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John #43 In A Little While

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That you may Believe and Have Life #43

John 16:16-33

Daddy are we there yet? 

That question usually was offered before we even got out of town.  And often we answer, “in a little while”.

“In a little while”

We could say “in an hour” but a 3 year old doesn’t really understand “in an hour” any more than they understand a hundred dollars versus a dollar.

In 1996 we loaded up our minivan and we took the biggest family trip we’ve ever taken.  We went from Houston, along the south, up the east coast, through D.C., Philly, New York City, up to Upstate New York, back across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, working our way back to Texas. 

Well, on a trip like that “in a little while” was hard.  So we got a small television and a vcr and we would say thing like, “One Movie and Two Cartoons, and we’ll stop for lunch.”

It is hard to contemplate time when you are a little kid.

But you know I think back to a few years before that, when we were expecting AJ and then Bryan.  The Doctor told us “you’re one month pregnant and are due June 2.  That seemed like a long time in October of 1987.  8 months isn’t long, it’s just “a little while”.  Unless you are expecting a baby then it seems like forever.

But hey having a baby, it’s such a beautiful thing. 

It’s full of lollipops and candy right?

It’s all about bluebirds following you around singing.  Right?

It’s just 9 months of bliss, then a vacation to the Hospital, a deep breath, a push and then ahhh … the beautiful baby that comes out quietly cooing, smiling, laughing, sleeping, ahh … bringing a for a baby. 

Wait a minute, morning sickness, weight gain, mood swings, sleeplessness, sleeping all the time, cravings, back aches, wait a minute, what was that, that hurt, hey, Ouch, stop it, ahhhh, give me pain meds, no I want it natural, how about a c-section, what are you going to do with that scalpel? 

When is this 9 months going end?

“In a little while”

But saying “my wife is pregnant” is like saying “my wife has brown hair” … it’s just part of life

I don’t guess it will ever end

Never mind if the 9 month game goes into overtime, when will this ENNND!?

In a little while …

Go back to that first Doctor’s visit.

What do you mean I can’t have my coffee and sodas

A whole list of things that I can and can’t do

But what about the person that does whatever they want while they are pregnant?

What about the ones that seem to be having fun while abusing their bodies during that pregnancy?

Well the one that is happy and does whatever they want and abuses their body, will not be happy with what it does when the birth comes around

But the one who is faithful, puts up with some inconveniences and difficulty, the pain, the trials, …

When that healthy baby is born, when that cry comes out … I don’t know a mother or father that doesn’t say “oh it was worth it … it was just a little while”

That’s what Jesus was trying to get his disciples to see.

Let’s continue

READ John 16:16-33

The disciples asked a question we often ask, what does he mean by “in a little while”

If you read through the writings of Paul, Peter, John, there seemed to be a clear expectation that Jesus could come any time.

And I believe we SHOULD have a mindset that Jesus could come any time

But “in a little while” is a short, yet not always short time

In Haggai 2:6 a God’s people in exile, with their Temple decimated heard God said through the prophet, don’t be discouraged because “in a little while, I will shake the heavens and earth, the sea and dry land … nations … and I will fill this house with glory …

“in a little while” – but in a little while doesn’t mean 5 seconds from now.

Nor does it mean without cost, work, frustration, pain, tears, blood, or sweat

Jesus used “in a little while” for two different time frames here as he says
“In a little while, you won’t see me”

“In a little while, you will see me again”

And then he defines which “leaving” he is talking about in verse 17 he says “I’m going to the Father” …

So he says “in a little while you won’t see me” … well that measure of time would be from that Thursdsay night … until 40 days later when he ascended to Heaven.  You might wonder if perhaps he is just talking about “a little while” between then and when he was crucified and buried … less than a day  and then “a little while … see again” meaning just Sunday.  A few days. 

The problem is we’ve been reading this passage and Jesus has been talking about leaving, going to the Father, leaving the Holy Spirit …

So this first “in a little while” is the 40 days until the ascension …

So, we have it down, right, “in a little while” is 40 days …

But then he says “in a little while you’ll see me again” … well that’s been 2000 years … still we haven’t seen him …

How could Christ use 40 years and 2000 years and define both times of as a little while?

It is all relative

The word translated “a little while”  is a word that means little … but it isn’t limited to a number or a time … it can be of stature, age, time, magnitude.

You can use the term to differentiate between older and younger siblings.

I have a “little brother” … “I’m a BIG brother” … Well there is very little difference in our stature, and my little brother is 40 … but he’s younger than me and I’m older than he …

When Jesus Christ, who always was, always is, always will be GOD … says 40 years … in a little while … or 2000 years … in a little while … it is all relative compared to him. 

So, in the few minutes I have left, I want us to get an understanding of this principle of transformation

I want to encourage you to lift your head

I want to help you change the way you think about the challenges and struggles of life

So, what does Jesus say to his people, his people about the time between when he left and when he is returning?

1. For a Little While You Will Have …

He says

    1. You are going to weep and mourn

There is loss in following Christ

I am crucified with Christ … there is weeping that goes with loss …

Jesus said that those that follow him will be despised and rejected, will be persecuted and mistreated that some will leave behind family and friends … there is loss and with it weeping and mourning

For a Little While, a little while


    2. You are going to have pain and grief –

1 peter 1:6 – “all grief and all kinds of trials”

1 peter 5:10 suffer for a little while

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NIV)
4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

For a Little While, a little while


    3. In this world you WILL have Trouble

Rom. 8:17 says our current suffering won’t be anything compared to the glory to come … Just as sure as the coming glory is the present suffering

1 Corinthians 4:12-13 (NIV)
12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

For a Little While, a little while

    4. You will be Sad


For a Little While, a little while

It’s like the birthing process we are in now

Romans 8:22 (NIV)
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Oh but it may seem like it but expecting parents aren’t expecting FOREVER … just

For a Little While, a little while

And let us not miss that Jesus has already told us in Chapter 15 not to be surprised when the World Hates us … because it hated him FIRST …

So much of our tears, sorrows, grief, troubles, will not just be the course of life but the results of the direct attack of the wicked

David understood the attack of the wicked and many of his psalms are cries in the midst of the attack of the wicked

But Jesus makes it seem a little worse as he contrasts our state for a little while … with the state of the wicked …

2. For a Little While the Wicked May Have …

    1. success

Ps 37:35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in it’s native soil

Ps 14:6 evildooers frustrate the plans of the poor …


Though a fool says in his heart “there is no God” (Ps 14:1) it seems they still move along in success

    2. Rejoicing

Especially when we fail.

Oh how the wicked Rejoice when the Righteous are defeated

There is nothing this world takes greater pleasure in than putting down God’s people

It may seem that while you are working at your job with honesty and integrity as required by your God, that those who don’t know God are using situational ethics to get ahead while sometimes you are left behind … oh but just

For a Little While, a little while

Job 20:5 the joy of the godless lasts but a moment

    3. peace

It seems that everything goes well and peaceful sometimes for the wicked, for a little while … because satan doesn’t come against those going his way

Oh when there is ALWAYS peace in a church, I am worried that we are not trying anything for God … because Satan doesn’t come against a church that is not breaking strongholds, and completing Kingdom tasks

Ps 17:14 men of this world whose reward is in this life

Lazarus and the Rich Man are a great picture of the way things often are for the godly and the wicked … Jesus tells there story in Luke 16

 Speaking of the rich man it says Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony

We Have troubles in this world my friends

The Evil and Wicked will have success in this world my friend but it’s just

For a Little While, a little while

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Do you Believe in the goodness of God?

Do you Believe in Heaven and in Hell?

Do you Believe in Eternity?

Then no matter how long our Lord delays his coming … now matter how difficult it gets or unfair it MAY SEEM it is just

For A Little while, for a Little While

But be CERTAIN … this Little while WILL come to an end …

This Pregnancy WILL GIVE BIRTH

3. But In a Little While …

God doesn’t desire to have us be immature Christians but to grow in the struggles and challenges of life

A parent that gives every disappointed child a toy, that replaces every difficulty with temporary joy creates a spoiled immature child.

We want the best for our children but we have to let them grow through the struggles of life …

It’s a principle of Transformation not replacement

Jesus didn’t promise to replace all of our struggles with easy living

Some would have you believe that God will replace all your troubles with whatever you want

The Problem is that as a teaching, this is not found in scripture.  There may be incidents where a gracious God decides you have learned or you need not learn and he will provide a gift …

But look at his example the Expectant mother, she doesn’t have the pain of pregnancy and childbirth REPLACED with something different giving her joy.

The pregnant mother has a transformation happen in her life …

She doesn’t REPLACE  or trade her pregnancy for a lollipop or a happy meal. 

No, the SAME thing that CAUSED her pain BRINGS her Joy

Her strife is transformed into JOY!

Our struggles in life are NOT replaced with joy … as if …

Oh just pray and God will take every challenge away

No our challenges and our pain, strife, trouble, mourning and grief are TRANSFORMED into Joy

And so the one who refuses the narrow way and takes the wide easy road. 

The one who chooses the way of Satan and Selfishness … He may have Joy and Rejoicing but it also is Transformed … and the same thing that brought Joy and Rejoicing brings struggle, pain, grief and judgment

  A. The Wicked Will Be Judged

– for the wicked “in a little while” IS a measure of Time …

    1. a just time – those who rejected God will receive justice … we hear a lot about justice … I don’t want Justice I want Christ and Grace but the wicked will get what is just, because it is …

    2. a righteous time – the righteousness of Christ will be revealed from Heaven

    3. a rendering time – a time when the things we have done on this earth will be burned up in Heaven’s fire and all that will remain will be those things that are true to God … The Refiner’s fire is coming


In a little while, in a little while


    4. a judging time

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 (NIV)
7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.

Oh … but Christ has something for us in a little while

  B. For Us

Our struggles are transformed into Joy

Impossible situations are transformed into triumph … sorrow into joy

Deut 23:5 – the Lord “turned curse into a blessing”

Joseph was sold into slavery, he was lied about by Potiphar’s wife, he was sentenced to prison, he was forgotten … but his struggle, trials, tears, they all were transformed from hopelessness into victory, deliverance, and provision. 

Oh but he IS coming again and what we have faced will seem like nothing

    1. an appointed time

It’s appointed men once to die …

Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour except the Father in Heaven … and he knows … If you can imagine there is a clock that is counting down … God Knows … it has been known since the beginning

    2. an appropriate time

Paul said that Jesus came in the Fullness of Time …

We learned that Canaan was judged when the time was full … Jesus said he is preparing a place for us … when the time is right … when it is full … when the world has had all of it’s opportunities …

    3. a resurrection time

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV)
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Christ is the first born of the resurrection and we know that if he is resurrected then we also will be resurrected

    4. a restoration time

1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

The earth will be restored, there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth

At the restoration of all things

    5. end of time

Time will be no more

Revelation 19:11-21:5 (NIV)
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. … 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. … 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 21:1… 1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, … 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. … 6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. 7 When the thousand years are over… the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it….  12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, ... The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, … 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, ... 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, … 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

    6. beginning of time

Time in his presence

Time in a New Heaven and a New Earth

Time to Worship Him

Time to Serve him

1 Corinthians 15:52-55 (NIV)
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

“A little while” is on God’s Clock

We couldn’t handle or understand if he told us when it was

“A little while” is

An Appointed Time

An Appropriate Time

A Just and Justifying Time

Resurrection Time

Restoration Time

The Beginning and Ending of Time

Can you say “Lord I Trust you with “a little while” …

I trust you with Today because those light and momentary afflictions are nothing compared to the Glory to come … “in a little while”

For a Little while …

For a Little while …

For a little while, for a little while …

this pain I’m going through

For a little while, for a little while …

might seem Satan’s winning too

But in a little while, in a little while,

oh a in a little while …

He’ll split the eastern sky,

to meet him I will fly,

we will never die

In a little while

(key change)

For a little while, for a little while … trouble knows my name

For a little while, for a little while …

seems every day’s the same

But in a little while, in a little while,

oh in a little while

I’ll walk on streets of gold,

I never will grow old,

I will reach my goal

In a little while

(key change)

For a little while, for a little while …

press on to the end

For a little while, for a little while …

broken hearts will mend

Cause in a little while, in a little while,

oh in a little while

My Savior’s face I’ll see,

I’ll finally be free,

Won’t you go with me

In a little while

Lift Your Head

No matter what you face this week

Just sing for a little while for a little while

Troubles … for a little while …

Wicked Succeed for a little while …

Jesus is coming in a little while … in a little while

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