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JESUS OVER ALL OUR DOUBTS AND FEARS

by Victor Knowles

From Victor Knowles FB page

 

Many encouraging thoughts in this.

.For those who are unable to attend church service this Sunday, here is the sermon I preached last week:

John 14:1-14

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

     In my Facebook post on Wednesday (March 4), I mentioned I was working on this sermon. Here is what I posted:  It was the question of Peter that prompted Jesus to say, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” It was the uncertainty of Thomas that led Jesus to say, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” It was the request of Philip that resulted in Jesus saying, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus knows your every care and concern, and He has the answer to all your questions. Trust in Him.  Jesus’ words to His disciples are good for us today to ponder, embrace, and live by. In this text we find 5 great truths.

Truth #1. Jesus is the One in whom we must trust. (14:1)

     Peter was troubled. “Lord, where are you going?” (13:36). When told that he couldn’t follow not, but he could follow later he asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” (v. 37). Jesus replied, “Really? Before the rooster crows you will disown me three times!” (v. 38). Then Jesus speaks these famous and comforting words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me” (14:1).
In a short time, life for the disciples was going to fall in. Their world was going to collapse around them. Jesus knew they must hold on to their trust in God. Psa. 27:13 NKJV says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
     Psa. 141:8 Modern English Version says, “But my eyes are unto You, O GOD my Lord, in You is my trust; do not leave my soul defenseless.”
Proverbs 3:5 NIV says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13 NIV).
Peter (quoting Isaiah) wrote to Christians who were scattered abroad: “For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” (1 Pet. 2:6 NIV). Let us trust God. Let us also trust in Christ.

Truth #2. Jesus says there is room in heaven for all (14:2).

     “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” Other translations say “mansions” or “dwelling places.” The Father’s house is heaven. Remember how David ends the 23rd Psalm? “And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Heaven is our forever home. And there is room in heaven for everyone! John said, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Rev. 7:9 NIV). In Heaven there will be no “No Vacancy” signs. No true Christian or weary traveler will be turned away.

     In verses 2 & 3 we see three things about Jesus;

  1. We see the HONESTY of Jesus. “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Jesus does not joke around or tell falsehoods. Heaven is real
    B. We see the MISSION of Jesus. “I am going to prepare a place for you.” This is one of the reasons why He went back to heaven. To prepare you a designer home! What a blessing to all who are dispersed or displaced!
    C. We see the TRIUMPH of Jesus. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” Jesus is returning in triumph and glory! William Barclay said, “The Second Coming of Jesus is a doctrine which has to a large extent dropped out of Christian thinking and preaching. History is going somewhere. Without a climax history would be incomplete. History must have a consummation, and that consummation will be the triumph of Jesus. And He promises that in the day of His Triumph He will welcome His friends.

Truth #3. Jesus is the only pathway to God. (14:4-6).

     Then He added, “You know the way to the place where I am going.” Now we come to a second disciple, Thomas. Thomas was not sure about all this. He said to Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (v. 5). Jesus answers his question with one of the greatest truths in all of Scripture. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (v. 6) In this response we see that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is:

  1. THE WAY. Not a way. The Way! The Old Testament talked about the way. Deut. 5:32-33 NKJV says, “Therefore you shall [be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you” (God, to Moses). However, Deut. 31:9 NKJV adds, “For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.” Guess what? It happened!

     Still, God held out hope for His people. Isaiah 30:21 NIV says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” That way would become a highway known as the Way of Holiness. Isaiah 35:8 ESV says, “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.”

     David’s prayer was that God would teach him the way in which to go. Psalm 27:11 NASB says, “Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a level path because of my foes.” Finally, here comes Jesus who says, “I am the way.” The way is a person, not a path, not a program of self-improvement, not a pious platitude.

  1. THE TRUTH. He did not say, “I know about truth.” He said, “I am the truth.” Psalm 119:130 CSB says, “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set Your ordinances before me.”

     Then comes Jesus who says, “I am the truth.” William Barclay says, “Many men have told us the truth, but no man ever embodied it. Moral truth cannot be conveyed solely in words; it must be conveyed in example. And that is where the greatest human teacher must fall down. No teacher has ever embodied the truth he taught – except Jesus. Many a man could say, ‘I have taught you the truth.’ Only Jesus could say, ‘I am the truth. Moral perfection finds its realization in Him.” John 1:17 NIV says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Jesus said, “As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (John 8:40).

  1. THE LIFE. He did not say, “I know something about life.” He said, “I am the life.” Proverbs 6:23 NIV says, “For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.” Proverbs 10:17 NIV says, “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life.” But Jesus is the Life. John 1:14 NIV says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” John 3:16 KJV says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:36 NIV says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Jesus declared, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). At the tomb of Lazarus, He said to grieving Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NIV).
    No one comes to the Father except through Christ. Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus is able to save to eternity those who come to God by Him.

Truth #4. Jesus is the express image of God. (vs. 7-9)

     A third disciples enters the picture when Philip ask Jesus “Show us the Father.” Jesus responds, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Imagine the shock waves this statement sent through the ancient Jewish and Greek world! To both Jews and Greeks God was The Invisible One. But to see Jesus is to see God. God was manifested (made known) in the flesh. John 1:14 NIV says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
      Listen to Paul in Corinth. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4 NIV). The Message says, “They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.”
Listen to Paul again. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col. 1:15 NIV). The Amplified Versions says, “He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible] …”
Hebrews 1:3 NIV says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being …” Other translations say “express image” or “exact imprint” or “perfect imprint.”

Truth #5. Jesus makes two incredible promises (14:12-14).

  1. Anyone who believes in Christ will do greater things than He has done. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (v. 12). How can this possibly be?
    Consider this. Jesus never preached outside Israel. Within His lifetime Europe had never heard the gospel. Not in His lifetime did Christianity go into all the world. But the early Christians, filled with the promised Holy Spirit, went and turned the world upside down with the gospel.
  2. Anyone who asks in His name, Christ will do it. “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” What does this mean?
    Barclay says: “Note carefully what Jesus said – not that all our prayers would be granted, but that our prayers made in His name would be granted. The test of any prayer is: Can I make it in the name of Jesus? No man, for instance, could pray for personal revenge, for personal ambition, for some unworthy and unchristian object in the name of Jesus. When we pray, we must always ask: Can we honestly make this prayer in the name of Jesus?

     The prayer which can stand the test of that consideration, and which, in the end says, ‘Thy will be done,’ is answered. But the prayer based on self cannot expect to be granted.” James 4:3 NIV says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Let me return to my opening statement. It was the question of Peter that prompted Jesus to say, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” It was the uncertainty of Thomas that led Jesus to say, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” It was the request of Philip that resulted in Jesus saying, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus knows your every care and concern, and He has the answer to all your questions. Trust in Him.

     BEFORE THEY DIED

Mohammad said, “I don’t know the purpose of life.

Buddha said to his followers: “Seek for the truth.”

Confucius said, “I am not the way.”

But our Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Mohammad, Buddha, and Confucius are still in the grave. Jesus Christ died for your sins, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, is preparing a designer home for you, intercedes for you each day in prayer, and is coming back to take you to your forever home! Trust in Him today. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way!

Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I’ll be;
Oh, how could I, this Friend deny, when He’s so true to me?

Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better Friend;
I trust Him now, I’ll trust Him when life’s fleeting days shall end!

Beautiful life with such a friend, beautiful life that has no end:
Eternal life! Eternal joy! He’s my Friend!
(Will Thompson)

 

A sermon preached by Victor Knowles, March 8, 2020, at the Mt. Hope Church of Christ, Joplin, MO.

Victor Knowles is head of POEM (Peace on Earth Ministries) and a minister of the Gospel.  He lives in Joplin, MO.

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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8