception, we read Psalm 23. Now let me tell you something.
There's nothing wrong with reading Psalm 23 at a funeral, but there's something wrong with only reading Psalm 23 at a funeral. There's nothing wrong with reading the text I'm going to teach you this morning at a funeral, but there's something terribly wrong with only reading the text I'm going to teach you this morning at a funeral.
Let me explain this to you. Psalm 23 was not a psalm that was written for sickly old men on their deathbed. That's not the purpose of Psalm 23. Psalm 23 was written for young shepherd boys who were about to face lions and bears and crazy kings and tyrants and live alone every day in the terrors of this world. That's the purpose of Psalm 23.
David said, "Listen. I have a guy who is the most sovereign power in the world, and all he wants to do is kill me. He's throwing spears at me. All I do is sing to him. All I do is bless him. All I do is serve him, and he wants to kill me. But, God, you are with me. Even though I live in the midst of the world, just like sheep who are completely defenseless in a world filled with bears and with lions, they are in good stead if their shepherd is with them. They have no fear."
If you've not studied sheep lately, they don't have a lot of defense mechanisms. They're little fluffs of cotton. They go, "Baaa." There's no camouflage. There's no agility. There's no speed. They are just a chop waiting to be devoured, but they have something almost nobody else in the animal kingdom has. That is a shepherd who is always with them.
David understood that. He was a shepherd, and he said, "I'm the same way. I got nothing, except a crazy king. A giant who looks at me and would beat me a million times out of a million. Except you. You're my shepherd, so I fear not." Don't you dare do yourself the disservice of only reading Psalm 23 at the grave. This is a psalm written for young men and women who want to live amidst terrors in a noble, proud way.
Same with John 14. Let me remind you all about the gospel of John. The gospel of John, really in chapter 20, verses 30 and 31, is where you find the purpose of that book. It was said there that "all these things Jesus did, we haven't been able to record, because if we did, there's not enough books in the world that would capture it." But watch this. This is verse 31.
"…but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the [long-awaited Messiah, Deliverer] Christ…" That's who he is. "…the Son of God…" Begotten, not made. Brought forth from the very presence of the Father. He is the fullness of the Father. If you would believe in him, "…and that believing you may have life in His name."
Now look. Here's one of the problems I have with what the church has made the gospel. It's like the gospel is this idea that, "You're really screwed up. God's really, really good. Lucky for you, he's done something about sin. So, believe in him, and when you die, you'll go to heaven. You'll grab a cloud, a harp, and a robe, and it'll be good with your soul."
That is not exactly inspiring, nor is it true, nor is it transformative. You have a lot more waiting for you than a cloud, a harp, and a robe, and it's not just a story for you to feel good at the grave. It is so you may have life right now, that you would be restored into a relationship with God. God is a good, loving Father, and all he wants to do is bless you. That's all he wants to do.
He is a good Father and says, "Quit trying to find life out there in fleeting things that will leave scars and emptiness in your soul. Come. Know me. Walk with me. Enjoy me. I am a good daddy. When you ask for a loaf of bread, I'm not going to give you a rock. When you ask for a rope, I'm not going to give you a snake.
No good thing will I withhold from you. But you don't trust me, and so you try and find it on your own. Come home. My toes are on the edge of the ranch waiting for you to be sick of the pain that is in this world, and I will run to you." That is your God. That's all the Scriptures are: revealing him to you.
Here are the verses I'm going to ruin. John 14. This is what it says. "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." Very few funerals will you go to that the pastor won't read from John 14. I'm just telling you, that is not it's primary intention. The purpose of John 14 is not so you go, "Okay. Well, we can quit paying rent here, and there is a rent-free home now in heaven." I'm going to teach you that text this morning.
Let me reset this a little bit more. You have to remember where we are. We are about 24 hours from the cross. Three days from Easter. He just got through gathering his men together, and he just got through telling them, again, that he was going to go to a cross. He just got through telling them they were going to betray him, even his most trusted follower, Peter. "You're going to screw up three times before the night is over." He's letting them know… Because he can see the panic in their eyes.
The Shepherd is telling the sheep, "Hey, guys, I'm about to bug out of here. I'm going to leave you in this dimly lit area here where there are a lot of predators." They're like, "Are you kidding me? That is baaaad information for me." Then one of the sheep pops off and goes, "Hey, I'm good. I'll take on the wolves. I'll never deny you." He goes, "No. Three times tonight, you're going to take your little tail, flap it between your legs, and run and hide. You cannot make it without me."
Jesus, now, is going to get these guys. He's going to pull them together one more time. He's going to say, "Hey, boys. Take heart. Play the man. Have courage. Don't let your heart be troubled." This is written to men who were going to live, not men who were going to die. In fact, they said, "We're going to go wherever you're going to go."
He goes, "You can't go where I'm going to go. This is a work I have to do myself. You can't die for your sins. You can't die for the sins of others. I, because I'm eternal and perfect and glorious, can die as a sacrifice that will be eternally perfect and gloriously acceptable to an eternally perfect and glorious God. You can't do what I'm going to do. There will be a day later when you fully understand who I am, and you're not there yet. You will have your chance to take up your cross and follow me, but it ain't time yet."
He's about to pull them together, and he's about to say to them, "Take heart. Follow me. Trust me. Live boldly. I am your Shepherd. You shall not want. Though you lay down in the valley of the shadow of death, fear no evil, for I am with you." You might ask, "How are you going to be with me if you're bugging out?" He's going to answer that right here in John 14.
This is a section of Scripture you ought to read all the time, not just when Granddaddy is laid low. The next time it's read at a funeral, don't go up and rebuke the pastor. It's okay that he reads it there. But make sure it ain't the next time you read it, because this is written to a bunch of chickens who are supposed to live like kings. John 14.
One more thing I want to do to set this up. I just was laughing with a guy this week. Remember where we were when we gathered last week for Easter? Jesus was hanging out with guys… I mean, he poured himself out. He did nothing but telegraph what he was going to do. "No one is going to take my life. I'm going to lay it down. Three days later, I'm going to take it back up. I am in control. Lend me your ears. Listen to this. Burn this in your heart." He kept saying that.
Easter comes. He's resurrected. A couple of the disciples are walking on the road to Emmaus, and he goes, "Hey, guys, what's going on?" They look at him, and they go, "Hey, idiot. Are you the only guy in all of Jerusalem who doesn't know what happened? Jesus, our Shepherd, was killed. Everybody is all in a tizzy about it."
If I'm Jesus, I look up at the Father and go, "Oy yoi yoi! What's it going to take?" So, he starts to unpack the whole thing for them and explain, "I told you five times when I was with you. All of the Old Testament told you the Messiah, when he came, must be slain. I told you I was going to be raised in three days."
They couldn't recognize him because they were so overwhelmed with their circumstance. They couldn't see God in their circumstance. Have you ever felt like that? "Oh man, God, where are you? What kind of Shepherd are you? What kind of world have you left me in?" John 14, John 15, John 16, John 17, are for you. Take heart. This is who he left this for. All right. Come on. John 14:1. Here we go.
"Do not let your heart be troubled…" Let me show you. I'm going work all the way down through verse 11 today. Down there in verse 11, he says the same thing he says in verse 1. Watch this. "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." Look at verse 11. "Believe Me…" What do you think Jesus thinks is the source of peace to their troubled hearts? Say this with me: Belief in him. The source of peace to your troubled hearts is belief in him.
This is Romans, chapter 5, verse 1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…" This is Philippians (on the other side), chapter 4, where it says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God…" So, watch.
Jesus says, "I am your King. Through me you can get peace with God, and through me you can have the peace of God. I'm telling you. The world is going to wear you out, but don't think the world is going to win." He's telling them, "I am leaving, but not because I'm losing. This is all part of the plan." This is so important. You might want to write that down. He's telling them, "I'm leaving, but not because I'm losing."
You might write, "Jesus is leaving here not because he's losing but because he is marching forward on his plan." He's going to say, "Guys, just know this. I am telegraphing to you what is going to go down." That's one of the ways you know somebody is in control. They're going to tell you what's going to happen, and how it's going to happen.
I think about what we're going to look at someday when we get to John 18, when they come at him with a Roman cohort. A trained platoon of men, 600 of them, are there with all the political power of the day. They go up, and he says, "Whom do you seek?" They go, "We seek Jesus of Nazareth." He goes, "I am he." If you read your Bible, you'll see that all of them fall over. They hit the ground because what God did at that moment is he pulled back the veil a little bit.
He was telling his boys, "Let me remind you who is in control. They are the armed ones. I am the unarmed one. They are the 600. I am the one. Someone ought to make a movie, not called 300. It ought to be called The One. He just says, "I am he," and they are down. He goes, "Get up, boys, because you have a job to do for me. Let me ask you again. Whom do you seek?" That time they probably went, "Umm. You sir."
He said, "Good. Here's how this is going to go down. You're going to let these guys go, because I'm their Shepherd, and none of my sheep will be destroyed even though they will be like sheep. A little bit later, that one is going to fail me three times before the cock crows, but we'll get to that later. You boys. You boys let them go, and off we go back to Caiaphas' house. We'll run by Pilate's. We take a trip to Herod. Back to Pilate's. You'll smack me around a few times, nail me to a cross, and in three days I will rise again. Onward." That's John 18.
When you have a guy who is doing that, you're kind of going, "All right, man. I'm glad I'm on his team," because he's dictating what's going on. This is your God. There is nothing that is coming your way that has not been sifted through his eternal, perfect, and loving plan. You might go, "I don't get it. I reject God. If what's going on right now is part of his plan, I am out." That would be a horrible mistake.
It would be the same horrible mistake my kids make every day when they're little. "Dad, if you're my dad, and you make me eat asparagus, I am out of here. If you make me study, if you make me go to bed, if I don't get to live on Skittles and Mountain Dew, I am checking out, because you have no clue how to live life." That would be a terrible mistake for a 3-year-old, 7-year-old, or 17-year-old to make, but they do it every day.
There are times they look at me with this look like, "Who died and made you my dad? What a lousy dad you are." But all I want is blessing for them. Freedom for them. I'm just like them. I'm still this rebellious little teenager who every now and then goes, "What are you doing? What do you mean?"
Jesus says, "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." You're going to find out he's saying that's the same thing. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you…" Now watch. This is very important. "…for I go to prepare a place for you." Verse 3. Listen. "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again…" That's why you prepare, so you can come. "…and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."
Now let me teach you this. This is great stuff. So, what's going on? Is Jesus needing to go and get busy? I've heard guys literally say this. "Now you can imagine how wonderful heaven is going to be. He made earth in all its glory in seven days. He's been working on heaven for 2,000 years, and he's a carpenter." I'm like, "Really? Really?"
Let me show you a verse that blows this up. Matthew, chapter 25, verse 34. This is what it says. This is right when he's talking about judgment. He's talking about the culmination of history. He separates the sheep and the goats, and he says, "Then the King will say to those on His right…" Which is where the sheep are. "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
You might say, "Well, that's right, Todd. He prepared it from the foundation of the world, but it's been in disrepair," because we have that little sentiment. "It's kind of all broken down, and so he's been trying to pull it back together so he can get it working." I don't think heaven, or what he's preparing for us, is in a state of disrepair.
By the way, God does not need time to create perfection. He speaks, and it's good. He's not been working on this for 2,000 years. We already know why he's waiting. Because he loves sheep, and he wants them all to come in. He's willing to let other sheep suffer so more sheep can come in, so more folks can know the Shepherd.
He says, "I've even got you covered, sheep. At some point you're going to die because you have not gotten away yet from all the effects of sin that are in the world, because I haven't rolled up, if you will, the canon of my work in human history. You've already been delivered from the penalty of sin by relationship with me through the Spirit. You have deliverance from the power of sin, but you're not yet delivered from the presence of sin. Death is still having its way on your human body, but I will defeat even death and raise you from the dead. Don't you worry about that."
Listen. What he's saying right here is what he's already said five different times. "I have to go and prepare a place for you." In other words, "I have to make provision for you. I have to become death for you. I have to go through death. I am to come out of death. I have to become the wrath of God. I'm going to be slain for the sins of the world. You can't do that. That's why you can't go with me. I do this alone. I will finish what I started."
Jesus is no sluggard. A sluggard is the one who does not finish what he has begun. He "…buries his hand in the dish; he is weary of bringing it to his mouth again." That's the way of a sluggard. Jesus is no sluggard. He says, "I'm going to go. I'm going to get this done. I'm going to come back, and I'm going to take you with me."
Let me also tell you this. Heaven is not so much a place as it is a person. One of our problems is we keep trying to figure out where this place is that we're going that is going to bring to us a sense of peace. Let me tell you. There will be a day when God is going to create a place that does not have any sin anywhere. In us, in the spirit of a rebel, or even in its evidence in creation. That's coming, but that will happen when he does create his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Now watch.
What Jesus is saying to them is, "I'm going to prepare a place. The place you can find shelter and abode and dwell in. It's a place where the grace of God reigns, where forgiveness exists, where justification is a done deal. It's in the cross. It's in my sacrifice. It's in my blood. The reason I'm doing this is so you, a sinful creature, can be made new by the grace of God whose justice is already satisfied. You can be brought back into relationship with the God who is life, and God can receive you. I will receive you, in all my glory, and you will be receivable because you've come through me."
Do you all understand this? He's telling them, "I'm going to get this done." The place has been prepared from the foundation of the beginning of time, and you're going to get there. When people go to Israel… We always talk about going to the Holy Land. I tell them, "Listen. We love Israel because you'll be able to touch and taste where God brought his Son to earth and accomplished what he wanted to accomplish, but Israel is no more holy today than this little piece of body right here, because the Spirit of God dwells in me."
The fullness of the presence of God has come to me, just like he said it would in John 14:16-17. I'll show you that in a moment. When we go to Israel, we see where the Holy One of God walked. We see where God evidenced himself in human history. It's awesome, but it's no more holy today than right here right now is. This is why Jesus had the Holy Spirit reveal through Paul in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, "Listen. Don't be just throwing yourself around in immorality, because what fellowship has the presence of God with perversion?"
This is his argument with Paul in 1 Corinthians. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you…?""What fellowship does light have with darkness? Quit mingling with sin. Enjoy me. There's no life anywhere but in me." Jesus is telling them right here, "Hey, listen. I'm going to prepare a place for you, but it's going to be through my death and burial and resurrection." I love what he's trying to communicate. "There's no way you can save yourself, and I know exactly who you are."
Remember, he had just got through saying… The verse before John 14:1, he told Peter, "You're going to screw up. You can't even make it through the night. I know who you are. You're weak. You're wretched. You're self-preserving. You're tepid in your faith. You've been taught and discipled by God himself, and you still don't get it. You're a dimwit. Some of you guys I'll see on the road a little later to Emmaus after I do these things, in three days, and you won't recognize me because you're going to be so overwhelmed with the circumstances." But watch this.
"It's okay, because I know exactly who you are. You are sheep, and I love you. I'm a good Shepherd. I'm never going to go, 'What is wrong with these sheep?' You are sheep, but I'm going to make you something other than sheep. You do have to keep your eyes on the Shepherd. You don't have to worry. When you go, 'How could God love me?' I've loved you while you were still sinners.
This is why Romans 5:8 is such a wonderful verse . "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners [he gave his life for us] ." If he died for us when we were nothing but rebels, oblivious to what he was doing, unable to comprehend it, unimpressed by what he had done, how much more when we start to have a vague awareness? We sit here, and we sing about how he loves us and how we want to be hungry for him. He knows.
Let me just tell something, Peter. Are some of you here this morning, and you go, "How can I keep leaving my God?" I'm going to tell you. The reason you do is because you're not paying attention to John 14:15-17. Here's some great news: "Your Shepherd has it covered. Take heart. I'm going to finish what I began. I don't want you to shrink back from me. I don't want you to live in guilt and shame."
By the way, I want to insert this right here. Jesus tells them in this little section to not lose heart. "Do not let your heart be troubled…" Now look. There are three different times Jesus himself was troubled, but I want to show you why Jesus himself was troubled. I'm going to make the observation about why we are often troubled, and I'm going to tell you what he wants you to understand in John 14:15-17. Jesus was troubled three times. The very first time was in John 11:33. You can look at the verse yourself.
John 11:33 is the place where he shows up, and he saw people distressed because of death, because of the loss of their brother, because of the mourning that death still had its sting, death still had its victory. It troubled him. He's like, "That's not what I intended for my people. I never meant for them to weep. I never meant for them to be sad. I'm going to fix this thing." So, he was troubled because a good and loving Father saw the effects of death and sin on his Son, and he wanted to do something about it.
Secondly, in John 12:27, he was troubled at the prospect of losing, for a moment, intimacy with the Father. He knew what it was going to cost to redeem wicked men, and it said he was troubled. The word, again, means he is stirred up, that there is instability. There was a riot within him. The thought of, for a nanosecond, being separated from the Father when the wrath of God was poured out on him as he became the sin of the world, it troubled him, and it ought to trouble you. But I have good news. It can't happen.
He's never going to have to turn his back on you. He's never going to leave you or forsake you. Why? Because you are made perfect in his sight. You don't even have to be stressed about this. God will never leave you or forsake you, because you are complete and saved in Christ. But Jesus was troubled when he saw people he loved hurting. He was troubled when he knew he was going to be broken off from intimacy with the Father.
In John 13:21, he was troubled one more time because he knew there was going to be a break in relationship between him and the men he had been pouring into, and they did not get it yet. It burdened him that men had not yet been fully reconciled to God and fully aware of who God was. He loved men, and he knew men needed him.
Why was Jesus troubled? Because sin was still hurting men. Because men were still not reconciled with him, and because he knew he, for a moment, was going to be separated from God. Jesus was troubled by those things. He, then, experienced your trouble so you don't have to be troubled. There's really nothing you ought to be concerned about other than, "Am I in good stead with God?"
Here's the truth. Most of us are not troubled because of our relationship with God. We are troubled because of sin, and Jesus even goes, "I got that one. You don't need to be troubled by sin. Trust in me. I've made provision for you. I've prepared a place for you. It's past tense. It's going to be done. It is finished."
Most of us are troubled by circumstance. Jesus said, "Look. Don't be surprised. There's still going to be all kinds of crud that goes down on this earth. The world gives you fleeting peace. I'm going to give you an enduring peace. I'm sovereign over this world. Don't let the fact that this world is moving into a darker and darker place trouble you, because I've told you it's going to get darker and darker until I make it all new. So, that's even coming. Don't be troubled by circumstance, because circumstance is not what you're holding onto. Hold on to me, because wherever I am there is perfection. Wherever I am there is peace."
A lot of us are troubled by fear. He says, "Fear not." I'm going to show you one of the great verses of the Scripture. "Fear not," in Luke, chapter 2. The very first time the angels showed up. "Hey, God is with you. Fear not." If God is for us, who can be against us? We're troubled by stress because things aren't going well. We're troubled by death. We're troubled by evil. He's going, "Got death. Got evil. It's all mine. Cut it out. Don't stress. Don't let your soul ride against you. Don't try and find life apart from me. That will cause you trouble." Do you see all that?
Jesus is telling you, he says in verse 4, "And you know the way where I am going." Don't you love…? I'm so glad for Thomas. Doubting Thomas. Thomas says what all of us wanted to say. "Where are you going?" He basically said, "I have told you already. I'll tell you again." Look at the tenderness of Christ. "The Son of Man must be turned over to wicked men."
"Thomas said to Him, 'Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?'" Then here comes this verse. This is so important. "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth…" Don't let anybody else take you captive with any other idea. I am the fullness of revelation that always brings blessing to all time, every man, everywhere.
"…and the life…""You can't find a way apart from me. You can't find truth apart from me. You cannot find life apart from me. All you have to do is keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. I am the author and perfecter of your faith. The beginning and the end. The Alpha and Omega. All you need is me." That's what he keeps saying to them. "Take heart."
Let me tell you why you are troubled, distressed, depressed, and stressed. Because you are thinking about death. You're thinking about cancer. You're thinking about fear. You're thinking about betrayal. You're thinking about troubles in this world. You're thinking about sin. What I love about Jesus is he says, "Hey, listen. I've been tempted in every way you have been. I get it that you're broken, fleeting, and fallen men. That's not even going to make me disgusted with you. I just don't want you to focus on that. Focus on me.
Take heart. I've overcome the world. You're still in the world, and the world still has sin in it. The reason the world still has sin in it is because I'm trying to save sinners. If I got rid of sin, I'd get rid of everybody who doesn't know me. I love people, and so I'm leaving you here for a little while amongst bears, wolves, crazy kings, and terrors on this earth because I want you to do what I told you that you would do when you know me, which is to continue my work. You can suffer as I suffered, so others can come to where I've gone as you point them to me."
Do you guys get it? You are at war. This is not a time of ease. What I'm asking you is…Are you at war, and are your eyes fixed on your Commander who keeps telling you, "We're going to win. It's okay"? I love this. Jesus said, "…I am the way, and the truth, and the life…"
I was reading an article this week about a little girl up there at Harvard. She said, "I came to Harvard to seek veritas," which is part of their slogan. They keep reducing it. Initially Harvard was founded for folks to seek truth, veritas, in God. It even has something from this section of Scripture. It was in their founding documents. "We have to raise up a generation of leaders for our country, educated men who know life is in God, that they can teach that worldview, because that's what will make this new land we are in great."
That was Harvard's foundation. Now they've backed away from John 14:6. Because they think they're enlightened, they follow David Hume's false logic in explaining why there can be no miracles because there is no God, and everything needs to be explained by a naturalistic worldview, which has been thoroughly defeated, even on Harvard's campus, in debates.
There was a little girl who went up there. She said, "I went up to Harvard to study veritas." I love her testimony. She said, "But veritas, he found me." Isn't that beautiful? "I went to Harvard an atheist. I used to mock the kids in my high school who never did their work. I went up to Harvard to learn more so I could be above the fleeting foolishness of men who said they knew God. But truth, he found me." That's her conversion story. It's worth reading. Google that when you get home and read her story if you want. "Veritas found me. He found me." But watch.
Verse 7: "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." And he is enough. "I'm enough. The Spirit of God is enough." Here's what Jesus is going to say: "If I'm here, it's all good, because I know what you guys are going to say in a moment. You're going to want to see the Father, but if you see me, you see the Father."
That's the whole gospel of John. This takes us right back to the very beginning, John, chapter 1, verse 1. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Verse 14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Verse 18: "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has [revealed him] explained Him." Jesus now, 14 chapters later, is saying, "Guess what, guys? It's all good because God is here. He is with you. He loves you, and he's going to take care of your greatest enemies, which are sin and death." So brilliant. What do you think the disciples are going to say at this point?
"Uh, Rabbi, show us the Father. That would be enough if we just saw a guy, because if God is for us, who could be against us?" Pretty good wasn't it? "Go ahead, Jesus. Show us the Father." Jesus said to them one more time (watch this), "How long have I been with you? Your Father." You can just see him doing it. "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 guys know what this series in John is called? What have I called this whole series? The Visible Image. Do you know where I get that? I get that from the Scripture. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus. You want peace in the midst of troubles, when a Roman cohort comes marching against you? Look at Jesus. He's not sweating.
He sweated earlier. At what? The prospect of being separated from the Father. The only thing that should make you sweat is, "Can I be separated from Jesus?" Guess what? Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Not things created, not angels, not life, not death. Take heart. That ought to make you sing, baby. Verse 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 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."
Let me say this. This is the most Trinitarian section of all the Scripture. Right here he's basically saying, "Look. We are one of the same. We are of the same essence." They did not have words then like Trinity, which you can't find in your Bible. It is a word which describes concepts which are clearly taught in the Bible. What Jesus says is, "I and the Father are the same thing. We have the same essence. We have the same substance."
In AD 319, there was a guy named Arius who kind of popped up. They were really wrestling with this. "How could the Father and the Son be the same?" He basically started teaching this. He said, "They're really not just the same. Jesus is kind of like the Father but, of course, he's not all the way like the Father." Because, listen. It's hard to understand how God can be one in essence, three in person, who relate perfectly in subordinate ways and mutually exalting ways. It's beyond our comprehension. All I'm telling you is God reveals himself that way.
This guy started to teach that Jesus was similar in substance to the Father. The word for that is homoiousios. Homo meaning the same. Ousia is substance. He goes, "But he's homoiousios. He is the same kind of in substance." The thing I'm pronouncing like a long E in Greek is the letter I. It's an iota. That's what it's called. Have you ever heard this phrase? "There's not an iota of difference between that and this." Meaning, the smallest letter in the Greek language, a little line and a dot, these things are exactly the same. There's not an iota of difference.
The church gathered and goes, "No. No. We reject that. We've never believed that." They came up with this thing called the Nicene Creed. A guy named Athanasius, who was the bishop of Alexandria, stood down Arius and Arianism. He said, "No. We reject that. That's not what Jesus said. It's not what the Scripture said. The church has never believed that. He is homoousios."
We even take the word ooze in our language. When you get cut, you ooze something forth. The substance and the essence of who you are comes out. That's what they're saying. That's who Jesus is. He is the essence of the Father. What I would tell you is it's completely appropriate to say, "There's not an iota of difference between Jesus and the Father." Jesus says, "I'm never going to leave you or forsake you, so take heart. It's all good. I got it. Cancer? I got it. Death? Got it. Betrayal? Got it. Your sin? Got it." That ought to make you sing if that's true.
You may not know today that's true. So, guess what? Your heart is troubled. You may not believe life can be found in Jesus Christ, so you're trying to find it in women, in porn, in success, in money, in comfort, in good food, in good health. Guess what? Your heart is probably troubled. I'm here to tell you, "Come on, crazy! Trust in this one who is good and who loves you." Here's what I would tell you. I'll tell you what Jesus told you, because that way I'll do it right. John 14:11: "If you don't believe Wagner, believe the works I did when I was here."
All that's basically saying is the reason Jesus did the things he did… We call them miracles. Miracles are unique or unusual things that happen that are easily recognizable, and that are only able to, if you will, be accomplished by a certain type. That's what a miracle is. What Jesus is going to say is, "Look. The signet ring of the Father is on me." We, in fact, talked about this yesterday in the afternoon. We talked about miracles. A miracle is like a signet ring.
A signet ring is a ring the king had. A seal the king had. Whenever he wanted to send a message to people far away, how would they know it was really from the king? He would be the only one who would own this unique or unusual ring that was in his possession. Only he had it. He would dip it in wax and press the message shut. When people got it, they go, "Oh. This must be from the king because it has his mark on it."
What Jesus did when he got here, is he did a few things. It was never for entertainment. He was never bored. He didn't just walk on the road to Galilee and go, "It's hot," and turn Peter into a newt for a while while he ran around. That's never what he did with miracles. They're always very purposeful. That's why John has seven different signs.
Jesus said, "Look, guys. Review. Review. Water into wine. The miracle of creation." Wine, by the way, is something that all it is old grape juice. Jesus didn't say, "I'm going to go and make you some wine, so I'm going to go away for a long time. It's going to be vintage." See also John 14:2. He said, "Water. Wine." They go, "Whoa! This is some good stuff." It's a miracle.
Lame people walking. Blind people seeing. Dead people living. That's not normal. It's unusual or unique. Only God possesses the ability to do that. It's easily recognizable. Jesus said, "Hey, have I done some things that are easily recognizable? Could I do these things if I weren't from God? The signet ring of the Father is on me, because I am the Father. If the Father is for you, who can be against you?"
I'm going to read you a section of Scripture, and then we're going to sing about the one who makes our hearts filled with ease. Look at this. Why don't you stand while I read the Word of God? I hope you walk out of here today and you go, "Hey, man. If I have peace with God through Jesus Christ, then there's no reason for my heart to be troubled."
This is Romans 8. Paul came to follow him. Watch this. "And we know that God…" Our Commander and King, if you will. "…causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…" Do you love God? If not, your heart should be troubled. That's the only thing that should trouble your heart.
"…all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?"
We'll sing no matter what's going on. No matter who is elected. No matter what our government does. No matter what happens to our monetary system. No matter what happens to my wife. No matter what happens to my children.
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." Who has prepared a place for us that we're safe.
"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, 'FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.'" That's what world thinks you are, but you're not. You are sheep who are saved by the Shepherd. "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced [therefore, I am not troubled] …"
Let me say it to you again as I get ready to read this. If your heart is troubled, it's because you are looking at anything other than the one who died for you, has risen from the dead, and said you have peace with God through him. He gets it. But get your eyes off your sickness. Get your eyes off your spouse. Get your eyes off your silver. Get your eyes off of sex. Get your eyes on him, and the peace that passes understanding.
The world will go, "What is the source of your song?" You're going to say, "It is Jesus, Messiah. Name above all names. Very God of very God. There is not one iota of difference between Jesus and God. He died for me, and he loves me. He's my Shepherd, and I shall not want." That's your song, church. Wow.
" For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Father, as we get ready to sing, help this song to fill our hearts. Don't let these songs be saved for funerals. Help us to focus on Jesus, Messiah, the one who became sin, even though he knew no sin, that we might become his righteousness. He told us where he was going, to prepare a place for us where the wrath of God was satisfied so we, sinful, weak, wretched men who run from slave girls, can go boldly into his presence. We thank you for that great truth. Father, would you capture our hearts? May we walk out of here with a song that the world goes, "What is the source of your hope?" and we can say, "This."
I wish we could get that in our minds. I wish I could. I need you to spur me on and love me and remind me and pray for me and encourage me throughout the week. "Todd, get your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, your Moses who led you out, your Joshua who will take you in."
That's why we don't forsake our assembling together. We come together daily, continually, and encourage each other day after day, as long as it's called today, lest we are disheartened by the deceitfulness of sin. Then we go out, and we sing. The world looks at us and goes, "Why do you all sing? Why do you love?" We go, "Jesus. Jesus." "Why do you serve?" "Jesus."
Let me tell you something. If you're here today, and you don't know Jesus, if you've not trusted in him and his provision for you on the cross, let your heart be troubled. Don't let anything bring you peace, because it's fleeting. It will bow before him one day, and you with it, and say, "Rightly do you judge me."
If you've come to Christ, if you'll come now to Christ, let not your heart be troubled. Sing. Laugh when the Enemy steals, kills, and destroys. It's your Friday, and Sunday is a-comin'. Don't you wait until that Friday really comes into your life for somebody to hear you spit out Psalm 23 or John 14 again.
You tell them, "Take heart. God has prepared a place for you. It is finished. I'm secure. All I'm doing is serving him. I'm at war. Of course there is sickness, death, and injury all around me. Of course there are spears being thrown at me. I'm at war. Let me tell you about how you might have peace." Worship him. Come on, church. Take heart. Come on lost, sick, and lame. Come to the Messiah, who for your sake became sin.
Father, help us to worship you now, in all the fullness of who you are, for his glory, amen.
God bless you. Have a great week of worship.