Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus
Series: The Gospel of John
In an incredibly encouraging sermon, this week Pastor Matt dives into the BIG IDEA: Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus.
1. Heaven is sure (vv.1-3)
2. He is the way (vv. 4-11)
3. He will do what we ask in his name (vv. 12-14).
Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, by D.A. Carson
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel According to John, by Andreas Kostenberger
The Tony Evans Study Bible by Tony Evans
Expository Thoughts on John by J.C. Ryle
The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung
I Have Other Sheep That Are Not Of This Fold – Sermon by John Piper
I love to read the book Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey to my children. It’s a children’s version of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. I like it so much that we gave a copy of it – a children’s book – to all of the adult Citylight leaders at their appreciation BBQ at my house a couple weeks ago. It’s that good. Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey is an allegory about a child named Christian, who represents all Christians, and his journey on the narrow path of following the King’s Son as he travels by faith to the Celestial City (Heaven). Little Christian faces many challenges and temptations along the narrow path of faith on his way to the celestial city, but perhaps none greater than Doubting Castle, which is guarded by Giant Despair. When Giant Despair throws Christian in Doubting Castle, Christian loses all hope of ever walking the narrow path of faith to the Celestial City. His heart has never been this troubled. But then Christian finds a key in his pocket. It’s the Key of Promise, which represents all the glorious promises that God has made in the Bible to those walking the narrow path of faith. The key of promise flings the door to Doubting Castle open so that Christian can escape Giant Despair. Christian’s heart is troubled to the point of despair, but it’s the key of promise that sets him free.
My friends, a troubled heart is the most common thing in all the world. Whether you are old or young, wealthy or poor, in a circumstantially great season or not, being troubled in heart is common to all of us. And being a follower of Jesus doesn’t make you immune to a troubled heart. Christians often find themselves locked in Doubting Castle by the monster “Giant Despair.” Jesus sees you and he has something to say. John 14:1 – “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” This brings us to the big idea of our passage: Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus. Now, I don’t know about you, but when my heart is troubled, I don’t often find it helpful to hear someone say, “hey, don’t let your heart be troubled.” Why can Jesus say this to us? It’s because he has the key of promise that can fling open the locked gates of Doubting Castle and free us from Giant Despair and our troubled hearts. And in John 14, the Lord Jesus offers us six promises that if received by faith can free us from our troubled hearts. We’ll explore three this morning and three more next week. Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus. Why? Because Jesus makes three promises to all who believe in Him. 1. Heaven is sure (vv.1-3) 2. He is the way (vv. 4-11) 3. He will do what we ask in his name (vv. 12-14).
HEAVEN IS SURE
As we step into John 14, Jesus and his now eleven Apostles are participating in what Christians call the Last Supper. It’s Thursday evening and Jesus’ disciples are enjoying their last meal with Jesus before his crucifixion on Friday. Jesus has just told his disciples that he’s going away and where he is going they cannot now come. And that’s why their hearts are so troubled. You can imagine they feel trapped in Doubting Castle with the Giant Despair holding them under lock and key. They’re troubled in heart. Let me ask you a question. Who is your closest friend? Who is the person that you spend the most time with that you really love? Now, I want you to imagine that person telling you that they’re leaving permanently and that where they are going you cannot now come. How would you feel? If Andrea told me that she was going away and where she is going I cannot come? My heart would be greatly troubled. That’s how the disciples feel. And that’s why their hearts are troubled. Why is your heart troubled? What has you in doubting castle, harassed by Giant Despair, confused, or anxious? What is troubling your heart? A troubled heart is the most common thing in the world. The first key of promise that the Lord Jesus provides for pilgrims who walk the narrow path of faith toward to the Celestial City that can free us from Doubting Caslte and enable us to not let our hearts be troubled is this: heaven is sure. In the midst of troubling times on the narrow path of faith, if we’ll rely on Jesus’ promise that heaven is sure, our hearts will not be troubled. Let’s look at this first key of promise.
John 14:2-3 – 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. Jesus is going away to the Father. The disciples are troubled. But Jesus promises that in His Father’s house there are many rooms. If it weren’t so, Jesus wouldn’t have promised. And since Jesus is going there, he will prepare a room for us. Not only that, Jesus promises to come back and take us to himself so that we will forever be where he is. Jesus coming again to take us to himself refers to Jesus’ promised second coming. His Father’s house refers to what the Bible calls the new heaven and the new earth. Everyone who has walked the narrow path of faith will be raised with imperishable, physical, resurrected bodies. And we will live forever in the perfect joy of a new, physical creation that is greater and happier than even the Garden of Eden was before the fall and the curse. The Lord Jesus will be there. He will be our God and we will be his people, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes and no one who follows the narrow path of faith will be left out. The Father’s house will have ample dwellings for all of his children adopted in Christ. Heaven is sure! What a promise!
So, why are you troubled? The first promise that can free you from having a troubled heart in the midst of troubling circumstances is that for all who believe in Jesus, heaven is sure. How does the promise of heaven free us from a troubled heart (rope illustration). Romans 8:18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. When troubling circumstances threaten to trouble your heart, lock you in doubting castle, and put you under the rule of Giant Despair, compare your present trouble to the glory that awaits you. Really. Slow down and do it, even if just for a moment. Rejoice in the hope of glory and watch your heart empty of trouble, even if the emptying is as slow as a drip. Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus. He promises that heaven is sure. Now, the promise of heaven is not quite enough to set us free from doubting castle. What good is the promise of heaven if you don’t know the way? That brings us to the second promise that Jesus speaks to our troubled hearts…
HE IS THE WAY
John 14:4-6 – “And you know the way to where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Let me ask you again, why is your heart troubled? What troubling circumstances are you allowing to give you a troubled heart? What has you in Doubting Castle under Giant Despair? Jesus says to you, “don’t be troubled. Believe because I promise you heaven and you know the way. I am the way. As Pastor Tony Evans says, “The way isn’t a path; it’s a person.” If you walk the narrow path of faith, then Jesus promises you heaven and you know the way. He is the way.
Now, it must be said that Jesus does not say, “I am a way the the Father.” No, Jesus is making an unmistakably exclusivist claim. He is the way and no one comes to the Father or has an eternal dwelling in the Father’s house unless they come by the way of faith in Christ. The Apostle Peter put it this way, “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” (Acts 4:12). The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). I recently read an article about the shockingly high percentage of professing Christians who believe that it is possible to enter God’s eternal House through doing good deeds, being a good person, or having some kind of religious faith, without receiving and resting in Jesus alone for salvation. But this kind of heretical thinking completely neuters our Lord’s heart-calming promise. Jesus promises heaven and he promises that all who follow Him by faith will enter their because if we know Him then we know the way. He is the way.
Now, how can the Lord Jesus make the exclusivist claim that no one can come to the Father except through Him? Well, notice that Jesus says three things about himself before making that final claim. He is the way, the truth, and the life. This is why Jesus is the only way to the Father. Thomas A Kempis’ meditation on this verse helps me see the wonder of it. “Follow thou me. I am the way and the truth and the life. Without the way there is no going; Without the truth there is no knowing; Without the life there is no living. I am the way thou must follow; the truth which thou must believe; the life for which thou must hope. I am the inviolable way; the infallible truth, the never-ending life. I am the straightest way; the sovereign truth; life true, life blessed, life uncreated.”
Friends – whatever is threatening to trouble your heart, don’t be troubled. It will not cause you to lose your way. You will make it to the Celestial City. The trouble of this time will not be worth comparing with the eternal glory of it. And nothing will separate you from the love of God in Christ. You won’t lose your way because you trust Him. He is the way. Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus. He promises that heaven is sure and that you know the way; he is the way. Ok – so what do now? Is this life just patient waiting? Is there nothing more for us in this life to wait with untroubled hearts for the Celestial City? Far from it. And this brings us to Jesus’ final promises that frees us from Doubting Castle, Giant Despair, and troubled hearts…
HE WILL DO WHAT WE ASK IN HIS NAME
John 14:11-14 – 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.
Now that is a promise that can untrouble our hearts and free us from despair! The promises that untrouble our hearts don’t only live in the future. The promises that untrouble our hearts are a sure future home and a present unstoppable power. Whoever believes in the Lord Jesus does not only wait for the glory of heaven, but we also live now by Jesus’ promise that we will do the works that Jesus did, and greater ones. Don’t be troubled. You have a glorious inheritance in the future and you have work to do now, Jesus’ works, and even greater ones! Why in the world should our hearts be troubled if we embrace these promises?!
Now how in the world can Jesus promise that we’ll do greater works than his? Well, the answer is found in the words, “because I am going to the Father.” That’s why we can do greater works than the Lord Jesus. Next week we’ll see that Jesus promises that when he goes to the Father he also promises to send the Holy Spirit to live within all who love Him and believe in Him. The very presence of God living within every believer and dwelling in every true Christian congregation. And with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we will do even greater works than the Lord Jesus! While the Lord Jesus’ ministry was localized to a tiny sliver of land in the Middle East, He did go away to the Father by way of the cross. And three days later he rose again. And just before he ascended to the right hand of the Father he promised to send his Holy Spirit to empower his disciples to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth! How can we possibly be troubled when heaven is sure, we know the way, and we have such glorious work to do while we remain here below! There may be no better way to untrouble your heart than to throw your heart and hands into doing Jesus’ work and even greater works than his here at home and to the ends of the earth and among the unreached nations. Nothing quite untroubled the heart like doing Jesus work, and greater works.
How will these greater works be accomplished? Asking! Coming in Jesus’ authority, by Jesus’ grace, and with Jesus’ kingdom as our priority and asking. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!” If we ask in his name, he will do it. So, as Pastor Mark says, let’s pray big, bold, believing prayers. Let’s come in the authority of Jesus and ask for Him to fill us with His Spirit so that we can take his gospel where he could never travel while on earth. Let’s pray for the Lord is send workers to the unreached peoples of the earth – even from among us. Let’s pray for our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates to come to a saving faith in Jesus. Let’s pray for healing, let’s pray for revival in our generation, let’s pray for everything we need for a permanent home. Ask big, bold, believing prayers in his name and watch your heart have no time or interest in being too troubled here below while you wait for the glorious day when Jesus will bring all who believe home to his Father’s house where you will most certainly have a glorious room. Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus.
I like to tell my kids the same things over and over again. And one of the things that I like to tell our son Soren over and over again is that he’s my best bud. In our home, we emphasize God’s ordained authority structure for the family. We teach them first time obedience. And since we do, I also want my son to know that though he’s under our authority, he’s also my best bud. But earlier this week rather than telling him that he’s my best bud, I asked him, “Soren, did you know that you’re my best bud?” It’s a sort of silly question because I’ve told him that he is literally thousands of times. I loved his response. Soren said, “ya, but you can keep telling me.” I know that Jesus has told us many times in the Gospel of John to believe in him. But the heart that doesn’t want to be troubled says to Him every day, “ya, but you can keep telling me.” Don’t be troubled. Believe in Jesus.