John #39 The Greatest Comfort
That You May Believe and Have Life #39
In 1998, I was at a training conference for Pastors and was playing basketball on the first day. A few minutes into the game, I went up for a jump shot and the Pastor covering me, my friend, Rodney Woo, stepped under me, my left foot came down on his foot, my ankle rolled and I heard 3 loud pops and crumpled to the ground in excruciating pain. I knew what was happening. As I was being helped into the van to go to the ER, I began to cry. I know I’m supposed to be tough, but I began to cry. One of the reasons that I was crying was because I had done this before, I knew what was coming, and I didn’t want to be on crutches. I didn’t want to need something else. I didn’t want to be needy. I wanted to be tough. But I knew what was ahead. I have hurt this ankle many times over the years. All the way back to May 1977, when I broke this ankle. My fears were confirmed, I had a severely sprained ankle, worse than a break. I spent the rest of the conference on crutches. I went home with a balloon sized ankle and purple toes. I spent a month on crutches, 3 months in Rehab and it was 11 months before I would wake up with out it hurting every day.
At the doctor’s advice, in the last 10 years, I have not played basketball or other sports without the use of a strong ankle brace or air cast. And have not seriously injured it since.
I have a weakness and it requires support.
Our problem is often that we won’t admit we have a weakness.
We won’t admit that we are injured, physically, emotionally, or spiritually
Or, at best, we admit it but we won’t get help, we won’t take up a crutch, we won’t get care and so we go on wounded instead of using what will help us.
Folks, there is nothing wrong with using a crutch when you are injured
Some of you are hurting today and you need to stop standing on your own two feet and lean on Jesus
Now, there is a time and a place for standing on your own two feet
There are people who try and lean on Jesus when he says “SOAR” …
But Jesus won’t tell you to “SOAR” when you have broken wings …
He will say “come to me … and I will give you rest”
I want to try and encourage you over the next several weeks with the Word of Jesus for his Disciples leading up to his arrest and crucifixion.
Well … we move back into our study of the book of John. Jesus and his disciples has shared together a meal, he taught them about servanthood as he washed their feet.
Jesus sent Judas out to do what he knew he would do in betraying him.
Then Jesus gave them new commandments to love in the same way that he loves.
Why did Jesus call on his disciples to love each other deeply with a Christlike love?
He commanded it because he knew what was about to happen to them. He knew he was about to die
He knew that they were about to be thrust into the difficult world of physical separation from him.
He knew that they were going to face persecution, rejection, beatings, and loss for their faith.
He knew that the anxiety of separation from him would rock them to the core …
He also knew what it was to walk in our flesh and blood
He knew the struggles and distress …
He knew what it was to be troubled …
In 1 John 3 John reminded his readers, this is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another … do not be surprised if the world hates you …
This World is hard … and yet Jesus was about to die, rise, again, and ascend to the Father. Now, this is ALL great for us, but he knew the disciples wouldn’t understand it … so, remember what he said in chapter 13 … where I am going, you cannot follow NOW, but you WILL follow later”
And Peter asked “why can’t I follow you now?
So, knowing what they were going to face, knowing that he was leaving and they wouldn’t understand … Jesus continues to teach …
Have you ever lost someone close to you, through death, and then you realized that they had been trying to prepare you but you couldn’t understand it because you couldn’t imagine anything so different as losing them. You couldn’t imagine them not being in your life.
Well, like the disciples, we all get troubled by the difficulties of Life.
We all ask questions like, “how am I gonna get through this?”. Or, “How can I possibly survive?”.
Well, with the disciples losing the physical presence of Christ, and with your struggles today, I want to talk to you today about “The Greatest Comfort” …
Now we read a long passage and the most famous verse is verse 6; but most of what I want us to see this morning, we will see in the first four verses.
We have all needed someone in a time of uncertainty
We have all had a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold
We have all sought comfort, encouragement, and strength in different places.
Well, today, can you let Jesus take you by the hand
Can you rest your head on his shoulder
Can you find comfort in his words today?
Do Not Be Troubled
1. Trust Me
Trust … it’s one of those amazing things that is hard to get ahold of
The interesting thing is that Trust can’t be earned it can only be given.
You can be worthy of trust, but even then it still must be given.
Jesus said, “you Trust in God, Trust also in me”
The NASB and KJV say “Believe in God, Believe also in Me”
The Greek word here is one that John sure likes to use, it is pisteuo = to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, to place confidence in; to trust in Jesus; to entrust a thing to one
TRUST ME … Jesus says … Like you Trust God
There are so many in this world today that believe in a greater power, a God, but have yet to place their faith and Trust in Jesus.
Oh Trust Me, Jesus says
Creation trusts Father and Son …
Psalm 65:5 (NIV) 5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,
Trust him because he is a foundation eternal
Isaiah 26:4 (NIV) 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
Trust him because he is GOOD
Nahum 1:7 (NIV) 7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
Trust him because there is room for all
Psalm 36:7 (NIV) 7 How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Because he cares for us
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Because everything you know about him says TRUST HIM
Psalm 9:10 (NIV) 10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
He has delivered you before
2 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV) 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,
Jesus says TRUST ME …
Oh who or what are you trusting in today?
Jesus says … “You know the way”
Thomas said “Lord we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way”
And Jesus responded with those most famous of phrases
I am the Way
Jesus says TRUST ME …
You know I was thinking about it and for most, it’s NOT that you don’t know the Way, The World, in most places, and America in particular has heard the truth proclaimed over and again
The fact of the way is clear … the question is not what, but do we want to take the way
The question is will I TRUST the Way
Jesus says TRUST ME … for so many reasons …
Trust me … because …
2. I Will Be Back
You can Trust Jesus because he always speaks the truth …
If it were not so, I would have told you
Look at verse three Jesus says
If I Go … I will come back
With the same certainty that he is gone …
He is coming back
When Jesus died on Friday, Jesus had promised he would rise again on the third day
And as sure as the Tomb is Empty
Jesus will be back.
When Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives with his disciples, 40 days after his resurrection, He Ascended to the Father
The disciples were standing there staring into the sky … and two angels appeared to them and said
Acts 1:11 (NIV) 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
He is coming back … just as certain as he left
He is Coming
- in clouds mt 24:30
- in the glory of the Father mt16:27
- in his own glory mt 25:31
- in flaming fire 2 th 1:7
- with power and glory mt 24:30
- like he left acts 1:9,11
- with a shout and the voice of the archangel 1 th 4:16
- with Angels Mt 16:27
- with his Saints 1 th 3:13; rev 19:14
- Suddenly Mr 13:36
- Unexpectedly Mt 24:44
- Like a Thief in the night 1 Th 5:2
- Like Lightning mt 24:27
Jesus IS Coming Back
If He is not coming back then he was not resurrected from the dead
The most exciting thing to realize is that Jesus Is coming Back …
Because he Left and is coming back with a Purpose
I will come back and take you …
I used to travel in Evangelism, and I would call home and say “I’ll be home in a couple of days … and I’ll have a surprise with me”
Jesus gives us great comfort in understanding that he is coming back and he has said …
3. I Will Have Something For You
There is a Purpose for his going …
He has something for us
Say it …
Tell the person next to you
“He is Coming Back and he has something for You”
Three things about what he has …
1. NOT a frame of mind, not a figment of your imagination, not a place on earth …
2. but Heaven is a PLACE
3. you don’t have to WONDER if Heaven is for real because Jesus, who cannot Lie has said be not troubled in your heart because if you trust in me as you trust in God, I will be back to take you to a place …. It is a Place – topos – a place, space marked off, an inhabited place, a city, village, district
4. What kind of Place is it?
a. a Prepared Place – hetoimazo (het-oy-mad-zo) = to make ready, to make necessary preparations, get everything ready
Jesus Christ, Who created Heaven in 6 days has been preparing for you a Place.
Look at the Sunrise … he prepared that for you today, as a foretaste of Glory Divine … Can you imagine the Place he is preparing for you
Look at the purpose, precision, and perfection in THIS universe though it has been damaged by our sin … and Imagine what he has prepared for us. It is a prepared Place
b. It is an abiding Place – he says “in my Father’s House are many rooms” … the NIV says … the KJV says “In My Father’s House are Many Mansions” – NASB says “Many Dwellings” – the point is that within The Father’s oikia (oykeeah) = house, inhabited edifice … there are polys mone (monay) – MANY - dwellings – but the Prepared place that he has for you and for me within the Father’s House … is an Abiding place … does it really matter what kind of dwelling?
… “abiding place” a further definition for this mone that Jesus is Preparing for you it is ADIDING PLACE a place for you to dwell, an abode within God’s place
c. and it is a STAYING Place – that is another defining word … for many rooms – means staying, abiding, dwelling – isn’t that a beautiful thing that Christ has prepared for you … it is a prepared place, an abiding place, and a staying place … what he has for you is NOT just a place to visit and have to leave, it is a place for staying
He has prepared it for you to dwell, abide, stay, forever … Somebody say Hallelujah!
He has a place …
And he has for you …
B. His Presence
1. Now, Heaven is going to be a wonderful place … The limited picture that we get in scripture is AMAZING … But …
2. that’s not the thing … it is that we will be in the presence of Jesus … We will be In his Presence … I can only Imagine … I will Bow on My Knees and Cry Holy …
Why? Because I’m in the Presence of my Lord, my Love, My Savior, King, my Friend.
Oh for Moses the Glory of God caused his face to shine
When Peter James and John saw Jesus Transfigured, they fell over as if Dead …
Does it really matter what or where Heaven will be … as long We will Be in the presence of Jesus?
3. WHERE I AM – There you Will Be … what a beautiful Statement and it will be PARADISE – Jesus told the Thief on the cross “today you will be WITH ME IN Paradise”
4. Can you IMAGINE … ONE DAY … we will be where he is – where I AM – eimi – where he exists … we will exist also kai also INDEED … What an amazing thought
5. Where he is we will be WITH him – I know this 1 john 3 says that when we see him we will be like him for we will see him as he is … we will be conformed into his Image … that’s what he planned all along …
He has a place
He has his presence
And he is coming back with something that
C. Is Personal
1. It is FOR YOU …
2. Oh Precious Saint don’t miss the personal nature of your Salvation
3. don’t miss the personal nature of his Promises
4. The Lord is MY SHEPHERD, read the 23rd Psalm … it is a Personal thing that he has for YOU …
5. Look back at these four verses, and how personally your Savior, Redeemer, and Friend relates to you.
Do not let YOUR hearts be troubled … if it were not so I would have told YOU … I am going to prepare a place FOR YOU … I will come back and take YOU … that YOU also may be … YOU know the way …
6. He is Coming Back for ME!
7. Do you Know Him Today? He is Coming back for YOU!
Oh The Greatest Comfort I could Give you today is … He is Coming Back … Where he is gone, we can’t go … YET … but we will
Am I saying we won’t have trouble?
No of course not – Jesus said in this world you will have trouble …
Am I saying we won’t have things happen in our lives that attack our soul and spirit?
No, of course not
But Jesus says
Do Not Let Your Heart Be Troubled
You have a choice today
Where will you place your trust?
Do not LET your heart – kardia = the center of life, the seat of thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes,
Do not let it be Troubled – tarasso = to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, to disturb equanimity
There’s our word for the week equanimity – it means “evenness of mind under stress”
Perhaps today our Lord will come
To bear us to our much-loved Home:
Before the evening shadows fall
May sound the longed-for clarion call;
Then out of sorrow, tears and strife,
We’ll rise to realms of joy and life.
Perhaps today will be the last,
And time shall be forever past.
Our light affliction will be o’er.
Then Glory! Glory! evermore!
These days of toil and pain will cease
And faithful workers rest in peace.
Perhaps today mine eyes shall see
The Lamb of God who died for me:
Oh, nothing else will matter then.
If unto Him I’ve faithful been.
Live for that day, O soul of mine,
And joy eternal shall be thine.
—Annie Lind Woodworth
Because I am Coming Back
Because I have a place and my presence FOR YOU …
You can Make it
You can Keep your Mind in the Midst of the Stress you now face
You can keep it Tomorrow
You can keep it Today
You can Keep it Now
You CAN MAKE it
The Greatest Comfort is to be In Christ and Know … he is coming Back
Don’t bury your head
Lift your Chin
He is Not Dead
He is Coming Again
Do not be discouraged
When you are under attack
He has not forgotten you
He IS coming back
Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.