Faithlife Sermons

The Promise of Heaven

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A good title for the age we live in might be “The Cardiac Age.” There are so many troubled hearts today. In reality, in any time period throughout history troubled hearts exist. This particular chapter John writes for us a strong word for those struggling with heart trouble. No…not the kind which sends you to the cardiologist…though it feels like at times that kind of heart trouble might actually be easier to cure.
This is the heart trouble that steels your sleep, causes headaches, and won’t let your mind rest. This is the heart trouble that steels your joy and induces stress. The Bible calls it “worry” but we Christians, as we often do, like to dress that word up just a bit and so we might call it “burdens”, “concerns”, “lack of peace”…Chuck Swindoll says, “To be ‘burdened’ over some situation we cannot control sounds so much more spiritual than simply admitting, “I’m worried sick.”
Rising crime rates, rising costs of living, job loss, international crises, human trafficking, political corruption, violence in the streets, virtual classrooms, meetings, and no body giving a good handshake, or even a hug. No wonder we are so bent out of shape these days!
We might even transfer that worry and frustration on to someone else and make up a crisis where there isn’t one just to get our minds off of that which is really bothering us.
With the presence of COVID, it is easy to see just how many people are scared to death…literally…COVID has exposed the hearts of humanity when it comes to death. If this year has revealed anything, it has revealed the amount of idols humanity has set up in our hearts over and above the one true and Living God.
When those idols are stripped away, it causes worry.
The disciples were reminded that He was leaving them in John 13:33. This left them dazed and confused on some level…some perhaps thinking, “How have we offended him to make him leave us?” One will betray Him, another will deny Him and protest his departure. The thought of death troubles many.
But…Jesus being Jesus, His own heart troubled because of what He is about to go through…lended support to the 11 as they are on the brink of catastrophic collapse.
To calm their troubled hearts, Jesus says… John 14:1
John 14:1 CSB
“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

“Trust God, Trust Me”

Faith/Trust in the Lord Jesus brings relief. Jesus gives the 11 this simple command.
There are certainly moments in this life where feelings of distress are a common experience, and we’ve seen that in Jesus in John 13:21.
But the question to answer this morning is, Where do you look in difficult times?
Some, maybe a larger percentage than we’d like to admit, try and find someone they know who has a shared experience and will look to their success as a foundation for comfort and hope. Others find some kind of coping mechanism to help them through the difficult times…or maybe we just want a vacation from it all.
You see what Jesus tells them…Trust in the truth. First and foremost you have to turn to the truth, which is why Jesus tells them, “Believe in God; believe also in Me.” Perhaps one reason why we drop the ball here is because we think it is a one time confession of belief in God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son…but this command is a bit different.
The tenses of the verb lends itself to a continual belief. Keep on doing what you’ve already done.
“You’ve believed in God, you believe in Me, keep trusting, keep relying.”
If Jesus knew these guys would be shaken up with this news, then believe He knows exactly what You are walking through right now? God’s Word says He doesHebrews 4:15-16
Hebrews 4:15–16 CSB
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
This is a key truth in the struggle because
Jesus knows everything and He was fully human…He’s got sympathy for you…He knows your weaknesses…Yet He overcame.
Because we have Jesus, we are able to approach the throne of grace, dwelling place of God, and seek help, mercy, and grace in our time of need.
So we must believe, and keep on believing in His plan.
One more reason to keep on trusting Him…we need an anchor in the storm. We need safe harbor where the ship is protected from the wind and waves around us. Jesus is that anchor. Hebrews 6:19
Hebrews 6:19 CSB
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
Hebrews 6 is a strong warning for those who stop believing…it describes them as “fallen away.” Part of the life of a true disciple of Jesus is perseverance, endurance, running the race to the end. There is an answered promise(6:15) for those who are patient, a great inheritance at the finish line, which is why the author of Hebrews tells us today about this HOPE AS AN ANCHOR FOR THE SOUL…Jesus Christ. So that we trust God, trust Jesus Christ, and keep on trusting.
Speaking of the finish line and inheritance look at what Jesus says next… John 14:2-3
John 14:2–3 CSB
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.

Here Is the Reason You can Trust Me

You can trust Jesus because He secured a long-term future for those who believe in Him.
I’ve heard it said by skeptics that it seems ridiculous to believe in something you cannot see. Those who try to poke holes in the Bible say its just an old fable or myth, no different than Greek/Roman mythology. But the Bible time and time again provides ample evidence to God’s credibility. So we are given many reasons we can trust Him. Following Jesus isn’t some jump into the darkness. Jesus shined His light into the darkness and clearly explains why we can trust Him.
Jesus reassures them His going away has nothing to do with their performance or lack there of. But rather, He is going away to secure their eternal future. Here, the reason to trust Him is because Jesus is going to provide preparation for them.
That preparation is noted here as the “Father’s house.” The is the dwelling or domain of God.
Not only is Jesus going away, but He is going away to prepare a place for them, AND…He will come back and get them so that they may be where He is…what more could you ask for.
Jesus is going home, and His home will be their home. He is going to prepare them a new home. Heaven is a real place. Heaven is not the figment of a man’s imagination one night after he had too much to drink. Heaven is a real place created by God for His people to with Him forever. And listen…there is enough room. I love that old hymn, “There’s room at the cross for you…though millions have come, there’s still room for one, yes there’s room at the cross for you.”
Great…why is that important? Because the scriptures teach that God has written eternity on our hearts. Ecc 3:11
Ecclesiastes 3:11 CSB
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end.
So in order for your place to be prepared, you’ve got to believe. God wants you with Him for eternity, that is why there is a desire there in each one of our hearts to find it. But there is only one way to get there, through the One, Jesus Christ, who left us here to go to the cross to make the necessary preparations.
There’s been a bit of discussion on this part of verse where Jesus says, “there are many rooms” or “dwelling places.” The KJV translates that word as “mansions.” Thus the old gospel song, “I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop...” Let me put something the rest…The Western concept of the prosperity gospel and economic gain once you’ve followed Jesus and have enough faith to make it happen is a pipe dream.
First, God never promises economic prosperity to all who follow Jesus. Second, the word is used as a common description of a relationship of God with the people of God. Third, the simply doesn’t mean a castle-like home. It is derived from a word that means “to remain”, and “dwelling” or “abiding” places.(Gerald L. Borchert, NAC, John 12-21, p. 102-106).

Here Is the Reason You can Trust Me

We have to be careful how we visualize God and not put Him in an earth-like dwelling. Gerald Borchert expressed it this way… “The teacups of our thinking and language have not even yet approached the capacity of holding the ocean of divine truth. The domain of God is certainly beyond our finite thinking.” - Borchert
There is a desire that all this world has to offer us simply cannot fulfill. God has planted in us something more, something greater, a longing to be with our Creator. Hebrews 11:10
Hebrews 11:10 CSB
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Friends, we are not citizens of the earth, if you are in Christ, you are a citizen of Heaven. If you follow Jesus, it will be a narrow road, and there will be unrest in your soul while on this earth. But Jesus made a promise to the Disciples and that promise is secure still to this day. He will fulfill His promise
We know this because:
He said, “I am going to there to prepare a place for you...” It is the going that is important - through the cross and resurrection - that prepares the place for the disciples.
And if He goes to that much effort, it makes total sense that Jesus follows up with, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” There is no greater place of comfort than the very presence of God.
Have you noticed how Jesus personally secures these promises?
Verse 2 - “MY Father’s house” - “if not, I would have told you” - “I am going away”
Verse 3 - “I go away” - “I will come again” - “take you to myself” - “so that where I am”
Verse 4 - “You know where I am going.”
You all know that termites can do a great deal of damage to a wood frame structure. Those little critters can destroy a home, even a home with the strongest foundations. Satan would love nothing more than to eat away at the foundations of your faith in Jesus.
If you’re not a believer just yet, then Satan would love nothing more than for you to lose whatever seeds of faith have been planted in your heart and to keep out of the faith.
So there are definite threats to you follower of Jesus that you need to be aware of. These are areas the 11 disciples struggled with, and areas the Bible addresses for us. You are on a journey in Christ, be more like Christ. Satan doesn’t want that. He’d love nothing more than for you to quit trusting in Jesus Christ and lose all confidence in Him.

Threat #1 - An unhealthy attachment to earthly things will lead to fear when they are removed.

If you’ll remember Judas…he had an unhealthy attachment to the concept of a rebellion against Rome led by Jesus. He had power, position, and the purse on his mind. It ate away at him and will cost him his life and whatever future ministry he might have had as one of the 12.
Do you remember the story of the rich young man that Jesus told? Matt 19:22
Matthew 19:22 CSB
When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
He couldn’t let go and follow Jesus. It cost him everything in the end.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 - “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What is the solution? - The Bible says to set your mind on things that are above, not below.
Colossians 3:1–4 CSB
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Faith not Fear

The first thing Jesus did was address their fear. He commands it away, and inserts God the Father and God the Son as the appropriate object of their focus and devotion. TRUST! Jesus calls them to faith, not fear. The only reason you can even receive this comfort is because it comes from the cross.
Live by faith! Trust in Jesus.

Threat #2 - The wrong perspective of Jesus leads to the wrong perspective of our Father’s House.

Some think we will be plump little baby’s sitting on clouds strumming our harps with little wings and a halo. Nothing could be further from the truth. Endless boredom as we just float around on clouds. That is about their view of Jesus as well.
If one only sees Jesus as a good man, a teacher, or only a popular religious prophet, the danger is that secular view of Jesus leads to a diminished view of God’s dwelling place.
But listen, heaven is not some generic location. We don’t serve a generic God, and He doesn’t do generic. The place that Jesus goes the very home of God the Father and the Son. He not only lives there but is preparing a place there for His children. The “house” belongs to God, and those who believe in the Son are welcomed home. It is a glorious place.
Have you read the book of Revelation? Heaven is all about Jesus. We get a glimpse of Heaven in the book of Revelation, and every scene that takes place in heaven is about one person: JESUS!
What is the solution?

Future Place - Present Hope

Listen, I love the passages that speak about God wiping away our tears, no more sorrow, no pain, no death…but heaven isn’t great nor should our hope only be real because of these things are true. Nor should our hope only be based on the streets made of gold, or some great mansion that we have in our minds eye.
Heaven is great because that’s where Jesus is! The promise is that they, and those who will come after them, will be with Jesus. All these things are true about heaven, but only because Jesus will be there!
The remembrance of this promise, enabled them to live with expectation and hope through many trials and struggles in this life.
This promise sustained Abraham has he left his home bound for “who knows where” but God knew.
This promise gave Moses hope of a promised land, flowing with milk and honey.
The promise called Joshua and the people to take possession of the promise land.
The promise was on the lips of David as he wrote Psalm 16:11
Psalm 16:11 CSB
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.
When Peter was older, the promise led him to pen these words inspired by God: 1 Peter 5:10-11
1 Peter 5:10–11 CSB
The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. To him be dominion forever. Amen.
The disciples had great hope because of the promise of Jesus of a future place.
Do you long for something more than what this life has to offer? What you are looking for is found in Jesus Christ.
Admit to God that you’re a sinner in need of forgiveness.
Believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and receive His gift of forgiveness.
Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
“Jesus, I admit I am a sinner, and I need your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I believe that You are God’s Son and today I trust you as my Savior and Lord. Guide me and help to do your will.” Amen
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